1984

The protagonist of the novel, a 39-year-old Outer Party functionary who privately rebels against the Party's totalitarian rule. Frail, intellectual, and fatalistic, Winston works in the Records Department of the Ministry of Truth rewriting news articles to conform with the Party's current version of history. Winston perceives that the Party's ultimate goal is to gain absolute mastery over the citizens of Oceania by controlling access to the past and—more diabolically—controlling the minds of its subjects. Orwell uses Winston's habit of introspection and self-analysis to explore the opposition between external and internal reality, and between individualism and collective identity. Convinced that he cannot escape punishment for his disloyalty, Winston nonetheless seeks to understand the motives behind the Party's oppressive policies, and takes considerable personal risks not only to experience forbidden feelings and relationships but to contact others who share his skepticism and desire to rebel against Ingsoc (English Socialism).

Winston Smith Quotes in 1984

The 1984 quotes below are all either spoken by Winston Smith or refer to Winston Smith. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Signet Classics edition of 1984 published in 1961.
Book 1, Chapter 3 Quotes
To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget, whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself—that was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word "doublethink" involved the use of doublethink.
Related Characters: Winston Smith (speaker)
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:

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The process of continuous alteration was applied not only to newspapers, but to books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, sound tracks, cartoons, photographs—to every kind of literature or documentation which might conceivably hold any political or ideological significance. Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every predication made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct; nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary. In no case would it have been possible, once the deed was done, to prove that any falsification had taken place.
Related Characters: Winston Smith (speaker)
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:

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Book 1, Chapter 7 Quotes
It was as though some huge force were pressing down upon you—something that penetrated inside your skull, battering against your brain, frightening you out of your beliefs, persuading you, almost, to deny the evidence of your senses. In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense. And what was terrifying was not that they would kill you for thinking otherwise, but that they might be right. For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable—what then?
Related Characters: Winston Smith (speaker)
Related Symbols: Big Brother
Page Number: 80
Explanation and Analysis:

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Book 2, Chapter 2 Quotes
In the old days, he thought, a man looked at a girl's body and saw that it was desirable, and that was the end of the story. But you could not have pure love or pure lust nowadays. No emotion was pure, because everything was mixed up with fear and hatred. Their embrace had been a battle, the climax a victory. It was a blow struck against the Party. It was a political act.
Related Characters: Winston Smith (speaker), Julia/The Dark-Haired Girl
Page Number: 126
Explanation and Analysis:

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Book 2, Chapter 3 Quotes
There was a direct, intimate connection between chastity and political orthodoxy. For how could the fear, the hatred, and the lunatic credulity which the Party needed in its members be kept at the right pitch, except by bottling down some powerful instinct and using it as a driving force? The sex impulse was dangerous to the Party, and the Party had turned it to account.
Related Characters: Winston Smith (speaker)
Page Number: 133
Explanation and Analysis:

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Book 2, Chapter 4 Quotes
He turned over towards the light and lay gazing into the glass paperweight. The inexhaustibly interesting thing was not the fragment of coral but the interior of the glass itself. There was such a depth of it, and yet it was almost as transparent as air. It was as though the surface of the glass had been the arch of the sky, enclosing a tiny world with its atmosphere complete. He had the feeling that he could get inside it, and that in fact he was inside it, along with the mahogany bed and the gateleg table and the clock and the steel engraving and the paperweight itself. The paperweight was the room he was in, and the coral was Julia's life and his own, fixed in a sort of eternity at the heart of the crystal.
Related Characters: Winston Smith (speaker), Julia/The Dark-Haired Girl
Related Symbols: The Glass Paperweight
Page Number: 147
Explanation and Analysis:

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Book 2, Chapter 7 Quotes
The terrible thing that the Party had done was to persuade you that mere impulses, mere feelings, were of no account, while at the same time robbing you of all power over the material world. When once you were in the grip of the Party, what you felt or did not feel, what you did or refrained from doing, made literally no difference. Whatever happened you vanished, and neither you nor your actions were ever heard of again.
Related Characters: Winston Smith (speaker)
Page Number: 164
Explanation and Analysis:

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Book 2, Chapter 10 Quotes
If there was hope, it lay in the proles! Without having read to the end of the book, he knew that that must be Goldstein's final message. The future belonged to the proles. And could he be sure that when their time came the world they constructed would not be just as alien to him, Winston Smith, as the world of the Party? Yes, because at the least it would be a world of sanity. Where there is equality there can be sanity. Sooner or later it would happen, strength would change into consciousness. The proles were immortal; you could not doubt it when you looked at that valiant figure in the yard. In the end their awakening would come. And until that happened, though it might be a thousand years, they would stay alive against all the odds, like birds, passing on from body to body the vitality which the Party did not share and could not kill.
Related Characters: Winston Smith (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Red-Armed Prole Woman
Page Number: 220
Explanation and Analysis:

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Book 3, Chapter 4 Quotes
To die hating them, that was freedom.
Related Characters: Winston Smith (speaker)
Related Symbols: Big Brother
Page Number: 281
Explanation and Analysis:

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Book 3, Chapter 6 Quotes
"They can't get inside you," she had said. But they could get inside you. "What happens to you here is forever," O'Brien had said. That was a true word. There were things, your own acts, from which you could never recover. Something was killed in your breast; burnt out, cauterized out.
Related Characters: Winston Smith (speaker), Julia/The Dark-Haired Girl (speaker), O'Brien (speaker)
Page Number: 290
Explanation and Analysis:

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"Sometimes," she said, "they threaten you with something—something you can't stand up to, can't even think about. And then you say, ‘Don't do it to me, do it to somebody else, do it to so-and-so.' And perhaps you might pretend, afterwards, that it was only a trick and that you just said it to make them stop and didn't really mean it. But that isn't true. At the time when it happens you do mean it. You think there's no other way of saving yourself, and you're quite ready to save yourself that way. You want it to happen to the other person. You don't give a damn what they suffer. All you care about is yourself."
"All you care about is yourself," he echoed.
"And after that, you don't feel the same towards the other person any longer." — "No," he said, "you don't feel the same."
Related Characters: Winston Smith (speaker), Julia/The Dark-Haired Girl (speaker)
Page Number: 292
Explanation and Analysis:

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He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.
Related Characters: Winston Smith (speaker)
Related Symbols: Big Brother
Page Number: 298
Explanation and Analysis:

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Winston Smith Character Timeline in 1984

The timeline below shows where the character Winston Smith appears in 1984. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1, Chapter 1
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
As the clocks strike thirteen on a day in April, Winston Smith, a low-ranking member of the Outer Party, climbs the stairs to his flat in... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
...the electricity that powers the elevator has been turned off in preparation for Hate Week, Winston, who is 39 years old, frail, fair-haired and wearing a blue Party uniform, slowly climbs... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
As he enters the flat, Winston hears a voice reading a list of figures about the production of pig iron. It... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Gazing through his window at the rows of rotting and bombed-out buildings, Winston can't remember whether London has always looked this way. He is distracted by the sight... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
Controlling his facial expression, Winston faces the telescreen. By leaving work early he has missed his opportunity to eat in... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Reality Control Theme Icon
Sitting in an alcove out of sight of the telescreen, Winston takes out a penholder and nib, a bottle of ink, and a blank book. Since... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Reality Control Theme Icon
Class Struggle Theme Icon
Feeling nervous, Winston begins writing in the diary about a film he had seen the previous evening in... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
Reality Control Theme Icon
Sex, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...the Two Minutes Hate, O'Brien, a charismatic Inner Party member whose body language suggests to Winston that he secretly hates the Party, had entered the Records Department with an attractive dark-haired... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Reality Control Theme Icon
Sex, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...telescreen broadcasted a story about Emmanuel Goldstein, a former Party leader and now its scapegoat. Winston experienced conflicting feelings of hate toward Goldstein on one hand and the Party on the... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Reality Control Theme Icon
Sex, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...telescreen along with the Party slogans: WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH. Winston's eyes met O'Brien's, and it seemed to Winston that O'Brien was sending him a silent... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
In the apartment, Winston finds he has been writing "DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER" repeatedly in the diary. He realizes... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 2
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Sex, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Carelessly leaving the diary open on the table, Winston opens the door. It is a neighbor, Mrs. Parsons, who wants Winston to help unblock... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
Reality Control Theme Icon
Back in his flat, Winston remembers a dream he once had in which someone in a dark room said to... (full context)
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Reality Control Theme Icon
Winston wonders why he's keeping the diary, since it's doubtful that it will survive him when,... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 3
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Sex, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Winston wakes from a dream of his mother, who was vaporized when he was a boy,... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Sex, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...with dark hair comes toward him, taking off her clothes with a careless gesture that Winston admires. He awakens with the word "Shakespeare" on his lips to an ear-splitting whistle from... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Reality Control Theme Icon
Class Struggle Theme Icon
Struggling through compulsory morning exercises, Winston tries to remember a time when Oceania hasn't been at war, and fails. Instead, he... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Reality Control Theme Icon
Winston decides that the Party's ability to change the past by controlling not only the media,... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Reality Control Theme Icon
At that moment the telescreen screams at him to pay attention, and Winston realizes that his facial expressions are betraying his loathing of the Party. (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 4
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Reality Control Theme Icon
At work, Winston rewrites news articles so that they reflect the Party's current version of history, a task... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
Reality Control Theme Icon
Class Struggle Theme Icon
Winston considers his colleagues, a secretive man named Tillotson, a woman with sandy hair whose job... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Reality Control Theme Icon
Winston sets to work rewriting an article about an Inner Party member who has been vaporized,... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 5
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Reality Control Theme Icon
Class Struggle Theme Icon
In the canteen at lunch, Winston talks with Syme, a linguist who is working on the Eleventh Edition of the Newspeak... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Reality Control Theme Icon
Winston becomes aware of a man speaking to a girl at a table to his left... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
Sex, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Parsons, Winston's pudgy, sweaty neighbor, sits down at their table. Syme studies a column of words on... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Reality Control Theme Icon
Sex, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...demonstrating in the streets in gratitude to Big Brother for having raised the chocolate ration. Winston is appalled that doublethink has made it possible for people to swallow obvious lies: No... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Sex, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
As the quacking voice of the man at the next table continues, Winston thinks to himself that Mrs. Parsons will one day be denounced by her children and... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 6
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
Sex, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Winston writes in his diary about an encounter he had with an aging prole prostitute in... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
Sex, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...are not allowed to feel or express desire for each other, encounters with prostitutes are Winston's only sexual outlet. Desire, too, is thoughtcrime. Winston confesses in the diary that the prostitute... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 7
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
Class Struggle Theme Icon
Still writing in his diary, Winston records his belief that the Party will be overthrown by the proles, who make up... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
Reality Control Theme Icon
Class Struggle Theme Icon
From a children's textbook, Winston copies out a passage describing capitalism. He can't tell how much of the passage is... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Reality Control Theme Icon
Sex, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Class Struggle Theme Icon
Winston recalls finding a photograph eleven years earlier of three men—Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford—former leaders of... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Reality Control Theme Icon
Sex, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Winston is mystified by the Party's reasons for continuously falsifying the past, and horrified that what... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Reality Control Theme Icon
Winston becomes aware that he is writing the diary to O'Brien. Though conscious of his own... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 8
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Reality Control Theme Icon
Class Struggle Theme Icon
Instead of going to the Community Center, Winston wanders through prole neighborhoods. He is fearful because he knows the Party disapproves of ownlife,... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
Class Struggle Theme Icon
Winston passes by a group of proles who are standing outside a pub and arguing about... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
Reality Control Theme Icon
Class Struggle Theme Icon
Winston follows an old man into another pub, intending to ask him about life before the... (full context)
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Reality Control Theme Icon
Next, Winston finds himself outside the junk shop where he had bought the diary. The owner, an... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Reality Control Theme Icon
Winston leaves, planning to return in a month's time to buy the print, learn the rest... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
Reality Control Theme Icon
Sex, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Convinced that the girl is spying on him, Winston considers smashing her skull with a cobblestone. Full of dread, he hurries home, drinks some... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 1
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Sex, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Four days later, at work, as Winston is walking past the dark-haired girl, she suddenly falls. As he is helping her up... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Sex, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Class Struggle Theme Icon
Later, Winston sees the girl in the lunchroom but can't bring himself to speak to her. Finally,... (full context)
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...convoy of Eurasian prisoners. As they stand together watching the event, the girl whispers to Winston directions to a location in the countryside outside of London, near a dead tree. As... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 2
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Winston meets the girl at the agreed-upon place, then follows her to a deserted clearing. They... (full context)
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They walk into the open and Winston recognizes the pasture that he has dreamed of—the Golden Country. A thrush sings in a... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 3
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Julia and Winston travel back to London separately, by different routes. But before they leave they arrange to... (full context)
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For several weeks Julia and Winston meet at irregular times in the streets of London, but do not return to the... (full context)
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One night they have sex in an abandoned church. While In the church, Julia tells Winston about herself. She is 26, lives in a hostel with 30 other girls, and works... (full context)
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Winston, in turn, tells Julia about a time when he was on a community hike with... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 4
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After a month, Winston decides to rent the room above Mr. Charrington's junk shop as a place in which... (full context)
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...on the black market. They listen to the prole woman singing a popular song, and Winston realizes he has never heard a member of the Party singing alone and spontaneously. Julia... (full context)
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Afterward, as they look at the picture of the church on the wall, Winston speaks the first line of the nursery rhyme he learned. Julia, to his surprise, provides... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 5
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...a heat wave grips the city, the city is consumed by preparations for Hate Week. Winston embellishes articles that are to be quoted in speeches while Julia produces atrocity pamphlets. As... (full context)
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Winston and Julia continue to meet in the room above Mr. Charrington's shop. Winston stops drinking... (full context)
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Winston tells Julia about his suspicion that O'Brien is, like them, an enemy of the Party.... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 6
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One day, O'Brien stops Winston in the hallway at work and makes a reference to the vanished Syme. Because referring... (full context)
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Winston feels that he is on a path that started on the day he had his... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 7
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One morning a while later, Winston wakes up in tears. He is in the room above Mr. Charrington's shop with Julia,... (full context)
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Winston says he hates the Party because it has persuaded people that their feelings and impulses... (full context)
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Winston warns Julia that if she continues to see him she will die. He tells her... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 8
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Winston and Julia go to O'Brien's luxurious apartment, where O'Brien's servant, Martin, admits them into a... (full context)
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Winston confesses that he and Julia are enemies of the Party and adulterers. O'Brien serves Julia... (full context)
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O'Brien tells Winston that the Brotherhood is real and that Emmanuel Goldstein is alive. He then asks Winston... (full context)
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O'Brien promises to send Winston a book that teaches the true nature of their society and how it can be... (full context)
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As he is leaving, Winston asks O'Brien if they will meet again "in the place where there is no darkness."... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 9
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...is, and has always been, at war with Eastasia, and that Eurasia is an ally. Winston has to work long hours to rectify all of the now obsolete references to Oceania's... (full context)
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At last the workers are given a day off. Winston goes to the room above Mr. Charrington's shop and begins reading the book while he... (full context)
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Winston turns to Chapter 3, "War Is Peace," which is a description of the permanent state... (full context)
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Winston insists that Julia listen as he reads to her. Returning to Chapter 1, "Ignorance Is... (full context)
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Winston notices that Julia is sleeping. Although he still has not learned the ultimate secret—he understands... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 10
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Winston wakes to the singing of the prole woman in the courtyard. He and Julia watch... (full context)
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Although the clock reads nine, Winston suspects that he and Julia have slept through the night. Mr. Charrington enters the room,... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 1
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Winston is first taken to a holding pen occupied by common criminals as well as political... (full context)
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Next Winston is taken to a cell in the Ministry of Love. It is the place where... (full context)
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A man with a skull-like face, whom Winston realizes is dying of starvation, is brought in. A fat, chinless prisoner named Bumstead offers... (full context)
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Alone in the cell and delirious with thirst and hunger, Winston thinks of Julia and wonders if she is suffering. O'Brien enters and Winston naïvely exclaims,... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 2
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Winston awakes, immobilized and lying on his back, with O'Brien peering down at him. He has... (full context)
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O'Brien turns a dial and Winston receives a painful electric shock. The needle is at 40; O'Brien tells him he will... (full context)
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O'Brien holds up four fingers and asks Winston how many he sees. Four, says Winston. If the Party says there are five, says... (full context)
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Finally, after more torture, Winston gives O'Brien the answers he wants: that Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia,... (full context)
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O'Brien gives Winston permission to ask him some questions. Winston asks what has happened to Julia. O'Brien says... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 3
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After weeks of further torture, O'Brien tells Winston that there are three stages—learning, understanding, and acceptance—and that he is about to enter upon... (full context)
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Trying to say what he thinks O'Brien wants to hear, Winston replies that the Party seeks power for the good of the majority. O'Brien shocks him... (full context)
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Winston insists that the spirit of Man will defeat the Party. O'Brien tells Winston that he... (full context)
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O'Brien says that Winston has been completely beaten, broken, degraded. Winston protests that there is one degradation he has... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 4
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Weeks or months pass. Winston is tortured less often and moved to a more comfortable room. He puts on weight... (full context)
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One night, Winston dreams of the Golden Country and wakes up crying out for Julia, loving her more... (full context)
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O'Brien walks into the cell and says Winston has made intellectual but not emotional progress. He asks Winston what his true feelings are... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 5
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Room 101 is deep underground. Once inside, Winston is immobilized and strapped to a chair. O'Brien tells him that Room 101 contains "the... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 6
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Winston, now released from prison, has become an alcoholic. He has been given a job editing... (full context)
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...well. They parted, agreeing to meet again but with no intent to actually do so. Winston, deeply ashamed, returned to the café to drink. (full context)
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Winston hears a melody and the lyrics "Under the spreading chestnut tree / I sold you... (full context)