had vanished. A morning came, and he was missing from work: a
few thoughtless people commented on his absence. On the next day
nobody mentioned him. On the third day Winston went into the vestibule
of the Records Department to look at the notice-board. One of
the notices carried a printed list of the members of the Chess
Committee, of whom Syme had been one. It looked almost exactly
as it had looked before -- nothing had been crossed out -- but
it was one name shorter. It was enough. Syme had ceased to exist:
he had never existed.
The weather was baking hot. In the labyrinthine Ministry the windowless,
air-conditioned rooms kept their normal temperature, but outside
the pavements scorched one's feet and the stench of the Tubes
at the rush hours was a horror. The preparations for Hate Week
were in full swing, and the staffs of all the Ministries were
working overtime. Processions, meetings, military parades, lectures,
waxworks, displays, film shows, telescreen programmes all had
to be organized; stands had to be erected, effigies built, slogans
coined, songs written, rumours circulated, photographs faked.
Julia's unit in the Fiction Department had been taken off the
production of novels and was rushing out a series of atrocity
pamphlets. Winston, in addition to his regular work, spent long
periods every day in going through back files of the Times
and altering and embellishing news items which were to be quoted
in speeches. Late at night, when crowds of rowdy proles roamed
the streets, the town had a curiously febrile air. The rocket
bombs crashed oftener than ever, and sometimes in the far distance
there were enormous explosions which no one could explain and
about which there were wild rumours.
The new tune which was to be the theme-song of Hate Week (the
Hate Song, it was called) had already been composed and was being
endlessly plugged on the telescreens. It had a savage, barking
rhythm which could not exactly be called music, but resembled
the beating of a drum. Roared out by hundreds of voices to the
tramp of marching feet, it was terrifying. The proles had taken
a fancy to it, and in the midnight streets it competed with the
still-popular 'It was only a hopeless fancy'. The Parsons children
played it at all hours of the night and day, unbearably, on a
comb and a piece of toilet paper. Winston's evenings were fuller
than ever. Squads of volunteers, organized by Parsons, were preparing
the street for Hate Week, stitching banners, painting posters,
erecting flagstaffs on the roofs, and perilously slinging wires
across the street for the reception of streamers. Parsons boasted
that Victory Mansions alone would display four hundred metres
of bunting. He was in his native element and as happy as a lark.
The heat and the manual work had even given him a pretext for
reverting to shorts and an open shirt in the evenings. He was
everywhere at once, pushing, pulling, sawing, hammering, improvising,
jollying everyone along with comradely exhortations and giving
out from every fold of his body what seemed an inexhaustible supply
of acrid-smelling sweat.
A new poster had suddenly appeared all over London. It had no
caption, and represented simply the monstrous figure of a Eurasian
soldier, three or four metres high, striding forward with expressionless
Mongolian face and enormous boots, a submachine gun pointed from
his hip. From whatever angle you looked at the poster, the muzzle
of the gun, magnified by the foreshortening, seemed to be pointed
straight at you. The thing had been plastered on every blank space
on every wall, even outnumbering the portraits of Big Brother.
The proles, normally apathetic about the war, were being lashed
into one of their periodical frenzies of patriotism. As though
to harmonize with the general mood, the rocket bombs had been
killing larger numbers of people than usual. One fell on a crowded
film theatre in Stepney, burying several hundred victims among
the ruins. The whole population of the neighbourhood turned out
for a long, trailing funeral which went on for hours and was in
effect an indignation meeting. Another bomb fell on a piece of
waste ground which was used as a playground and several dozen
children were blown to pieces. There were further angry demonstrations,
Goldstein was burned in effigy, hundreds of copies of the poster
of the Eurasian soldier were torn down and added to the flames,
and a number of shops were looted in the turmoil; then a rumour
flew round that spies were directing the rocket bombs by means
of wireless waves, and an old couple who were suspected of being
of foreign extraction had their house set on fire and perished
In the room over Mr Charrington's shop, when they could get there,
Julia and Winston lay side by side on a stripped bed under the
open window, naked for the sake of coolness. The rat had never
come back, but the bugs had multiplied hideously in the heat.
It did not seem to matter. Dirty or clean, the room was paradise.
As soon as they arrived they would sprinkle everything with pepper
bought on the black market, tear off their clothes, and make love
with sweating bodies, then fall asleep and wake to find that the
bugs had rallied and were massing for the counter-attack.
Four, five, six -- seven times they met during the month of June.
Winston had dropped his habit of drinking gin at all hours. He
seemed to have lost the need for it. He had grown fatter, his
varicose ulcer had subsided, leaving only a brown stain on the
skin above his ankle, his fits of coughing in the early morning
had stopped. The process of life had ceased to be intolerable,
he had no longer any impulse to make faces at the telescreen or
shout curses at the top of his voice. Now that they had a secure
hiding-place, almost a home, it did not even seem a hardship that
they could only meet infrequently and for a couple of hours at
a time. What mattered was that the room over the junk-shop should
exist. To know that it was there, inviolate, was almost the same
as being in it. The room was a world, a pocket of the past where
extinct animals could walk. Mr Charrington, thought Winston, was
another extinct animal. He usually stopped to talk with Mr Charrington
for a few minutes on his way upstairs. The old man seemed seldom
or never to go out of doors, and on the other hand to have almost
no customers. He led a ghostlike existence between the tiny, dark
shop, and an even tinier back kitchen where he prepared his meals
and which contained, among other things, an unbelievably ancient
gramophone with an enormous horn. He seemed glad of the opportunity
to talk. Wandering about among his worthless stock, with his long
nose and thick spectacles and his bowed shoulders in the velvet
jacket, he had always vaguely the air of being a collector rather
than a tradesman. With a sort of faded enthusiasm he would finger
this scrap of rubbish or that -- a china bottle-stopper, the painted
lid of a broken snuffbox, a pinchbeck locket containing a strand
of some long-dead baby's hair -- never asking that Winston should
buy it, merely that he should admire it. To talk to him was like
listening to the tinkling of a worn-out musical-box. He had dragged
out from the corners of his memory some more fragments of forgotten
rhymes. There was one about four and twenty blackbirds, and another
about a cow with a crumpled horn, and another about the death
of poor Cock Robin. 'It just occurred to me you might be interested,'
he would say with a deprecating little laugh whenever he produced
a new fragment. But he could never recall more than a few lines
of any one rhyme.
Both of them knew -- in a way, it was never out of their minds
-- that what was now happening could not last long. There were
times when the fact of impending death seemed as palpable as the
bed they lay on, and they would cling together with a sort of
despairing sensuality, like a damned soul grasping at his last
morsel of pleasure when the clock is within five minutes of striking.
But there were also times when they had the illusion not only
of safety but of permanence. So long as they were actually in
this room, they both felt, no harm could come to them. Getting
there was difficult and dangerous, but the room itself was sanctuary.
It was as when Winston had gazed into the heart of the paperweight,
with the feeling that it would be possible to get inside that
glassy world, and that once inside it time could be arrested.
Often they gave themselves up to daydreams of escape. Their luck
would hold indefinitely, and they would carry on their intrigue,
just like this, for the remainder of their natural lives. Or Katharine
would die, and by subtle manoeuvrings Winston and Julia would
succeed in getting married. Or they would commit suicide together.
Or they would disappear, alter themselves out of recognition,
learn to speak with proletarian accents, get jobs in a factory
and live out their lives undetected in a back-street. It was all
nonsense, as they both knew. In reality there was no escape. Even
the one plan that was practicable, suicide, they had no intention
of carrying out. To hang on from day to day and from week to week,
spinning out a present that had no future, seemed an unconquerable
instinct, just as one's lungs will always draw the next breath
so long as there is air available.
Sometimes, too, they talked of engaging in active rebellion against
the Party, but with no notion of how to take the first step. Even
if the fabulous Brotherhood was a reality, there still remained
the difficulty of finding one's way into it. He told her of the
strange intimacy that existed, or seemed to exist, between himself
and O'Brien, and of the impulse he sometimes felt, simply to walk
into O'Brien's presence, announce that he was the enemy of the
Party, and demand his help. Curiously enough, this did not strike
her as an impossibly rash thing to do. She was used to judging
people by their faces, and it seemed natural to her that Winston
should believe O'Brien to be trustworthy on the strength of a
single flash of the eyes. Moreover she took it for granted that
everyone, or nearly everyone, secretly hated the Party and would
break the rules if he thought it safe to do so. But she refused
to believe that widespread, organized opposition existed or could
exist. The tales about Goldstein and his underground army, she
said, were simply a lot of rubbish which the Party had invented
for its own purposes and which you had to pretend to believe in.
Times beyond number, at Party rallies and spontaneous demonstrations,
she had shouted at the top of her voice for the execution of people
whose names she had never heard and in whose supposed crimes she
had not the faintest belief. When public trials were happening
she had taken her place in the detachments from the Youth League
who surrounded the courts from morning to night, chanting at intervals
'Death to the traitors!' During the Two Minutes Hate she always
excelled all others in shouting insults at Goldstein. Yet she
had only the dimmest idea of who Goldstein was and what doctrines
he was supposed to represent. She had grown up since the Revolution
and was too young to remember the ideological battles of the fifties
and sixties. Such a thing as an independent political movement
was outside her imagination: and in any case the Party was invincible.
It would always exist, and it would always be the same. You could
only rebel against it by secret disobedience or, at most, by isolated
acts of violence such as killing somebody or blowing something
In some ways she was far more acute than Winston, and far less
susceptible to Party propaganda. Once when he happened in some
connexion to mention the war against Eurasia, she startled him
by saying casually that in her opinion the war was not happening.
The rocket bombs which fell daily on London were probably fired
by the Government of Oceania itself, 'just to keep people frightened'.
This was an idea that had literally never occurred to him. She
also stirred a sort of envy in him by telling him that during
the Two Minutes Hate her great difficulty was to avoid bursting
out laughing. But she only questioned the teachings of the Party
when they in some way touched upon her own life. Often she was
ready to accept the official mythology, simply because the difference
between truth and falsehood did not seem important to her. She
believed, for instance, having learnt it at school, that the Party
had invented aeroplanes. (In his own schooldays, Winston remembered,
in the late fifties, it was only the helicopter that the Party
claimed to have invented; a dozen years later, when Julia was
at school, it was already claiming the aeroplane; one generation
more, and it would be claiming the steam engine.) And when he
told her that aeroplanes had been in existence before he was born
and long before the Revolution, the fact struck her as totally
uninteresting. After all, what did it matter who had invented
aeroplanes? It was rather more of a shock to him when he discovered
from some chance remark that she did not remember that Oceania,
four years ago, had been at war with Eastasia and at peace with
Eurasia. It was true that she regarded the whole war as a sham:
but apparently she had not even noticed that the name of the enemy
had changed. 'I thought we'd always been at war with Eurasia,'
she said vaguely. It frightened him a little. The invention of
aeroplanes dated from long before her birth, but the switchover
in the war had happened only four years ago, well after she was
grown up. He argued with her about it for perhaps a quarter of
an hour. In the end he succeeded in forcing her memory back until
she did dimly recall that at one time Eastasia and not Eurasia
had been the enemy. But the issue still struck her as unimportant.
'Who cares?' she said impatiently. 'It's always one bloody war
after another, and one knows the news is all lies anyway.'
Sometimes he talked to her of the Records Department and the impudent
forgeries that he committed there. Such things did not appear
to horrify her. She did not feel the abyss opening beneath her
feet at the thought of lies becoming truths. He told her the story
of Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford and the momentous slip of paper
which he had once held between his fingers. It did not make much
impression on her. At first, indeed, she failed to grasp the point
of the story.
'Were they friends of yours?' she said.
'No, I never knew them. They were Inner Party members. Besides,
they were far older men than I was. They belonged to the old days,
before the Revolution. I barely knew them by sight.'
'Then what was there to worry about? People are being killed off
all the time, aren't they?'
He tried to make her understand. 'This was an exceptional case.
It wasn't just a question of somebody being killed. Do you realize
that the past, starting from yesterday, has been actually abolished?
If it survives anywhere, it's in a few solid objects with no words
attached to them, like that lump of glass there. Already we know
almost literally nothing about the Revolution and the years before
the Revolution. Every record has been destroyed or falsified,
every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted,
every statue and street and building has been renamed, every date
has been altered. And that process is continuing day by day and
minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an
endless present in which the Party is always right. I know,
of course, that the past is falsified, but it would never be possible
for me to prove it, even when I did the falsification myself.
After the thing is done, no evidence ever remains. The only evidence
is inside my own mind, and I don't know with any certainty that
any other human being shares my memories. Just in that one instance,
in my whole life, I did possess actual concrete evidence after
the event -- years after it.'
'And what good was that?'
'It was no good, because I threw it away a few minutes later.
But if the same thing happened today, I should keep it.'
'Well, I wouldn't!' said Julia. 'I'm quite ready to take risks,
but only for something worth while, not for bits of old newspaper.
What could you have done with it even if you had kept it?'
'Not much, perhaps. But it was evidence. It might have planted
a few doubts here and there, supposing that I'd dared to show
it to anybody. I don't imagine that we can alter anything in our
own lifetime. But one can imagine little knots of resistance springing
up here and there -- small groups of people banding themselves
together, and gradually growing, and even leaving a few records
behind, so that the next generations can carry on where we leave
'I'm not interested in the next generation, dear. I'm interested
'You're only a rebel from the waist downwards,' he told her.
She thought this brilliantly witty and flung her arms round him
In the ramifications of party doctrine she had not the faintest
interest. Whenever he began to talk of the principles of Ingsoc,
doublethink, the mutability of the past, and the denial of objective
reality, and to use Newspeak words, she became bored and confused
and said that she never paid any attention to that kind of thing.
One knew that it was all rubbish, so why let oneself be worried
by it? She knew when to cheer and when to boo, and that was all
one needed. If he persisted in talking of such subjects, she had
a disconcerting habit of falling asleep. She was one of those
people who can go to sleep at any hour and in any position. Talking
to her, he realized how easy it was to present an appearance of
orthodoxy while having no grasp whatever of what orthodoxy meant.
In a way, the world-view of the Party imposed itself most successfully
on people incapable of understanding it. They could be made to
accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never
fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them, and were
not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was
happening. By lack of understanding they remained sane. They simply
swallowed everything, and what they swallowed did them no harm,
because it left no residue behind, just as a grain of corn will
pass undigested through the body of a bird.
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