Monday, July 31, 2006


In most cases, it seems as though the purpose of a novel can be deduced when you study the primary conflict of the story. In the case of We, the primary conflict is the old man vs. man conflict in which D begins to have a mental breakdown and question his purpose because of everything he is going through.
Your probably saying, "that has nothing to do with the prompt," and you would be right. Now let me try and tie in happiness. If Zamyatin had picked a goal such as "productivity," or "efficiency," or some other concrete goal such as that the entirety of the book would be different. Things like productivity can be specifically quantified and measured by the quality and quantity of what is produced. Happiness, on the other hand, is nothing more than a mental state, and two people can experience the same events and have completely different levels of happiness because of them.
If D's, and the One State's, main purpose was efficiency, than D probably wouldn't have been able to rationalize and convince himself that what he was doing was acceptable. In the grand theme of the machine of the One State, romance, love, and having a soul are definitely not productive, so if productivity was D's goal he might not have been as likely to chase these desires. Because the ultimate goal and purpose of the One State is happiness, though, D convinces himself that he will be happier being in love with I than being a slave to the machine. The goal of happiness is his motivation for abandoning his old life and investigating the possibility of being with I, and everything else that that choice might encompass.


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