Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Sickness

Although D-503 is obviously preoccupied with many facets of a logical mind (math, science, etc.), I think what is most interesting is his mental preoccupation with sickness. I'm not sure if it's in the entries we were supposed to read for tonight, but I just think it's interesting how D uses the excuse of "sickness" for everything. In a way, sickness applies to everything that the "ancients" used to do, whether it was drinking, dreaming, or believing in irrational gods.
I think that Zamyatin uses D's preoccupation with illness to convey D's inner struggle to rationalize everything that is happening to him. But more than that, I think it's a way to show the reader that everything does not have a logical solution, even if you're someone as logical as D. D knows that he's really not medically ill, which is evident when people ask him if he's all right on occasions and he seems like he doesn't even know why they're asking that, but on occasion he truly convinces himself that he is to cope with all the events occurring in his life.
Also, in the author's reversed way of doing things, Zamyatin seems to use "sickness" as a way to identify positive things. Dreaming, imagination, having a soul; all of these qualities are described as being evidence of sickness, but it seems as though Zamyatin is actually trying to convince the reader that lacking all of these fundamental human traits is the true form of malady. Due to the reversed-nature of how Zamyatin presents his critique of this mechanical society, he is arguing for the need to dream, imagine, and have a soul. Also, even though D initially categorizes these traits as illnesses, he starts to truly be happy as the book progresses and he continues to acquire these diseases. This is a tricky and indirect way the author is arguing for the necessity to embrace the human soul and the many component parts it entails.

2 Comments:

Blogger Nick_sp said...

I like this argument, and I hadn't thought of it before really as one of his preoccupations, thought it obviously is looking at it retrospectively.

perhaps one can take this one step farther. It is obvious at this point, that whatever D or the One State would consider to be bad, is considered good by Zamyatin. In regards to this feeling of sickness, I think we can say that D feels that he is sick, and knows that the One State could fix it through the "Great Operation", but his "soul" doesn't want to be fixed.

thinking of this in Zamyatin's terms, and bringing it to the level of the world in which he was actually writing, I think we can accurately say that Zamyatin feels that the human spirit and imagination are not maladies, but strengths, and that any totalitarian state endagers these, and finally, the human spirit does not wish to be subjugated and crushed, therefore, a totalitarian state is the ultimate evil to a human being.

11:11 PM  
Blogger Peterpeterhaha said...

hmmm yeah I was beginning to see that he was always referring back to his "illness" whenever something unexpected happened. He kinda used it as an excuse to do things.

9:19 AM  

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