Book Notes Part 3, Chapters 5-6 Notes from 1984

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1984 Part 3, Chapters 5-6

Winston is in room 101 of the Ministry of Love. He can see only two small tables straight in front of him, covered with green baize. He is strapped into a chair, so tightly that he cannot move a muscle. His head is gripped from behind by a kind of pad. O'Brien comes in and reminds him that he already knows what is in Room 101. Everyone knows what is in room 101; it is the worst thing in the world.

A guard enters and puts an oblong wire cage on the table further away from Winston. Fixed to the front is something that looks like a fencing mask, the concave side facing outward to be fitted on to someone's face. The cage is divided into two compartments, each containing a live rat.

O'Brien knows Winston's deepest fear. Winston is frozen in terror. O'Brien reminds him of the panic he used to have in his dreams, visions of something unimaginably terrible on the other side of a black wall. Pain, O'Brien says, is not enough; sometimes people will stand out against pain, but for everyone there is a terror they cannot withstand. Faced with the rats, Winston will have no choice but to give in to control by The Party.

O'Brien picks up the cage and brings it to the nearer table. The rats are huge. O'Brien speaks of how they eat flesh, attack babies and the sick or dying, leap onto the face and attack the eyes, or burrow through the cheeks to eat the tongue. Winston almost faints in fear. He can smell the foul, musty odor of the rats. The cage is coming nearer. O'Brien plans to attach the mask to Winston's head and open the interior cage door so that the rats can attack his face. As O'Brien approaches, Winston can only think of shielding himself from the rats with the living body of another person. O'Brien brings them closer and closer.

Suddenly Winston understands that there is one person in the world to whom he can transfer his punishment. He shouts frantically over and over,

"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!" Part 3, Chapter 5, pg. 289

He feels as if he is falling from a great distance, and he hears O'Brien closing the cage door instead of opening it.

After being released, Winston is sitting in the Chestnut Tree Café. It is almost empty and it is three o'clock in the afternoon. Now and again he glances up at the vast poster of Big Brother facing him from the opposite wall. A waiter brings him more Victory Gin with cloves.

The telescreen is showing news about the war. Excitement flares in Winston, only to fade away. Nowadays he can only focus his mind on any one subject for a few minutes at a time. He has gotten fatter since they released him, his nose and cheeks a deeper shade of red. He spends most of his time in the café, playing chess with himself and following current events written in "The Times." Winston ponders different strategies to win the war. When not drinking large amounts of gin, he occasionally shows up to do a little work on a sub-committee of a sub-committee, where he has been give a pointless job.

Almost unconsciously, Winston traces in the dust on the table, "2+2=5."

Topic Tracking: Reality Control 14

Julia had once said, "They can't get inside you." She had been wrong.

"There were things, your own acts, from which you could not recover. Something was killed in your breast; burnt out, cauterized out." Part 3, Chapter 6, pg. 293

By chance, he met Julia in the park. They had almost passed each other, when Winston turned and followed. She walked to a clump of shrubs and stopped. Her face was sallow and there was a scar across her forehead and temple. He clasped his arm around her waist, which seemed thick and stiff. She made no response.

They walked back to the grass and sat in iron chairs. Admitting their betrayal in Room 101, Winston and Julia looked at each other with indifference. They did not see each other again.

Suddenly, as Winston sits in the café, a trumpet call draws attention to the telescreen. Victory is announced. Winston is moved to tears. He sits in a blissful dream-state, feeling the final change in himself. He imagines himself in the Ministry of Love - innocent, where all is forgiven. He imagines himself walking down a corridor, the long-hoped-for bullet entering his brain.

"But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother." Part 3, Chapter 6, pg. 300

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