Book 3 Chapter 1
Winston Smith finds himself inside the Ministry of Love in a cell with no windows and four telescreens watching his every move. He has been transferred here from a holding cell in which a huge prole woman who shares the last name Smith wonders if she is Winston’s mother, a fact that Winston cannot deny. In his solitary cell, Winston envisions his captors beating him, and he worries that sheer physical pain will force him to betray Julia.
Ampleforth, a poet whose crime was leaving the word “God” in a Rudyard Kipling translation, is tossed into the cell, only to be taken to the dreaded Room 101 moments later, a place of mysterious and unspeakable horror. Winston shares his cell with a variety of fellow prisoners, including his flatulent neighbour Parsons, who was turned in by his own children for committing thoughtcrime, much to Winston’s surprise.
Winston begins to think about Julia and what is happening to her. He believes that she is suffering, perhaps more than he is, and he decides that he would take double the pain she receives if doing so would spare her, only to reconsider this idea. Winston hopes dearly that the Brotherhood will send him a razorblade with which he might commit suicide. His dreams of the Brotherhood are ended, when O’Brien, enters his cell.
Winston is surprised to see him, ( ‘They’ve got you too!’), to which O’Brien responds (‘They got me long ago’), and identifies himself as an operative of the Ministry of Love. O’Brien asserts that Winston has known O’Brien was an operative all along, and Winston concedes that this is true. A guard smashes Winston’s elbow, and Winston believes that no one can become a hero in the face of physical pain because it is too much to endure.
1984 is a dystopian novella by George Orwell published in 1949, which takes place in 1984. The Novella explores the ideas of a totalitarian state controlling every aspect of life, even people’s thoughts. The state is called Oceania and is ruled by a group known as the Party; its leader and dictator is Big Brother.
The Novella follows the life of Winston Smith, the central character, is a thirty-nine-year-old man living in London. He is a low-ranking member of ‘the Party’, who is frustrated by the omnipresent eyes of the party, and its ominous ruler Big Brother. He secretly hates the Party and decides to rebel by starting a diary in which he reveals his rebellious thoughts and plans. By owning a diary, Winston commits thoughtcrime and knows that one day he will be discovered by the Thought Police and potentially killed.
Winston is fascinated by the lives of ‘proles’ (the lowest class in the social hierarchy of Oceania). They are the only group allowed to live pretty much as they like without heavy police surveillance. He later befriends a prole, Mr. Charrington (the Owner of shop in the prole district), who shares his interest in the past and life before the rule of Big Brother.
Whilst at work, Winston is approached by a woman who works in another department, she pretends to fall, as a result he helps her up. As he does this, she slips a piece of paper into his hand. It says, ‘I love you.’ Winston is surprised and disturbed by this; any sexual relationship between Party members is strictly forbidden. However, it’s something he’d never seen before, which as a result leaves him intrigued. They later agree to secretly meet in the country, only in places that aren’t under surveillance. He begins a love affair with the woman, who we later learn is called Julia. Winston and Julia eventually rent the room above Mr. Charrington’s junkshop as a long-term private place for the two of them.
A member of the Inner Party, known as ‘O’Brien’, finds an excuse to give Winston his home address, an unusual event. Winston, whilst being quite taken back is overjoyed, as he’d always believed O’Brien may not be like the other members of the party and might share his hatred of the Party. Winston and Julia secretly travel to see O’Brien and he enlists them into the Brotherhood (a secret organisation dedicated to fighting Big Brother). He arranges to give Winston a copy of “The Book,” a document that contains the truth about Big Brother and the development of the super-states. Winston and Julia rush to their room above the junkshop to read the book, hoping to finally confirm their suspicions. Only for the Thought Police burst in to arrest them. They then learn that Mr. Charrington is a Thought Police agent. They are therefore separately taken to the Ministry of Love. There, Winston learns that O’Brien is in fact an orthodox government agent and has deliberately tricked him. O’Brien takes charge of the process of “re-integrating” Winston, by torturing and brainwashing him until he fully believes in the Party and it’s viewpoints. As the final step of this process, Winston is forced to betray his love for Julia, and his feelings for her are destroyed.
Winston is released after all of his torturing, only to live out his final days as a broken man. Soon, the Thought Police will execute him for his crime, the Novella ends with Winston having submitted completely, as he even loves Big Brother.