Friday, January 25, 2008

One State Vs. United States

From page one of the reading of We, I started comparing the One State to the United States. Clearly, I was reading We in a cultural context. Even though I had read the introduction, I had a difficult time contextualizing the novel’s ideas for the time it was written. Therefore, I applied its ideas to today’s society in the U.S.

A similarity between the One State and the U.S. is that the Benefactor wants to spread the One State ideology of totalitarianism and mathematics to neighboring cities while the U.S. is striving to spread its ideology of democracy and freedom to countries that are under a different form of government.

A difference between the One State and the U.S. is that the One State has regulated lives and major consequences for deviant behavior (i.e. liquefaction). In the U.S. however, citizens choose their particular lifestyle and have minor consequences for deviance.

Another difference is that dance is considered an un-free motion in the One State. "Why is dance beautiful? Answer: because it is unfree motion, because the whole profound meaning of dance lies precisely in absolute, esthetic subordination, in ideal unfreedom." (p.4) Dancing is considered a free motion in the U.S. With hip/hop, break dancing, and the like, dancing is a form of art (not mathematics).

Poetry in the One State is about math and logical ideas while poetry from the U.S. is about emotions and abstract ideas. "Today, poetry is no longer the idle, impudent whistling of a nightingale; poetry is civic service, poetry is useful." (p.68)


jmartinez said...

I agree with what you're saying. The U.S. is, in a way, practicing imperialism in other countries. The One State hopes to do the same with the Integral in other planets.

Ellen M said...

I agree as well. Since the One State is reaching out to other planets, I wonder why it doesn't reach beyond the Green Wall. Do you think there is still civilization beyond the wall? Perhaps remaining ancients from the 2oo Years' War?

Haseeb A. said...

I finished reading the novel so I can answer your question...D-503 goes into the Ancient House, through the tunnel, and appears beyond the Green Wall...He sees furry ancients on the other side. They are just beings that were not included into the One State, perhaps from the 200 Years' War.