Monday, July 31, 2006

"We" vs "I"

I think that Zamyatin makes happiness the goal for the citizens of the One State because no matter who you are or where you come from, everybody wants to be happy. Everything else in life will fall into place if you are happy. Along with happiness come emotions, like love. Love is something that I’m sure everybody wants to feel or either be the recipient at some point in time.

I think the fact that Zamyatin goes throughout the whole book telling us that happiness is based on perfection and then shows us how everything perfect starts to crumble, is pretty persuasive at showing that happiness is not based on a whole. You can’t be happy because everyone else is happy you have to be happy because you are happy. On page 138, D-503 says “‘everyone’ and ‘I’ are a single ‘We’” This is basically saying I am happy because him, her, them and everyone is happy. Your happiness is not based on how someone else feels. As D-503 becomes more separated from the One State and his soul starts to take over more he says on page 145-146, “…who are ‘they’? And who am I? ‘They,’ ‘We’-do I know? As D-503 begins to see his own happiness he starts to question the happiness of everyone as a whole. On page 157 he has completely felt this happiness that he has never felt before. He says, “I felt myself above all others. I was I, a separate entity, a world. I had ceased to be a component, as I had been, and become a unit.”

I don’t think that Zamyatin would have been able to use any other criterion and had the same effect as he had using happiness. Everyone doesn’t strive for excellence, many people don’t care about hard work, but I am sure that everyone wants happiness.


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