Thread: Literary We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:34 PM   #32
Hamlet53
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This discussion about the possible meaning of the Latin letters selected for the names pf the various characters has been a combination of thought provoking and amusing. Perhaps as Caleb suggests it is possible to read too much into given the translation from the Russian Cyrillic. There is also this piece of information from the Wikipedia entry for WE:



Quote:
Many of the names and numbers in We are allusions to personal experiences of Zamyatin or to culture and literature. For example, "Auditorium 112" refers to cell number 112, where Zamyatin was twice imprisoned[26] and the name of S-4711 is a reference to the Eau de Cologne number 4711.[27]
The St. Alexander Nevsky, which was renamed Lenin after the Russian Revolution.

Zamyatin, who worked as a naval architect,[28] refers to the specifications of the icebreaker St. Alexander Nevsky.

The numbers [. . .] of the chief characters in WE are taken directly from the specifications of Zamyatin's favourite icebreaker, the Saint Alexander Nevsky, yard no. A/W 905, round tonnage 3300, where 0–90 and I-330 appropriately divide the hapless D-503 [. . .] Yu-10 could easily derive from the Swan Hunter yard numbers of no fewer than three of Zamyatin's major icebreakers – 1012, 1020, 1021 [. . .]. R-13 can be found here too, as well as in the yard number of Sviatogor A/W 904.[29][30]

There are literary allusions to Dostoyevsky, particularly Notes from Underground and The Brothers Karamazov, and to The Bible.[31]

Many comparisons to The Bible exist in We. There are similarities between Genesis Chapters 1–4 and We, where the One State is considered Paradise, D-503 is Adam, and I-330 is Eve. The snake in this piece is S-4711, who is described as having a bent and twisted form, with a "double-curved body" (he is a double agent). References to Mephistopheles (in the Mephi) are seen as allusions to Satan and his rebellion against Heaven in the Bible.[citation needed] The novel itself could be considered a criticism of organised religion given this interpretation.[31] However, Zamyatin, apparently in line with Dostoyevsky, made the novel a criticism of the excesses of a deterministic, atheistic (Godless) society.[32]

The novel uses mathematical concepts symbolically. The spaceship which D-503 is supervising the construction of is called the Integral, which he hopes will "integrate the grandiose cosmic equation". D-503 also mentions that he is profoundly disturbed by the concept of the square root of −1—which is the basis for imaginary numbers (imagination being deprecated by the One State). Zamyatin's point, probably in light of the increasingly dogmatic Soviet government of the time, would seem to be that it is impossible to remove all the rebels against a system, and he even says this through I-330: "There is no final revolution. Revolutions are infinite."[33]
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