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How does the book We address the issue of perfectionism? 

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qasenior | Salutatorian

Posted September 8, 2012 at 1:58 PM via web

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How does the book We address the issue of perfectionism? 

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 8, 2012 at 11:53 PM (Answer #1)

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I think that Zamyatin clearly understands that the shift in the world taking place at the start of the 20th Century could be a pivot towards a world where centralized authority is rooted in the pursuit of perfectibility.  For the setting in We, the essence of the state's legitimacy is rooted in the pursuit of perfection from a governmental source.  The government of The Benefactor has numbered its citizens as well as matched them up with a "perfect" companion.  The fact that D-503 and O-90 are matched together is reflective of this.  Social construction is one predicated upon the idea that trust in the state is where individuals must place their loyalties and that the state can be in charge of the pursuit of perfection.  Rebellions and dissent are dismissed as individual failures and the embrace of a life without perfection.  It is for this reason that the "Great Operation" take place, designed to rid the individual of the quintessential emotional frame of reference that makes them human and imperfect.  Through this, the construction of society via government is one in which perfection is believed and its pursuit lends legitimate credence to the government.  Zamyatin's depiction is one in which a centralized government is able to root itself in the belief and pursuit of perfection, in which all else is subjugated towards its elusive achievement.

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