(Continued from previous page)


George Orwell



Part Three



Part Three: Section One


             With his arrest, Winston's ordeal by fire begins-his descent into the underworld both literally (the cellars of the Ministry of Love) and figuratively. All the techniques of an advanced and fiendish investigative police science are used to break Winston down and make him into what the Party desires him to be. The cramped, smelly surroundings in the cells are the preliminary part of the treatment for brainwashing political prisoners, as is the interminable waiting under the gaze of the telescreens which Winston undergoes. When O'Brien enters the cell, escorted by a brute of a guard, Winston at first believes that O'Brien, too, is under arrest. But he is not; he is one of those directing the entire treatment of Winston. "You knew this, Winston . . . don't deceive yourself. You did know it-you have always known it." Yes, Winston told himself, he had known that O'Brien was not what he seemed




             Winston had at least on the subconscious level known that O'Brien was not an agent of the Brotherhood, and that sooner or later the trap would close. Orwell provides a hint of a psyschological explanation of the relationship between O'Brien and Winston, which is curiously ambivalent; they should be mortal enemies,but in a curious way respect and even like each other, though Winston realizes that in terms of sheer intellectual capacity O'Brien is clearly his superior. But if Winston knew that his relationship with O'Brien would result in his entrapment, why did he go ahead with it and seek to join the Brotherhood, imperiling not only himself but also Julia? The answer Orwell provides seems a twofold one. In the first place, Winston is seeking not so much to be loved or liked as simply to be understood-to communicate with even one human being who will understand how he feels and why he believes it to be so important that two plus two equal four. O'Brien understands him; they both know this. As a trusted and dedicated member of the Inner Party, O'Brien can yet be objective about Winston's act of Thoughtcrime, and Winston is grateful for this objectivity.


             A second suggestion as to why Winston enters the trap has to do with his feelings of guilt, as expressed in several of the dreams previously discussed. Winston feels guilty over his real or imagined treatment of his mother and sister as a child; he also has the feeling that he is guilty for allowing himself to be made no longer human by the Party. Recent psychology and criminology have assumed, on the basis of abundant evidence, that often when one has transgressed a law it is because he is seeking to be punished, on the unconscious level at any rate. And it is fairly clear-although Orwell does not spell this out but instead lets Winston's thoughts and actions speak for themselves - that Winston is seeking punishment for his fancied guilt. His guilt feelings actually stem from the fact that before he undergoes his brainwashing in the cellars of the Ministry of Love he is still human, despite his saying to Julia that only the Proles are still human in 1984. He feels guilty for being what he is.


             Julia hardly appears at all in Part Three, except for a meeting with Winston right at the end which shows how completely the Party has changed the two of them. Julia never really understood Winston; their relationship, although involving a revolt against the Party, had been almost entirely physical. Thus, Julia, intelligent but essentially unreflective, submits quickly and completely to the Thought Police, signs every confession, and apparently undergoes the kind of religious conversion in reverse which the Party desires. Winston's is a more difficult case; it is therefore a paradox that he is best understood not by Julia, but by his long-term tormentor, O'Brien.


             The sordid surroundings of the cells to which Winston is taken with their emphasis on physical dirt, may have some suggestion of Orwell's picture of the "W.C. and dirty-handkerchief side of life" in the essay "Such, Such Were the Joys . . ." But it is more likely that, as Swift did in Gulliver's Travels, he was symbolizing moral corruption by physical nastiness, to show the degeneration of society.


Part Three: Section Two


             Winston undergoes a preliminary series of physical and mental tortures at this point in his imprisonment, the purpose of which is to soften him up. For the Party goes not merely wish him to confess to the commission of almost every imaginable crime - this is but the beginning of his treatment. The beatings, the starvation, the psychological pressure, all dislocate Winston's sense of reality still further. And when he is judged to be ready, he is placed under the special personal care of O'Brien who, as he holds such a high position in the Inner Party, would normally not concern himself with an Outer Party Thoughtcriminal such as Winston.



 See - Psychological Pressure: The beatings, the starvation, the psychological pressure.




             This is an important section, because it begins the bizarre dialogue between Winston and O'Brien which will occupy much of the third and final Part of 1984, leading to Winston's reformation and re-education in Party discipline and logic. At first Winston undergoes a preliminary routine interrogation, which apparently is a matter of course in such cases. He confesses to a long range of crimes: sabotage, espionage, while being beaten with steel rods, whips, and rubber truncheons. After the physical comes the mental; not brutal guards but Party intellectuals, who question him in relays under glaring lights, and keep him in slight physical discomfort, but do not actually beat him. They were worse, he finds, than those who beat him physically; they break him down further. He confesses that he murdered his wife, even though both he and his torturers know that she is still alive; he confesses to being a religious believer, an admirer of capitalism, and a sexual pervert. In a strange way, these lies are true. By committing Thoughtcrime he had willed all these acts, and for the Party, thoughts and inclinations are more important than overt action, because the Party must have adherents who think only thoughts which it approves. The thought is prior to the act, in contrast with conventional Anglo-Saxon concepts of justice and law which regard only acts. (See the discussion of "The Law in 1984," above.)


             This section provides a graphic account of a perfected system of brainwashing, originally pioneered by the totalitarian states of the 1930s and 1940s. It is quite realistic; Orwell was simply projecting a bit ahead to see what brainwashing and thought control might be like if the power using these techniques had assigned such things as a chief subject of long-term scientific investigation. All that the Party has done along these lines has not fully satisfied it; what is still desired is a way to read the thoughts of a human being at any time against his will. Orwell implies that this objective, too, will ultimately be realized by the Party.


             Winston had felt that all along O'Brien was watching over his treatment. In his dreams O'Brien appears, along with a shadowy concept, "Room 101." We shall learn subsequently what is in Room 101; it is the worst thing in the world, but different for each person. "I shall save you, I shall make you perfect," O'Brien has told Winston in his dreams. Indeed, O'Brien admits that he has watched over Winston for seven years, in preparation for this culminating action. But why should the Party spend so much time with one minor Thoughtcriminal?


             Winston finds the answer to this and other questions from O'Brien. In this section there begins a Socratic dialogue, new style; in fact, Orwell may well have gotten the idea for the confrontation between O'Brien and Winston Smith from the dialogues of Plato - The Republic, for example. But the dialogue situation now is different - O'Brien speaks with Winston while holding in his hand a dial controlling a torture machine which can inflict pain to any degree desired on Winston. This is the ultimate in torture; instead of the free exchange of ideas, there is complete physical subjection of one participant in the dialogue to the other.


Part Three: Section Three


             O'Brien anticipates some of Winston's questions, beginning with why the Ministry of Love should spend so much time and trouble with him. O'Brien explains that he had written, or at any rate collaborated in writing, the Book by Emmanuel Goldstein. He describes the program for overthrowing the Party set forth in it as nonsense; the Proles will never revolt until they become conscious, and will never become conscious. He asks Winston why the Party does what it does. Winston answers that the Party acts because it desires to bring about the good of mankind, who are incapable of ruling themselves. But O'Brien tortures him further, saying that the Party desires power solely for its own sake. The object of power is power. Power in the Party's sense can even triumph over the inevitable death of the individual, because the Party is immortal even if the individual is not.




             O'Brien tells Winston that in his education there are three stages: learning, understanding, and acceptance. Section Two of Part Three deals with Winston's learning what the Party and the system really are. Section Three is the stage of understanding, while Sections Four and Five are the stages of acceptance, wherein Winston will become what the Party desires, totally and forever. "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face-forever." These words, spoken by O'Brien to Winston Smith in the torture chamber, are among the most famous in 1984. Orwell once wrote, in his essay "England, Your England" (1941), that the goose step is one of the most horrible sights in the world, far more terrifying than a dive bomber. "It is simply an affirmation of naked power," he wrote; "contained in it, quite consciously and intentionally, is the vision of a boot crashing down on a face." One of the essential differences between totalitarianism and a republican or democratic form of government is that under totalitarianism there is no law, there is only power and the exertion of power, often against the helpless. The naked power exerted by the Party in 1984 is only an extension of the kind of power desired by, say, Nazi and Fascist governments, in Orwell's view. But even the Nazis claimed that the end of power would be to create a "better world," in which a Master Race would rule over all other races and, presumably, war would no longer occur.


             But in Orwell's projection of this power madness, the governments of the future will not deceive themselves as to their intentions. They do not wish to save the world; they wish only to maintain themselves in power, indefinitely and with no outside interference. Hence the tacit agreements, completely unwritten and even unspoken, between Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia, to fight perpetual but limited wars whose purpose is not conquest but rather economic equilibrium. War being thus converted into Peace, each state can turn its attention to its own citizens, who will provide limitless opportunities for the exertion of power against them, as Winston is here doing.


             Winston cannot answer O'Brien; he feels that something will defeat the Party. Life, the Spirit of Man, Human Nature, even God - not that Winston is a religious believer - will prevent the Party from realizing its (to him) insane objectives. Winston considers himself morally superior to the Party. But O'Brien breaks him down still further by showing him a mirror image of himself. Winston is a physical wreck, emaciated, literally rotting away. He breaks down in tears when he sees what "they" have done to him; O'Brien's answer is that he did this to himself, by setting up his will against that of the Party. There is but one thing left to Winston that permits him to hold on to his integrity, or at least a shred of it: he has not betrayed Julia. He has continued to love her. And he feels grateful to O'Brien that O'Brien at least understands this. In the end, Winston knows, he will be shot, but first his cure must be completed.


Part Three: Section Four


             Winston has already been broken by the Party; in this section, we see him training himself in the techniques of Crimestop, which is the antidote to Thoughtcrime. Two and Two make Five, he writes; this is what he has learned under the tortures of O'Brien. If the Party says that a thing is so, it is so. But Winston has still not betrayed Julia, who is the one person in the world whom he still loves. Further, he hates Big Brother, the embodiment of the Party. Therefore, O'Brien comes for him in the night to conduct him to Room 101 for the final stage of his treatment.




             As Winston's education proceeds, he has learned and understood the system, but he has not yet accepted it on the deepest level. In his unconscious, often expressed through his dreams, there still exists the Golden Country and also Julia. The Party allows him to recover his physical health somewhat; he is well fed and not tormented any longer by his torturers. The Party must be right, he concludes. Further, he must have been wrong to set his will up against Big Brother. Sanity is statistical, the Party teaches; there is no objective right and wrong; all is relative. Winston is prepared to believe this, too, in definance of logic.


             But one night, while dreaming of the Golden Country, Winston cries out in his sleep: "Julia! Julia! Julia! my love! Julia!" He has betrayed himself again; deep down, he is still a rebel, for there is one human being whom he values still more than the Party and Big Brother. Quite soon, O'Brien appears at the door of his cell, with a secret police officer and guards. "Room 101," O'Brien says, motioning towards Winston. It is not enough to obey Big Brother; Winston must now love him. The treatment in Room 101, whatever it is, will ensure this.


Part Three: Section Five


             In Room 101, as O'Brien has said before, is the worst thing in the world. The room itself is far underground; it is, in fact, a hell where those who have sinned against the Party undergo their final punishment. The torture to be inflicted on Winston consists of a cage attached to a face mask. In the cage are starving rats. If the door of the cage is opened while the prisoner is wearing the mask, the rats will attack the victim's face. O'Brien lectures to Winston on the history of this torture, telling him that in his case the worst thing in the world happens to be rats. He, Winston, will do what is required; O'Brien will not tell him what this is as he adjusts the mask. "Do it to Julia! Not me! Julia!" Winston screams, as the mask clicks shut rather than open, preventing the rats from attacking him.




             This grotesque scene represents the climax of Winston's treatment. It is obvious that the Party and its spies and secret policemen have for years studied everything about Winston. And, as O'Brien tells him, everyone has something which represents an absolutely unreasoning fear. In Winston's case it is rats, as the Party spies have found out. But O'Brien, while tormenting him with the description of what the rats will do to him once the mask of the cage is opened, will not tell Winston what is expected of him.



             What is expected, in this short and brutal exchange between torturer and victim, is that Winston will interpose his beloved, Julia, between himself and the rats. "I don't care what you do to her. Tear her face off, strip her to the bones. Not me! Julia! Not me!"


             This heralds Winston's complete downfall. The Party has now broken him forever. The one thing he has loved he has, at least symbolically, killed, and he is merely a shell of a man now. Winston has indeed been emptied of himself and filled with the thoughts and, even more important, with the feelings and emotions appropriate to a good Party member who loves Big Brother.



Part Three: Section Six


             After Winston is broken by the torture in Room 101, he is no longer dangerous to the Party; in fact, the Party would prefer him to be able to walk around free as another living testimony to its exercise of power. He is released and given a sinecure job in the company of similar shells of men. Winston visits the Chestnut Tree cafe and drinks Victory (synthetic) gin, just as he had seen the confessed enemies of the Party, Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford do this earlier. Winston even meets Julia, but whatever love or affection had been between them is dead; they view each other with horror, confessing that each had betrayed the other. When they separate, it is with no desire to see each other again. In the midst of the announcement over the telescreen of a great victory over Eurasia, Winston, gazing at the enormous and powerful face of Big Brother, in that moment has won the victory over himself, and loves Big Brother.



 See - Big Brother: Gazing at the enormous and powerful face of big brother.




             The ending of the book may appear ambiguous in that Winston apparently continues to live. "In the end we will shoot you," O'Brien has told him. But one never knows the time of the execution, except that the Party cannot afford to execute rebels until they have been reformed, as Winston has been. Actually, it is not important whether Winston is actually shot at the end of the book. He dreams that he is about to be shot, his reformation being now complete. But the important thing is that his fate no longer matters: he is among the walking dead. Every human feeling has been taken from him, as it has from Julia. The Party is no longer interested in them; Winston is hardly watched any longer. Though he has a make-work job on an "Interim Committee" at better pay than he had ever enjoyed before, and with light or no duties, he actually serves another, more important function in society. By his very existence as a reformed Thoughtcriminal, Winston Smith provides the Party with the endless self-congratulation it needs at its successful use of its overwhelming power against a dissenter.


             The "yellow note" on the telescreen in the Chestnut Tree cafe is symbolic of the Party's victory. "Under the spreading chestnut tree I sold you and you sold me - " the telescreen says to Winston, as it had said to Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford. It is a constant reminder that all of them had been broken; it makes them aware of their fate. They know that they are victims, but can do nothing about it. Always the victims of the Party will exist as a group, though individuals will die, because it is necessary for the Party to have victims whom it can dominate and destroy, as it has dominated and destroyed Winston Smith.