Winston is in a cell in what he presumes is the Ministry of
Love. He is sick with hunger and fear, and when he makes a movement or a
sound, a harsh voice will bawl at him from the four telescreens. A prisoner
who is dying of starvation is brought in, his face is skull-like. Later
the man is brought to "Room 101" after screaming and struggling,
and even offering his children's sacrifices in his stead. O'Brien enters.
Winston thinks that they must have got him too, but O'Brien says that they
got him long time ago. A guard hits Winston, and he becomes unconscious.
When he wakes up he is tied down to a kind of bed. O'Brien stands beside
the bed, and Winston feels that O'Brien, who is the torturer, is also somehow
a friend. The aim of O'Brien is to teach Winston the technique of Doublethink,
and he does it by inflicting pain in ever-increasing intensity. He reminds
Winston that he wrote the sentence:" Freedom is the freedom to say
that two plus two makes four". O'Brien holds up four fingers of his
left hand, and he asks Winston how many there are. Winston answers four
a couple of times, and each time the pain increases (this is not done to
make Winston lie, but to make him really see five fingers instead of four).
At the end of the session, under heavy influence of drugs and agony, Winston
really seas five fingers. Now Winston is ready to enter the second stage
of his integration (1. Learning, 2. Understanding, 3. Acceptance). O'Brien
now explains why the Party works. The image he gives of the future is that
of a boot stamping on a human face - for ever. Winston protests, because
he thinks that there is something in the human nature that will not allow
this, he calls it "The Spirit of Man". O'Brien points out that
Winston is the last humanist, he is the last guardian of the human spirit.
Then O'Brien gets Winston to look at himself in the mirror, Winston is horrified
what he sees. The unknown time of torture has changed him into a shapeless
and battered wreck. This is what the last humanist looks like. The only
degradation that Winston has not been trough, is that he has not betrayed
Julia. He has said anything under torture, but inside he has remained true
to her. Winston is much better now. For some time he has not been beaten
and tortured, he has been fed quite well and allowed to wash. Winston realises
that he now accepts all the lies of the Party, that for example Oceania
was always at war with Eastasia, and that he never had the photograph of
Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford that disproved their guilty. Even gravity
could be nonsense. But nevertheless Winston has some unorthodox thoughts
that he cannot suppress. But now it is time for the last of the three steps,
reintegration. Winston is taken to Room 101. O'Brien says that the room
101 is the worst thing in the world. For each person it is his own personal
hell. For some it is death by fire or burial alive. For Winston it is a
cage containing two rats, with a fixture like a fencing mask attached, into
which the face of the victim is strapped. Then there is a lever, that opens
the cage ,so that the rats can get to the face. O'Brien is approaching nearer
with the cage ,and Winston gets the bad smell of the rats. He screams. The
only way to get out of this is to put someone else between him and the horror."Do
it to Julia", he screams in a final betrayal of himself. Winston is
released, and he is often sitting in the Chestnut Tree Café, drinking
Victory Gin and playing chess. He now has a job in a sub-committee , that
is made up for others like himself. On a cold winter day he meets Julia,
they speak briefly, but have little to say to each other, except that they
have betrayed each other. A memory of a day in his childhood comes to Winstons'
mind; It is false, he is often troubled by false memories. He looks forward
to the bullet, they will kill him some day. Now he realises how pointless
it was to resist. He loves Big Brother!
Winston finds himself imprisoned in the Ministry of Love.
Orwell introduces readers to the horrific but efficient conditions of the
prison where telescreens is Winston's cell monitor his every move. Winston
meets several strange characters in jail including a fat old woman who acts
as if she could be his mother, and an old colleague, Ampleforth. Dazed and
confused Ampleforth and Winston discuss their situation until guards take
Ampleforth to Room 101. After Ampleforth leaves the cell, Parsons, Winston's
former neighbor moves in. Vaguely proud, Parsons tells Winston that his
young daughter turned him over to the Thought Police. Guards take Parsons
to Room 101 and send in a frail, emaciated man to share Winston's cell.
Winston tries to give the frail man a piece of bread but when the man accepts
the food, the telescreens command him to drop the bread. Promptly, a guard
approaches to take the man to Room 101. The man cries, "You've been starving
me for weeks. Finish it off and let me die. Shoot me. Hang me. Sentence
me to twenty-five years. Is there somebody else you want me to give away?
Just say who it is and I'll tell you anything you want. I don't care who
it is or what you do to them. I've got a wife and three children. The biggest
of them isn't six years old. You can take the whole lot of them and cut
their throats in front of my eyes, and I'll stand by and watch it. But not
room 101!" Winston momentarily believes that O'Brien will save him but soon
realizes that he has been deceived. O'Brien, who had never been a member
of the Brotherhood, enters Winston's cell and orders a guard to beat him.
Winston's brutal torture begins. At the hands of O'Brien,
Winston endures constant beatings, electric shock treatment, and psychological
abuse. Winston fights valiantly to endure the excruciating pain but he
is powerless. Slowly, as he administers increasingly painful shocks, O'Brien
reveals that he had watched Winston for seven years and that he was taking
special care to re-train Winston. Winston hates and loves O'Brien at the
same time. The process of loving his torturer is part of his conversion
to INGSOC. Like a tutor preparing a pupil for a test, O'Brien quizzes
Winston on the history of Oceania and the meaning of subjective reality.
He tries to force Winston to believe that two plus two equals five because
that is what the Party says. As the intensity of the electric shocks increase,
Winston begins to lose his mind. Slowly, he begins to concede that O'Brien
could be holding up five fingers when, in fact, he only held up four fingers.
As the brainwashing torture overcomes Winston, O'Brien continues to educate
his pupil on the myth and power of Big Brother. Winston asks O'Brien to
tell him about Room 101. O'Brien responds, "You know what is in Room 101,
Winston. Everyone knows what is in Room 101"
"'There are three stages in your reintegration,' said O'Brien.
'There is learning, there is understanding, and there is acceptance. It
is time for you to enter upon the second stage" In this chapter Winston
finally learns why the Party acts as it does. O'Brien explains that the
Party seeks power for its own sake. O'Brien states, "The more the Party
is powerful, the less it will be tolerant; the weaker the opposition,
the tighter the despotism. Goldstein and his heresies will live forever.
Every day, at every moment, they will be defeated, discredited, ridiculed,
spat upon-and yet they will always survive. This drama that I have played
out with you during seven years will be played out over and over again,
generation after generation.That is the world we are preparing, Winston.You
are beginning, I can see, to realize what that world will be like. But
in the end you will do more than understand it. You will accept it, welcome
it, become part of it" Winston tries to resist. He argues with O'Brien
that he is still a man and that there will always be men who will revolt.
In response to Winston's argument, O'Brien forces Winston to view himself
in a mirror. The torture has turned Winston into a savage, beaten shell.
He no longer looks human. To further illustrate his point, O'Brien yanks
Winston's last teeth out of his jaw and pulls clumps of hair from his
scalp. "We have beaten you, Winston. We have broken you up. You have seen
what your body is like. Your mind is in the same state"
O'Brien's torture ends momentarily. The guards feed Winston
three meals a day for several months as Winston regains his strength and
continues his evolution toward total loyalty to Big Brother. To his captors,
Winston seems to make rapid progress as he writes "Freedom is Slavery,"
"Two and two make five," and "God is power." One night, however, Winston
reveals that his mind has not fully succumbed to the brainwashing as he
emerges from a dream screaming Julia's name. Immediately, O'Brien returns
to Winston's cell and orders him to Room 101.
O'Brien escorts Winston to Room 101. He tells Winston that
Room 101 represents the worst thing in the world for each person. He explains,
"The worst think in the world varies from individual to individual. It
may be burial alive, or death by fire, or by drowning, or by impalement,
or fifty other deaths. There are cases where it is some quite trivial
thing, not even fatal.In your case.the worst think in the world happens
to be rats" (p. 286). O'Brien taunts Winston with a cage full of grotesque
rats. He describes a macabre mask that will fit over his face and allow
the rats in the cage to eat him alive. As O'Brien moves the mask over
Winston's face, the rats just inches away, Winston screams, "Do it to
Julia! Do it to Julia! Not me! Julia! I don't care what you do to her.
Tear her face off, strip her to the bones. Not me! Julia! Not me!" In
victory, O'Brien pulls the cage away from Winston's face.
Free but defeated, Winston sits quietly at the Chestnut
Tree Cafï¿½ drinking Victory gin. A shell of his former self, Winston spends
his days at the cafe listening to the latest reports on the war with Eastasia.
He remembers seeing Julia in the city after O'Brien released him from
the Ministry of Love. They no longer shared anything and they barely recognized
each other. Winston seems to react to the outer world only when he hears
news of an Oceania victory. The Party controls him completely. 1984 ends
with Winston gazing at a picture of Big Brother: "He gazed up at the enormous
face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden
beneath the dark mustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn,
self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled
down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right,
the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved
Winston and Julia are sent to the Ministry of Love which
is a sort of rehabilitation center for criminals accused of thought crime
There, Winston was separated from Julia, and tortured until his beliefs
coincided with those of the Party. Winston denounces everything he believed
him, even his love for Julia, and was released back into the public where
he wastes his days at the Chestnut Tree drinking gin.
Room 101 - the final stage of the torture and rehab at the
ministry of love. The room symbolizes and consists of the one thing each
person hates and fears most. It symbolizes the fearfulness and helplessness
each person experiences when faced with his greatest fear.
In the last section of this book, confusing things began to
become clearer. Like the song sung by the telescreen. "Under the spreading
chestnut tree, I sold you and you sold me." (p. 241) This phrase is
repeated many times throughout this book, and the reader cannot figure out
why. Closer to the end, however, things begin to unravel. " 'I betrayed
you,' she said badly. 'I betrayed you,' he said." (p.240). Winston
and Julia had promised that no matter what, they would always love each
other and would never give in to the Ministry of Love's treatments, that
they would never betray each other. But the pain was so horrible that it
forced all love and promises out of their heads, and they were forced to
hate each other. He sold her and she sold him, in a coffee shop called the
Chestnut Tree. " 'Sometimes' she said, ' they threaten you with something-
something you can't stand up to, can't even think about. And then you say,
'Don't do it to me, do it to so-and-so.' And perhaps you might pretend,
afterwards, that it was only a trick and that you just said it make them
stop and didn't really mean it. But that isn't true. At the time when it
happens you do mean it.....there's no other way of saving yourself...to
save yourself that way....you want it to happen to the other person. You
don't give a damn what they suffer. All you care about is yourself.' "
(p. 240) Winston ends up being let out of the Ministry of Love, but only
temporally. His mind warped, he could no longer look at the world the way
he once did. He loved Big Brother's eyes on the posters to follow him. He
loved to read the lies in the newspaper, he loved to listen to the constant
rambling of the telescreen, he loved to be the "perfect citizen".
Eventually he is taken back to the black, evil "Love" building
and shot in the back of the head, as he once predicted. "He was walking
down the white-tiled corridor, with the feeling of walking in sunlight,
and an armed guard at his back. The long-hoped-for bullet was entering his
brain." (p. 245) Two different perspectives can be taken on Winston
finally loosing his life to Big Brother. He died a happy man, he died loving
Big Brother. Or he died as a man fed off of cruel lies, stiff and drained
from the lashes of his government's whips, forced to show a happy smile,
forced to crave the bullet to put him out of his misery like a crippled
old cow. "How easy it all was! Only surrender, and everything else
followed. It was like swimming against a current that swept you backwards
however hard you struggled, and then suddenly deciding to turn round and
go with the current instead of opposing it. Nothing had changed except your
own attitude; the predestined thing happened in any case. He hardly knew
why he had ever rebelled. Everything was easy, except---! Anything could
be true." (p. 229)