1984
George Orwell

by

Karim Chandra

Part 3 Chapter 1-3
Summary

Winston sits in a holding cell with white walls, no windows, and a high roof. He isn't sure where he is, yet suspect that it is the Ministry of Love. The room is loaded up with light, and there is a low sound that Winston thinks is originating from the air system. A seat circles the outside of the room, there is a telescreen on every one of the four walls, and a toilet sits in one corner. Winston is hungry and can’t remember the last time he ate anything, or even when he was captured. Maybe one day, maybe two. He endeavors to sit as still as he can to maintain a strategic distance from the voices behind the telescreen, yet in the wake of remembering that he may have a morsel of food in his pocket, he gives in to temptation. Promptly, the voice behind the telescreen screams, "Smith! 6079 Smith W.! Hands out of pockets in the cells!" Winston obeys.

O'Brien compels Winston to look at his exposed body in a mirror. Winston is astonished to see his dim, powerless, bowed body. He is skinny, halfway bare, and his body is covered with endless scars. He can scarcely recognize himself. O'Brien mocks his appearance, demonstrating to him how he is diminishing very quickly, and even removing one of his remaining teeth. Winston collapses, and O'Brien guarantees him that he can escape from this situation if he so chooses. Winston declines to acknowledge defeat, guaranteeing that despite everything, he has not abandoned his love for Julia. Winston seeks to know when he will be shot, and O'Brien says it may be quite a while, inevitably, it will happen.

Analysis

O'Brien is an essential character all through this section, and it is here that we finally gain understanding into his strange personality. He is an unwavering Party supporter and has a strong belief in the purity of his cause and benefit to the party. Strangely, Winston's fatalistic view proceeds in jail, as he comes to terms with the fact that deep down, he always knew that O'Brien was a Party supporter. In truth, Winston knew he would be captured before he met with O'Brien, and along these lines, the meeting that they had did not have any significance in his current predicament. In the long run, he was always going to be captured.

Winston may have thought O'Brien was a Party supporter, yet needed to confide in him and have confidence in the Brotherhood so much that he neglected these thoughts. Winston's fantasy, seven years prior, of O'Brien's voice disclosing to him they would "meet in the place where there is no darkness" drove Winston to focus on O'Brien and gave him trust that he may be of help. O'Brien is still somehow a comfort to Wilson; even in his moment of torture, he is more settled when O'Brien is close. Indeed, Winston once wrote in his diary that it didn't make a difference whether O'Brien was his ally or not, on account of he felt the man comprehended him and saw him as an individual. Ironically, Winston appears to hold deep affection for O'Brien. The most important thing is that Winston wanted help from O'Brien and that dimmed his ability to think straight.

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