The Search for Happiness in the Novel-Dystopia by Yevgeny Zamyatin “We”

Shukhov Tower

Famous writers Orwell and Huxley were not the first to write in the genre of dystopia, they drew their inspiration from the dystopian novel by the Russian writer Yevgeny Zamyatin.

Dystopia is a literary reflection of doubts, hopes and fears of society that is caught at the peak of major changes. Famous representatives of the dystopian genre are the novels “1984” by George Orwell and “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley. But the idea of dystopia itself, the ideas and thoughts about the imperfection of our world were born long before these novels, in the novel by the Russian writer Yevgeny Zamyatin “We”, published in 1920.

Dystopian Plot by Zamyatin

In his novel Yevgeny Zamyatin paints a picture of the distant future with a perfect “Single state” in which every citizen is guaranteed a “mathematically unclouded bliss.” People in this state are really provided with almost everything: beautiful houses, food, clothing, a common cause. With that, though, they are deprived of freedom and individuality. However, the citizens of the “Single state” believe that this is the price of the universal happiness.

The narrative of the novel is on behalf of “number D-503.” Like everyone else he adheres to the principle of “reasonable mechanicalness,” until one day an unexpected meeting makes him to reconsider his attitude to manufactured public happiness. He develops doubt whether it is worth ignoring his feelings, personal freedom and happiness for the sake of public welfare.

But the state is stronger than one person. As a result of the “great operation”, D-503 loses the ability to dream and fantasize, and again becomes an obedient screw in the social machine.

Restrictions, Restrictions…

In Soviet Russia the novel was banned, because the “Single state” easily reminded of the principles of the “Communist paradise.”

The novel “We”, unlike novels “1984” by George Orwell and “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley with their obsolete predictions of the details of life of the future, reads very easily and still today represents a “clean” dystopia of world prosperity.

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To discover Russia with Alexey Gureev

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