Length: 1000-1500 words (4-6 pages)
Eugene Zamyatin’s We is sometimes viewed as a response to Soviet totalitarianism. But there is a problem with this interpretation. Although Zamyatin was a Russian and was clearly influenced by what was going on around him, he wrote We in 1920, well before a full-blown totalitarian society took shape under the rule of Joseph Stalin. Zamyatin’s anti-utopian vision, therefore, reflects not so much the actual conditions in which he lived as the potential of certain ideas and trends present not only in Russia, but within Western civilization as a whole. Your task for this paper is to consider what these ideas and trends may have been. What tendencies prevalent both inside and outside of Russia in the years before 1920 may have contained the seeds of Zamyatin’s “One State.”
In your paper first identify your overall theme and describe how that theme appear in Zamyatin story. Then explain how that theme connects with trends and processes evident in the immediate aftermath of World War I.
This is not a research assignment. A careful consideration of the society described in We should provide ample evidence of the tendencies that evoked Zamyatin’s concern. I do not require, or even recommend that you undertake outside readings, however you are certainly welcome to integrate information from the textbook and class lectures. If you do consult any outside sources, however, they must be listed in an attached bibliography and cited in the text where relevant using standard citation methods—either “in-line” (MLA style) citations or footnotes. Page numbers from the text of We can be indicated in parentheses.
History Department policies on plagiarism and academic dishonesty will be strictly enforced. All text that is not your own must be enclosed in quotation marks and provided with a citation indicating the source. A source must also be provided for paraphrased text in which the wording is altered by the content remains the same.