Friday, July 21, 2006

Zamyatin's Use of Imagery

The use of imagery is prevalent throughout Zamyatin’s We. Rather than just existing to “fluff,” or fill out the writing, the imagery found seems to have a more specific purpose: to create a bond between the environment found in the State and the emotional disposition of the citizens. All of the imagery seems to lead to one general idea of uniformity. For example, “the auditorium—an enormous, sun-drenched hemisphere of massive glass. Circular rows of nobly spherical, smooth-shaven heads” creates the impression that the citizens blend with the environment; that they are one with it (15). There is a continuity between citizen and surroundings that persuades the reader that no person in the State is unique in the general sense, and that they all blend together to form one whole. The same conformity and predictability can be seen again when D-503 says, “and ahead of us—a cloud, white as a cataract, preposterous and puffed out like the cheeks of an ancient cupid, and somehow disturbing,” and this also demonstrates to us a dislike by the society of anything “independent,” such as the cloud that stands out on its own (25). Also, much of the imagery is purely mathematical in nature, creating the impression of a logic- and reason-based society. This can be seen when D-503 calculates the odds of his being assigned the specific auditorium room, and can also be seen in quotes such as “To me, this is as natural as the equality of its four angles is to the square, but to you it may be more of a mystery than Newton’s binomial theorem” (20). Overall, I think that most of the imagery is used to present the State as a logical, indistinguishable, and almost sterile environment.

2 Comments:

Blogger Simon Says said...

I like how you describe the clouds as independent beings sticking out against the perfect blue sky. Though I saw how a mark across their sky could be seen as a sign of imperfection, I had not thought of it as a stand against conformity. I agree with your conclusion that his imagery depicts a mathematically (but not necessarily aesthetically) perfect world. It's pretty creepy eh?

6:40 AM  
Blogger Wei Wei Wu said...

I find One State and D-503's character kind of conflicting.. I agree with you, One State seems like a world where everything is uniform and logical.. but on the other hand, D-503's character is so emotional..

2:41 PM  

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