The Guard

One of the most controversial characters from Zamyatin’s “We” is, probably, the Guard, called “S”.

While reading the first half of the book, I just did’t understand what his beliefs and purposes were. ┬áHe was a Guard, the basis of the State, he was a “spy”, as Guards were called in the beginning of the book, who’s work was mostly about finding individuals who turned to the “wrong” path and either help them to return back to “normal” life or to make them disappear for the good of the whole society.

He was always following the main character, D-503. At least D felt like this. S watched him, looked into his notes, noticed his strange behaviors and making him feel scared on the one hand. But on the other he was somehow connected to this strange and unknown (at least in the beginning) woman, I-330. He also “forgave” D-503 when he mistakenly tried to save the woman which stopped the march, he behaved as if he believed that D-503 wanted to catch that woman, not to help her. But he, of course, knew where that action came from and why D did that.

I was not sure about this character till the very moment when D-503 decided to go and tell everything about him and MEPHI. Even when they were there, in S’ office, it was not clear for me what’s going to happen. He knew everything D was telling him, he even helped him to find the words to tell everything. It was possible both if he was involved in this “criminal” activities and if he was just watching D-503’s life, following him everywhere.

This character was necessary in the book to show that even the most important parts of the mechanism – the Guards of the State – could go wrong. But at the same time, as “We” ends with the small victory of the regime, it’s made to show that certain people, even very influential, can’t break the new, ideal world, created for everybody’s happiness. That even in such case it will resist and protect the ones who realized their mistakes or didn’t make them at all (which, from my point of view, was the important idea of this book, that’s why we see this kind of ending).