Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Zamyatin's Intentions

At first glance, it may seem that D-503's preoccupations with math, exactness, and correctness are also those of the author, Yevgeny Zamyatin. If the reader were to ignore Zamyatin's satirical twist, the author's true intentions would be lost. In having the main character focus on certain subjects, Zamyatin calls those very subjects into question. By showing how a mathematical, rational, systematic society creates all sorts of problems regardless of its supposed benefits, Zamyatin indirectly communicates his ideals of individuality, personality, and freedom. Because D-503 begins to feel true human emotion, which has been up until this point alien to him, Zamyatin is trying to communicate the danger of losing our human nature. Though feeling and acting within the context individuality is a crime towards the One State, Zamyatin shows how not to act in such a way is a crime against humanity.

With regards to how this communication can be considered rhetorical, I must say that every form of communication seems rhetorical to me. The act of producing rhetoric is by definition the act of producing communication; be it through writing, speaking, or some other method. Nevertheless, Zamyatin's satirical style is an example of a specific kind of rhetoric. Instead of stating his beliefs explicitly, the author uses the One State to serve as the antithesis to his values. Satire allows the author to avoid laying a value system out to be criticized, while showing the downfall of the opposite value system. If the reader cannot accept the One State, Zamyatin accomplishes rhetorical goal.


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