was much better. He was growing fatter and stronger every day,
if it was proper to speak of days.
The white light and the humming sound were the same as ever, but
the cell was a little more comfortable than the others he had
been in. There was a pillow and a mattress on the plank bed, and
a stool to sit on. They had given him a bath, and they allowed
him to wash himself fairly frequently in a tin basin. They even
gave him warm water to wash with. They had given him new underclothes
and a clean suit of overalls. They had dressed his varicose ulcer
with soothing ointment. They had pulled out the remnants of his
teeth and given him a new set of dentures.
Weeks or months must have passed. It would have been possible
now to keep count of the passage of time, if he had felt any interest
in doing so, since he was being fed at what appeared to be regular
intervals. He was getting, he judged, three meals in the twenty-four
hours; sometimes he wondered dimly whether he was getting them
by night or by day. The food was surprisingly good, with meat
at every third meal. Once there was even a packet of cigarettes.
He had no matches, but the never-speaking guard who brought his
food would give him a light. The first time he tried to smoke
it made him sick, but he persevered, and spun the packet out for
a long time, smoking half a cigarette after each meal.
They had given him a white slate with a stump of pencil tied to
the corner. At first he made no use of it. Even when he was awake
he was completely torpid. Often he would lie from one meal to
the next almost without stirring, sometimes asleep, sometimes
waking into vague reveries in which it was too much trouble to
open his eyes. He had long grown used to sleeping with a strong
light on his face. It seemed to make no difference, except that
one's dreams were more coherent. He dreamed a great deal all through
this time, and they were always happy dreams. He was in the Golden
Country, or he was sitting among enormous glorious, sunlit ruins,
with his mother, with Julia, with O'Brien -- not doing anything,
merely sitting in the sun, talking of peaceful things. Such thoughts
as he had when he was awake were mostly about his dreams. He seemed
to have lost the power of intellectual effort, now that the stimulus
of pain had been removed. He was not bored, he had no desire for
conversation or distraction. Merely to be alone, not to be beaten
or questioned, to have enough to eat, and to be clean all over,
was completely satisfying.
By degrees he came to spend less time in sleep, but he still felt
no impulse to get off the bed. All he cared for was to lie quiet
and feel the strength gathering in his body. He would finger himself
here and there, trying to make sure that it was not an illusion
that his muscles were growing rounder and his skin tauter. Finally
it was established beyond a doubt that he was growing fatter;
his thighs were now definitely thicker than his knees. After that,
reluctantly at first, he began exercising himself regularly. In
a little while he could walk three kilometres, measured by pacing
the cell, and his bowed shoulders were growing straighter. He
attempted more elaborate exercises, and was astonished and humiliated
to find what things he could not do. He could not move out of
a walk, he could not hold his stool out at arm's length, he could
not stand on one leg without falling over. He squatted down on
his heels, and found that with agonizing pains in thigh and calf
he could just lift himself to a standing position. He lay flat
on his belly and tried to lift his weight by his hands. It was
hopeless, he could not raise himself a centimetre. But after a
few more days -- a few more mealtimes -- even that feat was accomplished.
A time came when he could do it six times running. He began to
grow actually proud of his body, and to cherish an intermittent
belief that his face also was growing back to normal. Only when
he chanced to put his hand on his bald scalp did he remember the
seamed, ruined face that had looked back at him out of the mirror.
His mind grew more active. He sat down on the plank bed, his back
against the wall and the slate on his knees, and set to work deliberately
at the task of re-educating himself.
He had capitulated, that was agreed. In reality, as he saw now,
he had been ready to capitulate long before he had taken the decision.
From the moment when he was inside the Ministry of Love -- and
yes, even during those minutes when he and Julia had stood helpless
while the iron voice from the telescreen told them what to do
-- he had grasped the frivolity, the shallowness of his attempt
to set himself up against the power of the Party. He knew now
that for seven years the Thought police had watched him like a
beetle under a magnifying glass. There was no physical act, no
word spoken aloud, that they had not noticed, no train of thought
that they had not been able to infer. Even the speck of whitish
dust on the cover of his diary they had carefully replaced. They
had played sound-tracks to him, shown him photographs. Some of
them were photographs of Julia and himself. Yes, even ... He could
not fight against the Party any longer. Besides, the Party was
in the right. It must be so; how could the immortal, collective
brain be mistaken? By what external standard could you check its
judgements? Sanity was statistical. It was merely a question of
learning to think as they thought. Only!
The pencil felt thick and awkward in his fingers. He began to
write down the thoughts that came into his head. He wrote first
in large clumsy capitals:
almost without a pause he wrote beneath it:
AND TWO MAKE FIVE
then there came a sort of check. His mind, as though shying away
from something, seemed unable to concentrate. He knew that he
knew what came next, but for the moment he could not recall it.
When he did recall it, it was only by consciously reasoning out
what it must be: it did not come of its own accord. He wrote:
accepted everything. The past was alterable. The past never had
been altered. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always
been at war with Eastasia. Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford were
guilty of the crimes they were charged with. He had never seen
the photograph that disproved their guilt. It had never existed,
he had invented it. He remembered remembering contrary things,
but those were false memories, products of selfdeception. 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. The so-called laws of Nature were nonsense.
The law of gravity was nonsense. 'If I wished,' O'Brien had said,
'I could float off this floor like a soap bubble.' Winston worked
it out. 'If he thinks he floats off the floor, and if I
simultaneously think I see him do it, then the thing happens.'
Suddenly, like a lump of submerged wreckage breaking the surface
of water, the thought burst into his mind: 'It doesn't really
happen. We imagine it. It is hallucination.' He pushed the thought
under instantly. The fallacy was obvious. It presupposed that
somewhere or other, outside oneself, there was a 'real' world
where 'real' things happened. But how could there be such a world?
What knowledge have we of anything, save through our own minds?
All happenings are in the mind. Whatever happens in all minds,
He had no difficulty in disposing of the fallacy, and he was in
no danger of succumbing to it. He realized, nevertheless, that
it ought never to have occurred to him. The mind should develop
a blind spot whenever a dangerous thought presented itself. The
process should be automatic, instinctive. Crimestop, they
called it in Newspeak.
He set to work to exercise himself in crimestop. He presented
himself with propositions -- 'the Party says the earth is flat',
'the party says that ice is heavier than water' -- and trained
himself in not seeing or not understanding the arguments that
contradicted them. It was not easy. It needed great powers of
reasoning and improvisation. The arithmetical problems raised,
for instance, by such a statement as 'two and two make five' were
beyond his intellectual grasp. It needed also a sort of athleticism
of mind, an ability at one moment to make the most delicate use
of logic and at the next to be unconscious of the crudest logical
errors. Stupidity was as necessary as intelligence, and as difficult
All the while, with one part of his mind, he wondered how soon
they would shoot him. 'Everything depends on yourself,' O'Brien
had said; but he knew that there was no conscious act by which
he could bring it nearer. It might be ten minutes hence, or ten
years. They might keep him for years in solitary confinement,
they might send him to a labour-camp, they might release him for
a while, as they sometimes did. It was perfectly possible that
before he was shot the whole drama of his arrest and interrogation
would be enacted all over again. The one certain thing was that
death never came at an expected moment. The tradition -- the unspoken
tradition: somehow you knew it, though you never heard it said
-- was that they shot you from behind; always in the back of the
head, without warning, as you walked down a corridor from cell
One day -- but 'one day' was not the right expression; just as
probably it was in the middle of the night: once -- he fell into
a strange, blissful reverie. He was walking down the corridor,
waiting for the bullet. He knew that it was coming in another
moment. Everything was settled, smoothed out, reconciled. There
were no more doubts, no more arguments, no more pain, no more
fear. His body was healthy and strong. He walked easily, with
a joy of movement and with a feeling of walking in sunlight. He
was not any longer in the narrow white corridors in the Ministry
of Love, he was in the enormous sunlit passage, a kilometre wide,
down which he had seemed to walk in the delirium induced by drugs.
He was in the Golden Country, following the foot-track across
the old rabbit-cropped pasture. He could feel the short springy
turf under his feet and the gentle sunshine on his face. At the
edge of the field were the elm trees, faintly stirring, and somewhere
beyond that was the stream where the dace lay in the green pools
under the willows.
Suddenly he started up with a shock of horror. The sweat broke
out on his backbone. He had heard himself cry aloud:
'Julia! Julia! Julia, my love! Julia!'
For a moment he had had an overwhelming hallucination of her presence.
She had seemed to be not merely with him, but inside him. It was
as though she had got into the texture of his skin. In that moment
he had loved her far more than he had ever done when they were
together and free. Also he knew that somewhere or other she was
still alive and needed his help.
He lay back on the bed and tried to compose himself. What had
he done? How many years had he added to his servitude by that
moment of weakness?
In another moment he would hear the tramp of boots outside. They
could not let such an outburst go unpunished. They would know
now, if they had not known before, that he was breaking the agreement
he had made with them. He obeyed the Party, but he still hated
the Party. In the old days he had hidden a heretical mind beneath
an appearance of conformity. Now he had retreated a step further:
in the mind he had surrendered, but he had hoped to keep the inner
heart inviolate. He knew that he was in the wrong, but he preferred
to be in the wrong. They would understand that -- O'Brien would
understand it. It was all confessed in that single foolish cry.
He would have to start all over again. It might take years. He
ran a hand over his face, trying to familiarize himself with the
new shape. There were deep furrows in the cheeks, the cheekbones
felt sharp, the nose flattened. Besides, since last seeing himself
in the glass he had been given a complete new set of teeth. It
was not easy to preserve inscrutability when you did not know
what your face looked like. In any case, mere control of the features
was not enough. For the first time he perceived that if you want
to keep a secret you must also hide it from yourself. You must
know all the while that it is there, but until it is needed you
must never let it emerge into your consciousness in any shape
that could be given a name. From now onwards he must not only
think right; he must feel right, dream right. And all the while
he must keep his hatred locked up inside him like a ball of matter
which was part of himself and yet unconnected with the rest of
him, a kind of cyst.
One day they would decide to shoot him. You could not tell when
it would happen, but a few seconds beforehand it should be possible
to guess. It was always from behind, walking down a corridor.
Ten seconds would be enough. In that time the world inside him
could turn over. And then suddenly, without a word uttered, without
a check in his step, without the changing of a line in his face
-- suddenly the camouflage would be down and bang! would go the
batteries of his hatred. Hatred would fill him like an enormous
roaring flame. And almost in the same instant bang! would go the
bullet, too late, or too early. They would have blown his brain
to pieces before they could reclaim it. The heretical thought
would be unpunished, unrepented, out of their reach for ever.
They would have blown a hole in their own perfection. To die hating
them, that was freedom.
He shut his eyes. It was more difficult than accepting an intellectual
discipline. It was a question of degrading himself, mutilating
himself. He had got to plunge into the filthiest of filth. What
was the most horrible, sickening thing of all? He thought of Big
Brother. The enormous face (because of constantly seeing it on
posters he always thought of it as being a metre wide), with its
heavy black moustache and the eyes that followed you to and fro,
seemed to float into his mind of its own accord. What were his
true feelings towards Big Brother?
There was a heavy tramp of boots in the passage. The steel door
swung open with a clang. O'Brien walked into the cell. Behind
him were the waxen-faced officer and the black-uniformed guards.
'Get up,' said O'Brien. 'Come here.'
Winston stood opposite him. O'Brien took Winston's shoulders between
his strong hands and looked at him closely.
'You have had thoughts of deceiving me,' he said. 'That was stupid.
Stand up straighter. Look me in the face.'
He paused, and went on in a gentler tone:
'You are improving. Intellectually there is very little wrong
with you. It is only emotionally that you have failed to make
progress. Tell me, Winston -- and remember, no lies: you know
that I am always able to detect a lie -- tell me, what are your
true feelings towards Big Brother?'
'I hate him.'
'You hate him. Good. Then the time has come for you to take the
last step. You must love Big Brother. It is not enough to obey
him: you must love him.'
He released Winston with a little push towards the guards.
'Room 101,' he said.
HERE TO DISCUSS THIS BOOK