At work, D-503 ensures the INTEGRAL is stocked with over a week’s worth of fuel. As he walks home he sees a column of men who have received the operation moving towards him. The left and right sides of the column swing around, forming a ring and trapping a crowd of citizens inside. Realizing he will be forced to receive the surgery, D-503 flees and finds O-90 beside him. She agrees to have I-330 smuggle her to safety. As they walk to meet I-330, D-503 notices S-4711 following him. He brings O-90 to his apartment, where he gives her directions and sends her to I-330 alone. A crowd is forming at U’s desk in the apartment lobby. D-503 overhears a man exclaim he saw a naked figure with fur by the Ancient House.
The State Gazette announces that operation to remove imagination is now mandatory for all citizens. D-503 tries to focus on the details of his room, memorizing them. He says farewell to his readers, explaining that this is his last entry.
D-503 regrets living to write in his journal again. He remembers a state-sponsored story in which three men without work commit suicide and begins to recount his experience on the INTEGRAL. Earlier, he mechanically led his team in launching the ship into space, increasingly nervous of the rebel’s plans. The beauty of space astonished D-503 and the other engineers on board. He met with I-330, dressed as a radio operator, and she expressed her excitement about what they were about to face. She informed D-503 that O-90 was safely on the other side of the wall. D-503 considered briefly steering the ship into the earth. All the employees looked with awe at the landscape laid out below them. One man insisted he saw a person riding a horse. Just as I-330 and D-503 were about to trap the other workers and seize the ship, a Guardian announced that the plot had been discovered. The rebels were forced to abandon their plans. D-503 realized that U must have read his journal and alerted the authorities. He then attempted to run the INTEGRAL into the ground but was tackled by his Second Builder.
Back in his bedroom, D-503 thinks of ways to kill U. He wraps his journal around a broken piston rod and wanders the city looking for her. He spies a banner that reads “Down with the Machines!” (199.) When he attempts to take a train to the school where U teaches, he finds the trains are not running. In the station I-330 is speaking to the masses, explaining her desire for free will. As she talks, someone cuts the power, throwing the crowd into a panic. D-503 falls in and out of consciousness, unable to account for long periods of time. Back at his apartment he watches as his next-door neighbor writes diligently. U visits him, unaware of his intentions. D-503 towers over her, about to swing the broken piston, when U tells him that she agrees. Confused, D-503 pauses as U undresses. He realizes U thought he wanted to have sex with her, not kill her. He begins laughing hysterically, losing his will to kill her. As he laughs, the phone rings. The Benefactor summons him to his palace. D-503 tells a hurt U to put her clothes on and leave. When asked, U reveals she didn’t report I-330 by name, since she was afraid that D-503 would no longer love her.
D-503 meets with the Benefactor, who scolds him for his actions. The Benefactor explains that truly loving human life requires a tremendous amount of individual cruelty, as individuals have to be sacrificed for the good of the whole. He reminds D-503 that God sentences individuals to burn in hell for eternity. He continues, saying that paradise is a place where people are told what happiness is and then bound to that happiness. D-503 is unable to do more than stammer out weak responses. The Benefactor accuses him of being naïve, explaining that I-330 was only interested in him because of his access to the INTEGRAL. D-503 starts to laugh hysterically. He goes into the streets and walks to the Machine of the Benefactor, the device used for executions. He sits on the steps by the machine, feeling the rain on his face and wishes he could have had a mother.
During breakfast D-503 is interrupted by what feels like an earthquake. People pour out of buildings and into the street where they find the sky filled with birds. D-503 finds an elated member of the rebels who explains that the others must have broken through the glass wall. The man joins a group of revolutionaries with electric weapons and disappears. D-503 sees people having unscheduled sex in the glass apartments around him. He rushes to I-330’s apartment, where he finds her furniture and belongings scattered. Pink tickets with his name are spread on the floor. As D-503 sweeps them up he notices some include the name F. Realizing he is a cog in a larger plan he had no knowledge of, D-503 laughs hysterically before heading back to his apartment.
D-503 awakes to I-330 in his apartment. He attempts to explain himself, but I-330 embraces him with a kiss. After they have sex, I-330 inquires if the Benefactor summoned him. D-503 tells her everything, omitting only the Benefactor’s claim that she used him. D-503 realizes that she only visited him in order to extract information about his visit with the Benefactor. When he accuses her, I-330 falls silent. She leaves D-503 alone and devastated.
In tremendous emotional pain, D-503 leaves for the Bureau of Guardians to report everything he knows. On the way he steps over R-13’s corpse. He sees an “endless line of Numbers," all with writings in their hands at the Bureau (219). Before he can find someone to speak with he is intercepted by S-4711. S-4711 escorts D-503 to his office, where D-503 promptly reveals the whole story. Amused, S-4711 reminds D-503 that they saw each other briefly in the wilderness beyond the wall. D-503 finally realizes S-4711 is one of the rebels. D-503 runs, losing consciousness and finds himself in a subway station bathroom. There he finds his diligent neighbor who tells D-503 that he has mathematically proven that infinity does not exist. The neighbor is completely calm and assured in the midst of the apocalypse. D-503 writes as much as he can of the last hours on several sheets and then wildly asks the man what lies beyond the finite universe.
D-503 writes a final entry in very precise and factual language. He has undergone the operation and feels as if a “splinter” has been removed from his head (224). He explains that he and his neighbor were arrested for failing to report for operations. After surgeons forcibly removed his imagination, D-503 reports all he knows to the Benefactor. Later he is summoned to watch I-330 tortured with the gas bell. He comments that her pale face is beautiful and is surprised that she never betrays her comrades. Tomorrow I-330 and the other rebels will be executed. The Western side of the city is in chaos, as many citizens have joined the revolution. D-503 reflects that OneState must win, since reason must win.
As the OneState system begins to fall apart, the Numbers, or citizens, under their control reveal their more irrational, human tendencies. Throughout W,e D-503 describes individuals as perfect cogs in a larger machine, yet people persist in their humanity even in the face of great punishment. When the government attempts to physically force its imagination surgery on the population, many actively flee or resist (182). Each of the novel’s major characters displays some degree of irrationality. I-330, D-503, S-4711, and R-13 participate in the rebellion, against their personal interests. O-90 faces the death penalty in order to have a child. Even U, the paragon of OneState virtue, falls in love with D-503, and withholds information from the government in order to please him (204). No character can live up to the mechanic standards of OneState, even if they themselves embrace those standards.
During the final records, D-503 becomes increasingly delirious. He begins laughing uncontrollably in painful situations. He guffaws after U’s embarrassing assumption halts his murder plans (203); he chokes with laughter when the Benefactor reveals I-330 has used him for the revolution (208); and he explodes when he finds evidence of the Benefactors words in I-330’s apartment (213). Moreover, D-503 begins blacking-out, unable to account for large swathes of time. It occurs as he leaves to meet the Benefactor (205), and again after he betrays I-330 to S-4711 (222). As the OneState system falls apart, so does D-503, revealing the fragility of his psyche.
OneState’s dream of converting irrational human beings into predictable mechanisms is accomplished with the imagination surgeries at the end of the novel. Those who have undergone the procedure are described as moving forward on “heavy, forged wheels” as if “drawn by some invisible drive mechanism” (182). D-503 refers to them as “tractors in human form” (182). In the Records preceding his own transformation D-503 describes himself mechanically. He writes of the “phonograph” inside him, which allows him to perform despite his great fear (192). His eyes become “calculators," nothing more than a “tool” used to accomplish things (187). His final transformation is complete in the novel’s final Record, where D-503 calmly describes his own forced operation and the torture of I-330. He can no longer understand why he hesitated to betray the love of his life (224) and remarks that the reason must win against the rebellion (225). There is nothing irrational or human left inside him.
During his meeting with D-503 the Benefactor articulates his justification for the cruelty of OneState. Again, the dictator is compared to the Christian God (206). The Benefactor explains that the “God of love” from the Bible is the same “who slowly roasts in the fires of Hell all those who rebel against him” (206). In his estimation, true love of humanity as a whole requires tremendous cruelty at the individual level. In order to promote an environment of overall happiness, dissenters must be crushed. Zamyatin criticizes what he views as the dictatorial beliefs of religious devotees by comparing their God to the novel’s totalitarian leader. The author also criticizes the Christian concept of paradise, in which humanity must remain ignorant and child-like. The Benefactor describes paradise as a state in which individuals have “lost all knowledge of desires, pity, love” and submit to a higher power (207). OneState, which Zamyatin portrays as a cruel absurdity, is a replica of that vision of paradise. There can be no Utopia in the author’s view, religious or otherwise.
In the end, it is unclear if the rebellion will ultimately succeed. Always the unreliable narrator, D-503 cannot be trusted in the final Record, as he has been essentially lobotomized. He claims that the Benefactor will prevail, “because reason has to win” (225). Indeed, it seems the MEPHI have been largely crushed. D-503 reveals all his knowledge of their operations to the Benefactor, leading to the arrest of I-330 and several of her comrades (224). Though she refuses to speak, several other rebels break under torture and reveal secrets (224). Yet, it is clear throughout the novel that I-330 deliberately keeps much about the MEPHI’s operations hidden from D-503; there may be other cells the protagonist knows nothing of. Moreover, the wall has been breached, allowing Numbers and those from the wilderness to leave and enter the city easily (212). D-503 describes “chaos” in the western part of the city and reveals that “quite a lot of Numbers” have joined the rebellion (225). The OneState system is so affected that even the daily alarms are no longer ringing (218). Even though many rebels have been captured, the fight may well continue successfully. Zamyatin leaves the conclusion ambiguous.