Friday, July 21, 2006

A tool of light

Zamyatin paints for us a vivid image of this world that we have supposedly evolved to. The clear blue sky, the perfectly ordered marches of all the citizens, and the strange practice of constructing all buildings out of glass, etc. serve the dual purpose of painting us a mental image of the landscape in which the story is taking place, and giving us a view into the minds of this strange society’s members.

The thing I find most interesting is the kind of passive hypocrisy that is also taking place by way of the description of this imagery. Our narrator finds the clear blue sky superior to one with clouds, and scoffs at his ancestors that imagined different shapes in then, but several times even in the short reading he uses his own imagination to picture his ancestors in their “barbarism”. The buildings are made of glass so the citizens can’t hide anything, but they still close the blinds to have sex. The narrator likens the workings of some machines to a beautiful dance, then wonders at his girlfriend for thinking about the spring.

I feel like this imagery is meant to give us a better view of the hypocrisy of it all, the sheer irony these peoples’ view of themselves versus their ancestors.


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