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     George Orwell [Eric Blair]: "1984"
     Published: 1949

      * Chapter One *

     It  was  a  bright  cold day in April, and the clocks were
striking thirteen. Winston Smith, his  chin  nuzzled  into  his
breast  in  an  effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly
through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly
enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust  from  entering  along
with him.
     The  hallway  smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats. At
one end of it a coloured poster, too large for indoor  display,
had  been  tacked  to  the wall. It depicted simply an enormous
face, more than a metre wide:  the  face  of  a  man  of  about
forty-five,  with a heavy black moustache and ruggedly handsome
features. Winston made for the stairs. It was no use trying the
lift. Even at the best of times it was seldom working,  and  at
present the electric current was cut off during daylight hours.
It  was part of the economy drive in preparation for Hate Week.
The flat was seven flights up, and Winston, who was thirty-nine
and had a varicose ulcer above his right  ankle,  went  slowly,
resting several times on the way. On each landing, opposite the
lift-shaft,  the  poster  with the enormous face gazed from the
wall. It was one of those pictures which are so contrived  that
the  eyes  follow  you  about  when  you  move.  BIG BROTHER IS
WATCHING YOU, the caption beneath it ran.
     Inside the flat a fruity voice was reading out a  list  of
figures  which  had  something  to  do  with  the production of
pig-iron. The voice came from an oblong  metal  plaque  like  a
dulled   mirror  which  formed  part  of  the  surface  of  the
right-hand wall. Winston turned a switch  and  the  voice  sank
somewhat,  though  the  words  were  still distinguishable. The
instrument (the telescreen, it was called) could be dimmed, but
there was no way of shutting it off completely. He  moved  over
to  the window: a smallish, frail figure, the meagreness of his
body merely emphasized by the  blue  overalls  which  were  the
uniform  of  the  party.  His  hair  was  very  fair,  his face
naturally sanguine, his skin roughened by coarse soap and blunt
razor blades and the cold of the winter that had just ended.
     Outside, even through  the  shut  window-pane,  the  world
looked  cold.  Down  in  the  street little eddies of wind were
whirling dust and torn paper into spirals, and though  the  sun
was  shining  and  the  sky a harsh blue, there seemed to be no
colour in anything, except  the  posters  that  were  plastered
everywhere.  The  blackmoustachio'd  face gazed down from every
commanding corner. There was one on the house-front immediately
opposite. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption said,  while
the   dark  eyes  looked  deep  into  Winston's  own.  Down  at
streetlevel  another  poster,  torn  at  one  corner,   flapped
fitfully  in  the wind, alternately covering and uncovering the
single word INGSOC. In the far distance  a  helicopter  skimmed
down   between  the  roofs,  hovered  for  an  instant  like  a
bluebottle, and darted away again with a curving flight. It was
the police patrol, snooping into people's windows. The  patrols
did not matter, however. Only the Thought Police mattered.
     Behind  Winston's  back  the voice from the telescreen was
still babbling away about pig-iron and  the  overfulfilment  of
the   Ninth   Three-Year  Plan.  The  telescreen  received  and
transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made,  above
the  level  of  a  very  low whisper, would be picked up by it,
moreover, so long as he remained within  the  field  of  vision
which  the  metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as
heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether  you  were
being  watched  at  any  given  moment.  How  often, or on what
system, the Thought Police plugged in on  any  individual  wire
was  guesswork.  It  was  even  conceivable  that  they watched
everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your
wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live -- did live, from
habit that became instinct --  in  the  assumption  that  every
sound  you  made  was overheard, and, except in darkness, every
movement scrutinized.
     Winston kept his back turned to  the  telescreen.  It  was
safer, though, as he well knew, even a back can be revealing. A
kilometre  away  the  Ministry  of  Truth,  his  place of work,
towered vast and white above  the  grimy  landscape.  This,  he
thought with a sort of vague distaste -- this was London, chief
city  of  Airstrip  One,  itself the third most populous of the
provinces of Oceania. He tried to squeeze  out  some  childhood
memory  that  should  tell  him  whether London had always been
quite like this. Were there  always  these  vistas  of  rotting
nineteenth-century houses, their sides shored up with baulks of
timber,  their  windows  patched with cardboard and their roofs
with corrugated iron, their crazy garden walls sagging  in  all
directions? And the bombed sites where the plaster dust swirled
in  the  air  and  the  willow-herb straggled over the heaps of
rubble; and the places where the bombs  had  cleared  a  larger
patch  and  there  had  sprung  up  sordid  colonies  of wooden
dwellings like chicken-houses? But it was no use, he could  not
remember:  nothing remained of his childhood except a series of
bright-lit tableaux occurring against no background and  mostly
     The  Ministry  of  Truth  -- Minitrue, in Newspeak* -- was
startlingly different from any other object in sight. It was an
enormous pyramidal  structure  of  glittering  white  concrete,
soaring  up,  terrace  after  terrace, 300 metres into the air.
From where Winston stood it was just possible to  read,  picked
out  on  its white face in elegant lettering, the three slogans
of the Party:


     The Ministry  of  Truth  contained,  it  was  said,  three
thousand   rooms   above   ground   level,   and  corresponding
ramifications below. Scattered about  London  there  were  just
three  other  buildings  of  similar  appearance  and  size. So
completely did they dwarf  the  surrounding  architecture  that
from  the  roof  of  Victory Mansions you could see all four of
them simultaneously. They were the homes of the four Ministries
between which the entire apparatus of government  was  divided.
The  Ministry  of  Truth,  which  concerned  itself  with news,
entertainment, education, and the fine arts.  The  Ministry  of
Peace,  which  concerned itself with war. The Ministry of Love,
which maintained law and order. And  the  Ministry  of  Plenty,
which  was  responsible  for  economic affairs. Their names, in
Newspeak: Minitrue, Minipax, Miniluv, and Miniplenty.
     The Ministry of Love was the really frightening one. There
were no windows in it at all. Winston had never been inside the
Ministry of Love, nor within half a kilometre of it. It  was  a
place impossible to enter except on official business, and then
only   by   penetrating   through   a   maze   of   barbed-wire
entanglements, steel doors, and hidden machine-gun nests.  Even
the  streets  leading  up  to its outer barriers were roamed by
gorilla-faced guards in  black  uniforms,  armed  with  jointed
     Winston  turned  round  abruptly.  He had set his features
into the expression of quiet optimism which it was advisable to
wear when facing the telescreen. He crossed the room  into  the
tiny  kitchen.  By  leaving the Ministry at this time of day he
had sacrificed his lunch in the canteen, and he was aware  that
there was no food in the kitchen except a hunk of dark-coloured
bread  which  had  got to be saved for tomorrow's breakfast. He
took down from the shelf a bottle of colourless liquid  with  a
plain  white  label  marked  VICTORY GIN. It gave off a sickly,
oily smell, as of Chinese ricespirit. Winston poured out nearly
a teacupful, nerved himself for a shock,  and  gulped  it  down
like a dose of medicine.
     Instantly his face turned scarlet and the water ran out of
his eyes.  The  stuff  was  like  nitric acid, and moreover, in
swallowing it one had the sensation of being hit on the back of
the head with a rubber club.  The  next  moment,  however,  the
burning in his belly died down and the world began to look more
cheerful.  He  took  a  cigarette from a crumpled packet marked
VICTORY CIGARETTES and incautiously held it upright,  whereupon
the tobacco fell out on to the floor. With the next he was more
successful.  He  went back to the living-room and sat down at a
small table that stood to the left of the telescreen. From  the
table  drawer  he  took out a penholder, a bottle of ink, and a
thick, quarto-sized blank book with a red back  and  a  marbled
     For  some  reason the telescreen in the living-room was in
an unusual position. Instead of being placed, as was normal, in
the end wall, where it could command the whole room, it was  in
the  longer  wall, opposite the window. To one side of it there
was a shallow alcove in which  Winston  was  now  sitting,  and
which, when the flats were built, had probably been intended to
hold  bookshelves.  By  sitting in the alcove, and keeping well
back, Winston was able to  remain  outside  the  range  of  the
telescreen, so far as sight went. He could be heard, of course,
but  so  long as he stayed in his present position he could not
be seen. It was partly the unusual geography of the  room  that
had suggested to him the thing that he was now about to do.
     But  it  had  also  been suggested by the book that he had
just taken out of the drawer. It  was  a  peculiarly  beautiful
book. Its smooth creamy paper, a little yellowed by age, was of
a  kind that had not been manufactured for at least forty years
past. He could guess, however, that the  book  was  much  older
than  that.  He  had  seen  it  lying in the window of a frowsy
little junk-shop in a slummy quarter of  the  town  (just  what
quarter  he  did  not  now  remember)  and  had  been  stricken
immediately by an overwhelming  desire  to  possess  it.  Party
members  were  supposed not to go into ordinary shops ('dealing
on the free market', it was  called),  but  the  rule  was  not
strictly  kept,  because  there  were  various  things, such as
shoelaces and razor blades, which it was impossible to get hold
of in any other way. He had given a quick glance  up  and  down
the  street and then had slipped inside and bought the book for
two dollars fifty. At the time he was not conscious of  wanting
it  for any particular purpose. He had carried it guiltily home
in his briefcase. Even with nothing written in  it,  it  was  a
compromising possession.
     The  thing  that  he  was about to do was to open a diary.
This was not illegal (nothing was illegal, since there were  no
longer  any  laws),  but  if detected it was reasonably certain
that it would be punished by death, or at least by  twenty-five
years  in  a  forcedlabour  camp. Winston fitted a nib into the
penholder and sucked it to get the grease off. The pen  was  an
archaic instrument, seldom used even for signatures, and he had
procured  one,  furtively  and  with  some  difficulty,  simply
because of a feeling that the beautiful creamy  paper  deserved
to  be  written  on  with a real nib instead of being scratched
with an ink-pencil. Actually he was  not  used  to  writing  by
hand.  Apart  from  very  short  notes, it was usual to dictate
everything into the speakwrite which was of  course  impossible
for  his  present  purpose.  He dipped the pen into the ink and
then faltered for just a second. A tremor had gone through  his
bowels. To mark the paper was the decisive act. In small clumsy
letters he wrote:

     April 4th, 1984.

     He   sat  back.  A  sense  of  complete  helplessness  had
descended upon him. To begin with, he did  not  know  with  any
certainty that this was 1984. It must be round about that date,
since  he  was fairly sure that his age was thirty-nine, and he
believed that he had been born in 1944  or  1945;  but  it  was
never  possible  nowadays to pin down any date within a year or
     For whom, it suddenly occurred to him to  wonder,  was  he
writing  this  diary?  For the future, for the unborn. His mind
hovered for a moment round the doubtful date on the  page,  and
then   fetched  up  with  a  bump  against  the  Newspeak  word
doublethink. For the first time the magnitude of what he
had undertaken came home to him. How could you communicate with
the future? It was of its nature impossible. Either the  future
would  resemble  the present, in which case it would not listen
to him: or it would be different from it, and  his  predicament
would be meaningless.
     For  some  time  he  sat gazing stupidly at the paper. The
telescreen had changed over to strident military music. It  was
curious  that  he  seemed  not merely to have lost the power of
expressing himself, but even to have forgotten what it was that
he had originally intended to say. For weeks past he  had  been
making ready for this moment, and it had never crossed his mind
that  anything  would  be  needed  except  courage.  The actual
writing would be easy. All he had to  do  was  to  transfer  to
paper the interminable restless monologue that had been running
inside  his head, literally for years. At this moment, however,
even the monologue had dried up. Moreover  his  varicose  ulcer
had  begun itching unbearably. He dared not scratch it, because
if he did so  it  always  became  inflamed.  The  seconds  were
ticking by. He was conscious of nothing except the blankness of
the  page  in  front  of him, the itching of the skin above his
ankle, the blaring of the music, and a slight booziness  caused
by the gin.
     Suddenly he began writing in sheer panic, only imperfectly
aware  of  what  he  was  setting  down. His small but childish
handwriting straggled up and down the page, shedding first  its
capital letters and finally even its full stops:

     April  4th,  1984.  Last  night  to the flicks. All war
films. One very good one of  a  ship  full  of  refugees  being
bombed  somewhere in the Mediterranean. Audience much amused by
shots of a great huge fat  man  trying  to  swim  away  with  a
helicopter  after him, first you saw him wallowing along in the
water like a porpoise, then you saw him through the helicopters
gunsights, then he was full of holes  and  the  sea  round  him
turned pink and he sank as suddenly as though the holes had let
in  the  water,  audience  shouting with laughter when he sank.
then you saw a lifeboat full  of  children  with  a  helicopter
hovering over it. there was a middle-aged woman might have been
a  jewess  sitting  up in the bow with a little boy about three
years old in her arms. little boy  screaming  with  fright  and
hiding  his  head  between  her  breasts as if he was trying to
burrow right into her and the woman putting her arms round  him
and  comforting  him although she was blue with fright herself,
all the time covering him up as much  as  possible  as  if  she
thought  her  arms  could  keep  the  bullets off him. then the
helicopter planted a 20 kilo bomb in among them terrific  flash
and  the boat went all to matchwood. then there was a wonderful
shot of a child's arm going up up up right up into  the  air  a
helicopter  with  a camera in its nose must have followed it up
and there was a lot of applause from  the  party  seats  but  a
woman  down  in  the  prole  part of the house suddenly started
kicking up a fuss and shouting they didnt oughter of showed  it
not  in  front of kids they didnt it aint right not in front of
kids it aint until the police turned her turned her out i  dont
suppose  anything  happened to her nobody cares what the proles
say typical prole reaction they never

     Winston stopped writing, partly because he  was  suffering
from  cramp.  He  did  not know what had made him pour out this
stream of rubbish. But the curious thing was that while he  was
doing so a totally different memory had clarified itself in his
mind,  to  the  point  where he almost felt equal to writing it
down. It was, he now realized, because of this  other  incident
that  he  had suddenly decided to come home and begin the diary
     It had happened that morning at the Ministry, if  anything
so nebulous could be said to happen.
     It   was   nearly  eleven  hundred,  and  in  the  Records
Department, where Winston worked, they were dragging the chairs
out of the cubicles and grouping them in the centre of the hall
opposite the big telescreen, in preparation for the Two Minutes
Hate. Winston was just taking his place in one  of  the  middle
rows  when  two  people  whom  he  knew by sight, but had never
spoken to, came unexpectedly into the room. One of them  was  a
girl whom he often passed in the corridors. He did not know her
name,  but  he  knew that she worked in the Fiction Department.
Presumably -- since he had sometimes seen her with  oily  hands
and  carrying  a  spanner she had some mechanical job on one of
the novel-writing machines. She was  a  bold-looking  girl,  of
about  twenty-  seven,  with  thick  hair, a freckled face, and
swift, athletic movements. A narrow scarlet sash, emblem of the
Junior Anti-Sex League, was wound several times round the waist
of  her  overalls,  just  tightly  enough  to  bring  out   the
shapeliness of her hips. Winston had disliked her from the very
first  moment of seeing her. He knew the reason. It was because
of the atmosphere of hockey-fields and cold baths and community
hikes and general clean- mindedness which she managed to  carry
about  with  her.  He disliked nearly all women, and especially
the young and pretty ones. It was always the women,  and  above
all  the young ones, who were the most bigoted adherents of the
Party,  the  swallowers  of  slogans,  the  amateur  spies  and
nosers-out  of  unorthodoxy.  But this particular girl gave him
the impression of being more dangerous  than  most.  Once  when
they  passed  in  the  corridor  she  gave him a quick sidelong
glance which seemed to pierce right into him and for  a  moment
had filled him with black terror. The idea had even crossed his
mind that she might be an agent of the Thought Police. That, it
was  true,  was  very  unlikely.  Still, he continued to feel a
peculiar uneasiness, which had fear mixed up in it as  well  as
hostility, whenever she was anywhere near him.
     The  other person was a man named O'Brien, a member of the
Inner Party and holder of some post  so  important  and  remote
that  Winston  had  only  a dim idea of its nature. A momentary
hush passed over the group of people round the chairs  as  they
saw  the  black  overalls of an Inner Party member approaching.
O'Brien was a large, burly man with a thick neck and a  coarse,
humorous, brutal face. In spite of his formidable appearance he
had a certain charm of manner. He had a trick of resettling his
spectacles on his nose which was curiously disarming -- in some
indefinable  way,  curiously civilized. It was a gesture which,
if anyone had still thought in such terms, might have  recalled
an  eighteenth-century  nobleman offering his snuffbox. Winston
had seen O'Brien perhaps a dozen times in almost as many years.
He felt deeply drawn to him, and  not  solely  because  he  was
intrigued  by  the contrast between O'Brien's urbane manner and
his prize-fighter's physique. Much more it  was  because  of  a
secretly  held belief -- or perhaps not even a belief, merely a
hope -- that O'Brien's political  orthodoxy  was  not  perfect.
Something  in  his  face  suggested it irresistibly. And again,
perhaps it was not even unorthodoxy that  was  written  in  his
face,  but  simply  intelligence.  But  at  any rate he had the
appearance of being a person that you could talk to if  somehow
you  could  cheat the telescreen and get him alone. Winston had
never made the smallest effort to verify  this  guess:  indeed,
there was no way of doing so. At this moment O'Brien glanced at
his  wrist-watch,  saw  that  it was nearly eleven hundred, and
evidently decided to stay in the Records Department  until  the
Two  Minutes  Hate was over. He took a chair in the same row as
Winston, a couple of places away. A small,  sandy-haired  woman
who worked in the next cubicle to Winston was between them. The
girl with dark hair was sitting immediately behind.
     The  next  moment  a  hideous, grinding speech, as of some
monstrous machine running  without  oil,  burst  from  the  big
telescreen  at  the  end  of  the room. It was a noise that set
one's teeth on edge and bristled the hair at the back of  one's
neck. The Hate had started.
     As usual, the face of Emmanuel Goldstein, the Enemy of the
People,  had  flashed  on to the screen. There were hisses here
and there among the audience.  The  little  sandy-haired  woman
gave  a  squeak  of mingled fear and disgust. Goldstein was the
renegade and backslider who  once,  long  ago  (how  long  ago,
nobody  quite  remembered), had been one of the leading figures
of the Party, almost on a level with Big Brother  himself,  and
then  had engaged in counter-revolutionary activities, had been
condemned  to  death,  and   had   mysteriously   escaped   and
disappeared. The programmes of the Two Minutes Hate varied from
day  to  day, but there was none in which Goldstein was not the
principal figure. He  was  the  primal  traitor,  the  earliest
defiler  of  the  Party's purity. All subsequent crimes against
the  Party,  all  treacheries,  acts  of  sabotage,   heresies,
deviations,  sprang  directly out of his teaching. Somewhere or
other he was still alive and hatching his conspiracies: perhaps
somewhere beyond the sea, under the protection of  his  foreign
paymasters,  perhaps even -- so it was occasionally rumoured --
in some hiding-place in Oceania itself.
     Winston's diaphragm was constricted. He  could  never  see
the face of Goldstein without a painful mixture of emotions. It
was  a  lean  Jewish  face, with a great fuzzy aureole of white
hair and a small goatee beard -- a clever face, and yet somehow
inherently despicable, with a kind of senile silliness  in  the
long  thin nose, near the end of which a pair of spectacles was
perched. It resembled the face of a sheep, and the voice,  too,
had  a  sheep-like  quality. Goldstein was delivering his usual
venomous attack upon the doctrines of the Party -- an attack so
exaggerated and perverse that a child should have been able  to
see  through it, and yet just plausible enough to fill one with
an alarmed feeling that other people,  less  level-headed  than
oneself,  might  be taken in by it. He was abusing Big Brother,
he was  denouncing  the  dictatorship  of  the  Party,  he  was
demanding  the  immediate  conclusion of peace with Eurasia, he
was advocating freedom of speech, freedom of the Press, freedom
of assembly, freedom of thought,  he  was  crying  hysterically
that  the revolution had been betrayed -- and all this in rapid
polysyllabic speech which was a sort of parody of the  habitual
style  of the orators of the Party, and even contained Newspeak
words: more Newspeak words, indeed, than any Party member would
normally use in real life. And all the while, lest  one  should
be  in  any  doubt as to the reality which Goldstein's specious
claptrap covered, behind  his  head  on  the  telescreen  there
marched  the  endless columns of the Eurasian army -- row after
row of solid-looking men with expressionless Asiatic faces, who
swam up to the surface  of  the  screen  and  vanished,  to  be
replaced  by others exactly similar. The dull rhythmic tramp of
the  soldiers'  boots  formed  the  background  to  Goldstein's
bleating voice.
     Before   the   Hate  had  proceeded  for  thirty  seconds,
uncontrollable exclamations of rage were breaking out from half
the people in the room. The self-satisfied sheep-like  face  on
the  screen,  and  the  terrifying  power  of the Eurasian army
behind it, were too much to be borne:  besides,  the  sight  or
even   the   thought  of  Goldstein  produced  fear  and  anger
automatically. He was an object of hatred  more  constant  than
either  Eurasia or Eastasia, since when Oceania was at war with
one of these Powers it was generally at peace with  the  other.
But  what was strange was that although Goldstein was hated and
despised by everybody, although every day and a thousand  times
a  day,  on  platforms,  on  the  telescreen, in newspapers, in
books, his theories were refuted, smashed, ridiculed,  held  up
to  the  general gaze for the pitiful rubbish that they were in
spite of all this, his influence never  seemed  to  grow  less.
Always  there  were fresh dupes waiting to be seduced by him. A
day never passed when spies  and  saboteurs  acting  under  his
directions  were not unmasked by the Thought Police. He was the
commander of a vast shadowy army,  an  underground  network  of
conspirators  dedicated  to  the  overthrow  of  the State. The
Brotherhood, its name was  supposed  to  be.  There  were  also
whispered  stories  of a terrible book, a compendium of all the
heresies,  of  which  Goldstein  was  the  author   and   which
circulated  clandestinely here and there. It was a book without
a title. People referred to it, if at  all,  simply  as  the
book.  But  one  knew  of  such  things  only through vague
rumours. Neither the Brotherhood  nor  the  book  was  a
subject  that  any ordinary Party member would mention if there
was a way of avoiding it.
     In its second minute the Hate rose  to  a  frenzy.  People
were  leaping  up  and down in their places and shouting at the
tops of their voices  in  an  effort  to  drown  the  maddening
bleating  voice  that  came  from the screen. The little sandy-
haired woman had turned bright pink, and her mouth was  opening
and  shutting  like that of a landed fish. Even O'Brien's heavy
face was flushed. He was sitting very straight  in  his  chair,
his  powerful  chest  swelling  and quivering as though he were
standing up to the assault of  a  wave.  The  dark-haired  girl
behind  Winston had begun crying out 'Swine! Swine! Swine!' and
suddenly she picked up a heavy Newspeak dictionary and flung it
at the screen. It struck Goldstein's nose and bounced off;  the
voice  continued  inexorably.  In  a lucid moment Winston found
that he was shouting with  the  others  and  kicking  his  heel
violently  against  the  rung  of his chair. The horrible thing
about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to  act
a  part,  but, on the contrary, that it was impossible to avoid
joining in. Within  thirty  seconds  any  pretence  was  always
unnecessary.  A  hideous  ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a
desire  to  kill,  to  torture,  to  smash  faces  in  with   a
sledge-hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people
like  an  electric current, turning one even against one's will
into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that  one
felt  was  an  abstract,  undirected  emotion  which  could  be
switched from one  object  to  another  like  the  flame  of  a
blowlamp.  Thus,  at one moment Winston's hatred was not turned
against Goldstein at all, but, on  the  contrary,  against  Big
Brother, the Party, and the Thought Police; and at such moments
his  heart  went  out  to  the  lonely,  derided heretic on the
screen, sole guardian of truth and sanity in a world  of  lies.
And  yet  the  very  next instant he was at one with the people
about him, and all that was said of Goldstein seemed to him  to
be  true.  At  those moments his secret loathing of Big Brother
changed into adoration, and Big Brother seemed to tower up,  an
invincible,  fearless  protector,  standing like a rock against
the hordes of Asia, and Goldstein, in spite of  his  isolation,
his  helplessness,  and  the  doubt  that  hung  about his very
existence, seemed like some sinister enchanter, capable by  the
mere   power   of  his  voice  of  wrecking  the  structure  of
     It was even possible, at moments, to switch  one's  hatred
this  way  or that by a voluntary act. Suddenly, by the sort of
violent effort with which one wrenches one's head away from the
pillow in a nightmare, Winston succeeded  in  transferring  his
hatred  from  the  face  on  the screen to the dark-haired girl
behind him. Vivid, beautiful hallucinations flashed through his
mind. He would flog her to death with a  rubber  truncheon.  He
would  tie  her  naked  to a stake and shoot her full of arrows
like Saint Sebastian. He would ravish her and cut her throat at
the moment of climax. Better than before, moreover, he realized
why it was that he hated her. He  hated  her  because  she  was
young  and  pretty  and sexless, because he wanted to go to bed
with her and would never do so, because round her sweet  supple
waist,  which  seemed  to ask you to encircle it with your arm,
there was only the odious scarlet sash,  aggressive  symbol  of
     The  Hate  rose  to its climax. The voice of Goldstein had
become an actual sheep's bleat, and for  an  instant  the  face
changed  into  that of a sheep. Then the sheep-face melted into
the figure of a Eurasian soldier who seemed  to  be  advancing,
huge  and terrible, his sub-machine gun roaring, and seeming to
spring out of the surface of the screen, so that  some  of  the
people  in  the  front row actually flinched backwards in their
seats. But in the same moment, drawing a deep  sigh  of  relief
from  everybody, the hostile figure melted into the face of Big
Brother, black-haired, blackmoustachio'd,  full  of  power  and
mysterious  calm,  and  so  vast  that  it almost filled up the
screen. Nobody heard what Big Brother was saying. It was merely
a few words of  encouragement,  the  sort  of  words  that  are
uttered  in the din of battle, not distinguishable individually
but restoring confidence by the fact of being spoken. Then  the
face  of  Big  Brother  faded away again, and instead the three
slogans of the Party stood out in bold capitals:


     But the face of Big Brother seemed to persist for  several
seconds on the screen, as though the impact that it had made on
everyone's  eyeballs was too vivid to wear off immediately. The
little sandyhaired woman had flung  herself  forward  over  the
back of the chair in front of her. With a tremulous murmur that
sounded  like  'My  Saviour!' she extended her arms towards the
screen. Then she buried her face in her hands. It was  apparent
that she was uttering a prayer.
     At  this  moment  the  entire group of people broke into a
deep, slow, rhythmical chant of 'B-B! . . . B-B!' --  over  and
over  again,  very  slowly, with a long pause between the first
'B' and the second-a heavy, murmurous sound, somehow  curiously
savage, in the background of which one seemed to hear the stamp
of  naked  feet  and  the throbbing of tom-toms. For perhaps as
much as thirty seconds they kept it up. It was a  refrain  that
was  often  heard in moments of overwhelming emotion. Partly it
was a sort of hymn to the wisdom and majesty  of  Big  Brother,
but  still  more  it  was an act of self-hypnosis, a deliberate
drowning of consciousness by means of rhythmic noise. Winston's
entrails seemed to grow cold. In the Two Minutes Hate he  could
not  help  sharing  in the general delirium, but this sub-human
chanting of 'B- B! . . . B-B !' always filled him with  horror.
Of  course  he  chanted  with the rest: it was impossible to do
otherwise. To dissemble your feelings, to control your face, to
do what everyone else was doing, was an  instinctive  reaction.
But  there  was a space of a couple of seconds during which the
expression of his eyes might conceivably have betrayed him. And
it was exactly  at  this  moment  that  the  significant  thing
happened -- if, indeed, it did happen.
     Momentarily he caught O'Brien's eye. O'Brien had stood up.
He had  taken  off  his  spectacles  and  was  in  the  act  of
resettling them on his nose with  his  characteristic  gesture.
But  there  was a fraction of a second when their eyes met, and
for  as  long  as  it  took  to  happen  Winston  knew-yes,  he
knew  !-that  O'Brien  was  thinking  the  same thing as
himself. An unmistakable message had passed. It was  as  though
their  two  minds had opened and the thoughts were flowing from
one into the other through their eyes. 'I am with you,' O'Brien
seemed to be saying to him. 'I  know  precisely  what  you  are
feeling.  I  know  all  about  your contempt, your hatred, your
disgust. But don't worry, I am on  your  side!'  And  then  the
flash  of  intelligence  was  gone,  and  O'Brien's face was as
inscrutable as everybody else's.
     That was all, and he was already uncertain whether it  had
happened.  Such  incidents  never had any sequel. All that they
did was to keep alive in him the belief, or hope,  that  others
besides  himself  were  the  enemies  of the Party. Perhaps the
rumours of vast underground conspiracies were true after all --
perhaps the Brotherhood really existed ! It was impossible,  in
spite of the endless arrests and confessions and executions, to
be  sure  that the Brotherhood was not simply a myth. Some days
he believed in it, some days not. There was no  evidence,  only
fleeting glimpses that might mean anything or nothing: snatches
of overheard conversation, faint scribbles on lavatory walls --
once,  even,  when  two  strangers met, a small movement of the
hand which had looked  as  though  it  might  be  a  signal  of
recognition.  It was all guesswork: very likely he had imagined
everything. He had gone back to his cubicle without looking  at
O'Brien again. The idea of following up their momentary contact
hardly  crossed  his  mind.  It  would  have been inconceivably
dangerous even if he had known how to set about doing it. For a
second, two seconds, they had exchanged  an  equivocal  glance,
and  that  was  the  end  of  the  story.  But  even that was a
memorable event, in the locked loneliness in which one  had  to
     Winston roused himself and sat up straighter. He let out a
belch. The gin was rising from his stomach.
     His  eyes re-focused on the page. He discovered that while
he sat helplessly musing he had also been writing, as though by
automatic action. And  it  was  no  longer  the  same  cramped,
awkward  handwriting  as  before. His pen had slid voluptuously
over the smooth paper, printing in large neat capitals


     over and over again, filling half a page.
     He could not help  feeling  a  twinge  of  panic.  It  was
absurd,  since  the  writing  of those particular words was not
more dangerous than the initial act of opening the  diary,  but
for  a  moment he was tempted to tear out the spoiled pages and
abandon the enterprise altogether.
     He did not do so, however, because he  knew  that  it  was
useless.  Whether he wrote DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER, or whether he
refrained from writing it, made no difference. Whether he  went
on with the diary, or whether he did not go on with it, made no
difference.  The Thought Police would get him just the same. He
had committed -- would still have committed,  even  if  he  had
never  set  pen  to paper -- the essential crime that contained
all  others  in   itself.   Thoughtcrime,   they   called   it.
Thoughtcrime  was not a thing that could be concealed for ever.
You might dodge successfully for a while, even for  years,  but
sooner or later they were bound to get you.
     It  was always at night -- the arrests invariably happened
at night. The sudden jerk out of sleep, the rough hand  shaking
your  shoulder,  the  lights  glaring in your eyes, the ring of
hard faces round the bed. In the vast majority of  cases  there
was   no   trial,  no  report  of  the  arrest.  People  simply
disappeared, always during the night.  Your  name  was  removed
from  the  registers,  every  record of everything you had ever
done was wiped out, your one-time existence was denied and then
forgotten. You were  abolished,  annihilated:  vaporized
was the usual word.
     For a moment he was seized by a kind of hysteria. He began
writing in a hurried untidy scrawl:
     theyll  shoot  me  i  don't care theyll shoot me in the
back of the neck i dont care down with big brother they  always
shoot  you  in  the  back of the neck i dont care down with big
     He sat back in his chair, slightly ashamed of himself, and
laid down the pen. The next moment he started violently.  There
was a knocking at the door.
     Already!  He  sat  as still as a mouse, in the futile hope
that whoever it was might go away after a single  attempt.  But
no,  the knocking was repeated. The worst thing of all would be
to delay. His heart was thumping like a  drum,  but  his  face,
from  long  habit,  was  probably expressionless. He got up and
moved heavily towards the door.

     x x x

     As he put his hand to the door-knob Winston  saw  that  he
had left the diary open on the table. DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER was
written all over it, in letters almost big enough to be legible
across  the  room. It was an inconceivably stupid thing to have
done. But, he realized, even in his panic he had not wanted  to
smudge  the creamy paper by shutting the book while the ink was
     He drew in his breath and opened  the  door.  Instantly  a
warm   wave   of  relief  flowed  through  him.  A  colourless,
crushed-looking woman, with wispy hair and a  lined  face,  was
standing outside.
     'Oh,  comrade,'  she  began  in  a dreary, whining sort of
voice, 'I thought I heard you come in. Do you think  you  could
come  across  and  have  a  look  at our kitchen sink? It's got
blocked up and-'
     It was Mrs Parsons, the wife of a neighbour  on  the  same
floor.  ('Mrs' was a word somewhat discountenanced by the Party
-- you were supposed to call everyone  'comrade'  --  but  with
some women one used it instinctively.) She was a woman of about
thirty,  but  looking  much  older. One had the impression that
there was dust in the creases of her face. Winston followed her
down the passage. These amateur  repair  jobs  were  an  almost
daily  irritation.  Victory  Mansions  were old flats, built in
1930 or thereabouts, and were falling to  pieces.  The  plaster
flaked  constantly  from ceilings and walls, the pipes burst in
every hard frost, the roof leaked whenever there was snow,  the
heating  system  was  usually running at half steam when it was
not closed down altogether from motives  of  economy.  Repairs,
except  what you could do for yourself, had to be sanctioned by
remote committees which were liable to hold up even the mending
of a window- pane for two years.
     'Of course it's only because Tom  isn't  home,'  said  Mrs
Parsons vaguely.
     The  Parsons' flat was bigger than Winston's, and dingy in
a different way. Everything had a battered,  trampled-on  look,
as though the place had just been visited by some large violent
animal.  Games  impedimenta  -- hockey-sticks, boxing-gloves. a
burst football, a pair of sweaty shorts turned  inside  out  --
lay  all over the floor, and on the table there was a litter of
dirty dishes and dog-eared exercise-books. On  the  walls  were
scarlet  banners  of  the  Youth  League  and  the Spies, and a
full-sized  poster  of  Big  Brother.  There  was   the   usual
boiled-cabbage  smell, common to the whole building, but it was
shot through by a sharper reek of sweat, which-one knew this at
the first sniff, though it was hard to say how was the sweat of
some person not present at the moment. In another room  someone
with a comb and a piece of toilet paper was trying to keep tune
with  the  military  music  which  was  still  issuing from the
     'It's the children,' said Mrs  Parsons,  casting  a  half-
apprehensive  glance at the door. 'They haven't been out today.
And of course-'
     She had a habit of  breaking  off  her  sentences  in  the
middle.  The  kitchen  sink  was  full  nearly to the brim with
filthy greenish water which smelt worse than ever  of  cabbage.
Winston knelt down and examined the angle-joint of the pipe. He
hated  using  his  hands,  and he hated bending down, which was
always liable to start him  coughing.  Mrs  Parsons  looked  on
     'Of course if Tom was home he'd put it right in a moment,'
she said.  'He loves anything like that. He's ever so good with
his hands, Tom is.'
     Parsons was Winston's fellow-employee at the  Ministry  of
Truth. He was a fattish but active man of paralysing stupidity,
a  mass  of  imbecile  enthusiasms  --  one of those completely
unquestioning, devoted drudges on whom, more even than  on  the
Thought  Police,  the  stability  of  the  Party  depended.  At
thirty-five he had just been unwillingly evicted from the Youth
League, and before graduating into  the  Youth  League  he  had
managed to stay on in the Spies for a year beyond the statutory
age.  At  the Ministry he was employed in some subordinate post
for which intelligence was not required, but on the other  hand
he  was  a  leading  figure on the Sports Committee and all the
other  committees  engaged  in  organizing   community   hikes,
spontaneous  demonstrations,  savings  campaigns, and voluntary
activities generally. He would inform  you  with  quiet  pride,
between whiffs of his pipe, that he had put in an appearance at
the  Community Centre every evening for the past four years. An
overpowering smell of sweat, a sort of unconscious testimony to
the strenuousness of his life, followed him about  wherever  he
went, and even remained behind him after he had gone.
     'Have  you  got a spanner?-said Winston, fiddling with the
nut on the angle-joint.
     'A  spanner,'  said  Mrs  Parsons,  immediately   becoming
invertebrate. 'I don't know, I'm sure. Perhaps the children -'
     There  was  a  trampling of boots and another blast on the
comb as the children charged into the living-room. Mrs  Parsons
brought  the spanner. Winston let out the water and disgustedly
removed the clot of human hair that had blocked up the pipe. He
cleaned his fingers as best he could in the cold water from the
tap and went back into the other room.
     'Up with your hands!' yelled a savage voice.
     A handsome, tough-looking boy of nine had popped  up  from
behind  the  table  and  was  menacing him with a toy automatic
pistol, while his small sister, about two years  younger,  made
the  same  gesture  with  a fragment of wood. Both of them were
dressed in the blue shorts, grey shirts, and  red  neckerchiefs
which  were  the uniform of the Spies. Winston raised his hands
above his head, but with an uneasy feeling, so vicious was  the
boy's demeanour, that it was not altogether a game.
     'You're  a  traitor!'  yelled  the boy. 'You're a thought-
criminal! You're a Eurasian spy! I'll shoot you, I'll  vaporize
you, I'll send you to the salt mines!'
     Suddenly  they  were  both  leaping  round  him,  shouting
'Traitor!' and 'Thought-criminal!' the  little  girl  imitating
her   brother  in  every  movement.  It  was  somehow  slightly
frightening, like the gambolling of tiger cubs which will  soon
grow  up  into  man-eaters.  There  was  a  sort of calculating
ferocity in the boy's eye, a quite evident  desire  to  hit  or
kick  Winston  and  a  consciousness  of  being very nearly big
enough to do so. It was a good job it was not a real pistol  he
was holding, Winston thought.
     Mrs  Parsons'  eyes  flitted nervously from Winston to the
children,  and  back  again.  In  the  better  light   of   the
living-room  he  noticed  with  interest  that  there  actually
was dust in the creases of her face.
     'They do get so noisy,' she  said.  'They're  disappointed
because they couldn't go to see the hanging, that's what it is.
I'm  too  busy to take them. and Tom won't be back from work in
     'Why can't we go and see the hanging?' roared the  boy  in
his huge voice.
     'Want  to  see  the  hanging  !  Want to see the hanging!'
chanted the little girl, still capering round.
     Some Eurasian prisoners, guilty of war crimes, were to  be
hanged  in  the  Park  that  evening,  Winston remembered. This
happened about once a  month,  and  was  a  popular  spectacle.
Children  always  clamoured  to be taken to see it. He took his
leave of Mrs Parsons and made for the door. But he had not gone
six steps down the passage when something hit the back  of  his
neck  an  agonizingly  painful blow. It was as though a red-hot
wire had been jabbed into him. He spun round just  in  time  to
see  Mrs  Parsons  dragging her son back into the doorway while
the boy pocketed a catapult.
     'Goldstein!' bellowed the boy as the door closed  on  him.
But what most struck Winston was the look of helpless fright on
the woman's greyish face.
     Back  in  the  flat he stepped quickly past the telescreen
and sat down at the table again, still rubbing  his  neck.  The
music  from  the  telescreen  had  stopped.  Instead, a clipped
military voice was reading out, with a sort of brutal relish, a
description of the armaments of the new Floating Fortress which
had just been anchored between lceland and the Faroe lslands.
     With those children, he thought, that wretched woman  must
lead  a life of terror. Another year, two years, and they would
be watching her night and  day  for  symptoms  of  unorthodoxy.
Nearly  all  children nowadays were horrible. What was worst of
all was that by means of such organizations as the  Spies  they
were  systematically  turned  into ungovernable little savages,
and yet this produced in them no  tendency  whatever  to  rebel
against  the  discipline  of  the  Party. On the contrary, they
adored the Party and everything connected with it.  The  songs,
the  processions,  the  banners,  the hiking, the drilling with
dummy rifles, the  yelling  of  slogans,  the  worship  of  Big
Brother  --  it  was  all  a sort of glorious game to them. All
their ferocity was turned outwards, against the enemies of  the
State,     against     foreigners,     traitors,     saboteurs,
thought-criminals. It was almost normal for people over  thirty
to  be  frightened of their own children. And with good reason,
for hardly a week passed in  which  The  Times  did  not
carry  a  paragraph  describing  how  some eavesdropping little
sneak -- 'child hero' was the  phrase  generally  used  --  had
overheard some compromising remark and denounced its parents to
the Thought Police.
     The  sting  of the catapult bullet had worn off. He picked
up his pen half-heartedly,  wondering  whether  he  could  find
something  more  to  write  in  the  diary.  Suddenly  he began
thinking of O'Brien again.
     Years ago -- how long was it? Seven years it must be -- he
had dreamed that he was walking through a pitch-dark room.  And
someone  sitting  to one side of him had said as he passed: 'We
shall meet in the place where there is  no  darkness.'  It  was
said  very  quietly,  almost  casually  --  a  statement, not a
command. He had walked on without pausing. What was curious was
that at the time, in the dream, the words  had  not  made  much
impression  on  him. It was only later and by degrees that they
had seemed to take on significance. He could not  now  remember
whether  it  was  before  or after having the dream that he had
seen O'Brien for the first time, nor could he remember when  he
had  first  identified  the voice as O'Brien's. But at any rate
the identification existed. It was O'Brien who  had  spoken  to
him out of the dark.
     Winston  had  never  been  able to feel sure -- even after
this morning's flash of the eyes it was still impossible to  be
sure  whether O'Brien was a friend or an enemy. Nor did it even
seem to matter greatly.  There  was  a  link  of  understanding
between  them,  more  important than affection or partisanship.
'We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness,' he had
said. Winston did not know what it meant, only that in some way
or another it would come true.
     The voice from the  telescreen  paused.  A  trumpet  call,
clear  and  beautiful, floated into the stagnant air. The voice
continued raspingly:
     'Attention! Your attention, please ! A newsflash has  this
moment  arrived  from  the  Malabar  front. Our forces in South
India have won a glorious victory. I am authorized to say  that
the  action  we are now reporting may well bring the war within
measurable distance of its end. Here is the newsflash -'
     Bad  news  coming,  thought  Winston.  And  sure   enough,
following  on  a  gory  description  of  the  annihilation of a
Eurasian army, with stupendous figures of killed and prisoners,
came the announcement that, as from next  week,  the  chocolate
ration would be reduced from thirty grammes to twenty.
     Winston  belched again. The gin was wearing off, leaving a
deflated feeling. The telescreen -- perhaps  to  celebrate  the
victory,  perhaps  to drown the memory of the lost chocolate --
crashed into 'Oceania, 'tis for thee'.  You  were  supposed  to
stand  to  attention.  However,  in his present position he was
     'Oceania, 'tis  for  thee'  gave  way  to  lighter  music.
Winston  walked  over  to  the  window, keeping his back to the
telescreen. The day was still cold  and  clear.  Somewhere  far
away  a  rocket  bomb exploded with a dull, reverberating roar.
About twenty or thirty of them a week were falling on London at
     Down in the street the wind flapped the torn poster to and
fro, and  the  word  INGSOC  fitfully  appeared  and  vanished.
Ingsoc. The sacred principles of Ingsoc. Newspeak, doublethink,
the mutability of the past. He felt as though he were wandering
in  the  forests  of  the sea bottom, lost in a monstrous world
where he himself was the monster. He was alone.  The  past  was
dead, the future was unimaginable. What certainty had he that a
single  human creature now living was on his side? And what way
of knowing that the dominion of  the  Party  would  not  endure
for ever? Like an answer, the three slogans on the white
face of the Ministry of Truth came back to him:


     He took a twenty-five cent piece out of his pocket. There,
too, in  tiny clear lettering, the same slogans were inscribed,
and on the other face of the coin the head of Big Brother. Even
from the coin the eyes pursued you. On coins, on stamps, on the
covers of books, on banners, on posters, and on  the  wrappings
of  a  cigarette Packet -- everywhere. Always the eyes watching
you and the voice enveloping you. Asleep or awake,  working  or
eating,  indoors  or  out of doors, in the bath or in bed -- no
escape. Nothing was your own except the few  cubic  centimetres
inside your skull.
     The  sun  had shifted round, and the myriad windows of the
Ministry of Truth, with the light no longer  shining  on  them,
looked  grim  as the loopholes of a fortress. His heart quailed
before the enormous pyramidal shape.  It  was  too  strong,  it
could  not be stormed. A thousand rocket bombs would not batter
it down. He wondered again for whom he was writing  the  diary.
For  the  future,  for  the  past  --  for an age that might be
imaginary. And  in  front  of  him  there  lay  not  death  but
annihilation.  The  diary would be reduced to ashes and himself
to vapour. Only the Thought  Police  would  read  what  he  had
written,  before  they  wiped  it  out  of existence and out of
memory. How could you make appeal to  the  future  when  not  a
trace  of  you, not even an anonymous word scribbled on a piece
of paper, could physically survive?
     The telescreen struck  fourteen.  He  must  leave  in  ten
minutes. He had to be back at work by fourteen-thirty.
     Curiously,  the chiming of the hour seemed to have put new
heart into him. He was a lonely ghost  uttering  a  truth  that
nobody  would  ever hear. But so long as he uttered it, in some
obscure way the continuity was not broken. It was not by making
yourself heard but by staying sane  that  you  carried  on  the
human  heritage. He went back to the table, dipped his pen, and
     To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is
free, when men are different from one another and do  not  live
alone -- to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be
     From  the  age of uniformity, from the age of solitude,
from the age of Big Brother, from the  age  of  doublethink  --
greetings !
     He  was  already dead, he reflected. It seemed to him that
it was only now, when he had begun to be able to formulate  his
thoughts, that he had taken the decisive step. The consequences
of every act are included in the act itself. He wrote:
     Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime IS
     Now  he  had  recognized  himself  as a dead man it became
important to stay alive as long as possible. Two fingers of his
right hand were inkstained. It was exactly the kind  of  detail
that  might  betray  you. Some nosing zealot in the Ministry (a
woman, probably: someone like the little sandy- haired woman or
the dark-haired girl from the Fiction Department)  might  start
wondering  why  he  had been writing during the lunch interval,
why he had used an oldfashioned pen, what  he  had  been
writing  -- and then drop a hint in the appropriate quarter. He
went to the bathroom and carefully scrubbed the ink  away  with
the   gritty  dark-brown  soap  which  rasped  your  skin  like
sandpaper and was therefore well adapted for this purpose.
     He put the diary away in the drawer. It was quite  useless
to  think of hiding it, but he could at least make sure whether
or not its existence had been discovered. A  hair  laid  across
the  page-ends  was  too obvious. With the tip of his finger he
picked up an identifiable grain of whitish dust  and  deposited
it  on the corner of the cover, where it was bound to be shaken
off if the book was moved.

     x x x

     Winston was dreaming of his mother.
     He must, he thought, have been ten  or  eleven  years  old
when  his  mother  had disappeared. She was a tall, statuesque,
rather silent woman with slow movements  and  magnificent  fair
hair.  His  father he remembered more vaguely as dark and thin,
dressed  always  in  neat  dark  clothes  (Winston   remembered
especially  the  very  thin  soles  of  his father's shoes) and
wearing spectacles. The two of them must  evidently  have  been
swallowed up in one of the first great purges of the fifties.
     At  this  moment his mother was sitting in some place deep
down beneath him, with his young sister in her arms. He did not
remember his sister at all, except  as  a  tiny,  feeble  baby,
always  silent,  with  large,  watchful eyes. Both of them were
looking up at him. They were down in some subterranean place --
the bottom of a well, for instance, or a very deep grave -- but
it was a place which, already far below him, was itself  moving
downwards.  They  were in the saloon of a sinking ship, looking
up at him through the darkening water. There was still  air  in
the  saloon,  they could still see him and he them, but all the
while they were sinking down, down into the green waters  which
in  another  moment  must hide them from sight for ever. He was
out in the light and air while they were being sucked  down  to
death,  and they were down there because he was up here.
He knew it and they knew it, and he could see the knowledge  in
their  faces. There was no reproach either in their faces or in
their hearts, only the knowledge that they must  die  in  order
that  he  might  remain  alive,  and  that this was part of the
unavoidable order of things.
     He could not remember what had happened, but  he  knew  in
his  dream  that  in  some  way the lives of his mother and his
sister had been sacrificed to his own.  It  was  one  of  those
dreams which, while retaining the characteristic dream scenery,
are a continuation of one's intellectual life, and in which one
becomes  aware  of  facts  and  ideas  which still seem new and
valuable after one is awake. The thing that now suddenly struck
Winston was that his mother's death, nearly thirty  years  ago,
had  been  tragic  and  sorrowful  in  a way that was no longer
possible. Tragedy, he perceived, belonged to the ancient  time,
to  a  time when there was still privacy, love, and friendship,
and when the members of a family stood by one  another  without
needing  to  know  the  reason. His mother's memory tore at his
heart because she had died loving him, when he  was  too  young
and  selfish to love her in return, and because somehow, he did
not remember how, she had sacrificed herself to a conception of
loyalty that was private and unalterable. Such things, he  saw,
could  not  happen  today.  Today  there were fear, hatred, and
pain, but no dignity of emotion, no deep  or  complex  sorrows.
All  this  he seemed to see in the large eyes of his mother and
his sister, looking up at him through the green water, hundreds
of fathoms down and still sinking.
     Suddenly he was standing  on  short  springy  turf,  on  a
summer  evening  when  the  slanting rays of the sun gilded the
ground. The landscape that he was looking at recurred so  often
in his dreams that he was never fully certain whether or not he
had seen it in the real world. In his waking thoughts he called
it  the  Golden  Country. It was an old, rabbit-bitten pasture,
with a foot-track wandering across it and a molehill  here  and
there.  In  the  ragged hedge on the opposite side of the field
the boughs of the elm trees were swaying very  faintly  in  the
breeze, their leaves just stirring in dense masses like women's
hair.  Somewhere near at hand, though out of sight, there was a
clear, slow-moving stream where dace were swimming in the pools
under the willow trees.
     The girl with dark hair was coming towards them across the
field. With what seemed a single  movement  she  tore  off  her
clothes  and  flung them disdainfully aside. Her body was white
and smooth, but it aroused no desire in him, indeed  he  barely
looked  at  it.  What  overwhelmed  him  in  that  instant  was
admiration for the  gesture  with  which  she  had  thrown  her
clothes  aside.  With  its  grace and carelessness it seemed to
annihilate a whole culture,  a  whole  system  of  thought,  as
though  Big  Brother and the Party and the Thought Police could
all be swept into nothingness by a single splendid movement  of
the  arm. That too was a gesture belonging to the ancient time.
Winston woke up with the word 'Shakespeare' on his lips.
     The telescreen was giving forth an  ear-splitting  whistle
which  continued  on  the  same note for thirty seconds. It was
nought seven  fifteen,  getting-up  time  for  office  workers.
Winston  wrenched his body out of bed -- naked, for a member of
the Outer Party received only 3,000 clothing coupons  annually,
and a suit of pyjamas was 600 -- and seized a dingy singlet and
a  pair  of shorts that were lying across a chair. The Physical
Jerks would begin in three minutes.  The  next  moment  he  was
doubled  up  by  a  violent  coughing  fit  which nearly always
attacked him soon after waking up.  It  emptied  his  lungs  so
completely that he could only begin breathing again by lying on
his  back  and  taking  a  series  of deep gasps. His veins had
swelled with the effort of the cough, and  the  varicose  ulcer
had started itching.
     'Thirty to forty group!' yapped a piercing female voice. '
Thirty  to  forty  group! Take your places, please. Thirties to
     Winston sprang to attention in front  of  the  telescreen,
upon which the image of a youngish woman, scrawny but muscular,
dressed in tunic and gym-shoes, had already appeared.
     'Arms  bending and stretching!' she rapped out. 'Take your
time by me. One,  two,  three,  four!  One,  two,
three,  four!  Come  on,  comrades,  put a bit of life into it!
One, two, three four! One two, three, four!  .  .
     The  pain  of the coughing fit had not quite driven out of
Winston's mind the  impression  made  by  his  dream,  and  the
rhythmic  movements of the exercise restored it somewhat. As he
mechanically shot his arms back and forth, wearing on his  face
the  look  of grim enjoyment which was considered proper during
the Physical Jerks, he was struggling to think his way backward
into  the  dim  period  of  his   early   childhood.   It   was
extraordinarily  difficult.  Beyond the late fifties everything
faded. When there were no external records that you could refer
to, even the outline of your own life lost its  sharpness.  You
remembered  huge  events which had quite probably not happened,
you remembered the detail of incidents without  being  able  to
recapture  their  atmosphere, and there were long blank periods
to  which  you  could  assign  nothing.  Everything  had   been
different  then.  Even the names of countries, and their shapes
on the map, had been different. Airstrip One, for instance, had
not been so called in those days: it had been called England or
Britain, though London, he felt fairly certain, had always been
called London.
     Winston could not definitely  remember  a  time  when  his
country  had not been at war, but it was evident that there had
been a fairly long interval  of  peace  during  his  childhood,
because  one  of  his  early  memories was of an air raid which
appeared to take everyone by surprise. Perhaps it was the  time
when  the  atomic  bomb  had  fallen  on Colchester. He did not
remember the raid itself, but he did remember his father's hand
clutching his own as they hurried down, down,  down  into  some
place  deep  in  the  earth, round and round a spiral staircase
which rang under his feet and which finally so wearied his legs
that he began whimpering and they had to  stop  and  rest.  His
mother,  in  her  slow,  dreamy  way,  was following a long way
behind them. She was carrying his baby sister -- or perhaps  it
was only a bundle of blankets that she was carrying: he was not
certain whether his sister had been born then. Finally they had
emerged into a noisy, crowded place which he had realized to be
a Tube station.
     There  were  people  sitting  all  over  the stone-flagged
floor, and other people, packed tightly together, were  sitting
on metal bunks, one above the other. Winston and his mother and
father  found themselves a place on the floor, and near them an
old man and an old woman were sitting side by side on  a  bunk.
The  old  man  had  on a decent dark suit and a black cloth cap
pushed back from very white hair: his face was scarlet and  his
eyes  were  blue and full of tears. He reeked of gin. It seemed
to breathe out of his skin in place of  sweat,  and  one  could
have  fancied  that  the  tears welling from his eyes were pure
gin. But though slightly drunk he was also suffering under some
grief that was genuine and  unbearable.  In  his  childish  way
Winston  grasped  that  some terrible thing, something that was
beyond forgiveness  and  could  never  be  remedied,  had  just
happened.  It  also  seemed  to  him  that he knew what it was.
Someone whom the old  man  loved  --  a  little  granddaughter,
perhaps  had  been  killed.  Every few minutes the old man kept
     'We didn't ought to 'ave  trusted  'em.  I  said  so,  Ma,
didn't  I?  That's  what  comes  of trusting 'em. I said so all
along. We didn't ought to 'ave trusted the buggers.
     But which  buggers  they  didn't  ought  to  have  trusted
Winston could not now remember.
     Since  about that time, war had been literally continuous,
though strictly speaking it had not always been the  same  war.
For several months during his childhood there had been confused
street  fighting  in London itself, some of which he remembered
vividly. But to trace out the history of the whole  period,  to
say  who was fighting whom at any given moment, would have been
utterly impossible, since no  written  record,  and  no  spoken
word,  ever  made  mention  of  any  other  alignment  than the
existing one. At this moment, for example, in 1984 (if  it  was
1984),  Oceania  was  at  war with Eurasia and in alliance with
Eastasia. In  no  public  or  private  utterance  was  it  ever
admitted  that  the  three  powers had at any time been grouped
along different lines. Actually, as Winston well knew,  it  was
only four years since Oceania had been at war with Eastasia and
in  alliance  with  Eurasia.  But  that  was  merely a piece of
furtive knowledge which he  happened  to  possess  because  his
memory  was  not  satisfactorily  under control. Officially the
change of partners had never happened. Oceania was at war  with
Eurasia: therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia.
The  enemy  of the moment always represented absolute evil, and
it followed that any past or  future  agreement  with  him  was
     The frightening thing, he reflected for the ten thousandth
time as  he forced his shoulders painfully backward (with hands
on hips, they were gyrating their bodies  from  the  waist,  an
exercise  that was supposed to be good for the back muscles) --
the frightening thing was that it might all  be  true.  If  the
Party  could  thrust  its hand into the past and say of this or
that event, it never happened -- that, surely, was  more
terrifying than mere torture and death?
     The  Party  said  that  Oceania had never been in alliance
with Eurasia. He, Winston Smith, knew that Oceania had been  in
alliance  with  Eurasia  as short a time as four years ago. But
where did that knowledge exist? Only in his own  consciousness,
which  in  any case must soon be annihilated. And if all others
accepted the lie which the Party imposed -if all  records  told
the  same  tale  -- then the lie passed into history and became
truth. 'Who controls the past,' ran the Party slogan, 'controls
the future: who controls the present controls  the  past.'  And
yet  the  past,  though of its nature alterable, never had been
altered. Whatever was true now was  true  from  everlasting  to
everlasting.  It  was  quite simple. All that was needed was an
unending series of victories over  your  own  memory.  'Reality
control', they called it: in Newspeak, 'doublethink'
     'Stand  easy!'  barked  the  instructress,  a  little more
     Winston sank his arms to his sides and slowly refilled his
lungs with air. His mind slid away into the labyrinthine  world
of  doublethink.  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
     The  instructress had called them to attention again. 'And
now let's see which  of  us  can  touch  our  toes!'  she  said
enthusiastically.  'Right over from the hips, please, comrades.
One-two! One- two! . . .'
     Winston loathed this exercise, which sent  shooting  pains
all  the  way from his heels to his buttocks and often ended by
bringing on another coughing  fit.  The  half-pleasant  quality
went  out  of  his meditations. The past, he reflected, had not
merely been altered, it had been actually  destroyed.  For  how
could  you  establish  even  the  most  obvious fact when there
existed no record outside your own memory? He tried to remember
in what year he had first heard  mention  of  Big  Brother.  He
thought  it  must have been at some time in the sixties, but it
was impossible to  be  certain.  In  the  Party  histories,  of
course,  Big  Brother figured as the leader and guardian of the
Revolution since its very earliest days. His exploits had  been
gradually  pushed backwards in time until already they extended
into the fabulous world of the forties and the  thirties,  when
the  capitalists  in  their strange cylindrical hats still rode
through the streets of London in great gleaming  motor-cars  or
horse carriages with glass sides. There was no knowing how much
of  this  legend  was true and how much invented. Winston could
not even remember at what date the Party itself had  come  into
existence. He did not believe he had ever heard the word Ingsoc
before   1960,  but  it  was  possible  that  in  its  Oldspeak
form-'English Socialism', that is to say -- it had been current
earlier. Everything melted into mist.  Sometimes,  indeed,  you
could  put  your finger on a definite lie. It was not true, for
example, as was claimed in the Party history  books,  that  the
Party  had  invented aeroplanes. He remembered aeroplanes since
his earliest childhood. But you could prove nothing. There  was
never  any evidence. Just once in his whole life he had held in
his hands unmistakable documentary proof of  the  falsification
of an historical fact. And on that occasion
     'Smith !' screamed the shrewish voice from the telescreen.
'6079 Smith W.! Yes, you! Bend lower, please! You can do
better   than   that.   You're   not   trying.  Lower,  please!
That's better, comrade. Now stand  at  ease,  the  whole
squad, and watch me.'
     A sudden hot sweat had broken out all over Winston's body.
His face  remained  completely  inscrutable. Never show dismay!
Never show resentment! A single flicker of the eyes could  give
you  away.  He stood watching while the instructress raised her
arms above her head and -- one could not  say  gracefully,  but
with remarkable neatness and efficiency -- bent over and tucked
the first joint of her fingers under her toes.
     'There,  comrades!  That's how I want to see
you doing it. Watch me again. I'm thirty-nine and I've had four
children. Now look.' She bent over again.  'You  see  my  knees
aren't  bent.  You  can all do it if you want to,' she added as
she straightened herself  up.  'Anyone  under  forty-  five  is
perfectly  capable  of touching his toes. We don't all have the
privilege of fighting in the front line, but at  least  we  can
all  keep  fit. Remember our boys on the Malabar front! And the
sailors in the Floating Fortresses! Just think what they
have to put up with. Now try  again.  That's  better,  comrade,
that's much better,' she added encouragingly as Winston,
with a violent lunge, succeeded in touching his toes with knees
unbent, for the first time in several years.

     x x x

     With  the  deep,  unconscious  sigh  which  not  even  the
nearness of the telescreen could prevent him from uttering when
his day's work started, Winston pulled the  speakwrite  towards
him,  blew  the  dust  from  its  mouthpiece,  and  put  on his
spectacles. Then he unrolled and clipped  together  four  small
cylinders  of  paper  which  had  already  flopped  out  of the
pneumatic tube on the right-hand side of his desk.
     In the walls of the cubicle there were three orifices.  To
the right of the speakwrite, a small pneumatic tube for written
messages,  to the left, a larger one for newspapers; and in the
side wall, within easy reach of Winston's arm, a  large  oblong
slit  protected  by  a  wire  grating.  This  last  was for the
disposal of waste paper. Similar slits existed in thousands  or
tens  of  thousands  throughout the building, not only in every
room but at short intervals in every corridor. For some  reason
they  were  nicknamed  memory  holes.  When  one  knew that any
document was due for destruction, or even when one saw a  scrap
of  waste paper lying about, it was an automatic action to lift
the flap of the nearest memory hole and drop it  in,  whereupon
it  would  be  whirled  away  on  a  current of warm air to the
enormous furnaces which were hidden somewhere in  the  recesses
of the building.
     Winston  examined  the  four  slips  of paper which he had
unrolled. Each contained a message of only one or two lines, in
the abbreviated jargon -- not actually Newspeak, but consisting
largely of Newspeak words -- which was used in the Ministry for
internal purposes. They ran:

     times 17.3.84 bb speech malreported africa rectify
     times 19.12.83 forecasts 3 yp  4th  quarter  83  misprints
verify current issue
     times 14.2.84 miniplenty malquoted chocolate rectify
     times  3.12.83 reporting bb dayorder doubleplusungood refs
unpersons rewrite fullwise upsub antefiling

     With a faint feeling  of  satisfaction  Winston  laid  the
fourth  message  aside. It was an intricate and responsible job
and had better be dealt with last. The other three were routine
matters, though the second one would probably mean some tedious
wading through lists of figures.
     Winston dialled  'back  numbers'  on  the  telescreen  and
called  for  the  appropriate issues of The Times, which
slid out of the pneumatic tube after only a few minutes' delay.
The messages he had received referred to articles or news items
which for one reason or another it  was  thought  necessary  to
alter,  or,  as  the  official  phrase  had it, to rectify. For
example, it appeared from The Times of  the  seventeenth
of  March  that Big Brother, in his speech of the previous day,
had predicted that the South Indian front  would  remain  quiet
but  that  a  Eurasian  offensive  would shortly be launched in
North Africa. As it happened, the Eurasian Higher  Command  had
launched  its  offensive  in  South India and left North Africa
alone. It was therefore necessary to rewrite a paragraph of Big
Brother's speech, in such a way as  to  make  him  predict  the
thing that had actually happened. Or again, The Times of
the nineteenth of December had published the official forecasts
of  the  output  of various classes of consumption goods in the
fourth quarter of 1983, which was also the sixth quarter of the
Ninth Three-Year Plan. Today's issue contained a  statement  of
the  actual  output,  from which it appeared that the forecasts
were in every instance grossly  wrong.  Winston's  job  was  to
rectify  the  original  figures  by  making them agree with the
later ones. As for the third message, it  referred  to  a  very
simple  error  which could be set right in a couple of minutes.
As short a time ago as February, the  Ministry  of  Plenty  had
issued  a  promise  (a  'categorical  pledge' were the official
words) that there would be no reduction of the chocolate ration
during 1984. Actually, as  Winston  was  aware,  the  chocolate
ration  was  to be reduced from thirty grammes to twenty at the
end of the present week. All that was needed was to  substitute
for  the  original  promise a warning that it would probably be
necessary to reduce the ration at some time in April.
     As soon as Winston had dealt with each of the messages, he
clipped his speakwritten corrections to the appropriate copy of
The Times and  pushed  them  into  the  pneumatic
tube.  Then,  with  a  movement which was as nearly as possible
unconscious, he crumpled up the original message and any  notes
that he himself had made, and dropped them into the memory hole
to be devoured by the flames.
     What  happened  in  the  unseen  labyrinth  to  which  the
pneumatic tubes led, he did not know in detail, but he did know
in general terms. As soon as all the corrections which happened
to be necessary in any particular number  of  The  Times
had   been   assembled  and  collated,  that  number  would  be
reprinted, the original copy destroyed, and the corrected  copy
placed  on  the  files in its stead. This 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
prediction  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.
The  largest section of the Records Department, far larger than
the one on which Winston worked, consisted  simply  of  persons
whose  duty  it  was  to  track  down and collect all copies of
books,  newspapers,  and  other  documents   which   had   been
superseded  and  were  due  for destruction. A number of The
Times  which  might,  because  of  changes   in   political
alignment,  or mistaken prophecies uttered by Big Brother, have
been rewritten a dozen times still stood on the  files  bearing
its  original date, and no other copy existed to contradict it.
Books, also, were recalled and rewritten again and  again,  and
were   invariably  reissued  without  any  admission  that  any
alteration had been made. Even the written  instructions  which
Winston received, and which he invariably got rid of as soon as
he  had dealt with them, never stated or implied that an act of
forgery was to be committed: always the reference was to slips,
errors, misprints, or misquotations which it was  necessary  to
put right in the interests of accuracy.
     But actually, he thought as he re-adjusted the Ministry of
Plenty's  figures,  it  was not even forgery. It was merely the
substitution of one piece of nonsense for another. Most of  the
material  that  you  were  dealing  with  had no connexion with
anything in the real world, not even the kind of connexion that
is contained in a direct lie. Statistics were just  as  much  a
fantasy  in  their  original  version  as  in  their  rectified
version. A great deal of the time you  were  expected  to  make
them up out of your head. For example, the Ministry of Plenty's
forecast  had  estimated the output of boots for the quarter at
145 million pairs. The actual output  was  given  as  sixty-two
millions.  Winston,  however, in rewriting the forecast, marked
the figure down to fifty-seven millions, so as to allow for the
usual claim that the quota had been overfulfilled. In any case,
sixty-two millions was no  nearer  the  truth  than  fiftyseven
millions,  or  than 145 millions. Very likely no boots had been
produced at all. Likelier still, nobody knew how many had  been
produced,  much less cared. All one knew was that every quarter
astronomical numbers of boots were  produced  on  paper,  while
perhaps half the population of Oceania went barefoot. And so it
was  with  every  class  of  recorded  fact,  great  or  small.
Everything faded away into a shadow-world  in  which,  finally,
even the date of the year had become uncertain.
     Winston  glanced  across  the  hall.  In the corresponding
cubicle on the  other  side  a  small,  precise-looking,  dark-
chinned  man  named Tillotson was working steadily away, with a
folded newspaper on his knee and his mouth very  close  to  the
mouthpiece  of the speakwrite. He had the air of trying to keep
what he was saying a secret between himself and the telescreen.
He looked up, and his spectacles  darted  a  hostile  flash  in
Winston's direction.
     Winston  hardly  knew Tillotson, and had no idea what work
he was employed on. People in the Records  Department  did  not
readily  talk  about  their jobs. In the long, windowless hall,
with its double row of  cubicles  and  its  endless  rustle  of
papers and hum of voices murmuring into speakwrites, there were
quite  a  dozen  people whom Winston did not even know by name,
though he daily saw them hurrying to and fro in  the  corridors
or  gesticulating  in the Two Minutes Hate. He knew that in the
cubicle next to him the little woman with sandy hair toiled day
in day out, simply at tracking down and deleting from the Press
the names of people who had been vaporized and  were  therefore
considered  never  to have existed. There was a certain fitness
in this, since her own husband had been vaporized a  couple  of
years  earlier.  And  a  few cubicles away a mild, ineffectual,
dreamy creature named Ampleforth, with very hairy  ears  and  a
surprising  talent  for  juggling  with  rhymes and metres, was
engaged in producing garbled versions -- definitive texts, they
were  called  --  of  poems  which  had  become   ideologically
offensive,  but  which  for  one  reason  or another were to be
retained in the anthologies. And  this  hall,  with  its  fifty
workers  or  thereabouts,  was  only  one sub-section, a single
cell, as it  were,  in  the  huge  complexity  of  the  Records
Department.  Beyond, above, below, were other swarms of workers
engaged in an unimaginable multitude of jobs.  There  were  the
huge  printingshops  with  their  sub-editors, their typography
experts, and their elaborately equipped studios for the  faking
of  photographs. There was the tele-programmes section with its
engineers, its producers, and its  teams  of  actors  specially
chosen  for  their  skill  in  imitating voices. There were the
armies of reference clerks whose job  was  simply  to  draw  up
lists of books and periodicals which were due for recall. There
were  the  vast repositories where the corrected documents were
stored, and the hidden furnaces where the original copies  were
destroyed.  And somewhere or other, quite anonymous, there were
the directing brains who co-ordinated the whole effort and laid
down the lines of policy which  made  it  necessary  that  this
fragment  of  the past should be preserved, that one falsified,
and the other rubbed out of existence.
     And the Records Department, after all, was itself  only  a
single  branch  of the Ministry of Truth, whose primary job was
not to reconstruct the past  but  to  supply  the  citizens  of
Oceania   with   newspapers,   films,   textbooks,   telescreen
programmes, plays, novels -- with  every  conceivable  kind  of
information,  instruction, or entertainment, from a statue to a
slogan, from a lyric poem to a biological treatise, and from  a
child's   spelling-book  to  a  Newspeak  dictionary.  And  the
Ministry had not only to supply the multifarious needs  of  the
party,  but also to repeat the whole operation at a lower level
for the benefit of the proletariat. There was a whole chain  of
separate   departments  dealing  with  proletarian  literature,
music, drama, and entertainment generally. Here  were  produced
rubbishy  newspapers  containing  almost  nothing except sport,
crime and astrology, sensational  five-cent  novelettes,  films
oozing  with  sex,  and  sentimental  songs which were composed
entirely by mechanical means on a special kind of  kaleidoscope
known  as a versificator. There was even a whole sub-section --
Pornosec, it  was  called  in  Newspeak  --  engaged  in
producing the lowest kind of pornography, which was sent out in
sealed  packets and which no Party member, other than those who
worked on it, was permitted to look at.
     Three messages had slid out of the  pneumatic  tube  while
Winston  was  working, but they were simple matters, and he had
disposed of them before the Two Minutes Hate  interrupted  him.
When  the  Hate  was  over he returned to his cubicle, took the
Newspeak dictionary from the shelf, pushed  the  speakwrite  to
one  side, cleaned his spectacles, and settled down to his main
job of the morning.
     Winston's greatest pleasure in life was in his work.  Most
of it was a tedious routine, but included in it there were also
jobs so difficult and intricate that you could lose yourself in
them  as  in  the  depths of a mathematical problem -- delicate
pieces of forgery in which you had nothing to guide you  except
your knowledge of the principles of Ingsoc and your estimate of
what the Party wanted you to say. Winston was good at this kind
of  thing.  On  occasion  he  had  even been entrusted with the
rectification of The Times leading articles, which  were
written  entirely  in Newspeak. He unrolled the message that he
had set aside earlier.  It  ran:

     times  3.12.83 reporting bb dayorder doubleplusungood refs
unpersons rewrite fullwise upsub antefiling

     In  Oldspeak (or standard English) this might be rendered:
The reporting of Big Brother's Order for the Day in  The  Times
of  December  3rd  1983  is  extremely unsatisfactory and makes
references to non-existent persons.  Rewrite  it  in  full  and
submit your draft to higher authority before filing.
     Winston  read through the offending article. Big Brother's
Order for the Day, it  seemed,  had  been  chiefly  devoted  to
praising  the  work  of  an  organization  known as FFCC, which
supplied cigarettes and other comforts to the  sailors  in  the
Floating  Fortresses.  A  certain  Comrade Withers, a prominent
member of the Inner Party, had been  singled  out  for  special
mention  and  awarded  a  decoration,  the Order of Conspicuous
Merit, Second Class.
     Three months later FFCC had suddenly been  dissolved  with
no  reasons  given.  One  could  assume  that  Withers  and his
associates were now in disgrace, but there had been  no  report
of the matter in the Press or on the telescreen. That was to be
expected,  since  it  was unusual for political offenders to be
put on trial or  even  publicly  denounced.  The  great  purges
involving  thousands  of people, with public trials of traitors
and thought-criminals  who  made  abject  confession  of  their
crimes  and  were afterwards executed, were special show-pieces
not occurring oftener than once in  a  couple  of  years.  More
commonly,  people who had incurred the displeasure of the Party
simply disappeared and were never heard of again. One never had
the smallest clue as to what had  happened  to  them.  In  some
cases  they  might  not  even  be  dead.  Perhaps thirty people
personally known to Winston,  not  counting  his  parents,  had
disappeared at one time or another.
     Winston  stroked his nose gently with a paper-clip. In the
cubicle across the way Comrade Tillotson  was  still  crouching
secretively  over  his  speakwrite.  He  raised  his head for a
moment: again the  hostile  spectacle-flash.  Winston  wondered
whether  Comrade  Tillotson  was  engaged  on  the  same job as
himself. It was perfectly possible. So tricky a piece  of  work
would never be entrusted to a single person: on the other hand,
to turn it over to a committee would be to admit openly that an
act  of  fabrication was taking place. Very likely as many as a
dozen people were now working away on rival  versions  of  what
Big  Brother had actually said. And presently some master brain
in the Inner Party would select this  version  or  that,  would
re-edit   it  and  set  in  motion  the  complex  processes  of
cross-referencing that would be required, and then  the  chosen
lie would pass into the permanent records and become truth.
     Winston  did  not  know  why  Withers  had been disgraced.
Perhaps it was for  corruption  or  incompetence.  Perhaps  Big
Brother  was  merely  getting rid of a too-popular subordinate.
Perhaps Withers or someone close to him had been  suspected  of
heretical  tendencies.  Or perhaps -- what was likeliest of all
-- the  thing  had   simply   happened   because   purges   and
vaporizations  were  a  necessary  part  of  the  mechanics  of
government.  The  only  real  clue  lay  in  the  words   'refs
unpersons',  which indicated that Withers was already dead. You
could not invariably assume this to be  the  case  when  people
were  arrested.  Sometimes  they  were  released and allowed to
remain at liberty for as much as a year  or  two  years  before
being  executed.  Very  occasionally  some  person whom you had
believed dead long since would make a ghostly  reappearance  at
some  public  trial where he would implicate hundreds of others
by his testimony before vanishing, this time for ever. Withers,
however, was already an unperson. He did not  exist:  he
had  never existed. Winston decided that it would not be enough
simply to reverse the tendency of Big Brother's speech. It  was
better  to make it deal with something totally unconnected with
its original subject.
     He might turn the speech into the  usual  denunciation  of
traitors  and  thought-criminals,  but  that  was  a little too
obvious, while to invent  a  victory  at  the  front,  or  some
triumph  of over-production in the Ninth Three-Year Plan, might
complicate the records too much. What was needed was a piece of
pure fantasy. Suddenly there sprang into his mind,  ready  made
as  it  were,  the  image  of a certain Comrade Ogilvy, who had
recently died in battle, in heroic  circumstances.  There  were
occasions  when  Big  Brother  devoted his Order for the Day to
commemorating some humble, rankand-file Party member whose life
and death he held up as an example worthy to be followed. Today
he should commemorate Comrade Ogilvy. It was  true  that  there
was  no such person as Comrade Ogilvy, but a few lines of print
and a couple of faked photographs would  soon  bring  him  into
     Winston  thought  for a moment, then pulled the speakwrite
towards him and  began  dictating  in  Big  Brother's  familiar
style: a style at once military and pedantic, and, because of a
trick  of  asking  questions  and  then promptly answering them
('What lessons do we learn  from  this  fact,  comrades  ?  The
lesson  --  which  is also one of the fundamental principles of
Ingsoc -- that,' etc., etc.), easy to imitate.
     At the age of three Comrade Ogilvy had  refused  all  toys
except  a  drum,  a sub-machine gun, and a model helicopter. At
six -- a year early, by a special relaxation of the rules -- he
had joined the Spies, at nine he had been a  troop  leader.  At
eleven  he  had denounced his uncle to the Thought Police after
overhearing a  conversation  which  appeared  to  him  to  have
criminal  tendencies.  At  seventeen  he  had  been  a district
organizer of the Junior Anti-Sex League. At nine  teen  he  had
designed  a hand-grenade which had been adopted by the Ministry
of Peace and which, at its first trial,  had  killed  thirtyone
Eurasian  prisoners  in  one  burst.  At  twenty-three  he  had
perished in action. Pursued by enemy jet  planes  while  flying
over  the  Indian  Ocean  with  important  despatches,  he  had
weighted his body with his machine gun and  leapt  out  of  the
helicopter  into deep water, despatches and all -- an end, said
Big Brother, which it was  impossible  to  contemplate  without
feelings of envy. Big Brother added a few remarks on the purity
and  single-mindedness of Comrade Ogilvy's life. He was a total
abstainer and a nonsmoker, had no recreations  except  a  daily
hour  in  the  gymnasium,  and  had  taken  a  vow of celibacy,
believing marriage and the care of a family to be  incompatible
with  a  twenty-four-hour-a-day  devotion  to  duty.  He had no
subjects of conversation except the principles of  Ingsoc,  and
no  aim in life except the defeat of the Eurasian enemy and the
hunting-down  of  spies,   saboteurs,   thoughtcriminals,   and
traitors generally.
     Winston  debated  with  himself  whether  to award Comrade
Ogilvy the Order of Conspicuous Merit: in the  end  he  decided
against it because of the unnecessary cross-referencing that it
would entail.
     Once  again  he  glanced  at  his  rival  in  the opposite
cubicle. Something seemed  to  tell  him  with  certainty  that
Tillotson was busy on the same job as himself. There was no way
of  knowing  whose  job would finally be adopted, but he felt a
profound conviction that it would be his own.  Comrade  Ogilvy,
unimagined  an  hour  ago,  was  now  a  fact. It struck him as
curious that you could create dead men  but  not  living  ones.
Comrade  Ogilvy,  who  had  never  existed  in the present, now
existed in the past, and when  once  the  act  of  forgery  was
forgotten,  he  would exist just as authentically, and upon the
same evidence, as Charlemagne or Julius Caesar.

     x x x

     In the low-ceilinged canteen, deep underground, the  lunch
queue jerked slowly forward. The room was already very full and
deafeningly  noisy. From the grille at the counter the steam of
stew came pouring forth, with a sour metallic smell  which  did
not quite overcome the fumes of Victory Gin. On the far side of
the  room there was a small bar, a mere hole in the wall, where
gin could be bought at ten cents the large nip.
     'Just the  man  I  was  looking  for,'  said  a  voice  at
Winston's back.
     He turned round. It was his friend Syme, who worked in the
Research Department. Perhaps 'friend' was not exactly the right
word.  You did not have friends nowadays, you had comrades: but
there were some comrades whose society was pleasanter than that
of others. Syme was a philologist, a  specialist  in  Newspeak.
Indeed,  he was one of the enormous team of experts now engaged
in compiling the Eleventh Edition of the  Newspeak  Dictionary.
He  was  a  tiny creature, smaller than Winston, with dark hair
and large, protuberant eyes, at  once  mournful  and  derisive,
which  seemed to search your face closely while he was speaking
to you.
     'I wanted to ask you whether you'd got any razor  blades,'
he said.
     'Not one!' said Winston with a sort of guilty haste. 'I've
tried all over the place. They don't exist any longer.'
     Everyone kept asking you for razor blades. Actually he had
two unused  ones  which  he  was  hoarding up. There had been a
famine of them for months past. At any given moment  there  was
some  necessary  article  which  the Party shops were unable to
supply. Sometimes it was  buttons,  sometimes  it  was  darning
wool,  sometimes  it  was  shoelaces;  at  present it was razor
blades. You could  only  get  hold  of  them,  if  at  all,  by
scrounging more or less furtively on the 'free' market.
     'I've  been  using the same blade for six weeks,' he added
     The queue gave another jerk forward.  As  they  halted  he
turned  and  faced Syme again. Each of them took a greasy metal
tray from a pile at the end of the counter.
     'Did you go and see the prisoners hanged yesterday?'  said
     'I  was working,' said Winston indifferently. 'I shall see
it on the flicks, I suppose.'
     'A very inadequate substitute,' said Syme.
     His mocking eyes roved over Winston's face. 'I know  you,'
the  eyes  seemed  to say, 'I see through you. I know very well
why you didn't  go  to  see  those  prisoners  hanged.'  In  an
intellectual  way,  Syme was venomously orthodox. He would talk
with a disagreeable gloating satisfaction of  helicopter  raids
on    enemy   villages,   and   trials   and   confessions   of
thought-criminals,  the  executions  in  the  cellars  of   the
Ministry  of  Love.  Talking  to  him  was  largely a matter of
getting him away from such  subjects  and  entangling  him,  if
possible,  in  the  technicalities of Newspeak, on which he was
authoritative and interesting. Winston turned his head a little
aside to avoid the scrutiny of the large dark eyes.
     'It was a good hanging,' said Syme reminiscently. 'I think
it spoils it when they tie their feet together. I like  to  see
them  kicking.  And  above all, at the end, the tongue sticking
right out, and blue a quite bright blue. That's the detail that
appeals to me.'
     'Nex', please!' yelled the white-aproned  prole  with  the
     Winston and Syme pushed their trays beneath the grille. On
to each  was  dumped  swiftly  the  regulation lunch -- a metal
pannikin of pinkish-grey stew, a  hunk  of  bread,  a  cube  of
cheese,  a  mug  of milkless Victory Coffee, and one saccharine
     'There's a table over there, under that telescreen,'  said
Syme. 'Let's pick up a gin on the way.'
     The  gin  was served out to them in handleless china mugs.
They threaded their way across the crowded  room  and  unpacked
their  trays  on  to  the  metal-topped table, on one corner of
which someone had left a pool of stew,  a  filthy  liquid  mess
that  had  the  appearance of vomit. Winston took up his mug of
gin, paused for an instant to collect his nerve, and gulped the
oily-tasting stuff down. When he had winked the  tears  out  of
his  eyes  he  suddenly discovered that he was hungry. He began
swallowing spoonfuls of the stew, which, in among  its  general
sloppiness,  had  cubes  of  spongy  pinkish  stuff  which  was
probably a preparation of meat. Neither  of  them  spoke  again
till  they  had  emptied  their  pannikins.  From  the table at
Winston's left, a little behind his back, someone  was  talking
rapidly  and  continuously,  a  harsh  gabble  almost  like the
quacking of a duck, which pierced the  general  uproar  of  the
     'How  is the Dictionary getting on?' said Winston, raising
his voice to overcome the noise.
     'Slowly,'  said  Syme.  'I'm  on  the   adjectives.   It's
     He  had  brightened  up  immediately  at  the  mention  of
Newspeak. He pushed his pannikin aside, took  up  his  hunk  of
bread  in  one  delicate  hand and his cheese in the other, and
leaned across the table so as  to  be  able  to  speak  without
     'The Eleventh Edition is the definitive edition,' he said.
'We're  getting  the language into its final shape -- the shape
it's going to have when nobody speaks anything else. When we've
finished with it, people like you will have  to  learn  it  all
over  again.  You  think,  I  dare  say,  that our chief job is
inventing new words. But not a  bit  of  it!  We're  destroying
words  --  scores  of  them, hundreds of them, every day. We're
cutting the language down to the  bone.  The  Eleventh  Edition
won't  contain  a  single word that will become obsolete before
the year 2050.'
     He bit hungrily into his bread and swallowed a  couple  of
mouthfuls,  then  continued  speaking,  with a sort of pedant's
passion. His thin dark face had become animated, his  eyes  had
lost their mocking expression and grown almost dreamy.
     'It's  a  beautiful  thing,  the  destruction of words. Of
course the great wastage is in the verbs  and  adjectives,  but
there  are hundreds of nouns that can be got rid of as well. It
isn't only the synonyms; there are  also  the  antonyms.  After
all, what justification is there for a word which is simply the
opposite  of  some  other word? A word contains its opposite in
itself. Take "good", for instance. If  you  have  a  word  like
"good", what need is there for a word like "bad"? "Ungood" will
do  just  as  well  --  better, because it's an exact opposite,
which the other is not.  Or  again,  if  you  want  a  stronger
version of "good", what sense is there in having a whole string
of  vague useless words like "excellent" and "splendid" and all
the  rest  of  them?  "Plusgood"  covers  the  meaning,  or   "
doubleplusgood" if you want something stronger still. Of course
we  use  those  forms  already.  but  in  the  final version of
Newspeak there'll be nothing else. In the end the whole  notion
of goodness and badness will be covered by only six words -- in
reality,  only  one  word.  Don't  you  see the beauty of that,
Winston? It was B.B.'s idea originally, of course,' he added as
an afterthought.
     A sort of vapid eagerness flitted across Winston's face at
the mention  of  Big  Brother.  Nevertheless  Syme  immediately
detected a certain lack of enthusiasm.
     'You haven't a real appreciation of Newspeak, Winston,' he
said almost  sadly.  'Even  when  you  write  it  you're  still
thinking in Oldspeak. I've read some of those pieces  that  you
write  in  The  Times  occasionally. They're good
enough, but they're translations. In your heart you'd prefer to
stick to Oldspeak, with  all  its  vagueness  and  its  useless
shades   of   meaning.  You  don't  grasp  the  beauty  of  the
destruction of words. Do you know that  Newspeak  is  the  only
language  in  the  world  whose  vocabulary  gets smaller every
     Winston   did   know   that,   of   course.   He   smiled,
sympathetically  he  hoped, not trusting himself to speak. Syme
bit off another fragment of the dark-coloured bread, chewed  it
briefly, and went on:
     'Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow
the range  of  thought?  In  the end we shall make thoughtcrime
literally impossible, because there will be no words  in  which
to  express  it. Every concept that can ever be needed, will be
expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning  rigidly
defined   and  all  its  subsidiary  meanings  rubbed  out  and
forgotten. Already, in the Eleventh Edition, we're not far from
that point. But the process will still be continuing long after
you and I are dead. Every year fewer and fewer words,  and  the
range  of  consciousness  always a little smaller. Even now, of
course,  there's   no   reason   or   excuse   for   committing
thoughtcrime.   It's  merely  a  question  of  self-discipline,
reality-control. But in the end there won't be  any  need  even
for  that. The Revolution will be complete when the language is
perfect. Newspeak is Ingsoc and Ingsoc is Newspeak,'  he  added
with  a sort of mystical satisfaction. 'Has it ever occurred to
you, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not  a
single  human  being  will be alive who could understand such a
conversation as we are having now?'
     'Except-' began Winston doubtfully, and he stopped.
     It had been on the tip of his tongue to  say  'Except  the
proles,' but he checked himself, not feeling fully certain that
this  remark was not in some way unorthodox. Syme, however, had
divined what he was about to say.
     'The proles are not human beings,' he said  carelessly.  '
By  2050  earlier,  probably  -- all real knowledge of Oldspeak
will have disappeared. The whole literature of  the  past  will
have  been  destroyed.  Chaucer,  Shakespeare, Milton, Byron --
they'll exist only in Newspeak  versions,  not  merely  changed
into  something  different, but actually changed into something
contradictory of what they used to be. Even the  literature  of
the  Party will change. Even the slogans will change. How could
you have a slogan like "freedom is slavery" when the concept of
freedom has been abolished? The whole climate of  thought  will
be  different.  In  fact there will be no thought, as we
understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking -- not  needing
to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.'
     One  of  these  days,  thought  Winston  with  sudden deep
conviction, Syme will be vaporized. He is too  intelligent.  He
sees  too  clearly  and  speaks too plainly. The Party does not
like such people. One day he will disappear. It is  written  in
his face.
     Winston  had  finished  his  bread and cheese. He turned a
little sideways in his chair to drink his mug of coffee. At the
table on his left the man with the  strident  voice  was  still
talking  remorselessly  away. A young woman who was perhaps his
secretary, and who was sitting with her back  to  Winston,  was
listening  to  him  and  seemed  to  be  eagerly  agreeing with
everything that he said. From time to time Winston caught  some
such  remark as 'I think you're so right, I do so
agree with  you',  uttered  in  a  youthful  and  rather  silly
feminine  voice.  But  the  other  voice  never  stopped for an
instant, even when the girl was speaking. Winston knew the  man
by  sight,  though  he knew no more about him than that he held
some important post in the Fiction Department. He was a man  of
about thirty, with a muscular throat and a large, mobile mouth.
His  head was thrown back a little, and because of the angle at
which he was sitting,  his  spectacles  caught  the  light  and
presented  to Winston two blank discs instead of eyes. What was
slightly horrible, was that  from  the  stream  of  sound  that
poured out of his mouth it was almost impossible to distinguish
a  single word. Just once Winston caught a phrase-'complete and
final elimination of Goldsteinism'-  jerked  out  very  rapidly
and,  as  it seemed, all in one piece, like a line of type cast
solid. For the rest it was just a noise, a quackquack-quacking.
And yet, though you could not actually hear what  the  man  was
saying, you could not be in any doubt about its general nature.
He might be denouncing Goldstein and demanding sterner measures
against   thought-   criminals   and  saboteurs,  he  might  be
fulminating against the atrocities of  the  Eurasian  army,  he
might  be  praising  Big  Brother  or the heroes on the Malabar
front-it made no difference. Whatever  it  was,  you  could  be
certain  that every word of it was pure orthodoxy, pure Ingsoc.
As he watched the eyeless face with the jaw moving  rapidly  up
and  down,  Winston  had  a curious feeling that this was not a
real human being but some kind of dummy. It was not  the  man's
brain  that was speaking, it was his larynx. The stuff that was
coming out of him consisted of words, but it was not speech  in
the true sense: it was a noise uttered in unconsciousness, like
the quacking of a duck.
     Syme  had  fallen silent for a moment, and with the handle
of his spoon was tracing patterns in the puddle  of  stew.  The
voice  from  the other table quacked rapidly on, easily audible
in spite of the surrounding din.
     'There is a word in Newspeak,' said Syme,  'I  don't  know
whether you know it: duckspeak, to quack like a duck. It
is  one  of those interesting words that have two contradictory
meanings. Applied to an  opponent,  it  is  abuse,  applied  to
someone you agree with, it is praise.'
     Unquestionably  Syme  will  be  vaporized, Winston thought
again. He thought it with a  kind  of  sadness,  although  well
knowing  that  Syme despised him and slightly disliked him, and
was fully capable of denouncing him as a thought-  criminal  if
he  saw  any  reason  for  doing so. There was something subtly
wrong  with  Syme.  There  was  something   that   he   lacked:
discretion,  aloofness,  a  sort of saving stupidity. You could
not say that he was unorthodox. He believed in  the  principles
of   Ingsoc,   he  venerated  Big  Brother,  he  rejoiced  over
victories, he hated heretics, not  merely  with  sincerity  but
with a sort of restless zeal, an up-to-dateness of information,
which  the  ordinary Party member did not approach. Yet a faint
air of disreputability always clung to him. He said things that
would have been better unsaid, he had read too many  books,  he
frequented  the  Chestnut  Tree  Cafe/,  haunt  of painters and
musicians. There was no law, not even an unwritten law, against
frequenting the Chestnut Tree Cafe/, yet the place was  somehow
ill-omened.  The old, discredited leaders of the Party had been
used to gather there before they were finally purged. Goldstein
himself, it was said, had sometimes been seen there, years  and
decades  ago. Syme's fate was not difficult to foresee. And yet
it was a fact that if Syme grasped, even for three seconds, the
nature of his, Winston's, secret opinions, he would betray  him
instantly  to  the  Thought  police. So would anybody else, for
that matter: but Syme more than  most.  Zeal  was  not  enough.
Orthodoxy was unconsciousness.
     Syme looked up. 'Here comes Parsons,' he said.
     Something  in  the  tone of his voice seemed to add, 'that
bloody  fool'.  Parsons,  Winston's  fellow-tenant  at  Victory
Mansions,  was  in  fact threading his way across the room -- a
tubby, middle-sized man with fair hair and a froglike face.  At
thirty-five  he was already putting on rolls of fat at neck and
waistline, but his movements were brisk and boyish.  His  whole
appearance  was  that  of  a little boy grown large, so much so
that although he was wearing the regulation  overalls,  it  was
almost  impossible  not to think of him as being dressed in the
blue shorts, grey shirt, and red neckerchief of the  Spies.  In
visualizing  him  one saw always a picture of dimpled knees and
sleeves rolled back from pudgy forearms. Parsons  did,  indeed,
invariably  revert to shorts when a community hike or any other
physical activity gave him an excuse for doing so.  He  greeted
them  both  with  a  cheery 'Hullo, hullo!' and sat down at the
table, giving off an intense smell of sweat. Beads of  moisture
stood  out  all over his pink face. His powers of sweating were
extraordinary. At the Community Centre you  could  always  tell
when  he  had  been playing table-tennis by the dampness of the
bat handle. Syme had produced a strip of paper on  which  there
was  a  long  column  of  words,  and  was  studying it with an
ink-pencil between his fingers.
     'Look at  him  working  away  in  the  lunch  hour,'  said
Parsons, nudging Winston. 'Keenness, eh? What's that you've got
there,  old  boy?  Something a bit too brainy for me, I expect.
Smith, old boy, I'll tell you why I'm chasing  you.  It's  that
sub you forgot to give me.'
     'Which  sub  is  that? said Winston, automatically feeling
for money. About a quarter of one's salary had to be  earmarked
for voluntary subscriptions, which were so numerous that it was
difficult to keep track of them.
     'For  Hate  Week. You know -- the house-by-house fund. I'm
treasurer for our block. We're  making  an  all-out  effort  --
going  to  put on a tremendous show. I tell you, it won't be my
fault if old Victory Mansions doesn't have the  biggest  outfit
of flags in the whole street. Two dollars you promised me.'
     Winston  found  and  handed  over  two  creased and filthy
notes, which Parsons entered in a small notebook, in  the  neat
handwriting of the illiterate.
     'By the way, old boy,' he said. 'I hear that little beggar
of mine  let fly at you with his catapult yesterday. I gave him
a good dressingdown for it. In fact I told  him  I'd  take  the
catapult away if he does it again.
     'I  think  he  was  a  little  upset  at  not going to the
execution,' said Winston.
     ' Ah, well -- what I mean to say, shows the right  spirit,
doesn't  it? Mischievous little beggars they are, both of them,
but talk about keenness! All they think about is the Spies, and
the war, of course. D'you know what that little  girl  of  mine
did last Saturday, when her troop was on a hike out Berkhamsted
way?  She  got two other girls to go with her, slipped off from
the hike, and spent the whole  afternoon  following  a  strange
man.  They  kept  on  his tail for two hours, right through the
woods, and then, when they got into Amersham, handed  him  over
to the patrols.'
     'What  did they do that for?' said Winston, somewhat taken
aback. Parsons went on triumphantly:
     'My kid made sure he was some kind of enemy agent -- might
have been dropped by parachute, for instance.  But  here's  the
point,  old  boy.  What  do  you think put her on to him in the
first place? She spotted he was wearing a funny kind  of  shoes
-- said she'd never seen anyone wearing shoes like that before.
So  the  chances  were  he  was a foreigner. Pretty smart for a
nipper of seven, eh?'
     'What happened to the man?' said Winston.
     'Ah, that I couldn't say, of course.  But  I  wouldn't  be
altogether  surprised  if-' Parsons made the motion of aiming a
rifle, and clicked his tongue for the explosion.
     'Good,' said Syme abstractedly, without  looking  up  from
his strip of paper.
     'Of  course  we  can't  afford  to  take  chances,' agreed
Winston dutifully.
     'What I mean to say, there is a war on,' said Parsons.
     As though in confirmation of this, a trumpet call  floated
from the telescreen just above their heads. However, it was not
the proclamation of a military victory this time, but merely an
announcement from the Ministry of Plenty.
     'Comrades!'  cried  an  eager  youthful voice. 'Attention,
comrades! We have glorious news for you. We have won the battle
for production! Returns now completed  of  the  output  of  all
classes  of  consumption goods show that the standard of living
has risen by no less than 20 per cent over the past  year.  All
over  Oceania this morning there were irrepressible spontaneous
demonstrations  when  workers  marched  out  of  factories  and
offices  and  paraded  through the streets with banners voicing
their gratitude to Big Brother for the new,  happy  life  which
his  wise leadership has bestowed upon us. Here are some of the
completed figures. Foodstuffs-'
     The phrase 'our new, happy life' recurred  several  times.
It  had  been  a favourite of late with the Ministry of Plenty.
Parsons,  his  attention  caught  by  the  trumpet  call,   sat
listening  with  a  sort of gaping solemnity, a sort of edified
boredom. He could not follow the figures, but he was aware that
they were in some way a cause for satisfaction. He  had  lugged
out  a  huge  and  filthy  pipe  which was already half full of
charred tobacco. With the tobacco ration at 100 grammes a  week
it  was  seldom possible to fill a pipe to the top. Winston was
smoking a Victory Cigarette which he held carefully horizontal.
The new ration did not start till tomorrow and he had only four
cigarettes left. For the moment he had shut  his  ears  to  the
remoter noises and was listening to the stuff that streamed out
of  the  telescreen.  It  appeared  that  there  had  even been
demonstrations to thank Big Brother for raising  the  chocolate
ration  to  twenty  grammes  a  week.  And  only  yesterday, he
reflected, it had been announced that  the  ration  was  to  be
reduced  to  twenty grammes a week. Was it possible that
they could swallow that, after  only  twenty-four  hours?  Yes,
they  swallowed  it.  Parsons  swallowed  it  easily,  with the
stupidity of an animal. The eyeless creature at the other table
swallowed it fanatically, passionately, with a  furious  desire
to track down, denounce, and vaporize anyone who should suggest
that last week the ration had been thirty grammes. Syme, too-in
some  more  complex  way, involving doublethink, Syme swallowed
it. Was he, then, alone in the possession of a memory?
     The fabulous statistics  continued  to  pour  out  of  the
telescreen.  As  compared  with  last year there was more food,
more clothes, more houses, more furniture, more cooking-  pots,
more  fuel,  more  ships,  more  helicopters,  more books, more
babies  --  more  of  everything  except  disease,  crime,  and
insanity.  Year  by  year  and  minute by minute, everybody and
everything was whizzing  rapidly  upwards.  As  Syme  had  done
earlier  Winston had taken up his spoon and was dabbling in the
pale-coloured gravy that dribbled across the table,  drawing  a
long  streak of it out into a pattern. He meditated resentfully
on the physical texture of life. Had it always been like  this?
Had  food always tasted like this? He looked round the canteen.
A low-ceilinged, crowded room, its walls grimy from the contact
of innumerable bodies; battered metal tables and chairs, placed
so close together that  you  sat  with  elbows  touching;  bent
spoons,  dented  trays, coarse white mugs; all surfaces greasy,
grime in every crack; and a sourish, composite smell of bad gin
and bad coffee and metallic stew and dirty clothes.  Always  in
your  stomach  and  in your skin there was a sort of protest, a
feeling that you had been cheated of something that you  had  a
right  to.  It  was  true  that  he had no memories of anything
greatly  different.  In  any  time  that  he  could  accurately
remember,  there  had  never  been quite enough to eat, one had
never had socks or underclothes that were not  full  of  holes,
furniture   had   always   been  battered  and  rickety,  rooms
underheated, tube trains crowded,  houses  falling  to  pieces,
bread  dark-  coloured,  tea  a  rarity, coffee filthy-tasting,
cigarettes insufficient -- nothing cheap and  plentiful  except
synthetic  gin.  And  though, of course, it grew worse as one's
body aged, was it not a  sign  that  this  was  not  the
natural  order  of  things,  if  one's  heart  sickened  at the
discomfort and dirt and scarcity, the interminable winters, the
stickiness of one's socks, the lifts  that  never  worked,  the
cold  water,  the  gritty  soap,  the  cigarettes  that came to
pieces, the food with its strange evil tastes? Why  should  one
feel it to be intolerable unless one had some kind of ancestral
memory that things had once been different?
     He  looked  round  the  canteen again. Nearly everyone was
ugly, and would still have been ugly even if dressed  otherwise
than in the uniform blue overalls. On the far side of the room,
sitting  at  a  table alone, a small, curiously beetle-like man
was  drinking  a  cup  of  coffee,  his  little  eyes   darting
suspicious  glances from side to side. How easy it was, thought
Winston, if you did not look about you,  to  believe  that  the
physical  type  set  up  by the Party as an ideal-tall muscular
youths and deep-bosomed maidens, blond-haired, vital, sunburnt,
carefree -- existed and even predominated. Actually, so far  as
he  could  judge,  the  majority of people in Airstrip One were
small,  dark,  and  ill-favoured.  It  was  curious  how   that
beetle-like  type  proliferated in the Ministries: little dumpy
men, growing stout very early in life, with short  legs,  swift
scuttling  movements, and fat inscrutable faces with very small
eyes. It was the type that seemed to flourish  best  under  the
dominion of the Party.
     The  announcement  from  the  Ministry  of Plenty ended on
another trumpet call and gave  way  to  tinny  music.  Parsons,
stirred to vague enthusiasm by the bombardment of figures, took
his pipe out of his mouth.
     'The  Ministry  of Plenty's certainly done a good job this
year,' he said with a knowing shake of his head. 'By  the  way,
Smith  old  boy, I suppose you haven't got any razor blades you
can let me have?'
     'Not one,' said Winston. 'I've been using the  same  blade
for six weeks myself.'
     'Ah, well -- just thought I'd ask you, old boy.'
     'Sorry,' said Winston.
     The  quacking  voice  from  the  next  table,  temporarily
silenced during the Ministry's  announcement,  had  started  up
again,  as loud as ever. For some reason Winston suddenly found
himself thinking of Mrs Parsons, with her wispy  hair  and  the
dust  in  the  creases  of  her  face.  Within  two years those
children would be denouncing her to  the  Thought  Police.  Mrs
Parsons  would  be  vaporized. Syme would be vaporized. Winston
would be vaporized. O'Brien would be vaporized. Parsons, on the
other hand, would never be vaporized. The eyeless creature with
the  quacking  voice  would  never  be  vaporized.  The  little
beetle-like  men who scuttle so nimbly through the labyrinthine
corridors of Ministries they, too, would  never  be  vaporized.
And  the  girl  with  dark  hair,  the  girl  from  the Fiction
Department -- she would never be vaporized either. It seemed to
him that he knew instinctively who would survive and who  would
perish:  though just what it was that made for survival, it was
not easy to say.
     At this moment he was dragged out of his  reverie  with  a
violent  jerk.  The  girl  at  the next table had turned partly
round and was looking at him. It was the girl with  dark  hair.
She  was  looking  at  him  in a sidelong way, but with curious
intensity. The instant she  caught  his  eye  she  looked  away
     The  sweat  started  out on Winston's backbone. A horrible
pang of terror went through him. It was gone  almost  at  once,
but  it  left  a sort of nagging uneasiness behind. Why was she
watching  him?  Why  did  she   keep   following   him   about?
Unfortunately  he  could  not  remember whether she had already
been  at  the  table  when  he  arrived,  or  had  come   there
afterwards.  But yesterday, at any rate, during the Two Minutes
Hate, she had sat immediately behind  him  when  there  was  no
apparent  need  to do so. Quite likely her real object had been
to listen to him and make sure whether he was  shouting  loudly
     His  earlier thought returned to him: probably she was not
actually a member of  the  Thought  Police,  but  then  it  was
precisely  the  amateur spy who was the greatest danger of all.
He did not know how long she  had  been  looking  at  him,  but
perhaps  for  as much as five minutes, and it was possible that
his features had not  been  perfectly  under  control.  It  was
terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in
any  public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest
thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an  unconscious  look
of  anxiety,  a habit of muttering to yourself -- anything that
carried with  it  the  suggestion  of  abnormality,  of  having
something  to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression
on your face (to look incredulous when a victory was announced,
for example) was itself a punishable offence. There was even  a
word for it in Newspeak: facecrime, it was called.
     The  girl  had turned her back on him again. Perhaps after
all she was not really following  him  about,  perhaps  it  was
coincidence  that she had sat so close to him two days running.
His cigarette had gone out, and he laid  it  carefully  on  the
edge of the table. He would finish smoking it after work, if he
could  keep  the  tobacco in it. Quite likely the person at the
next table was a spy of the Thought Police, and quite likely he
would be in the cellars of the Ministry of  Love  within  three
days,  but  a cigarette end must not be wasted. Syme had folded
up his strip of paper and stowed it away in his pocket. Parsons
had begun talking again.
     'Did I ever tell you, old boy,' he said,  chuckling  round
the stem of his pipe, 'about the time when those two nippers of
mine  set fire to the old market-woman's skirt because they saw
her wrapping up sausages in a poster of B.B.? Sneaked up behind
her and set fire to it with a box of matches. Burned her  quite
badly,  I  believe.  Little  beggars,  eh? But keen as mustard!
That's a first-rate  training  they  give  them  in  the  Spies
nowadays -- better than in my day, even. What d'you think's the
latest  thing  they've  served  them out with? Ear trumpets for
listening through keyholes ! My little girl  brought  one  home
the  other  night -- tried it out on our sitting-room door, and
reckoned she could hear twice as much as with her  ear  to  the
hole. Of course it's only a toy, mind you. Still, gives 'em the
right idea, eh?'
     At  this moment the telescreen let out a piercing whistle.
It was the signal to return to work. All three  men  sprang  to
their  feet  to  join  in the struggle round the lifts, and the
remaining tobacco fell out of Winston's cigarette.

     x x x

     Winston was writing in his diary:
     It was three years ago. It was on a dark evening, in  a
narrow  side-street  near  one of the big railway stations. She
was standing near a doorway in the wall, under  a  street  lamp
that  hardly gave any light. She had a young face, painted very
thick. It was  really  the  paint  that  appealed  to  me,  the
whiteness  of  it,  like a mask, and the bright red lips. Party
women never paint their faces. There was  nobody  else  in  the
street, and no telescreens. She said two dollars. I
     For  the moment it was too difficult to go on. He shut his
eyes and pressed his fingers against them,  trying  to  squeeze
out   the   vision  that  kept  recurring.  He  had  an  almost
overwhelming temptation to shout a string of  filthy  words  at
the  top of his voice. Or to bang his head against the wall, to
kick over the table, and hurl the inkpot through the window  --
to  do  any  violent or noisy or painful thing that might black
out the memory that was tormenting him.
     Your worst enemy,  he  reflected,  was  your  own  nervous
system.  At  any  moment  the  tension inside you was liable to
translate itself into some visible symptom. He thought of a man
whom he had passed in the street a  few  weeks  back;  a  quite
ordinary-looking  man,  a  Party  member,  aged  thirty-five to
forty, tallish and thin, carrying a brief-case. They were a few
metres apart when the left side of the man's face was  suddenly
contorted  by  a  sort of spasm. It happened again just as they
were passing one another: it was only a twitch, a quiver, rapid
as the clicking of a camera shutter, but obviously habitual. He
remembered thinking at the time: That poor devil is  done  for.
And what was frightening was that the action was quite possibly
unconscious.  The most deadly danger of all was talking in your
sleep. There was no way of guarding against that, so far as  he
could see.
     He drew his breath and went on writing:
     I  went  with  her  through  the  doorway  and across a
backyard into a basement kitchen. There was a bed  against  the
wall, and a lamp on the table, turned down very low. She
     His  teeth  were set on edge. He would have liked to spit.
Simultaneously with  the  woman  in  the  basement  kitchen  he
thought of Katharine, his wife. Winston was married -- had been
married,  at any rate: probably he still was married, so far as
he knew his wife was not dead. He seemed to breathe  again  the
warm  stuffy odour of the basement kitchen, an odour compounded
of bugs and dirty  clothes  and  villainous  cheap  scent,  but
nevertheless  alluring, because no woman of the Party ever used
scent, or could be imagined as doing so. Only the  proles  used
scent.  In  his  mind the smell of it was inextricably mixed up
with fornication.
     When he had gone with that woman it  had  been  his  first
lapse  in two years or thereabouts. Consorting with prostitutes
was forbidden, of course, but it was one of  those  rules  that
you   could  occasionally  nerve  yourself  to  break.  It  was
dangerous, but it was not a life-and-death matter. To be caught
with a prostitute might mean  five  years  in  a  forced-labour
camp:  not  more, if you had committed no other offence. And it
was easy enough, provided that you could avoid being caught  in
the  act. The poorer quarters swarmed with women who were ready
to sell themselves. Some could even be purchased for  a  bottle
of  gin,  which  the proles were not supposed to drink. Tacitly
the Party was even inclined to encourage  prostitution,  as  an
outlet  for instincts which could not be altogether suppressed.
Mere debauchery did not matter very much, so  long  as  it  was
furtive  and joyless and only involved the women of a submerged
and despised class.  The  unforgivable  crime  was  promiscuity
between Party members. But -- though this was one of the crimes
that the accused in the great purges invariably confessed to --
it was difficult to imagine any such thing actually happening.
     The  aim  of  the  Party was not merely to prevent men and
women from forming loyalties which it  might  not  be  able  to
control.  Its  real,  undeclared  purpose  was  to  remove  all
pleasure from the sexual act. Not love so much as eroticism was
the enemy, inside marriage as well as outside it. All marriages
between Party  members  had  to  be  approved  by  a  committee
appointed  for  the  purpose,  and  -- though the principle was
never clearly stated -- permission was always  refused  if  the
couple  concerned  gave  the  impression  of  being  physically
attracted to  one  another.  The  only  recognized  purpose  of
marriage  was  to  beget children for the service of the Party.
Sexual intercourse was to be looked on as a slightly disgusting
minor operation, like having an enema. This again was never put
into plain words, but in an indirect way  it  was  rubbed  into
every  Party  member  from  childhood  onwards. There were even
organizations  such  as  the  Junior  Anti-Sex  League,   which
advocated  complete  celibacy for both sexes. All children were
to be begotten by artificial  insemination  (artsem,  it
was  called in Newspeak) and brought up in public institutions.
This, Winston was aware, was not  meant  altogether  seriously,
but  somehow  it  fitted  in  with  the general ideology of the
Party. The Party was trying to kill the sex instinct, or, if it
could not be killed, then to distort it and dirty  it.  He  did
not  know why this was so, but it seemed natural that it should
be so. And as far as the  women  were  concerned,  the  Party's
efforts were largely successful.
     He  thought  again  of  Katharine. It must be nine, ten --
nearly eleven years since they had parted. It was  curious  how
seldom  he thought of her. For days at a time he was capable of
forgetting that he had ever been married. They  had  only  been
together  for  about  fifteen  months. The Party did not permit
divorce, but it rather encouraged  separation  in  cases  where
there were no children.
     Katharine  was  a  tall,  fair-haired girl, very straight,
with splendid movements. She had a bold, aquiline face, a  face
that  one  might  have  called  noble until one discovered that
there was as nearly as possible nothing behind it.  Very  early
in  her  married  life  he had decided -- though perhaps it was
only that he knew her more intimately than he knew most  people
-- that  she  had  without  exception  the most stupid, vulgar,
empty mind that he had ever encountered. She had not a  thought
in her head that was not a slogan, and there was no imbecility,
absolutely  none  that she was not capable of swallowing if the
Party  handed  it  out  to  her.  'The  human  sound-track'  he
nicknamed her in his own mind. Yet he could have endured living
with her if it had not been for just one thing -- sex.
     As soon as he touched her she seemed to wince and stiffen.
To embrace  her  was like embracing a jointed wooden image. And
what was strange was  that  even  when  she  was  clasping  him
against  her  he  had  the  feeling that she was simultaneously
pushing him away with all her strength.  The  rigidlty  of  her
muscles  managed to convey that impression. She would lie there
with  shut  eyes,  neither  resisting  nor   co-operating   but
submitting.  It  was  extraordinarily embarrassing, and,
after a while, horrible. But even  then  he  could  have  borne
living  with  her if it had been agreed that they should remain
celibate. But curiously enough it  was  Katharine  who  refused
this.  They  must,  she said, produce a child if they could. So
the  performance  continued  to  happen,  once  a  week   quite
regulariy,  whenever  it  was  not impossible. She even used to
remind him of it in the morning, as something which had  to  be
done  that evening and which must not be forgotten. She had two
names for it. One was 'making a baby', and the other  was  'our
duty  to  the  Party' (yes, she had actually used that phrase).
Quite soon he grew to have a feeling of positive dread when the
appointed day came round. But luckily no child appeared, and in
the end she agreed to give up trying, and soon afterwards  they
     Winston  sighed  inaudibly. He picked up his pen again and
     She threw herself down on the bed, and at once, without
any kind of preliminary in the most coarse,  horrible  way  you
can imagine, pulled up her skirt. I
     He  saw  himself standing there in the dim lamplight, with
the smell of bugs and cheap scent in his nostrils, and  in  his
heart  a  feeling  of  defeat and resentment which even at that
moment was mixed up with the thought of Katharine's white body,
frozen for ever by the hypnotic power of the Party. Why did  it
always  have  to be like this? Why could he not have a woman of
his own instead of these filthy scuffles at intervals of years?
But a real love affair was an  almost  unthinkable  event.  The
women  of  the  Party  were  all  alike.  Chastity  was as deep
ingrained  in  them  as  Party  loyalty.   By   careful   early
conditioning,  by games and cold water, by the rubbish that was
dinned into them at school and  in  the  Spies  and  the  Youth
League,  by  lectures,  parades,  songs,  slogans,  and martial
music, the natural feeling had been driven  out  of  them.  His
reason  told  him  that there must be exceptions, but his heart
did not believe it. They were all  impregnable,  as  the  Party
intended  that  they  should  be. And what he wanted, more even
than to be loved, was to break down that wall of  virtue,  even
if  it  were  only  once  in  his  whole  life. The sexual act,
successfully performed, was rebellion. Desire was thoughtcrime.
Even to have awakened Katharine, if he could have achieved  it,
would have been like a seduction, although she was his wife.
     But  the  rest of the story had got to be written down. He
     I turned up the lamp. When I saw her in the light
     After the darkness the feeble light of the  paraffin  lamp
had  seemed  very  bright.  For the first time he could see the
woman properly. He had  taken  a  step  towards  her  and  then
halted,  full of lust and terror. He was painfully conscious of
the risk he had taken in coming here. It was perfectly possible
that the patrols would catch him  on  the  way  out:  for  that
matter  they  might be waiting outside the door at this moment.
If he went away without even doing what he had come here to  do
-- !
     It had got to be written down, it had got to be confessed.
What he  had  suddenly seen in the lamplight was that the woman
was old. The paint was plastered so thick  on  her  face
that  it looked as though it might crack like a cardboard mask.
There were streaks of white in her hair; but the truly dreadful
detail was that her mouth had fallen a little  open,  revealing
nothing except a cavernous blackness. She had no teeth at all.
     He wrote hurriedly, in scrabbling handwriting:
     When I saw her in the light she was quite an old woman,
fifty  years old at least. But I went ahead and did it just the
     He pressed his fingers against his eyelids again.  He  had
written it down at last, but it made no difference. The therapy
had  not  worked.  The urge to shout filthy words at the top of
his voice was as strong as ever.

     x x x

     If there is hope, wrote Winston, it lies in  the
     If  there  was  hope,  it  must  lie in the proles,
because only there in those swarming disregarded masses, 85 per
cent of the population of Oceania, could the force  to  destroy
the  Party ever be generated. The Party could not be overthrown
from within. Its enemies, if it had any enemies, had no way  of
coming together or even of identifying one another. Even if the
legendary  Brotherhood  existed,  as just possibly it might, it
was inconceivable that  its  members  could  ever  assemble  in
larger  numbers than twos and threes. Rebellion meant a look in
the eyes, an inflexion of the voice, at the most, an occasional
whispered word. But the proles,  if  only  they  could  somehow
become  conscious  of their own strength. would have no need to
conspire. They needed only to rise up and shake themselves like
a horse shaking off flies. If they chose they  could  blow  the
Party  to  pieces  tomorrow  morning. Surely sooner or later it
must occur to them to do it? And yet-!
     He remembered how once he had been walking down a  crowded
street  when  a  tremendous shout of hundreds of voices women's
voices -- had burst from a side-street a little way  ahead.  It
was  a  great formidable cry of anger and despair, a deep, loud
'Oh-o-o-o-oh!' that went humming on like the reverberation of a
bell. His heart had leapt. It's  started!  he  had  thought.  A
riot!  The  proles  are  breaking  loose  at  last! When he had
reached the spot it was to see a mob of two  or  three  hundred
women  crowding round the stalls of a street market, with faces
as tragic as though they had been the doomed  passengers  on  a
sinking ship. But at this moment the general despair broke down
into  a  multitude of individual quarrels. It appeared that one
of the  stalls  had  been  selling  tin  saucepans.  They  were
wretched,  flimsy  things,  but  cooking-pots  of any kind were
always difficult to get. Now the supply had unexpectedly  given
out. The successful women, bumped and jostled by the rest, were
trying  to make off with their saucepans while dozens of others
clamoured  round  the  stall,  accusing  the   stallkeeper   of
favouritism  and of having more saucepans somewhere in reserve.
There was a fresh outburst of yells. Two bloated women, one  of
them  with  her  hair  coming  down,  had  got hold of the same
saucepan and were trying to tear it out of one another's hands.
For a moment they were both tugging, and then the  handle  came
off.  Winston  watched  them  disgustedly.  And yet, just for a
moment, what almost frightening power had sounded in  that  cry
from  only  a  few hundred throats ! Why was it that they could
never shout like that about anything that mattered?
     He wrote:
     Until they become conscious they will never rebel,  and
until   after   they   have   rebelled   they   cannot   become
     That, he reflected, might almost have been a transcription
from one of the Party textbooks. The Party claimed, of  course,
to   have   liberated  the  proles  from  bondage.  Before  the
Revolution  they  had   been   hideously   oppressed   by   the
capitalists,  they had been starved and flogged, women had been
forced to work in the coal mines (women still did work  in  the
coal  mines,  as a matter of fact), children had been sold into
the factories at the age of six. But  simultaneously,  true  to
the Principles of doublethink, the Party taught that the proles
were  natural  inferiors  who  must be kept in subjection, like
animals, by the application of a few simple rules.  In  reality
very little was known about the proles. It was not necessary to
know  much.  So long as they continued to work and breed, their
other activities were without importance. Left  to  themselves,
like cattle turned loose upon the plains of Argentina, they had
reverted  to  a  style  of  life that appeared to be natural to
them, a sort of ancestral pattern. They were born, they grew up
in the gutters, they  went  to  work  at  twelve,  they  passed
through a brief blossoming- period of beauty and sexual desire,
they  married  at twenty, they were middle-aged at thirty, they
died, for the most part, at sixty.  Heavy  physical  work,  the
care  of  home  and  children,  petty quarrels with neighbours,
films, football, beer, and above all, gambling, filled  up  the
horizon  of  their  minds.  To  keep  them  in  control was not
difficult. A few agents of  the  Thought  Police  moved  always
among  them,  spreading  false  rumours  and  marking  down and
eliminating the few individuals  who  were  judged  capable  of
becoming  dangerous;  but  no  attempt was made to indoctrinate
them with the ideology of the Party. It was not desirable  that
the  proles should have strong political feelings. All that was
required of them was a  primitive  patriotism  which  could  be
appealed  to  whenever  it  was  necessary  to make them accept
longer working-hours or shorter rations.  And  even  when  they
became  discontented,  as  they sometimes did, their discontent
led nowhere, because being without general  ideas,  they  could
only  focus  it  on petty specific grievances. The larger evils
invariably escaped their notice. The great majority  of  proles
did  not  even  have telescreens in their homes. Even the civil
police interfered with them  very  little.  There  was  a  vast
amount  of  criminality in London, a whole world-within-a-world
of thieves, bandits, prostitutes, drug-peddlers, and racketeers
of every description; but  since  it  all  happened  among  the
proles themselves, it was of no importance. In all questions of
morals  they  were  allowed to follow their ancestral code. The
sexual puritanism of the  Party  was  not  imposed  upon  them.
Promiscuity  went  unpunished,  divorce was permitted. For that
matter, even religious worship would have been permitted if the
proles had shown any sign of needing or wanting it.  They  were
beneath  suspicion.  As  the  Party  slogan put it: 'Proles and
animals are free.'
     Winston reached down and cautiously scratched his varicose
ulcer. It had begun itching again.  The  thing  you  invariably
came  back to was the impossibility of knowing what life before
the Revolution had really been like. He took out of the  drawer
a  copy  of a children's history textbook which he had borrowed
from Mrs Parsons, and began copying a passage into the diary:
     In the old days (it ran),  before  the  glorious
Revolution,  London  was  not  the  beautiful city that we know
today. It was a  dark,  dirty,  miserable  place  where  hardly
anybody  had  enough to eat and where hundreds and thousands of
poor people had no boots on their feet and not even a  roof  to
sleep  under.  Children  no  older  than you had to work twelve
hours a day for cruel masters who flogged them  with  whips  if
they  worked  too  slowly  and  fed  them  on nothing but stale
breadcrusts and water.
     But in among all this terrible poverty there were  just
a few great big beautiful houses that were lived in by rich men
who  had  as  many as thirty servants to look after them. These
rich men were called capitalists. They were fat, ugly men  with
wicked faces, like the one in the picture on the opposite page.
You  can  see that he is dressed in a long black coat which was
called a frock coat, and a  queer,  shiny  hat  shaped  like  a
stovepipe,  which was called a top hat. This was the uniform of
the capitalists, and no one else was allowed to wear it.
The capitalists owned everything in  the  world,  and  everyone
else  was their slave. They owned all the land, all the houses,
all the factories, and all the money. If anyone disobeyed  them
they  could  throw them into prison, or they could take his job
away and starve him to death. When any ordinary person spoke to
a capitalist he had to cringe and bow to him, and take off  his
cap  and address him as 'Sir'. The chief of all the capitalists
was called the King. and
     But he knew the rest of  the  catalogue.  There  would  be
mention  of  the  bishops  in their lawn sleeves, the judges in
their ermine robes, the pillory, the stocks, the treadmill, the
cat-o'-nine tails, the Lord Mayor's Banquet, and  the  practice
of  kissing the Pope's toe. There was also something called the
jus primae noctis, which would probably not be mentioned
in a textbook for children. It  was  the  law  by  which  every
capitalist had the right to sleep with any woman working in one
of his factories.
     How   could   you  tell  how  much  of  it  was  lies?  It
might be true that the average human  being  was  better
off  now  than  he  had  been  before  the Revolution. The only
evidence to the contrary was  the  mute  protest  in  your  own
bones, the instinctive feeling that the conditions you lived in
were  intolerable  and  that  at some other time they must have
been different. It struck him  that  the  truly  characteristic
thing about modern life was not its cruelty and insecurity, but
simply  its bareness, its dinginess, its listlessness. Life, if
you looked about you, bore no resemblance not only to the  lies
that  streamed  out  of the telescreens, but even to the ideals
that the Party was trying to achieve. Great areas of  it,  even
for a Party member, were neutral and non-political, a matter of
slogging through dreary jobs, fighting for a place on the Tube,
darning  a worn-out sock, cadging a saccharine tablet, saving a
cigarette end. The ideal set up  by  the  Party  was  something
huge,  terrible,  and  glittering  --  a  world  of  steel  and
concrete, of monstrous machines and  terrifying  weapons  --  a
nation  of  warriors  and fanatics, marching forward in perfect
unity, all thinking the same thoughts  and  shouting  the  same
slogans, perpetually working, fighting, triumphing, persecuting
-- three  hundred  million  people  all with the same face. The
reality  was  decaying,  dingy  cities  where  underfed  people
shuffled   to   and   fro   in   leaky   shoes,  in  patched-up
nineteenth-century houses that smelt always of cabbage and  bad
lavatories.  He  seemed  to  see  a  vision of London, vast and
ruinous, city of a million dustbins, and mixed up with it was a
picture of Mrs Parsons, a woman with lined face and wispy hair,
fiddling helplessly with a blocked waste-pipe.
     He reached down and scratched his  ankle  again.  Day  and
night the telescreens bruised your ears with statistics proving
that  people  today had more food, more clothes, better houses,
better recreations -- that they lived  longer,  worked  shorter
hours,   were   bigger,   healthier,  stronger,  happier,  more
intelligent, better educated, than the people  of  fifty  years
ago.  Not  a  word of it could ever be proved or disproved. The
Party claimed, for example, that today 40  per  cent  of  adult
proles  were  literate: before the Revolution, it was said, the
number had only been 15 per cent. The Party  claimed  that  the
infant  mortality  rate  was now only 160 per thousand, whereas
before the Revolution it had been 300 -- and so it went on.  It
was  like  a  single  equation with two unknowns. It might very
well be that literally every word in the  history  books,  even
the  things  that  one  accepted  without  question,  was  pure
fantasy. For all he knew there might never have been  any  such
law  as the jus primae noctis, or any such creature as a
capitalist, or any such garment as a top hat.
     Everything faded into  mist.  The  past  was  erased,  the
erasure  was  forgotten, the lie became truth. Just once in his
life he had possessed -- after the event: that was  what
counted  --  concrete,  unmistakable  evidence  of  an  act  of
falsification. He had held it between his fingers for  as  long
as  thirty  seconds. In 1973, it must have been -- at any rate,
it was at about the time when he and Katharine had parted.  But
the really relevant date was seven or eight years earlier.
     The  story  really began in the middle sixties, the period
of the great purges  in  which  the  original  leaders  of  the
Revolution  were  wiped  out  once and for all. By 1970 none of
them was left, except Big Brother himself. All the rest had  by
that    time    been   exposed   as   traitors   and   counter-
revolutionaries. Goldstein had fled and was hiding no one  knew
where,  and  of the others, a few had simply disappeared, while
the majority had been executed after spectacular public  trials
at  which  they made confession of their crimes. Among the last
survivors were three men named Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford.
It must have been in 1965 that these three had  been  arrested.
As  often  happened,  they  had vanished for a year or more, so
that one did not know whether they were alive or dead, and then
had suddenly been brought forth to  incriminate  themselves  in
the  usual  way.  They  had  confessed to intelligence with the
enemy (at that date, too, the enemy was Eurasia),  embezzlement
of  public  funds, the murder of various trusted Party members,
intrigues against the  leadership  of  Big  Brother  which  had
started  long  before  the  Revolution  happened,  and  acts of
sabotage causing the death of hundreds of thousands of  people.
After  confessing  to  these  things  they  had  been pardoned,
reinstated in the Party, and given posts  which  were  in  fact
sinecures  but  which  sounded important. All three had written
long,  abject  articles  in  The  Times,  analysing  the
reasons for their defection and promising to make amends.
     Some  time  after  their release Winston had actually seen
all three of them in the Chestnut Tree Cafe/. He remembered the
sort of terrified fascination with which he  had  watched  them
out  of  the  corner  of  his eye. They were men far older than
himself, relics of the ancient world,  almost  the  last  great
figures  left  over  from  the  heroic  days  of the Party. The
glamour of the underground struggle and  the  civil  war  still
faintly  clung  to  them. He had the feeling, though already at
that time facts and dates were  growing  blurry,  that  he  had
known  their  names years earlier than he had known that of Big
Brother. But also they  were  outlaws,  enemies,  untouchables,
doomed  with  absolute certainty to extinction within a year or
two. No one who had once fallen into the hands of  the  Thought
Police ever escaped in the end. They were corpses waiting to be
sent back to the grave.
     There  was no one at any of the tables nearest to them. It
was not wise even to be  seen  in  the  neighbourhood  of  such
people.  They were sitting in silence before glasses of the gin
flavoured with cloves which was the speciality of the cafe/. Of
the  three,  it  was  Rutherford  whose  appearance  had   most
impressed   Winston.   Rutherford   had   once  been  a  famous
caricaturist, whose  brutal  cartoons  had  helped  to  inflame
popular  opinion before and during the Revolution. Even now, at
long  intervals,  his  cartoons  were   appearing   in   The
Times. They were simply an imitation of his earlier manner,
and  curiously  lifeless  and  unconvincing. Always they were a
rehashing of the ancient themes  --  slum  tenements,  starving
children,  street  battles,  capitalists in top hats -- even on
the barricades the capitalists still seemed to cling  to  their
top hats an endless, hopeless effort to get back into the past.
He  was  a  monstrous man, with a mane of greasy grey hair, his
face pouched and seamed, with thick negroid lips. At  one  time
he  must  have  been  immensely  strong; now his great body was
sagging, sloping, bulging, falling away in every direction.  He
seemed  to  be  breaking  up before one's eyes, like a mountain
     It was the lonely hour of fifteen. Winston could  not  now
remember how he had come to be in the cafe/ at such a time. The
place  was  almost  empty. A tinny music was trickling from the
telescreens.  The  three  men  sat  in  their   corner   almost
motionless,  never  speaking.  Uncommanded,  the waiter brought
fresh glasses of gin. There  was  a  chessboard  on  the  table
beside  them,  with the pieces set out but no game started. And
then, for perhaps half a minute in all, something  happened  to
the  telescreens.  The tune that they were playing changed, and
the tone of the music changed too. There came into it -- but it
was something hard to describe. It  was  a  peculiar,  cracked,
braying,  jeering  note: in his mind Winston called it a yellow
note. And then a voice from the telescreen was singing:

     Under the spreading chestnut tree
     I sold you and you sold me:
     There lie they, and here lie we
     Under the spreading chestnut tree.

     The three men never  stirred.  But  when  Winston  glanced
again  at  Rutherford's ruinous face, he saw that his eyes were
full of tears. And for the first time he noticed, with  a  kind
of  inward  shudder,  and  yet  not  knowing  at what he
shuddered, that both Aaronson and Rutherford had broken noses.
     A little later all three  were  re-arrested.  It  appeared
that  they  had  engaged  in  fresh  conspiracies from the very
moment of their release. At their second trial  they  confessed
to  all their old crimes over again, with a whole string of new
ones. They were executed, and their fate was  recorded  in  the
Party histories, a warning to posterity. About five years after
this,  in  1973, Winston was unrolling a wad of documents which
had just flopped out of the pneumatic tube on to his desk  when
he came on a fragment of paper which had evidently been slipped
in  among  the  others  and  then forgotten. The instant he had
flattened it out he saw its significance. It  was  a  half-page
torn  out of The Times of about ten years earlier -- the
top half of the page, so that it included the date  --  and  it
contained  a photograph of the delegates at some Party function
in New York. Prominent in the middle of the group  were  Jones,
Aaronson,  and  Rutherford. There was no mistaking them, in any
case their names were in the caption at the bottom.
     The point was that  at  both  trials  all  three  men  had
confessed  that  on  that  date they had been on Eurasian soil.
They had flown from a secret airfield in Canada to a rendezvous
somewhere in Siberia, and had conferred  with  members  of  the
Eurasian  General  Staff,  to  whom they had betrayed important
military secrets.  The  date  had  stuck  in  Winston's  memory
because  it  chanced  to  be midsummer day; but the whole story
must be on record in countless other places as well. There  was
only one possible conclusion: the confessions were lies.
     Of  course,  this  was  not in itself a discovery. Even at
that time Winston had not imagined that  the  people  who  were
wiped  out in the purges had actually committed the crimes that
they were accused of. But this was concrete evidence; it was  a
fragment  of the abolished past, like a fossil bone which turns
up in the wrong stratum and destroys a  geological  theory.  It
was  enough to blow the Party to atoms, if in some way it could
have been published to the  world  and  its  significance  made
     He  had  gone  straight on working. As soon as he saw what
the photograph was, and what it meant, he  had  covered  it  up
with  another  sheet of paper. Luckily, when he unrolled it, it
had been upside-down from the point of view of the telescreen.
     He took his scribbling pad on his knee and pushed back his
chair so as to get as far away from the telescreen as possible.
To keep your face expressionless was not  difficult,  and  even
your  breathing  could  be  controlled, with an effort: but you
could not control the beating of your heart, and the telescreen
was quite delicate enough to pick it up. He let what he  judged
to  be  ten  minutes go by, tormented all the while by the fear
that some accident -- a sudden draught blowing across his desk,
for instance -- would betray him. Then, without  uncovering  it
again,  he  dropped  the photograph into the memory hole, along
with some other waste papers. Within another  minute,  perhaps,
it would have crumbled into ashes.
     That  was  ten  --  eleven  years ago. Today, probably, he
would have kept that photograph. It was curious that  the  fact
of  having  held  it  in  his  fingers  seemed to him to make a
difference even now, when the photograph itself, as well as the
event it recorded, was only memory. Was the Party's  hold  upon
the  past less strong, he wondered, because a piece of evidence
which existed no longer had once existed?
     But today, supposing that it could be somehow  resurrected
from  its  ashes,  the  photograph  might not even be evidence.
Already, at the time when he made his discovery, Oceania was no
longer at war with Eurasia, and it must have been to the agents
of Eastasia that the three dead men had betrayed their country.
Since then there had been other changes -- two, three, he could
not remember how many. Very likely  the  confessions  had  been
rewritten  and  rewritten until the original facts and dates no
longer  had  the  smallest  significance.  The  past  not  only
changed, but changed continuously. What most afflicted him with
the sense of nightmare was that he had never clearly understood
why the huge imposture was undertaken. The immediate advantages
of  falsifying  the  past were obvious, but the ultimate motive
was mysterious. He took up his pen again and wrote:
     I understand HOW: I do not understand WHY.
     He wondered, as he had many times wondered before, whether
he himself was a  lunatic.  Perhaps  a  lunatic  was  simply  a
minority  of  one. At one time it had been a sign of madness to
believe that the earth goes round the sun;  today,  to  believe
that  the  past  is  inalterable.  He  might be alone in
holding that belief, and if alone,  then  a  lunatic.  But  the
thought  of  being  a  lunatic did not greatly trouble him: the
horror was that he might also be wrong.
     He picked up the children's history book and looked at the
portrait of Big Brother  which  formed  its  frontispiece.  The
hypnotic  eyes  gazed  into his own. 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
     But  no! His courage seemed suddenly to stiffen of its own
accord. The face of O'Brien,  not  called  up  by  any  obvious
association,  had  floated  into  his  mind. He knew, with more
certainty than before, that O'Brien was on  his  side.  He  was
writing the diary for O'Brien -- to O'Brien: it was like
an  interminable letter which no one would ever read, but which
was addressed to a particular person and took its  colour  from
that fact.
     The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and
ears.  It  was  their  final, most essential command. His heart
sank as he thought of the enormous power arrayed  against  him,
the  ease with which any Party intellectual would overthrow him
in debate, the subtle arguments which he would not be  able  to
understand, much less answer. And yet he was in the right! They
were  wrong  and  he was right. The obvious, the silly, and the
true had got to be defended. Truisms are true, hold on to that!
The solid world exists, its laws  do  not  change.  Stones  are
hard,  water  is  wet,  objects  unsupported  fall  towards the
earth's centre. With  the  feeling  that  he  was  speaking  to
O'Brien, and also that he was setting forth an important axiom,
he wrote:
     Freedom  is  the  freedom to say that two plus two make
four. If that is granted, all else follows.

     x x x

     From somewhere at the bottom of a  passage  the  smell  of
roasting  coffee  --  real  coffee,  not Victory Coffee -- came
floating out into the street. Winston paused involuntarily. For
perhaps two seconds he was back in the half-forgotten world  of
his childhood. Then a door banged, seeming to cut off the smell
as abruptly as though it had been a sound.
     He  had  walked several kilometres over pavements, and his
varicose ulcer was throbbing. This was the second time in three
weeks that he had missed an evening at the Community Centre:  a
rash  act,  since  you could be certain that the number of your
attendances at the Centre was carefully checked. In principle a
Party member had no spare time, and was never alone  except  in
bed.  It  was  assumed that when he was not working, eating, or
sleeping he would be taking  part  in  some  kind  of  communal
recreation: to do anything that suggested a taste for solitude,
even  to  go  for  a  walk  by  yourself,  was  always slightly
dangerous. There was a word for it in Newspeak: ownlife,
it was called, meaning individualism and eccentricity. But this
evening as he came out of the Ministry  the  balminess  of  the
April  air  had  tempted him. The sky was a warmer blue than he
had seen it that year, and suddenly the long, noisy evening  at
the  Centre,  the  boring,  exhausting games, the lectures, the
creaking camaraderie oiled by gin, had seemed  intolerable.  On
impulse  he  had turned away from the bus-stop and wandered off
into the labyrinth of London,  first  south,  then  east,  then
north  again,  losing  himself among unknown streets and hardly
bothering in which direction he was going.
     'If there is hope,' he had written in the diary, 'it  lies
in the proles.' The words kept coming back to him, statement of
a  mystical truth and a palpable absurdity. He was somewhere in
the vague, brown-coloured slums to the north and east  of  what
had  once  been  Saint  Pancras  Station.  He  was walking up a
cobbled  street  of  little  two-storey  houses  with  battered
doorways  which  gave  straight  on the pavement and which were
somehow curiously suggestive of ratholes. There were puddles of
filthy water here and there among the cobbles. In  and  out  of
the dark doorways, and down narrow alley-ways that branched off
on  either side, people swarmed in astonishing numbers -- girls
in full bloom, with crudely lipsticked mouths, and  youths  who
chased  the  girls,  and  swollen waddling women who showed you
what the girls would be like in ten years' time, and  old  bent
creatures   shuffling   along   on  splayed  feet,  and  ragged
barefooted  children  who  played  in  the  puddles  and   then
scattered  at angry yells from their mothers. Perhaps a quarter
of the windows in the street were broken and boarded  up.  Most
of the people paid no attention to Winston; a few eyed him with
a sort of guarded curiosity. Two monstrous women with brick-red
forearms  folded  across  thelr  aprons  were talking outside a
doorway.  Winston  caught  scraps   of   conversation   as   he
     '  "Yes,"  I  says to 'er, "that's all very well," I says.
"But if you'd of been in my place you'd of  done  the  same  as
what  I  done.  It's easy to criticize," I says, "but you ain't
got the same problems as what I got." '
     'Ah,' said the other, 'that's jest it. That's  jest  where
it is.'
     The  strident  voices  stopped abruptly. The women studied
him in hostile  silence  as  he  went  past.  But  it  was  not
hostility,  exactly;  merely  a  kind  of wariness, a momentary
stiffening, as at the passing of some  unfamiliar  animal.  The
blue  overalls  of  the  Party could not be a common sight in a
street like this. Indeed, it was unwise  to  be  seen  in  such
places,  unless  you  had  definite business there. The patrols
might stop you if you happened to run into  them.  'May  I  see
your  papers,  comrade?  What are you doing here? What time did
you leave work? Is this your usual way home?' -- and so on  and
so  forth.  Not that there was any rule against walking home by
an unusual route: but it was enough to draw attention to you if
the Thought Police heard about it.
     Suddenly the whole street was  in  commotion.  There  were
yells  of warning from all sides. People were shooting into the
doorways like rabbits. A young woman leapt out of a  doorway  a
little  ahead  of Winston, grabbed up a tiny child playing in a
puddle, whipped her apron round it, and leapt back  again,  all
in one movement. At the same instant a man in a concertina-like
black  suit,  who  had  emerged  from a side alley, ran towards
Winston, pointing excitedly to the sky.
     'Steamer!' he yelled. 'Look out, guv'nor!  Bang  over'ead!
Lay down quick!'
     'Steamer'  was  a  nickname  which,  for  some reason, the
proles applied to rocket bombs. Winston promptly flung  himself
on his face. The proles were nearly always right when they gave
you a warning of this kind. They seemed to possess some kind of
instinct  which  told  them  several  seconds in advance when a
rocket was coming, although the  rockets  supposedly  travelled
faster than sound. Winston clasped his forearms above his head.
There  was  a  roar  that  seemed to make the pavement heave; a
shower of light objects pattered on to his back. When he  stood
up  he  found  that he was covered with fragments of glass from
the nearest window.
     He walked on. The bomb had demolished a  group  of  houses
200  metres  up  the street. A black plume of smoke hung in the
sky, and below it a cloud of plaster dust in which a crowd  was
already  forming  around  the ruins. There was a little pile of
plaster lying on the pavement ahead of him, and in  the  middle
of it he could see a bright red streak. When he got up to it he
saw  that  it was a human hand severed at the wrist. Apart from
the bloody stump, the hand was so  completely  whitened  as  to
resemble a plaster cast.
     He  kicked  the  thing into the gutter, and then, to avoid
the crowd, turned down a side-street to the right. Within three
or four minutes he was out of  the  area  which  the  bomb  had
affected, and the sordid swarming life of the streets was going
on  as though nothing had happened. It was nearly twenty hours,
and the drinking-shops which  the  proles  frequented  ('pubs',
they  called them) were choked with customers. From their grimy
swing doors, endlessly opening and shutting, there came forth a
smell of urine, sawdust, and sour beer. In an angle formed by a
projecting house- front three  men  were  standing  very  close
together,  the middle one of them holding a folded-up newspaper
which the other two  were  studying  over  his  shoulder.  Even
before  he  was near enough to make out the expression on their
faces, Winston could see absorption  in  every  line  of  their
bodies.  It  was obviously some serious piece of news that they
were reading. He was a few paces away from them  when  suddenly
the  group  broke  up  and  two  of  the  men  were  in violent
altercation. For a moment they seemed almost on  the  point  of
     'Can't  you bleeding well listen to what I say? I tell you
no number ending in seven ain't won for over fourteen months!'
     'Yes, it 'as, then!'
     'No, it 'as not! Back 'ome I got the 'ole lot of  'em  for
over two years wrote down on a piece of paper. I takes 'em down
reg'lar  as  the  clock.  An'  I  tell you, no number ending in
     'Yes, a seven 'as won! I could pretty near tell you
the bleeding number. Four oh seven, it ended  in.  It  were  in
February -- second week in February.'
     'February your grandmother! I got it all down in black and
white. An' I tell you, no number-'
     'Oh, pack it in!' said the third man.
     They  were  talking about the Lottery. Winston looked back
when he had gone thirty metres. They were still  arguing,  with
vivid,  passionate  faces. The Lottery, with its weekly pay-out
of enormous prizes, was the  one  public  event  to  which  the
proles  paid serious attention. It was probable that there were
some millions of proles for whom the Lottery was the  principal
if  not  the  only  reason  for  remaining  alive. It was their
delight,  their  folly,  their  anodyne,   their   intellectual
stimulant.  Where  the  Lottery  was concerned, even people who
could  barely  read  and  write  seemed  capable  of  intricate
calculations  and staggering feats of memory. There was a whole
tribe of men who made  a  living  simply  by  selling  systems,
forecasts,  and  lucky  amulets. Winston had nothing to do with
the running of the Lottery, which was managed by  the  Ministry
of  Plenty,  but he was aware (indeed everyone in the party was
aware) that the prizes were largely imaginary. Only small  sums
were  actually  paid  out,  the winners of the big prizes being
non-existent   persons.   In   the   absence   of   any    real
intercommunication  between  one  part  of Oceania and another,
this was not difficult to arrange.
     But if there was hope, it lay in the proles.  You  had  to
cling  on  to  that.  When  you  put  it  in  words  it sounded
reasonable: it was when you looked at the human beings  passing
you  on the pavement that it became an act of faith. The street
into which he had turned ran downhill. He had a feeling that he
had been in this neighbourhood before, and  that  there  was  a
main thoroughfare not far away. From somewhere ahead there came
a din of shouting voices. The street took a sharp turn and then
ended  in  a flight of steps which led down into a sunken alley
where a few stallkeepers were selling tired-looking vegetables.
At this moment Winston remembered where he was. The  alley  led
out  into  the main street, and down the next turning, not five
minutes away, was the junk-shop where he had bought  the  blank
book  which  was now his diary. And in a small stationer's shop
not far away he had bought his penholder and his bottle of ink.
     He paused for a moment at the top of  the  steps.  On  the
opposite  side  of the alley there was a dingy little pub whose
windows appeared to be frosted over but in reality were  merely
coated  with  dust. A very old man, bent but active, with white
moustaches that bristled forward like those of a prawn,  pushed
open  the swing door and went in. As Winston stood watching, it
occurred to him that the old man, who must  be  eighty  at  the
least,  had  already  been  middle-  aged  when  the Revolution
happened. He and a few others like him were the last links that
now existed with the vanished world of capitalism. In the Party
itself there were not many people left  whose  ideas  had  been
formed  before  the Revolution. The older generation had mostly
been wiped out in the great purges of the fifties and  sixties,
and  the  few  who  survived  had  long ago been terrified into
complete intellectual surrender. If there  was  any  one  still
alive  who  could  give you a truthful account of conditions in
the early part of the  century,  it  could  only  be  a  prole.
Suddenly  the  passage from the history book that he had copied
into his diary came back into Winston's  mind,  and  a  lunatic
impulse  took  hold  of him. He would go into the pub, he would
scrape acquaintance with that old  man  and  question  him.  He
would say to him: 'Tell me about your life when you were a boy.
What  was  it  like in those days? Were things better than they
are now, or were they worse?'
     Hurriedly, lest he should have time to become  frightened,
he  descended  the  steps and crossed the narrow street. It was
madness of course. As usual, there was no definite rule against
talking to proles and frequenting their pubs, but  it  was  far
too  unusual  an  action  to  pass  unnoticed.  If  the patrols
appeared he might plead an attack of faintness, but it was  not
likely  that  they  would believe him. He pushed open the door,
and a hideous cheesy smell of sour beer hit him in the face. As
he entered the din of voices dropped to about half its  volume.
Behind  his  back  he  could  feel  everyone  eyeing  his  blue
overalls. A game of darts which was going on at the  other  end
of  the  room  interrupted itself for perhaps as much as thirty
seconds. The old man whom he had followed was standing  at  the
bar,  having some kind of altercation with the barman, a large,
stout, hook-nosed young man with enormous forearms. A  knot  of
others,  standing  round  with  glasses  in  their  hands, were
watching the scene.
     'I arst you civil enough, didn't I?'  said  the  old  man,
straightening  his  shoulders pugnaciously. 'You telling me you
ain't got a pint mug in the 'ole bleeding boozer?'
     'And what in hell's name is  a  pint?'  said  the  barman,
leaning forward with the tips of his fingers on the counter.
     'Ark at 'im ! Calls 'isself a barman and don't know what a
pint is!  Why,  a  pint's the 'alf of a quart, and there's four
quarts to the gallon. 'Ave to teach you the A, B, C next.'
     'Never heard of 'em,' said the barman shortly. 'Litre  and
half  litre  -- that's all we serve. There's the glasses on the
shelf in front of you.
     'I likes a pint,' persisted the old  man.  'You  could  'a
drawed me off a pint easy enough. We didn't 'ave these bleeding
litres when I was a young man.'
     'When  you  were  a  young  man  we were all living in the
treetops,'  said  the  barman,  with  a  glance  at  the  other
     There  was  a shout of laughter, and the uneasiness caused
by  Winston's  entry  seemed  to  disappear.  The   old   man's
whitestubbled  face had flushed pink. He turned away, muttering
to himself, and bumped into Winston. Winston caught him  gently
by the arm.
     'May I offer you a drink?' he said.
     'You're   a  gent,'  said  the  other,  straightening  his
shoulders again. He appeared not to have noticed Winston's blue
overalls. 'Pint!' he added aggressively to the barman. 'Pint of
     The barman swished two half-litres of dark-brown beer into
thick glasses which  he  had  rinsed  in  a  bucket  under  the
counter.  Beer  was the only drink you could get in prole pubs.
The proles were supposed not to drink gin, though  in  practice
they  could get hold of it easily enough. The game of darts was
in full swing again, and the knot of men at the bar  had  begun
talking about lottery tickets. Winston's presence was forgotten
for  a moment. There was a deal table under the window where he
and the old man could talk without fear of being overheard.  It
was horribly dangerous, but at any rate there was no telescreen
in the room, a point he had made sure of as soon as he came in.
     "E could 'a drawed me off a pint,' grumbled the old man as
he settled  down behind a glass. 'A 'alf litre ain't enough. It
don't satisfy. And a  'ole  litre's  too  much.  It  starts  my
bladder running. Let alone the price.'
     'You  must  have seen great changes since you were a young
man,' said Winston tentatively.
     The old man's pale blue eyes moved from the darts board to
the bar, and from the bar to the door of the Gents,  as  though
it  were  in  the bar-room that he expected the changes to have
     'The beer was better,' he said finally. 'And cheaper! When
I was a young man, mild beer -- wallop we used to  call  it  --
was fourpence a pint. That was before the war, of course.'
     'Which war was that?' said Winston.
     'It's  all wars,' said the old man vaguely. He took up his
glass, and his shoulders straightened again. "Ere's wishing you
the very best of 'ealth!'
     In his lean throat the sharp-pointed Adam's apple  made  a
surprisingly rapid up-and-down movement, and the beer vanished.
Winston   went   to  the  bar  and  came  back  with  two  more
half-litres.  The  old  man  appeared  to  have  forgotten  his
prejudice against drinking a full litre.
     'You  are  very  much older than I am,' said Winston. 'You
must have been a grown man before I was born. You can  remember
what it was like in the old days, before the Revolution. People
of  my age don't really know anything about those times. We can
only read about them in books, and what it says  in  the  books
may  not  be  true.  I  should  like  your opinion on that. The
history  books  say  that  life  before  the   Revolution   was
completely  different  from  what it is now. There was the most
terrible oppression, injustice, poverty worse than anything  we
can imagine. Here in London, the great mass of the people never
had enough to eat from birth to death. Half of them hadn't even
boots  on their feet. They worked twelve hours a day, they left
school at nine, they slept ten in a room. And at the same  time
there  were  a  very  few  people,  only a few thousands -- the
capitalists, they were called -- who were  rich  and  powerful.
They  owned  everything  that  there  was to own. They lived in
great gorgeous houses with thirty servants, they rode about  in
motor-cars and four-horse carriages, they drank champagne, they
wore top hats-'
     The old man brightened suddenly.
     'Top  'ats!'  he  said. 'Funny you should mention 'em. The
same thing come into my 'ead only yesterday, I dono why. I  was
jest thinking, I ain't seen a top 'at in years. Gorn right out,
they  'ave.  The last time I wore one was at my sister-in-law's
funeral. And that was -- well, I couldn't give  you  the  date,
but it must'a been fifty years ago. Of course it was only 'ired
for the occasion, you understand.'
     'It isn't very important about the top hats,' said Winston
patiently.  'The  point is, these capitalists -- they and a few
lawyers and priests and so forth who lived on them -- were  the
lords  of  the earth. Everything existed for their benefit. You
-- the ordinary people, the workers -- were their slaves.  They
could  do  what they liked with you. They could ship you off to
Canada like cattle. They could sleep  with  your  daughters  if
they  chose.  They could order you to be flogged with something
called a cat-o'-nine tails. You had to take your cap  off  when
you  passed  them.  Every  capitalist went about with a gang of
lackeys who-'
     The old man brightened again.
     'Lackeys !' he said. 'Now there's a  word  I  ain't  'eard
since  ever  so long. Lackeys! That reg'lar takes me back, that
does. I recollect oh, donkey's years ago -- I used to sometimes
go to 'Yde Park of a Sunday afternoon to 'ear the blokes making
speeches. Salvation Army, Roman Catholics, Jews, Indians -- all
sorts there was. And there was one bloke --  well,  I  couldn't
give  you  'is  name,  but  a  real powerful speaker 'e was. 'E
didn't 'alf give it 'em! "Lackeys!" 'e says,  "lackeys  of  the
bourgeoisie!  Flunkies  of the ruling class!" Parasites -- that
was another of them. And 'yenas --  'e  definitely  called  'em
'yenas.  Of  course  'e  was referring to the Labour Party, you
     Winston  had  the  feeling  that  they  were  talking   at
     'What  I really wanted to know was this,' he said. 'Do you
feel that you have more freedom now than you had in those days?
Are you treated more like a human being? In the old  days,  the
rich people, the people at the top-'
     'The 'Ouse of Lords,' put in the old man reminiscently.
     'The  House  of  Lords,  if you like. What I am asking is,
were these people able to treat  you  as  an  inferior,  simply
because  they  were  rich  and you were poor? Is it a fact, for
instance, that you had to call them "Sir" and take off your cap
when you passed them?'
     The old man appeared to think deeply. He drank off about a
quarter of his beer before answering.
     'Yes,' he said. 'They liked you to touch your cap to  'em.
It  showed respect, like. I didn't agree with it, myself, but I
done it often enough. Had to, as you might say.'
     'And was it usual -- I'm only quoting what  I've  read  in
history  books  --  was  it  usual  for  these people and their
servants to push you off the pavement into the gutter?'
     'One of  'em  pushed  me  once,'  said  the  old  man.  'I
recollect  it as if it was yesterday. It was Boat Race night --
terribly rowdy they used to get on Boat Race  night  --  and  I
bumps  into  a young bloke on Shaftesbury Avenue. Quite a gent,
'e was -- dress shirt, top 'at, black overcoat. 'E was kind  of
zig-zagging   across   the  pavement,  and  I  bumps  into  'im
accidental-like. 'E says, "Why  can't  you  look  where  you're
going?"  'e  says.  I say, "Ju think you've bought the bleeding
pavement?" 'E says, "I'll twist your bloody 'ead off if you get
fresh with me." I says, "You're drunk. I'll give you in  charge
in  'alf  a  minute," I says. An' if you'll believe me, 'e puts
'is 'and on my chest and gives me a shove as pretty  near  sent
me  under  the wheels of a bus. Well, I was young in them days,
and I was going to 'ave fetched 'im one, only-'
     A sense of helplessness took  hold  of  Winston.  The  old
man's  memory  was  nothing  but a rubbish-heap of details. One
could  question  him  all  day   without   getting   any   real
information.  The  party histories might still be true, after a
fashion: they might even be completely true.  He  made  a  last
     'Perhaps I have not made myself clear,' he said. 'What I'm
trying  to  say  is this. You have been alive a very long time;
you lived half your life before the Revolution.  In  1925,  for
instance,  you  were  already grown up. Would you say from what
you can remember, that life in 1925 was better than it is  now,
or worse? If you could choose, would you prefer to live then or
     The  old  man  looked  meditatively at the darts board. He
finished up his beer, more slowly than before. When he spoke it
was with a tolerant philosophical air, as though the  beer  had
mellowed him.
     'I  know  what you expect me to say,' he said. 'You expect
me to say as I'd sooner  be  young  again.  Most  people'd  say
they'd  sooner  be young, if you arst' 'em. You got your 'ealth
and strength when you're young. When you get to my time of life
you ain't never well. I suffer something wicked from  my  feet,
and  my bladder's jest terrible. Six and seven times a night it
'as me out of bed. On the other 'and, there's great  advantages
in  being  a  old man. You ain't got the same worries. No truck
with women, and that's a great thing. I ain't 'ad a  woman  for
near  on thirty year, if you'd credit it. Nor wanted to, what's
     Winston sat back against the window-sill. It  was  no  use
going  on.  He was about to buy some more beer when the old man
suddenly got up and shuffled rapidly into the  stinking  urinal
at  the  side  of  the  room.  The extra half-litre was already
working on him. Winston sat for a minute or two gazing  at  his
empty  glass,  and hardly noticed when his feet carried him out
into the street again. Within twenty  years  at  the  most,  he
reflected,  the  huge  and  simple  question,  'Was life better
before the Revolution than it is now?' would have  ceased  once
and for all to be answerable. But in effect it was unanswerable
even  now,  since  the few scattered survivors from the ancient
world were incapable of comparing one age  with  another.  They
remembered a million useless things, a quarrel with a workmate,
a  hunt  for a lost bicycle pump, the expression on a long-dead
sister's face, the swirls of dust on a  windy  morning  seventy
years ago: but all the relevant facts were outside the range of
their  vision.  They  were  like  the  ant, which can see small
objects but not large ones. And when memory failed and  written
records  were falsified -- when that happened, the claim of the
Party to have improved the conditions of human life had got  to
be accepted, because there did not exist, and never again could
exist, any standard against which it could be tested.
     At  this  moment his train of thought stopped abruptly. He
halted and looked up. He was in a narrow  street,  with  a  few
dark   little   shops,   interspersed   among  dwelling-houses.
Immediately above his head there hung three  discoloured  metal
balls  which  looked as if they had once been gilded. He seemed
to know the place. Of  course!  He  was  standing  outside  the
junk-shop where he had bought the diary.
     A  twinge  of  fear  went  through  him.  It  had  been  a
sufficiently rash act to buy the book in the beginning, and  he
had  sworn  never  to  come  near  the place again. And yet the
instant that he allowed his thoughts to wander,  his  feet  had
brought  him  back  here  of their own accord. It was precisely
against suicidal impulses of this kind that  he  had  hoped  to
guard himself by opening the diary. At the same time he noticed
that although it was nearly twenty-one hours the shop was still
open. With the feeling that he would be less conspicuous inside
than  hanging  about  on  the  pavement, he stepped through the
doorway. If questioned, he could  plausibly  say  that  he  was
trying to buy razor blades.
     The  proprietor  had just lighted a hanging oil lamp which
gave off an unclean but friendly smell. He was a man of perhaps
sixty, frail and bowed, with a long, benevolent nose, and  mild
eyes  distorted by thick spectacles. His hair was almost white,
but his eyebrows were bushy and still  black.  His  spectacles,
his  gentle,  fussy movements, and the fact that he was wearing
an aged jacket of  black  velvet,  gave  him  a  vague  air  of
intellectuality,  as  though  he had been some kind of literary
man, or perhaps a musician.  His  voice  was  soft,  as  though
faded, and his accent less debased than that of the majority of
     'I  recognized  you on the pavement,' he said immediately.
'You're the gentleman that bought  the  young  lady's  keepsake
album.  That  was  a  beautiful  bit of paper, that was. Cream-
laid, it used to be called. There's been  no  paper  like  that
made  for  -- oh, I dare say fifty years.' He peered at Winston
over the top of his spectacles. 'Is there  anything  special  I
can do for you? Or did you just want to look round?'
     'I  was passing,' said Winston vaguely. 'I just looked in.
I don't want anything in particular.'
     'It's just as well,' said  the  other,  'because  I  don't
suppose  I  could  have  satisfied  you.' He made an apologetic
gesture with his softpalmed hand. 'You see how it is; an  empty
shop,  you  might  say. Between you and me, the antique trade's
just about finished. No demand any longer, and no stock either.
Furniture, china, glass it's all been broken up by degrees. And
of course the metal stuff's mostly been melted down. I  haven't
seen a brass candlestick in years.'
     The  tiny  interior  of the shop was in fact uncomfortably
full, but there was almost  nothing  in  it  of  the  slightest
value.  The  floorspace  was very restricted, because all round
the walls were stacked innumerable dusty picture-frames. In the
window there were trays of nuts and  bolts,  worn-out  chisels,
penknives  with  broken  blades, tarnished watches that did not
even pretend to be in  going  order,  and  other  miscellaneous
rubbish. Only on a small table in the corner was there a litter
of  odds  and ends -- lacquered snuffboxes, agate brooches, and
the like -- which looked as though they might include something
interesting. As Winston wandered towards the table his eye  was
caught  by  a  round,  smooth  thing that gleamed softly in the
lamplight, and he picked it up.
     It was a heavy lump of glass, curved on one side, flat  on
the  other,  making  almost  a hemisphere. There was a peculiar
softness, as of rainwater, in both the colour and  the  texture
of  the  glass.  At  the  heart  of it, magnified by the curved
surface, there was a  strange,  pink,  convoluted  object  that
recalled a rose or a sea anemone.
     'What is it?' said Winston, fascinated.
     'That's  coral,  that is,' said the old man. 'It must have
come from the Indian Ocean. They used to kind of  embed  it  in
the  glass.  That  wasn't  made  less than a hundred years ago.
More, by the look of it.'
     'It's a beautiful thing,' said Winston.
     'It is a beautiful thing,' said the other  appreciatively.
'But  there's  not  many  that'd  say so nowadays.' He coughed.
'Now, if it so happened that you wanted to buy it, that'd  cost
you  four  dollars. I can remember when a thing like that would
have fetched eight pounds, and eight  pounds  was  --  well,  I
can't  work  it  out,  but it was a lot of money. But who cares
about genuine antiques nowadays even the few that's left?'
     Winston immediately paid over the four  dollars  and  slid
the  coveted  thing into his pocket. What appealed to him about
it was not so much its beauty as the air it seemed  to  possess
of  belonging  to  an age quite different from the present one.
The soft, rainwatery glass was not like any glass that  he  had
ever  seen.  The  thing  was  doubly  attractive because of its
apparent uselessness, though he could guess that it  must  once
have  been  intended as a paperweight. It was very heavy in his
pocket, but fortunately it did not make much of a bulge. It was
a queer thing, even a compromising thing, for a Party member to
have in his possession.  Anything  old,  and  for  that  matter
anything beautiful, was always vaguely suspect. The old man had
grown   noticeably  more  cheerful  after  receiving  the  four
dollars. Winston realized that he would have accepted three  or
even two.
     'There's another room upstairs that you might care to take
a look  at,'  he  said.  'There's  not  much  in it. Just a few
pieces. We'll do with a light if we're going upstairs.'
     He lit another lamp, and, with bowed  back,  led  the  way
slowly  up  the steep and worn stairs and along a tiny passage,
into a room which did not give on the street but looked out  on
a  cobbled  yard  and a forest of chimney-pots. Winston noticed
that the furniture was still arranged as though the  room  were
meant to be lived in. There was a strip of carpet on the floor,
a picture or two on the walls, and a deep, slatternly arm-chair
drawn  up to the fireplace. An old-fashioned glass clock with a
twelve-hour face was ticking away on the mantelpiece. Under the
window, and occupying nearly a quarter  of  the  room,  was  an
enormous bed with the mattress still on it.
     'We  lived  here till my wife died,' said the old man half
apologetically. 'I'm selling the furniture off  by  little  and
little.  Now  that's  a  beautiful mahogany bed, or at least it
would be if you could get the bugs out of it. But  I  dare  say
you'd find it a little bit cumbersome.
     He  was  holdlng the lamp high up, so as to illuminate the
whole room,  and  in  the  warm  dim  light  the  place  looked
curiously  inviting. The thought flitted through Winston's mind
that it would probably be quite easy to rent the room for a few
dollars a week, if he dared to take the risk. It  was  a  wild,
impossible  notion,  to be abandoned as soon as thought of; but
the room had awakened in him a sort of  nostalgia,  a  sort  of
ancestral memory. It seemed to him that he knew exactly what it
felt like to sit in a room like this, in an arm-chair beside an
open fire with your feet in the fender and a kettle on the hob;
utterly  alone,  utterly  secure,  with nobody watching you, no
voice pursuing you, no sound except the singing of  the  kettle
and the friendly ticking of the clock.
     'There's no telescreen!' he could not help murmuring.
     'Ah,'  said the old man, 'I never had one of those things.
Too expensive. And I never seemed  to  feel  the  need  of  it,
somehow.  Now  that's a nice gateleg table in the corner there.
Though of course you'd have to put new  hinges  on  it  if  you
wanted to use the flaps.'
     There  was  a  small  bookcase  in  the  other corner, and
Winston had already gravitated towards it. It contained nothing
but rubbish. The hunting-down and destruction of books had been
done with the  same  thoroughness  in  the  prole  quarters  as
everywhere  else.  It  was  very  unlikely  that  there existed
anywhere in Oceania a copy of a book printed earlier than 1960.
The old man, still carrying the lamp, was standing in front  of
a  picture  in a rosewood frame which hung on the other side of
the fireplace, opposite the bed.
     'Now, if you happen to be interested in old prints at  all
-' he began delicately.
     Winston came across to examine the picture. It was a steel
engraving  of  an oval building with rectangular windows, and a
small tower in front. There was a  railing  running  round  the
building,  and  at the rear end there was what appeared to be a
statue. Winston gazed at it for some moments. It seemed vaguely
familiar, though he did not remember the statue.
     'The frame's fixed to the wall,' said the old man, 'but  I
could unscrew it for you, I dare say.'
     'I know that building,' said Winston finally. 'It's a ruin
now. It's  in  the  middle  of the street outside the Palace of
     'That's right. Outside the Law Courts. It was bombed in --
oh, many years ago. It was a church at  one  time,  St  Clement
Danes,  its  name  was.'  He  smiled  apologetically, as though
conscious of saying something slightly ridiculous,  and  added:
'Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St Clement's!'
     'What's that?' said Winston.
     'Oh-"Oranges  and  lemons, say the bells of St Clement's."
That was a rhyme we had when I was a little boy. How it goes on
I don't remember, but I do know it  ended  up,  "Here  comes  a
candle  to  light  you to bed, Here comes a chopper to chop off
your head." It was a kind of a dance. They held out their  arms
for  you  to  pass  under,  and when they came to "Here comes a
chopper to chop off your head" they brought their arms down and
caught you. It was just  names  of  churches.  All  the  London
churches were in it -- all the principal ones, that is.'
     Winston  wondered  vaguely  to  what  century  the  church
belonged. It was always difficult to determine  the  age  of  a
London  building.  Anything  large  and  impressive,  if it was
reasonably new in  appearance,  was  automatically  claimed  as
having been built since the Revolution, while anything that was
obviously  of  earlier  date  was  ascribed  to some dim period
called the Middle Ages. The centuries of capitalism  were  held
to  have  produced  nothing  of  any value. One could not learn
history from architecture any more than one could learn it from
books. Statues, inscriptions, memorial  stones,  the  names  of
streets  --  anything  that might throw light upon the past had
been systematically altered.
     'I never knew it had been a church,' he said.
     'There's a lot of them left, really,' said  the  old  man,
'though they've been put to other uses. Now, how did that rhyme
go? Ah! I've got it!

     "Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St Clement's,
     You  owe  me three farthings, say the bells of St Martin's
     -- "there, now, that's as far as I can get.
     A  farthing, thatwas a small copper coin,
     looked something like a cent.'

     'Where was St Martin's?' said Winston.
     'St Martin's ? That's  still  standing.  It's  in  Victory
Square,  alongside  the picture gallery. A building with a kind
of a triangular porch and pillars in front, and a big flight of
     Winston knew the place well. It  was  a  museum  used  for
propaganda  displays of various kinds -- scale models of rocket
bombs and Floating Fortresses,  waxwork  tableaux  illustrating
enemy atrocities, and the like.
     'St   Martin's-in-the-Fields   it   used  to  be  called,'
supplemented the old man, 'though I don't recollect any  fields
anywhere in those parts.'
     Winston  did  not  buy  the picture. It would have been an
even more incongruous possession than  the  glass  paperweight,
and  impossible  to carry home, unless it were taken out of its
frame. But he lingered for some minutes more,  talking  to  the
old  man, whose name, he discovered, was not Weeks-as one might
have gathered from the inscription over the shop- front --  but
Charrington.  Mr  Charrington,  it  seemed,  was a widower aged
sixty-three and had  inhabited  this  shop  for  thirty  years.
Throughout  that  time  he had been intending to alter the name
over the window, but had never quite got to the point of  doing
it.  All  the  while that they were talking the half-remembered
rhyme kept running through Winston's head. Oranges  and  lemons
say  the bells of St Clement's, You owe me three farthings, say
the bells of St Martin's ! It was curious, but when you said it
to yourself you had the illusion of actually hearing bells, the
bells of a lost London that still existed somewhere  or  other,
disguised and forgotten. From one ghostly steeple after another
he  seemed  to  hear them pealing forth. Yet so far as he could
remember he had never in real life heard church bells ringing.
     He got away from Mr Charrington and went down  the  stairs
alone,  so  as not to let the old man see him reconnoitring the
street before stepping out of the door. He had already made  up
his  mind  that after a suitable interval -- a month, say -- he
would take the risk of visiting the shop again. It was  perhaps
not  more dangerous than shirking an evening at the Centre. The
serious piece of folly had been to come back here in the  first
place,  after  buying the diary and without knowing whether the
proprietor of the shop could be trusted. However-!
     Yes, he thought again, he would come back.  He  would  buy
further scraps of beautiful rubbish. He would buy the engraving
of  St  Clement  Danes,  take it out of its frame, and carry it
home concealed under the jacket of his overalls. He would  drag
the  rest of that poem out of Mr Charrington's memory. Even the
lunatic  project  of  renting   the   room   upstairs   flashed
momentarily  through  his  mind again. For perhaps five seconds
exaltation made him careless, and he  stepped  out  on  to  the
pavement  without  so  much as a preliminary glance through the
window. He had even started humming to an improvised tune

     Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St Clement's,
     You owe me three farthings, say the

       Suddenly his heart seemed to turn to ice and his  bowels
to  water.  A  figure  in  blue  overalls  was  coming down the
pavement, not ten metres away. It was the girl from the Fiction
Department, the girl with dark hair. The light was failing, but
there was no difficulty in  recognizing  her.  She  looked  him
straight  in the face, then walked quickly on as though she had
not seen him.
     For a few seconds Winston was too paralysed to move.  Then
he  turned  to  the right and walked heavily away, not noticing
for the moment that he was going in the wrong direction. At any
rate, one question was  settled.  There  was  no  doubting  any
longer  that the girl was spying on him. She must have followed
him here, because it was not credible that by pure  chance  she
should  have  happened to be walking on the same evening up the
same obscure backstreet, kilometres distant  from  any  quarter
where  Party  members  lived.  It  was too great a coincidence.
Whether she was really an  agent  of  the  Thought  Police,  or
simply   an  amateur  spy  actuated  by  officiousness,  hardly
mattered. It was enough that she was watching him. Probably she
had seen him go into the pub as well.
     It was an effort to walk. The lump of glass in his  pocket
banged  against  his thigh at each step, and he was half minded
to take it out and throw it away. The worst thing was the  pain
in  his  belly. For a couple of minutes he had the feeling that
he would die if he did not reach a  lavatory  soon.  But  there
would  be no public lavatories in a quarter like this. Then the
spasm passed, leaving a dull ache behind.
     The street was a blind alley. Winston  halted,  stood  for
several seconds wondering vaguely what to do, then turned round
and began to retrace his steps. As he turned it occurred to him
that the girl had only passed him three minutes ago and that by
running  he  could probably catch up with her. He could keep on
her track till they were in some quiet place,  and  then  smash
her  skull  in  with  a  cobblestone. The piece of glass in his
pocket would be heavy enough for the job. But he abandoned  the
idea  immediately,  because  even  the  thought  of  making any
physical effort was unbearable. He could not run, he could  not
strike  a  blow.  Besides,  she  was  young and lusty and would
defend herself. He thought also of hurrying  to  the  Community
Centre  and  staying  there  till  the  place  closed, so as to
establish a partial alibi for the evening.  But  that  too  was
impossible.  A  deadly  lassitude had taken hold of him. All he
wanted was to get home quickly and then sit down and be quiet.
     It was after twenty-two hours when  he  got  back  to  the
flat.  The  lights  would  be  switched  off  at  the  main  at
twenty-three thirty. He went into  the  kitchen  and  swallowed
nearly a teacupful of Victory Gin. Then he went to the table in
the alcove, sat down, and took the diary out of the drawer. But
he did not open it at once. From the telescreen a brassy female
voice  was  squalling  a  patriotic song. He sat staring at the
marbled cover of the book, trying without success to  shut  the
voice out of his consciousness.
     It  was  at night that they came for you, always at night.
The proper thing was to kill  yourself  before  they  got  you.
Undoubtedly some people did so. Many of the disappearances were
actually  suicides.  But  it  needed  desperate courage to kill
yourself in a world where firearms, or any  quick  and  certain
poison, were completely unprocurable. He thought with a kind of
astonishment  of  the  biological uselessness of pain and fear,
the treachery of the  human  body  which  always  freezes  into
inertia  at exactly the moment when a special effort is needed.
He might have silenced the dark-haired  girl  if  only  he  had
acted quickly enough: but precisely because of the extremity of
his  danger he had lost the power to act. It struck him that in
moments of crisis one is never  fighting  against  an  external
enemy, but always against one's own body. Even now, in spite of
the  gin,  the  dull ache in his belly made consecutive thought
impossible. And it is the same, he perceived, in all  seemingly
heroic or tragic situations. On the battlefield, in the torture
chamber,  on  a  sinking ship, the issues that you are fighting
for are always forgotten, because the body swells up  until  it
fills  the  universe,  and  even  when you are not paralysed by
fright or screaming  with  pain,  life  is  a  moment-to-moment
struggle  against  hunger  or  cold or sleeplessness, against a
sour stomach or an aching tooth.
     He opened the diary. It was important to  write  something
down.  The  woman on the telescreen had started a new song. Her
voice seemed to stick into his brain like jagged  splinters  of
glass.  He tried to think of O'Brien, for whom, or to whom, the
diary was written, but instead he began thinking of the  things
that  would  happen  to  him  after the Thought Police took him
away. It would not matter if they killed you  at  once.  To  be
killed was what you expected. But before death (nobody spoke of
such  things, yet everybody knew of them) there was the routine
of confession that had to be gone through:  the  grovelling  on
the  floor  and screaming for mercy, the crack of broken bones,
the smashed teeth, and bloody clots of hair.
     Why did you have to endure it, since the  end  was  always
the  same?  Why  was it not possible to cut a few days or weeks
out of your life? Nobody ever  escaped  detection,  and  nobody
ever  failed  to  confess.  When  once  you  had  succumbed  to
thoughtcrime it was certain that by a given date you  would  be
dead.  Why then did that horror, which altered nothing, have to
lie embedded in future time?
     He tried with a little more success than before to  summon
up  the  image  of  O'Brien.  'We shall meet in the place where
there is no darkness,' O'Brien had said to him. He knew what it
meant, or thought he knew. The place where there is no darkness
was the imagined future, which one would never see, but  which,
by  foreknowledge,  one could mystically share in. But with the
voice from the telescreen nagging at  his  ears  he  could  not
follow  the train of thought further. He put a cigarette in his
mouth. Half the tobacco promptly fell out on to his  tongue,  a
bitter  dust which was difficult to spit out again. The face of
Big Brother swam into his mind,  displacing  that  of  O'Brien.
Just  as  he had done a few days earlier, he slid a coin out of
his pocket and looked at it. The face gazed up at  him,  heavy,
calm, protecting: but what kind of smile was hidden beneath the
dark moustache? Like a leaden knell the words came back at him:


      * Chapter Two *

     It was the middle of the morning, and Winston had left the
cubicle to go to the lavatory.
     A  solitary  figure  was coming towards him from the other
end of the long, brightly-lit corridor. It was  the  girl  with
dark  hair.  Four  days had gone past since the evening when he
had run into her outside the junk-shop. As she came  nearer  he
saw  that  her  right  arm  was in a sling, not noticeable at a
distance because it was of the same  colour  as  her  overalls.
Probably  she  had crushed her hand while swinging round one of
the big  kaleidoscopes  on  which  the  plots  of  novels  were
'roughed   in'.  It  was  a  common  accident  in  the  Fiction
     They were perhaps four metres apart when the girl stumbled
and fell almost flat on her face. A sharp cry of pain was wrung
out of her. She must have fallen  right  on  the  injured  arm.
Winston  stopped  short.  The  girl had risen to her knees. Her
face had turned a milky yellow colour against which  her  mouth
stood out redder than ever. Her eyes were fixed on his, with an
appealing expression that looked more like fear than pain.
     A  curious emotion stirred in Winston's heart. In front of
him was an enemy who was trying to kill him: in front  of  him,
also,  was  a human creature, in pain and perhaps with a broken
bone. Already he had instinctively started forward to help her.
In the moment when he had seen her fall on the bandaged arm, it
had been as though he felt the pain in his own body.
     'You're hurt?' he said.
     'It's nothing. My arm. It'll be all right in a second.'
     She spoke as though her heart  were  fluttering.  She  had
certainly turned very pale.
     'You haven't broken anything?'
     'No, I'm all right. It hurt for a moment, that's all.'
     She  held  out her free hand to him, and he helped her up.
She had regained some of her colour,  and  appeared  very  much
     'It's  nothing,'  she  repeated  shortly.  'I only gave my
wrist a bit of a bang. Thanks, comrade!'
     And with that she walked on in the direction in which  she
had  been  going,  as  briskly  as  though  it  had really been
nothing. The whole incident could not have  taken  as  much  as
half  a  minute. Not to let one's feelings appear in one's face
was a habit that had acquired the status of an instinct, and in
any case  they  had  been  standing  straight  in  front  of  a
telescreen  when  the  thing happened. Nevertheless it had been
very difficult not to betray a momentary surprise, for  in  the
two  or  three seconds while he was helping her up the girl had
slipped something into his hand. There was no question that she
had done it intentionally. It was something small and flat.  As
he  passed  through  the lavatory door he transferred it to his
pocket and felt it with the tips of his fingers. It was a scrap
of paper folded into a square.
     While he stood at the urinal he  managed,  with  a  little
more  fingering,  to get it unfolded. Obviously there must be a
message of some kind written on it. For a moment he was tempted
to take it into one of the water-closets and read it  at  once.
But that would be shocking folly, as he well knew. There was no
place where you could be more certain that the telescreens were
watched continuously.
     He  went back to his cubicle, sat down, threw the fragment
of paper casually among the other papers on the  desk,  put  on
his  spectacles  and  hitched the speakwrite towards him. 'five
minutes,' he told himself, 'five minutes at  the  very  least!'
His  heart  bumped  in  his  breast  with frightening loudness.
Fortunately the piece of  work  he  was  engaged  on  was  mere
routine,  the  rectification  of  a  long  list of figures, not
needing close attention.
     Whatever was written on the paper, it must have some  kind
of  political  meaning.  So  far as he could see there were two
possibilities. One, much the more likely, was that the girl was
an agent of the Thought Police, just as he had feared.  He  did
not  know why the Thought Police should choose to deliver their
messages in such a fashion, but perhaps they had their reasons.
The thing that was written on the paper might be  a  threat,  a
summons,   an   order   to  commit  suicide,  a  trap  of  some
description. But there was  another,  wilder  possibility  that
kept  raising  its head, though he tried vainly to suppress it.
This was, that the message did not come from the Thought Police
at all, but from some kind of underground organization. Perhaps
the Brotherhood existed after all! Perhaps the girl was part of
it! No doubt the idea was absurd, but it had  sprung  into  his
mind  in  the very instant of feeling the scrap of paper in his
hand. It was not till a couple of minutes later that the other,
more probable explanation had occurred to him.  And  even  now,
though  his  intellect told him that the message probably meant
death --  still,  that  was  not  what  he  believed,  and  the
unreasonable  hope  persisted, and his heart banged, and it was
with difficulty that he kept his voice  from  trembling  as  he
murmured his figures into the speakwrite.
     He rolled up the completed bundle of work and slid it into
the pneumatic  tube. Eight minutes had gone by. He re- adjusted
his spectacles on his nose, sighed, and drew the next batch  of
work  towards  him,  with  the  scrap of paper on top of it. He
flattened it out. On  it  was  written,  in  a  large  unformed
     I love you.
     For  several  seconds he was too stunned even to throw the
incriminating thing into the  memory  hole.  When  he  did  so,
although  he  knew  very  well  the  danger of showing too much
interest, he could not resist reading it once  again,  just  to
make sure that the words were really there.
     For the rest of the morning it was very difficult to work.
What was  even  worse than having to focus his mind on a series
of niggling jobs was the need to conceal his agitation from the
telescreen. He felt as though a fire were burning in his belly.
Lunch in the hot, crowded, noise- filled canteen  was  torment.
He  had  hoped  to be alone for a little while during the lunch
hour, but as bad  luck  would  have  it  the  imbecile  Parsons
flopped down beside him, the tang of his sweat almost defeating
the tinny smell of stew, and kept up a stream of talk about the
preparations  for  Hate  Week. He was particularly enthusiastic
about a papier- ma^che/ model of Big Brother's head, two metres
wide, which was being made for the occasion by  his  daughter's
troop  of Spies. The irritating thing was that in the racket of
voices Winston could hardly hear what Parsons was  saying,  and
was  constantly  having  to  ask  for some fatuous remark to be
repeated. Just once he caught a glimpse of the girl, at a table
with two other girls at the far end of the room.  She  appeared
not  to  have  seen  him, and he did not look in that direction
     The afternoon was more bearable. Immediately  after  lunch
there  arrived  a delicate, difficult piece of work which would
take several hours and  necessitated  putting  everything  else
aside.  It  consisted  in  falsifying  a  series  of production
reports of two years ago, in such a way as to cast discredit on
a prominent member of the Inner Party,  who  was  now  under  a
cloud. This was the kind of thing that Winston was good at, and
for  more  than two hours he succeeded in shutting the girl out
of his mind altogether. Then the memory of her face came  back,
and  with it a raging, intolerable desire to be alone. Until he
could be alone it was impossible to think this new  development
out.  Tonight was one of his nights at the Community Centre. He
wolfed another tasteless meal in the canteen,  hurried  off  to
the  Centre,  took  part in the solemn foolery of a 'discussion
group', played two games of  table  tennis,  swallowed  several
glasses  of  gin,  and  sat  for half an hour through a lecture
entitled 'Ingsoc in relation to chess'. His soul  writhed  with
boredom,  but  for  once  he  had  had  no impulse to shirk his
evening at the Centre. At the sight  of  the  words  I  love
you  the desire to stay alive had welled up in him, and the
taking of minor risks suddenly seemed stupid. It was  not  till
twenty-three  hours,  when  he  was  home  and in bed -- in the
darkness, where you were safe even from the telescreen so  long
as you kept silent -- that he was able to think continuously.
     It  was  a  physical problem that had to be solved: how to
get in touch with the girl and arrange a meeting.  He  did  not
consider  any  longer  the possibility that she might be laying
some kind of trap for him. He knew that it was not so,  because
of  her  unmistakable  agitation  when she handed him the note.
Obviously she had been frightened out of her wits, as well  she
might  be. Nor did the idea of refusing her advances even cross
his mind. Only five nights ago he had contemplated smashing her
skull in with a cobblestone, but that was of no importance.  He
thought  of  her naked, youthful body, as he had seen it in his
dream. He had imagined her a fool like all the  rest  of  them,
her head stuffed with lies and hatred, her belly full of ice. A
kind of fever seized him at the thought that he might lose her,
the  white  youthful  body  might  slip  away from him! What he
feared more than anything else was that she would simply change
her mind if he did not get in touch with her quickly.  But  the
physical difficulty of meeting was enormous. It was like trying
to  make a move at chess when you were already mated. Whichever
way you turned, the telescreen faced  you.  Actually,  all  the
possible  ways  of  communicating  with her had occurred to him
within five minutes of reading the note; but now, with time  to
think, he went over them one by one, as though laying out a row
of instruments on a table.
     Obviously  the  kind  of  encounter that had happened this
morning could not be repeated. If she had worked in the Records
Department it might have been comparatively simple, but he  had
only  a  very  dim idea whereabouts in the building the Fiction
Departrnent lay, and he had no pretext for going there.  If  he
had  known  where she lived, and at what time she left work, he
could have contrived to meet her somewhere on her way home; but
to try to follow her home was not safe, because it  would  mean
loitering  about  outside  the  Ministry, which was bound to be
noticed. As for sending a letter through the mails, it was  out
of  the  question.  By  a routine that was not even secret, all
letters were opened in transit. Actually, few people ever wrote
letters. For the messages that it was occasionally necessary to
send, there were printed postcards with long lists of  phrases,
and you struck out the ones that were inapplicable. In any case
he did not know the girl's name, let alone her address. Finally
he  decided  that the safest place was the canteen. If he could
get her at a table by herself, somewhere in the middle  of  the
room,  not too near the telescreens, and with a sufficient buzz
of conversation all round -- if these conditions  endured  for,
say,  thirty  seconds,  it  might be possible to exchange a few
     For a week after this, life was like a restless dream.  On
the  next  day  she  did not appear in the canteen until he was
leaving it, the whistle having already  blown.  Presumably  she
had  been  changed  on to a later shift. They passed each other
without a glance. On the day after that she was in the  canteen
at  the  usual time, but with three other girls and immediately
under a telescreen. Then for three dreadful days  she  did  not
appear  at  all. His whole mind and body seemed to be afflicted
with an unbearable sensitivity, a sort of  transparency,  which
made  every  movement,  every  sound, every contact, every word
that he had to speak or listen to, an agony. Even in  sleep  he
could  not  altogether  escape from her image. He did not touch
the diary during those days. If there was any relief, it was in
his work, in which he could sometimes forget  himself  for  ten
minutes  at a stretch. He had absolutely no clue as to what had
happened to her. There was no enquiry he could make. She  might
have  been  vaporized,  she  might  have committed suicide, she
might have been transferred to the other end of Oceania:  worst
and  likeliest  of  all, she might simply have changed her mind
and decided to avoid him.
     The next day she reappeared. Her arm was out of the  sling
and  she  had  a  band of sticking-plaster round her wrist. The
relief of seeing her was so great  that  he  could  not  resist
staring  directly  at her for several seconds. On the following
day he very nearly succeeded in speaking to her. When  he  came
into  the  canteen she was sitting at a table well out from the
wall, and was quite alone. It was early, and the place was  not
very  full.  The queue edged forward till Winston was almost at
the counter, then was held up for two minutes  because  someone
in front was complaining that he had not received his tablet of
saccharine.  But  the girl was still alone when Winston secured
his tray and began to make for her table.  He  walked  casually
towards  her,  his  eyes  searching  for  a place at some table
beyond her. She was perhaps three metres away from him. Another
two seconds would do  it.  Then  a  voice  behind  him  called,
'Smith!'  He  pretended  not  to  hear.  'Smith !' repeated the
voice,  more  loudly.  It  was  no  use.  He  turned  round.  A
blond-headed,  silly-faced  young  man  named  Wilsher, whom he
barely knew, was inviting him with a smile to a vacant place at
his table. It  was  not  safe  to  refuse.  After  having  been
recognized,  he  could  not  go  and  sit  at  a  table with an
unattended girl. It was too noticeable.  He  sat  down  with  a
friendly  smile.  The silly blond face beamed into his. Winston
had a hallucination of himself smashing a pick-axe  right  into
the  middle  of  it.  The  girl's table filled up a few minutes
     But she must have seen him coming towards her, and perhaps
she would take the hint. Next day he took care to arrive early.
Surely enough, she was at a table in about the same place,  and
again  alone.  The person immediately ahead of him in the queue
was a small, swiftly-moving, beetle-like man with a  flat  face
and  tiny,  suspicious  eyes.  As  Winston turned away from the
counter with his tray, he saw that the little  man  was  making
straight  for the girl's table. His hopes sank again. There was
a vacant place at a table further away, but  something  in  the
little man's appearance suggested that he would be sufficiently
attentive to his own comfort to choose the emptiest table. With
ice  at  his  heart  Winston  followed. It was no use unless he
could get the girl alone. At this moment there was a tremendous
crash. The little man was sprawling on all fours, his tray  had
gone flying, two streams of soup and coffee were flowing across
the  floor.  He  started to his feet with a malignant glance at
Winston, whom he evidently suspected of having tripped him  up.
But  it  was  all  right. Five seconds later, with a thundering
heart, Winston was sitting at the girl's table.
     He did not look at her. He unpacked his tray and  promptly
began  eating.  It  was  all-important to speak at once, before
anyone else came, but now a terrible fear had taken  possession
of  him. A week had gone by since she had first approached him.
She would have changed her mind,  she  must  have  changed  her
mind!   It   was   impossible   that  this  affair  should  end
successfully; such things did not happen in real life. He might
have flinched altogether from speaking if at this moment he had
not seen Ampleforth, the  hairy-eared  poet,  wandering  limply
round the room with a tray, looking for a place to sit down. In
his  vague  way  Ampleforth  was attached to Winston, and would
certainly sit down at his table if  he  caught  sight  of  him.
There  was  perhaps  a minute in which to act. Both Winston and
the girl were eating steadily. The stuff they were eating was a
thin stew, actually a soup, of haricot beans. In a  low  murmur
Winston  began  speaking.  Neither  of them looked up; steadily
they spooned the watery stuff into their  mouths,  and  between
spoonfuls   exchanged   the   few   necessary   words   in  low
expressionless voices.
     'What time do you leave work?'
     'Where can we meet?'
     'Victory Square, near the monument.
     'It's full of telescreens.'
     'It doesn't matter if there's a crowd.'
     'Any signal?'
     'No. Don't come up to me until you see me among a  lot  of
people. And don't look at me. Just keep somewhere near me.'
     'What time?'
     'Nineteen hours.'
     'All right.'
     Ampleforth  failed  to see Winston and sat down at another
table. They did not speak again, and, so far as it was possible
for two people sitting on opposite sides  of  the  same  table,
they  did  not look at one another. The girl finished her lunch
quickly  and  made  off,  while  Winston  stayed  to  smoke   a
     Winston  was  in Victory Square before the appointed time.
He wandered round the base of the enormous  fluted  column,  at
the  top  of which Big Brother's statue gazed southward towards
the skies where he had vanquished the Eurasian aeroplanes  (the
Eastasian  aeroplanes,  it  had  been,  a few years ago) in the
Battle of Airstrip One. In the street in front of it there  was
a  statue of a man on horseback which was supposed to represent
Oliver Cromwell. At five minutes past the  hour  the  girl  had
still  not  appeared.  Again  the  terrible  fear  seized  upon
Winston. She was not coming,  she  had  changed  her  mind!  He
walked slowly up to the north side of the square and got a sort
of  pale-coloured pleasure from identifying St Martin's Church,
whose bells, when it had bells, had chimed 'You  owe  me  three
farthings.'  Then  he  saw the girl standing at the base of the
monument, reading or pretending to  read  a  poster  which  ran
spirally  up  the  column. It was not safe to go near her until
some more people had accumulated. There  were  telescreens  all
round  the  pediment.  But  at  this  moment there was a din of
shouting and a zoom of heavy vehicles  from  somewhere  to  the
left. Suddenly everyone seemed to be running across the square.
The  girl  nipped  nimbly  round  the  lions at the base of the
monument and joined in the rush. Winston followed. As  he  ran,
he gathered from some shouted remarks that a convoy of Eurasian
prisoners was passing.
     Already a dense mass of people was blocking the south side
of the  square. Winston, at normal times the kind of person who
gravitates to the outer edge of any kind of scrimmage,  shoved,
butted,  squirmed  his way forward into the heart of the crowd.
Soon he was within arm's length of the girl, but  the  way  was
blocked  by  an  enormous  prole and an almost equally enormous
woman, presumably his wife, who seemed to form an  impenetrable
wall  of  flesh.  Winston wriggled himself sideways, and with a
violent lunge managed to drive his shoulder between them. For a
moment it felt as though his entrails were being ground to pulp
between the two muscular hips,  then  he  had  broken  through,
sweating  a little. He was next to the girl. They were shoulder
to shoulder, both staring fixedly in front of them.
     A long line of trucks, with wooden-faced guards armed with
sub-machine guns standing upright in each corner,  was  passing
slowly  down  the  street.  In  the trucks little yellow men in
shabby greenish uniforms were squatting, jammed close together.
Their sad, Mongolian faces gazed out  over  the  sides  of  the
trucks  utterly  incurious.  Occasionally  when  a truck jolted
there was a clankclank of metal: all the prisoners were wearing
leg-irons. Truckload after truck-load of the sad faces  passed.
Winston   knew   they   were   there   but  he  saw  them  only
intermittently. The girl's shoulder, and her arm right down  to
the  elbow, were pressed against his. Her cheek was almost near
enough for him to feel its warmth. She  had  immediately  taken
charge  of  the situation, just as she had done in the canteen.
She began speaking in the same expressionless voice as  before,
with  lips  barely  moving, a mere murmur easily drowned by the
din of voices and the rumbling of the trucks.
     'Can you hear me?'
     'Can you get Sunday afternoon off?'
     'Then listen carefully. You'll have to remember  this.  Go
to Paddington Station-'
     With a sort of military precision that astonished him, she
outlined  the  route that he was to follow. A half-hour railway
journey; turn left outside the station;  two  kilometres  along
the  road:  a  gate  with  the top bar missing; a path across a
field; a grass-grown lane; a track between bushes; a dead  tree
with  moss  on  it.  It  was as though she had a map inside her
head. 'Can you remember all that?' she murmured finally.
     'You turn left, then  right,  then  left  again.  And  the
gate's got no top bar.'
     'Yes. What time?'
     'About  fifteen.  You  may have to wait. I'll get there by
another way. Are you sure you remember everything?'
     'Then get away from me as quick as you can.'
     She need not have told him that. But for the  moment  they
could  not extricate themselves from the crowd. The trucks were
still filing post, the people still insatiably gaping.  At  the
start  there  had  been a few boos and hisses, but it came only
from the Party members among the crowd, and had  soon  stopped.
The   prevailing  emotion  was  simply  curiosity.  Foreigners,
whether from Eurasia or from Eastasia, were a kind  of  strange
animal.  One  literally  never  saw them except in the guise of
prisoners, and even as prisoners one  never  got  more  than  a
momentary  glimpse  of  them.  Nor  did one know what became of
them, apart from the few who were hanged as  war-criminals:  te
others  simply  vanished,  presumably into forced-labour camps.
The round Mogol faces had given way to faces of a more European
type,  dirty,  bearded  and  exhausted.   From   over   scrubby
cheekbones  eyes  looked into Winston's, sometimes with strange
intensity, and flashed away again. The convoy was drawing to an
end. In the last truck he could see an aged  man,  his  face  a
mass  of grizzled hair, standing upright with wrists crossed in
front of him, as though he  were  used  to  having  them  bound
together.  It was almost time for Winston and the girl to part.
But at the last moment, while the crowd still hemmed  them  in,
her hand felt for his and gave it a fleeting squeeze.
     It  could  not  have been ten seconds, and yet it seemed a
long time that their hands were clasped together. He  had  time
to  learn  every  detail  of  her  hand.  He  explored the long
fingers, the shapely nails, the work-hardened palm with its row
of callouses, the smooth flesh under  the  wrist.  Merely  from
feeling it he would have known it by sight. In the same instant
it  occurred to him that he did not know what colour the girl's
eyes were. They were probably brown, but people with dark  hair
sometimes had blue eyes. To turn his head and look at her would
have  been  inconceivable  folly.  With  hands locked together,
invisible among the press of bodies, they  stared  steadily  in
front of them, and instead of the eyes of the girl, the eyes of
the  aged  prisoner gazed mournfully at Winston out of nests of

     x x x here x x x

     Winston picked his way up the lane through  dappled  light
and  shade, stepping out into pools of gold wherever the boughs
parted. Under the trees to the left of him the ground was misty
with bluebells. The air seemed to kiss one's skin. It  was  the
second  of  May. From somewhere deeper in the heart of the wood
came the droning of ring doves.
     He was a bit early. There had been no  difficulties  about
the  journey, and the girl was so evidently experienced that he
was  less  frightened  than  he  would  normally   have   been.
Presumably  she  could  be  trusted  to  find  a safe place. In
general you could not assume that you were much  safer  in  the
country  than  in London. There were no telescreens, of course,
but there was always the danger  of  concealed  microphones  by
which your voice might be picked up and recognized; besides, it
was  not  easy to make a journey by yourself without attracting
attention. For distances of less than 100 kilometres it was not
necessary to get your passport endorsed,  but  sometimes  there
were  patrols  hanging about the railway stations, who examined
the papers of any Party  member  they  found  there  and  asked
awkward questions. However, no patrols had appeared, and on the
walk  from  the  station  he had made sure by cautious backward
glances that he was not being followed. The train was  full  of
proles,  in  holiday  mood  because of the summery weather. The
wooden- seated carriage in which he  travelled  was  filled  to
overflowing  by  a  single  enormous  family.  ranging  from  a
toothless great-grandmother to a month-old baby, going  out  to
spend  an afternoon with 'in-laws' in the country, and, as they
freely  explained  to  Winston,  to  get  hold  of   a   little
blackmarket butter.
     The  lane widened, and in a minute he came to the footpath
she had told him of, a mere cattle-track which plunged  between
the  bushes.  He had no watch, but it could not be fifteen yet.
The bluebells were so thick underfoot that  it  was  impossible
not  to  tread  on  them.  He knelt down and began picking some
partly to pass the time away, but also from a vague  idea  that
he  would  like to have a bunch of flowers to offer to the girl
when they met. He had got together a big bunch and was smelling
their faint sickly scent when a sound at his  back  froze  him,
the unmistakable crackle of a foot on twigs. He went on picking
bluebells.  It  was the best thing to do. It might be the girl,
or he might have been followed after all. To look round was  to
show  guilt. He picked another and another. A hand fell lightly
on his shoulder.
     He looked up.  It  was  the  girl.  She  shook  her  head,
evidently  as  a  warning that he must keep silent, then parted
the bushes and quickly led the way along the narrow track  into
the  wood.  Obviously  she  had  been  that way before, for she
dodged the boggy bits as though  by  habit.  Winston  followed,
still  clasping  his  bunch  of  flowers. His first feeling was
relief, but as he watched the strong  slender  body  moving  in
front  of him, with the scarlet sash that was just tight enough
to bring out the curve of  her  hips,  the  sense  of  his  own
inferiority was heavy upon him. Even now it seemed quite likely
that  when  she  turned  round and looked at him she would draw
back after all. The sweetness of the air and the  greenness  of
the  leaves  daunted  him. Already on the walk from the station
the May sunshine had made  him  feel  dirty  and  etiolated,  a
creature of indoors, with the sooty dust of London in the pores
of  his skin. It occurred to him that till now she had probably
never seen him in broad daylight in the open. They came to  the
fallen  tree  that  she had spoken of. The girl hopped over and
forced apart the bushes, in which there did not seem to  be  an
opening.  When Winston followed her, he found that they were in
a natural clearing, a tiny  grassy  knoll  surrounded  by  tall
saplings  that  shut  it  in  completely.  The girl stopped and
     'Here we are,' she said.
     He was facing her at several paces' distance.  As  yet  he
did not dare move nearer to her.
     'I  didn't want to say anything in the lane,' she went on,
'in case there's a mike hidden there. I don't suppose there is,
but there could be. There's always the chance of one  of  those
swine recognizing your voice. We're all right here.'
     He  still  had not the courage to approach her. 'We're all
right here?' he repeated stupidly.
     'Yes. Look at the trees.' They were small ashes, which  at
some  time  had  been cut down and had sprouted up again into a
forest of  poles,  none  of  them  thicker  than  one's  wrist.
'There's  nothing  big  enough to hide a mike in. Besides, I've
been here before.'
     They were only making conversation. He had managed to move
closer to her now. She stood before him very  upright,  with  a
smile  on  her face that looked faintly ironical, as though she
were wondering why he was so slow to  act.  The  bluebells  had
cascaded  on to the ground. They seemed to have fallen of their
own accord. He took her hand.
     'Would you believe,' he said, 'that  till  this  moment  I
didn't  know  what  colour your eyes were?' They were brown, he
noted, a rather light shade of brown, with  dark  lashes.  'Now
that  you've  seen  what I'm really like, can you still bear to
look at me?'
     'Yes, easily.'
     'I'm thirty-nine years old. I've got a wife that  I  can't
get  rid  of.  I've  got  varicose  veins.  I've got five false
     'I couldn't care less,' said the girl.
     The next moment, it was hard to say by whose act, she  was
in  his  his  arms.  At  the beginning he had no feeling except
sheer incredulity. The youthful body was strained  against  his
own,  the  mass  of  dark  hair was against his face, and yes !
actually she had turned her face up and he was kissing the wide
red mouth. She had clasped her arms about  his  neck,  she  was
calling him darling, precious one, loved one. He had pulled her
down on to the ground, she was utterly unresisting, he could do
what  he  liked  with  her.  But  the  truth was that he had no
physical sensation, except that of mere contact.  All  he  felt
was incredulity and pride. He was glad that this was happening,
but  he  had no physical desire. It was too soon, her youth and
prettiness had frightened him, he was too much used  to  living
without  women  --  he did not know the reason. The girl picked
herself up and pulled a bluebell  out  of  her  hair.  She  sat
against him, putting her arm round his waist.
     'Never  mind,  dear. There's no hurry. We've got the whole
afternoon. Isn't this a splendid hide-out? I found  it  when  I
got  lost  once  on  a community hike. If anyone was coming you
could hear them a hundred metres away.'
     'What is your name?' said Winston.
     'Julia. I know yours. It's Winston -- Winston Smith.'
     'How did you find that out?'
     'I expect I'm better at finding things out than  you  are,
dear.  Tell me, what did you think of me before that day I gave
you the note?'
     He did not feel any temptation to tell lies to her. It was
even a sort of love-offering to start off by telling the worst.
     'I hated the sight of you,' he said. 'I wanted to rape you
and then  murder  you  afterwards.  Two  weeks  ago  I  thought
seriously  of  smashing your head in with a cobblestone. If you
really want to know, I imagined that you had  something  to  do
with the Thought Police.'
     The  girl  laughed delightedly, evidently taking this as a
tribute to the excellence of her disguise.
     'Not the Thought Police! You didn't honestly think that?'
     'Well, perhaps not exactly that.  But  from  your  general
appearance  --  merely  because  you're  young  and  fresh  and
healthy, you understand -- I thought that probably-'
     'You thought I was a good Party member. Pure in  word  and
deed. Banners, processions, slogans, games, community hikes all
that stuff. And you thought that if I had a quarter of a chance
I'd denounce you as a thought-criminal and get you killed off?'
     'Yes, something of that kind. A great many young girls are
like that, you know.'
     'It's  this  bloody thing that does it,' she said, ripping
off the scarlet sash of the Junior Anti-Sex League and flinging
it on to a bough.  Then,  as  though  touching  her  waist  had
reminded  her  of  something,  she  felt  in  the pocket of her
overalls and produced a small slab of chocolate. She  broke  it
in  half  and gave one of the pieces to Winston. Even before he
had taken it he knew by the smell  that  it  was  very  unusual
chocolate.  It  was  dark  and shiny, and was wrapped in silver
paper. Chocolate normally  was  dullbrown  crumbly  stuff  that
tasted, as nearly as one could describe it, like the smoke of a
rubbish  fire.  But  at  some  time  or  another  he had tasted
chocolate like the piece she had given him. The first whiff  of
its  scent  had  stirred  up some memory which he could not pin
down, but which was powerful and troubling.
     'Where did you get this stuff?' he said.
     'Black market,' she said  indifferently.  'Actually  I  am
that  sort  of  girl,  to  look  at. I'm good at games. I was a
troop-leader in the Spies. I do voluntary work three evenings a
week for the Junior Anti-Sex League. Hours and hours I've spent
pasting their bloody rot all over London. I  always  carry  one
end  of a banner in the processions. I always Iook cheerful and
I never shirk anything. Always yell with the crowd, that's what
I say. It's the only way to be safe.'
     The first fragment of chocolate had  meIted  on  Winston's
tongue.  The  taste  was  delightful.  But there was still that
memory moving round the edges of his  consciousness,  something
strongly  felt  but  not  reducible  to definite shape, like an
object seen out of the corner of one's eye. He pushed  it  away
from  him,  aware  only  that  it was the memory of some action
which he would have liked to undo but could not.
     'You are very young,' he said. 'You  are  ten  or  fifteen
years younger than I am. What could you see to attract you in a
man like me?'
     'It  was  something  in  your  face.  I thought I'd take a
chance. I'm good at spotting people who don't belong.  As  soon
as I saw you I knew you were against them.'
     Them,  it  appeared, meant the Party, and above all
the Inner Party, about whom she talked  with  an  open  jeering
hatred  which  made  Winston feel uneasy, although he knew that
they were safe here if they could be  safe  anywhere.  A  thing
that  astonished  him  about  her  was  the  coarseness  of her
language. Party members were supposed not to swear, and Winston
himself very seldom did  swear,  aloud,  at  any  rate.  Julia,
however, seemed unable to mention the Party, and especially the
Inner  Party,  without  using  the  kind  of words that you saw
chalked up in dripping alley-ways. He did not  dislike  it.  It
was  merely one symptom of her revolt against the Party and all
its ways, and somehow it seemed natural and healthy,  like  the
sneeze  of  a  horse  that  smells  bad  hay. They had left the
clearing and were wandering again through the chequered  shade,
with  their arms round each other's waists whenever it was wide
enough to walk two abreast. He  noticed  how  much  softer  her
waist  seemed  to feel now that the sash was gone. They did not
speak above a whisper. Outside the clearing, Julia said, it was
better to go quietly. Presently they had reached  the  edge  of
the little wood. She stopped him.
     'Don't  go  out  into  the  open.  There  might be someone
watching. We're all right if we keep behind the boughs.'
     They were standing in  the  shade  of  hazel  bushes.  The
sunlight,  filtering  through innumerable leaves, was still hot
on their faces. Winston looked out into the field  beyond,  and
underwent  a  curious, slow shock of recognition. He knew it by
sight. An old, closebitten pasture, with a  footpath  wandering
across it and a molehill here and there. In the ragged hedge on
the  opposite  side  the  boughs  of  the elm trees swayed just
perceptibly in the breeze, and their leaves stirred faintly  in
dense  masses  like  women's hair. Surely somewhere nearby, but
out of sight, there must be a stream  with  green  pools  where
dace were swimming?
     'Isn't there a stream somewhere near here?' he whispered.
     'That's  right, there is a stream. It's at the edge of the
next field, actually. There are fish in it, great big ones. You
can watch them lying in  the  pools  under  the  willow  trees,
waving their tails.'
     'It's the Golden Country -- almost,' he murmured.
     'The Golden Country?'
     'It's  nothing, really. A landscape I've seen sometimes in
a dream.'
     'Look!' whispered Julia.
     A thrush had alighted on a bough  not  five  metres  away,
almost  at  the  level  of their faces. Perhaps it had not seen
them. It was in the sun, they in the shade. It spread  out  its
wings,  fitted them carefully into place again, ducked its head
for a moment, as though making a sort of obeisance to the  sun,
and  then  began  to  pour  forth  a  torrent  of  song. In the
afternoon hush the volume of sound was startling.  Winston  and
Julia  clung  together,  fascinated.  The music went on and on,
minute after minute, with astonishing  variations,  never  once
repeating  itself,  almost as though the bird were deliberately
showing off its virtuosity. Sometimes  it  stopped  for  a  few
seconds,  spread  out and resettled its wings, then swelled its
speckled breast and again burst into song. Winston  watched  it
with  a  sort  of vague reverence. For whom, for what, was that
bird singing? No mate, no rival was watching it. What  made  it
sit  at  the  edge  of  the lonely wood and pour its music into
nothingness?  He  wondered  whether  after  all  there  was   a
microphone  hidden somewhere near. He and Julia had spoken only
in low whispers, and it would not pick up what they  had  said,
but  it  would  pick up the thrush. Perhaps at the other end of
the  instrument  some  small,  beetle-like  man  was  listening
intently  -- listening to that. But by degrees the flood
of music drove all speculations out of  his  mind.  It  was  as
though  it were a kind of liquid stuff that poured all over him
and got mixed up with the sunlight that  filtered  through  the
leaves.  He  stopped thinking and merely felt. The girl's waist
in the bend of his arm was soft and warm. He pulled  her  round
so  that  they  were  breast to breast; her body seemed to melt
into his. Wherever his hands moved it was all  as  yielding  as
water. Their mouths clung together; it was quite different from
the  hard  kisses  they  had exchanged earlier. When they moved
their faces apart again both of them sighed  deeply.  The  bird
took fright and fled with a clatter of wings.
     Winston  put  his  lips  against her ear. 'Now,' he
     'Not here,' she whispered back. 'Come back  to  the  hide-
out. It's safer.'
     Quickly,   with  an  occasional  crackle  of  twigs,  they
threaded their way back to the clearing. When  they  were  once
inside the ring of saplings she turned and faced him. They were
both  breathing  fast.  but  the smile had reappeared round the
corners of her mouth. She stood looking at him for an  instant,
then  felt  at  the  zipper  of  her overalls. And, yes! it was
almost as in his dream. Almost as swiftly as  he  had  imagined
it, she had torn her clothes off, and when she flung them aside
it  was  with  that  same  magnificent gesture by which a whole
civilization seemed to be annihilated. Her body  gleamed  white
in  the  sun. But for a moment he did not look at her body; his
eyes were anchored by the freckled face with  its  faint,  bold
smile. He knelt down before her and took her hands in his
     'Have you done this before?'
     'Of  course.  Hundreds  of  times  -- well scores of times
     'With Party members.'
     'Yes, always with Party members.'
     'With members of the Inner Party?'
     'Not  with  those  swine,  no.  But  there's  plenty  that
would  if they got half a chance. They're not so holy as
they make out.'
     His heart leapt. Scores of  times  she  had  done  it:  he
wished  it had been hundreds -- thousands. Anything that hinted
at corruption always filled him with a  wild  hope.  Who  knew,
perhaps  the  Party  was  rotten under the surface, its cult of
strenuousness and selfdenial simply a sham concealing iniquity.
If he could have infected the whole lot of them with leprosy or
syphilis, how gladly he would have done so! Anything to rot, to
weaken, to undermine! He pulled her  down  so  that  they  were
kneeling face to face.
     'Listen.  The more men you've had, the more I love you. Do
you understand that?'
     'Yes, perfectly.'
     'I hate purity, I hate goodness! I don't want  any  virtue
to exist anywhere. I want everyone to be corrupt to the bones.
     'Well  then, I ought to suit you, dear. I'm corrupt to the
     'You like doing this? I don't mean simply me: I  mean  the
thing in itself?'
     'I adore it.'
     That  was above all what he wanted to hear. Not merely the
love  of  one  person  but  the  animal  instinct,  the  simple
undifferentiated desire: that was the force that would tear the
Party  to pieces. He pressed her down upon the grass, among the
fallen bluebells. This time there was no difficulty.  Presently
the rising and falling of their breasts slowed to normal speed,
and in a sort of pleasant helplessness they fell apart. The sun
seemed  to have grown hotter. They were both sleepy. He reached
out for the discarded overalls and pulled them partly over her.
Almost immediately they fell asleep and slept for about half an
     Winston woke first. He sat up  and  watched  the  freckled
face,  still  peacefully  asleep,  pillowed  on the palm of her
hand. Except for her mouth, you could not call  her  beautiful.
There  was a line or two round the eyes, if you looked closely.
The short dark hair was  extraordinarily  thick  and  soft.  It
occurred to him that he still did not know her surname or where
she lived.
     The  young,  strong  body, now helpless in sleep, awoke in
him a pitying, protecting feeling. But the mindless  tenderness
that  he  had  felt  under the hazel tree, while the thrush was
singing, had not quite come back. He pulled the overalls  aside
and  studied  her  smooth  white  flank.  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.

     x x x

     'We can come here once again,' said Julia. 'It's generally
safe to use any hide-out twice. But not for  another  month  or
two, of course.'
     As  soon  as  she  woke  up her demeanour had changed. She
became alert and business-like, put her clothes on, knotted the
scarlet sash about her waist, and began arranging  the  details
of  the  journey  home. It seemed natural to leave this to her.
She obviously had a practical cunning which Winston lacked, and
she  seemed  also  to  have  an  exhaustive  knowledge  of  the
countryside   round   London,   stored  away  from  innumerable
community hikes. The route she gave  him  was  quite  different
from  the  one  by  which he had come, and brought him out at a
different railway station. 'Never go home the same way  as  you
went out,' she said, as though enunciating an important general
principle.  She would leave first, and Winston was to wait half
an hour before following her.
     She had named a place where they could  meet  after  work,
four  evenings  hence.  It  was  a  street in one of the poorer
quarters, where there was an open market  which  was  generally
crowded and noisy. She would be hanging about among the stalls,
pretending  to  be in search of shoelaces or sewing- thread. If
she judged that the coast was clear she  would  blow  her  nose
when  he  approached; otherwise he was to walk past her without
recognition. But with luck, in the  middle  of  the  crowd,  it
would  be  safe  to  talk  for a quarter of an hour and arrange
another meeting.
     'And now I must go,' she said as soon as he  had  mastered
his instructions. 'I'm due back at nineteen-thirty. I've got to
put  in  two  hours for the Junior Anti-Sex League, handing out
leaflets, or something. Isn't it bloody? Give me a  brush-down,
would  you? Have I got any twigs in my hair? Are you sure? Then
good-bye, my love, good-bye!'
     She  flung  herself  into  his  arms,  kissed  him  almost
violently,  and  a  moment  later  pushed  her  way through the
saplings and disappeared into the wood with very little  noise.
Even  now  he  had  not  found  out her surname or her address.
However, it made no difference, for it was  inconceivable  that
they  could  ever  meet indoors or exchange any kind of written
     As it happened, they never went back to  the  clearing  in
the  wood.  During  the month of May there was only one further
occasion on which they actually succeeded in making love.  That
was  in  another  hidlng-place  known to Julia, the belfry of a
ruinous church in an almost-deserted stretch of  country  where
an  atomic  bomb had fallen thirty years earlier. It was a good
hiding-place when once you got there, but the getting there was
very dangerous. For the  rest  they  could  meet  only  in  the
streets,  in a different place every evening and never for more
than half an hour at a time.  In  the  street  it  was  usually
possible  to  talk,  after  a fashion. As they drifted down the
crowded pavements, not quite abreast and never looking  at  one
another,  they  carried on a curious, intermittent conversation
which flicked on and  off  like  the  beams  of  a  lighthouse,
suddenly nipped into silence by the approach of a Party uniform
or  the  proximity of a telescreen, then taken up again minutes
later in the middle of a sentence, then abruptly cut  short  as
they  parted  at the agreed spot, then continued almost without
introduction on the following day. Julia appeared to  be  quite
used to this kind of conversation, which she called 'talking by
instalments'.  She  was  also  surprisingly  adept  at speaking
without moving her lips. Just once in almost a month of nightly
meetings they managed to exchange a kiss. They were passing  in
silence  down  a side-street (Julia would never speak when they
were away from the main streets) when  there  was  a  deafening
roar, the earth heaved, and the air darkened, and Winston found
himself lying on his side, bruised and terrified. A rocket bomb
must  have dropped quite near at hand. Suddenly he became aware
of Julia's face a few centimetres from his own, deathly  white,
as  white  as chalk. Even her lips were white. She was dead! He
clasped her against him and found that he was  kissing  a  live
warm face. But there was some powdery stuff that got in the way
of  his  lips.  Both  of  their  faces were thickly coated with
     There were evenings when they reached their rendezvous and
then had to walk past one another without  a  sign,  because  a
patrol  had  just  come  round  the  corner or a helicopter was
hovering overhead. Even if it had been less dangerous, it would
still have been difficult  to  find  time  to  meet.  Winston's
working  week  was  sixty  hours,  Julia's was even longer, and
their free days varied according to the pressure  of  work  and
did  not  often  coincide.  Julia,  in  any case, seldom had an
evening completely free. She spent  an  astonishing  amount  of
time  in  attending  lectures  and demonstrations, distributing
literature for the junior Anti-Sex  League,  preparing  banners
for Hate Week, making collections for the savings campaign, and
such-like  activities. It paid, she said, it was camouflage. If
you kept the small rules, you could break  the  big  ones.  She
even induced Winston to mortgage yet another of his evenings by
enrolling  himself  for  the  part-time munition work which was
done voluntarily by zealous  Party  members.  So,  one  evening
every  week,  Winston  spent  four hours of paralysing boredom,
screwing together small bits of metal which were probably parts
of bomb fuses,  in  a  draughty,  ill-lit  workshop  where  the
knocking  of  hammers  mingled  drearily  with the music of the
     When they met in  the  church  tower  the  gaps  in  their
fragmentary  conversation  were  filled  up.  It  was a blazing
afternoon. The air in the little square chamber above the bells
was hot and stagnant, and smelt overpoweringly of pigeon  dung.
They  sat talking for hours on the dusty, twig- littered floor,
one or other of them getting up from time to  time  to  cast  a
glance  through  the  arrowslits  and make sure that no one was
     Julia was twenty-six years old. She lived in a hostel with
thirty other girls ('Always in the stink of women! How  I  hate
women!'  she  said  parenthetically), and she worked, as he had
guessed,  on  the  novel-writing  machines   in   the   Fiction
Department.  She  enjoyed  her work, which consisted chiefly in
running and servicing a powerful but tricky electric motor. She
was 'not clever', but was fond of using her hands and  felt  at
home  with  machinery.  She could describe the whole process of
composing a novel, from the general  directive  issued  by  the
Planning Committee down to the final touching-up by the Rewrite
Squad.  But she was not interested in the finished product. She
'didn't much care for reading,' she said.  Books  were  just  a
commodity that had to be produced, like jam or bootlaces.
     She  had  no memories of anything before the early sixties
and the only person she had ever known who talked frequently of
the days before  the  Revolution  was  a  grandfather  who  had
disappeared  when she was eight. At school she had been captain
of the hockey team and had won the gymnastics trophy two  years
running.  She had been a troop-leader in the Spies and a branch
secretary  in  the  Youth  League  before  joining  the  Junior
Anti-Sex  League.  She had always borne an excellent character.
She had even (an  infallibIe  mark  of  good  reputation)  been
picked out to work in Pornosec, the sub- section of the Fiction
Department  which turned out cheap pornography for distribution
among the proles. It was nicknamed Muck House by the people who
worked in it, she remarked. There she had remained for a  year,
helping  to produce booklets in sealed packets with titles like
Spanking Stories or  One  Night  in  a  Girls'
School,  to  be  bought furtively by proletarian youths who
were under the  impression  that  they  were  buying  something
     'What are these books like?' said Winston curiously.
     'Oh,  ghastly  rubbish.  They're boring, really. They only
have six plots, but they swap them round a bit. Of course I was
only on the kaleidoscopes. I was never in  the  Rewrite  Squad.
I'm not literary, dear -- not even enough for that.'
     He  learned  with  astonishment  that  all  the workers in
Pornosec, except the heads of the departments, were girls.  The
theory was that men, whose sex instincts were less controllable
than  those of women, were in greater danger of being corrupted
by the filth they handled.
     'They don't even like having  married  women  there,'  she
added.  Girls are always supposed to be so pure. Here's one who
isn't, anyway.
     She had had her first love-affair when  she  was  sixteen,
with  a  Party  member  of sixty who later committed suicide to
avoid arrest. 'And a good  job  too,'  said  Julia,  'otherwise
they'd  have  had  my name out of him when he confessed.' Since
then there had been various others. Life  as  she  saw  it  was
quite  simple.  You  wanted  a  good  time; 'they', meaning the
Party, wanted to stop you having it; you  broke  the  rules  as
best  you  couId.  She  seemed to think it just as natural that
'they' should want to rob you of your  pleasures  as  that  you
should  want  to  avoid  being caught. She hated the Party, and
said so in the crudest words, but she made no general criticism
of it. Except where it touched upon her own  life  she  had  no
interest  in  Party  doctrine.  He  noticed that she never used
Newspeak words except the ones that had  passed  into  everyday
use.  She  had  never  heard of the Brotherhood, and refused to
believe in its existence. Any kind of organized revolt  against
the  Party,  which  was  bound  to  be a failure, struck her as
stupid. The clever thing was to break the rules and stay  alive
all  the  same.  He  wondered  vaguely how many others like her
there might be in the younger generation people who  had  grown
up  in  the  world  of  the  Revolution,  knowing nothing else,
accepting the Party as something unalterable, like the sky, not
rebelling against its authority but simply  evading  it,  as  a
rabbit dodges a dog.
     They  did  not discuss the possibility of getting married.
It was too remote to be worth  thinking  about.  No  imaginable
committee   would   ever  sanction  such  a  marriage  even  if
Katharine, Winston's wife, could somehow have been got rid  of.
It was hopeless even as a daydream.
     'What was she like, your wife?' said Julia.
     'She    was   --   do   you   know   the   Newspeak   word
goodthinkful? Meaning naturally orthodox,  incapable  of
thinking a bad thought?'
     'No,  I  didn't  know  the  word,  but  I know the kind of
person, right enough.'
     He began telling her the story of his  married  life,  but
curiousIy enough she appeared to know the essential parts of it
already. She described to him, almost as though she had seen or
felt  it,  the  stiffening  of  Katharine's  body as soon as he
touched her, the way in which she still seemed  to  be  pushing
him  from  her  with  all her strength, even when her arms were
clasped tightly round him. With Julia he felt no difficulty  in
talking  about  such  things:  Katharine, in any case, had long
ceased to be a painful memory and became merely  a  distasteful
     'I  could  have stood it if it hadn't been for one thing,'
he said. He toId her about  the  frigid  little  ceremony  that
Katharine  had forced him to go through on the same night every
week. 'She hated it, but nothing would make her stop doing  it.
She used to call it -- but you'll never guess.'
     'Our duty to the Party,' said Julia promptly.
     'How did you know that?'
     'I've been at school too, dear. Sex talks once a month for
the over-sixteens.  And in the Youth Movement. They rub it into
you for years. I dare say it works in a lot of  cases.  But  of
course you can never tell; peopIe are such hypocrites.'
     She  began  to  enlarge  upon  the  subject.  With  Julia,
everything came back to her own sexuality. As soon as this  was
touched  upon  in  any  way she was capable of great acuteness.
Unlike Winston, she  had  grasped  the  inner  meaning  of  the
Party's  sexual  puritanism.  It  was  not  merely that the sex
instinct created a world of  its  own  which  was  outside  the
Party's  control  and  which  therefore  had to be destroyed if
possible. What was more important  was  that  sexual  privation
induced  hysteria,  which  was  desirable  because  it could be
transformed into war-fever and leader-worship. The way she  put
it was:
     'When you make love you're using up energy; and afterwards
you feel  happy  and don't give a damn for anything. They can't
bear you to feel like that. They want you to be  bursting  with
energy all the time. All this marching up and down and cheering
and  waving  flags  is  simpIy  sex  gone sour. If you're happy
inside yourself, why should you get excited about  Big  Brother
and  the  Three-Year Plans and the Two Minutes Hate and all the
rest of their bloody rot?'
     That was  very  true,  he  thought.  There  was  a  direct
intimate  connexion  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. They had played
a similar trick with the instinct  of  parenthood.  The  family
could  not  actually  be  abolished,  and,  indeed, people were
encouraged  to  be  fond  of  their  children,  in  almost  the
old-fashioned  way.  The  children,  on  the  other  hand, were
systematically turned against their parents and taught  to  spy
on  them  and report their deviations. The family had become in
effect an extension of the Thought Police. It was a  device  by
means  of  which  everyone could be surrounded night and day by
informers who knew him intimately.
     Abruptly his mind went back to Katharine. Katharine  would
unquestionably  have denounced him to the Thought Police if she
had not happened to be too stupid to detect the unorthodoxy  of
his  opinions.  But  what  really  recalled  her to him at this
moment was the  stifling  heat  of  the  afternoon,  which  had
brought  the  sweat out on his forehead. He began telling Julia
of something that had happened, or rather had failed to happen,
on another sweltering summer afternoon, eleven years ago.
     It was three or four months after they were married.  They
had  lost their way on a community hike somewhere in Kent. They
had only lagged behind the others for a couple of minutes,  but
they  took  a  wrong  turning,  and  presently found themselves
pulled up short by the edge of an old chalk quarry.  It  was  a
sheer  drop  of  ten  or  twenty  metres,  with boulders at the
bottom. There was nobody of whom they could  ask  the  way.  As
soon  as she realized that they were lost Katharine became very
uneasy. To be away from the noisy mob  of  hikers  even  for  a
moment  gave her a feeling of wrong- doing. She wanted to hurry
back by the way they had come and start searching in the  other
direction.  But  at  this  moment Winston noticed some tufts of
loosestrife growing in the cracks of the  cliff  beneath  them.
One  tuft was of two colours, magenta and brick-red, apparently
growing on the same root. He had never  seen  anything  of  the
kind before, and he called to Katharine to come and look at it.
     'Look,  Katharine ! Look at those flowers. That clump down
near the bottom. Do you see they're two different colours?'
     She had already turned to go, but she did rather fretfully
come back for a moment. She even leaned out over the cliff face
to see where he was pointing. He was standing a  little  behind
her,  and  he  put his hand on her waist to steady her. At this
moment it suddenly occurred to him how  completely  alone  they
were.  There  was  not  a  human  creature anywhere, not a leaf
stirring, not even a bird awake.  In  a  place  like  this  the
danger  that there would be a hidden microphone was very small,
and even if there was  a  microphone  it  would  only  pick  up
sounds. It was the hottest sleepiest hour of the afternoon. The
sun  blazed down upon them, the sweat tickled his face. And the
thought struck him . . .
     'Why didn't you give her a good  shove?'  said  Julia.  'I
would have.'
     'Yes,  dear, you would have. I would, if I'd been the same
person then as I  am  now.  Or  perhaps  I  would  --  I'm  not
     'Are you sorry you didn't?'
     'Yes. On the whole I'm sorry I didn't.'
     They  were  sitting  side  by  side on the dusty floor. He
pulled her closer against him. Her head rested on his shoulder,
the pleasant smell of her hair conquering the pigeon dung.  She
was  very  young, he thought, she still expected something from
life, she did not  understand  that  to  push  an  inconvenient
person over a cliff solves nothing.
     'Actually it would have made no difference,' he said.
     'Then why are you sorry you didn't do it?'
     'Only  because  I prefer a positive to a negative. In this
game that we're playing, we can't win. Some  kinds  of  failure
are better than other kinds, that's all.'
     He  felt  her  shoulders  give  a  wriggle of dissent. She
always contradicted him when he said anything of this kind. She
would not accept it as a law of nature that the  individual  is
always  defeated.  In  a  way she realized that she herself was
doomed, that sooner or later the Thought Police would catch her
and kill her, but with another part of her  mind  she  believed
that  it  was  somehow  possible to construct a secret world in
which you could live as you chose. All you needed was luck  and
cunning  and boldness. She did not understand that there was no
such thing as happiness, that the only victory lay in  the  far
future,  long  after  you  were  dead,  that from the moment of
declaring war on the Party it was better to think  of  yourself
as a corpse.
     'We are the dead,' he said.
     'We're not dead yet,' said Julia prosaically.
     'Not  physically.  Six  months,  a  year  --  five  years,
conceivably. I am afraid of death. You are young, so presumably
you're more afraid of it than I am. Obviously we shall  put  it
off  as long as we can. But it makes very little difference. So
long as human beings stay human, death and life  are  the  same
     'Oh,  rubbish!  Which would you sooner sleep with, me or a
skeleton? Don't you enjoy being alive? Don't you like  feeling:
This  is  me,  this  is  my hand, this is my leg, I'm real, I'm
solid, I'm alive! Don't you like this?'
     She twisted herself round and pressed  her  bosom  against
him.  He  could  feel  her  breasts, ripe yet firm, through her
overalls. Her body seemed to be pouring some of its  youth  and
vigour into his.
     'Yes, I like that,' he said.
     'Then  stop  talking  about  dying.  And now listen, dear,
we've got to fix up about the next time we meet. We may as well
go back to the place in the wood. We've given it  a  good  long
rest. But you must get there by a different way this time. I've
got  it  all  planned out. You take the train -- but look, I'll
draw it out for you.'
     And in her practical way  she  scraped  together  a  small
square  of  dust,  and  with  a twig from a pigeon's nest began
drawing a map on the floor.

     x x x

     Winston looked round  the  shabby  little  room  above  Mr
Charrington's shop. Beside the window the enormous bed was made
up,   with   ragged  blankets  and  a  coverless  bolster.  The
old-fashioned clock with the twelve-hour face was ticking  away
on  the  mantelpiece.  In the corner, on the gateleg table, the
glass paperweight which he had bought on his last visit gleamed
softly out of the half-darkness.
     In the fender was a battered tin oilstove, a saucepan, and
two cups, provided by Mr Charrington. Winston  lit  the  burner
and set a pan of water to boil. He had brought an envelope full
of  Victory  Coffee  and  some  saccharine tablets. The clock's
hands said seventeen-twenty: it was  nineteen-  twenty  really.
She was coming at nineteen-thirty.
     Folly,   folly,   his   heart   kept   saying:  conscious,
gratuitous, suicidal folly. Of all  the  crimes  that  a  Party
member  could  commit,  this  one  was  the  least  possible to
conceal. Actually the idea had first floated into his  head  in
the  form of a vision, of the glass paperweight mirrored by the
surface  of  the  gateleg  table.  As  he  had   foreseen,   Mr
Charrington  had  made no difficulty about letting the room. He
was obviously glad of the few dollars that it would bring  him.
Nor  did  he seem shocked or become offensively knowing when it
was made clear that Winston wanted the room for the purpose  of
a  love-affair.  Instead he looked into the middle distance and
spoke in generalities, with so delicate an air as to  give  the
impression  that  he  had  become partly invisible. Privacy, he
said, was a very valuable thing. Everyone wanted a place  where
they  could  be  alone  occasionally.  And when they had such a
place, it was only common courtesy in anyone else who  knew  of
it to keep his knowledge to himself. He even, seeming almost to
fade  out  of existence as he did so, added that there were two
entries to the house, one of them through the back yard,  which
gave on an alley.
     Under the window somebody was singing. Winston peeped out,
secure  in  the  protection of the muslin curtain. The June sun
was still high in the sky, and in the sun-filled court below, a
monstrous woman, solid as a  Norman  pillar,  with  brawny  red
forearms  and  a  sacking  apron strapped about her middle, was
stumping to and fro between  a  washtub  and  a  clothes  line,
pegging  out  a  series  of  square  white things which Winston
recognized as babies'  diapers.  Whenever  her  mouth  was  not
corked  with  clothes  pegs  she  was  singing  in  a  powerful

     It was only an 'opeless fancy.
     It passed like an Ipril dye,
     But a look an' a word an' the dreams they stirred!
     They 'ave stolen my 'eart awye!

     The tune had been haunting London for weeks past.  It  was
one of countless similar songs published for the benefit of the
proles  by  a sub-section of the Music Department. The words of
these  songs  were  composed  without  any  human  intervention
whatever  on  an  instrument  known  as a versificator. But the
woman sang so tunefully as to turn the dreadful rubbish into an
almost pleasant sound. He could hear the woman singing and  the
scrape  of  her  shoes  on the flagstones, and the cries of the
children in the street, and somewhere in  the  far  distance  a
faint  roar  of  traffic,  and  yet  the  room seemed curiously
silent, thanks to the absence of a telescreen.
     Folly,  folly,   folly!   he   thought   again.   It   was
inconceivable that they could frequent this place for more than
a  few weeks without being caught. But the temptation of having
a hiding-place that was truly their own, indoors  and  near  at
hand,  had  been too much for both of them. For some time after
their visit to the church belfry  it  had  been  impossible  to
arrange  meetings. Working hours had been drastically increased
in anticipation of Hate Week. It was more than a month distant,
but the enormous, complex preparations that  it  entailed  were
throwing  extra  work  on  to  everybody.  Finally both of them
managed to secure a free afternoon on the same  day.  They  had
agreed  to  go back to the clearing in the wood. On the evening
beforehand they met briefly in the street.  As  usual,  Winston
hardly  looked  at Julia as they drifted towards one another in
the crowd, but from the short glance he gave her it  seemed  to
him that she was paler than usual.
     'It's all off,' she murmured as soon as she judged it safe
to speak. 'Tomorrow, I mean.'
     'Tomorrow afternoon. I can't come.'
     'Why not?'
     'Oh, the usual reason. It's started early this time.'
     For a moment he was violently angry. During the month that
he had  known her the nature of his desire for her had changed.
At the beginning there had been little true sensuality  in  it.
Their first love-making had been simply an act of the will. But
after  the second time it was different. The smell of her hair,
the taste of her mouth, the feeling of her skin seemed to  have
got inside him, or into the air all round him. She had become a
physical  necessity, something that he not only wanted but felt
that he had a right to. When she said that she could not  come,
he  had the feeling that she was cheating him. But just at this
moment  the  crowd  pressed  them  together  and  their   hands
accidentally  met.  She  gave  the  tips of his fingers a quick
squeeze that seemed to invite  not  desire  but  affection.  It
struck  him  that  when  one lived with a woman this particular
disappointment must be a normal, recurring event;  and  a  deep
tenderness,  such  as  he had not felt for her before, suddenly
took hold of him. He wished that they were a married couple  of
ten years' standing. He wished that he were walking through the
streets  with  her  just  as they were doing now but openly and
without fear, talking of trivialities and buying odds and  ends
for the household. He wished above all that they had some place
where   they  could  be  alone  together  without  feeling  the
obligation to make  love  every  time  they  met.  It  was  not
actually at that moment, but at some time on the following day,
that  the idea of renting Mr Charrington's room had occurred to
him. When  he  suggested  it  to  Julia  she  had  agreed  with
unexpected  readiness. Both of them knew that it was lunacy. It
was as though they were intentionally stepping nearer to  their
graves.  As  he  sat  waiting on the edge of the bed he thought
again of the cellars of the Ministry of Love.  It  was  curious
how   that  predestined  horror  moved  in  and  out  of  one's
consciousness. There it lay, fixed in future  times,  preceding
death as surely as 99 precedes 100. One could not avoid it, but
one  could  perhaps postpone it: and yet instead, every now and
again, by a conscious, wilful act, one  chose  to  shorten  the
interval before it happened.
     At this moment there was a quick step on the stairs. Julia
burst  into  the  room.  She  was carrying a tool-bag of coarse
brown canvas, such as he had sometimes seen her carrying to and
fro at the Ministry. He started forward  to  take  her  in  his
arms,  but  she  disengaged  herself  rather  hurriedly, partly
because she was still holding the tool-bag.
     'Half a second,' she said. 'Just let me show you what I've
brought. Did you bring some of that filthy  Victory  Coffee?  I
thought  you  would.  You  can  chuck it away again, because we
shan't be needing it. Look here.'
     She fell on her knees, threw open the bag, and tumbled out
some spanners and a screwdriver that filled the top part of it.
Underneath were a number  of  neat  paper  packets.  The  first
packet that she passed to Winston had a strange and yet vaguely
familiar  feeling.  It  was  filled  with  some  kind of heavy,
sand-like stuff which yielded wherever you touched it.
     'It isn't sugar?' he said.
     'Real sugar. Not saccharine, sugar. And here's a  loaf  of
bread  proper white bread, not our bloody stuff -- and a little
pot of jam. And here's a tin of milk -- but look! This  is  the
one  I'm  really proud of. I had to wrap a bit of sacking round
it, because-'
     But she did not need to tell him why she  had  wrapped  it
up.  The  smell  was already filling the room, a rich hot smell
which seemed like an emanation from his  early  childhood,  but
which  one  did occasionally meet with even now, blowing down a
passage-way  before  a  door  slammed,  or   diffusing   itself
mysteriously  in  a  crowded street, sniffed for an instant and
then lost again.
     'It's coffee,' he murmured, 'real coffee.'
     'It's Inner Party coffee. There's a whole kilo  here,  she
     'How did you manage to get hold of all these things?'
     'It's  all  Inner Party stuff. There's nothing those swine
don't have, nothing. But of course  waiters  and  servants  and
people  pinch things, and -- look, I got a little packet of tea
as well.'
     Winston had squatted down  beside  her.  He  tore  open  a
corner of the packet.
     'It's real tea. Not blackberry leaves.'
     'There's  been a lot of tea about lately. They've captured
India, or something,' she said vaguely. 'But  listen,  dear.  I
want  you to turn your back on me for three minutes. Go and sit
on the other side of the bed. Don't go too near the window. And
don't turn round till I tell you.'
     Winston gazed abstractedly  through  the  muslin  curtain.
Down  in the yard the red-armed woman was still marching to and
fro between the washtub and the line. She took  two  more  pegs
out of her mouth and sang with deep feeling:

     They sye that time 'eals all things,
     They sye you can always forget;
     But the smiles an' the tears acrorss the years
     They twist my 'eart-strings yet!

     She  knew  the  whole drivelling song by heart, it seemed.
Her voice floated  upward  with  the  sweet  summer  air,  very
tuneful,  charged  with a sort of happy melancholy. One had the
feeling that she would have been perfectly content, if the June
evening  had  been  endless   and   the   supply   of   clothes
inexhaustible,  to  remain  there for a thousand years, pegging
out diapers and singing rubbish. It struck  him  as  a  curious
fact  that  he  had  never  heard a member of the Party singing
alone and spontaneously. It would  even  have  seemed  slightly
unorthodox,  a dangerous eccentricity, like talking to oneself.
Perhaps it  was  only  when  people  were  somewhere  near  the
starvation level that they had anything to sing about.
     'You can turn round now,' said Julia.
     He  turned  round,  and  for  a  second  almost  failed to
recognize her. What he had actually expected  was  to  see  her
naked.  But  she  was  not  naked.  The transformation that had
happened was much more surprising than that.  She  had  painted
her face.
     She  must  have  slipped into some shop in the proletarian
quarters  and  bought  herself  a  complete  set   of   make-up
materials.  Her  lips  were deeply reddened, her cheeks rouged,
her nose powdered; there was even a touch  of  something  under
the eyes to make them brighter. It was not very skilfully done,
but  Winston's  standards in such matters were not high. He had
never before seen  or  imagined  a  woman  of  the  Party  with
cosmetics  on  her  face. The improvement in her appearance was
startling. With just a few dabs of colour in the  right  places
she had become not only very much prettier, but, above all, far
more  feminine. Her short hair and boyish overalls merely added
to the effect. As he took her in his arms a wave  of  synthetic
violets  flooded his nostrils. He remem bered the half-darkness
of a basement kitchen, and a woman's cavernous  mouth.  It  was
the very same scent that she had used; but at the moment it did
not seem to matter.
     'Scent too!' he said.
     'Yes,  dear,  scent too. And do you know what I'm going to
do next? I'm going to get hold of a  real  woman's  frock  from
somewhere  and  wear  it instead of these bloody trousers. I'll
wear silk stockings and high-heeled shoes!  In  this  room  I'm
going to be a woman, not a Party comrade.'
     They  flung  their  clothes  off and climbed into the huge
mahogany bed. It was  the  first  time  that  he  had  stripped
himself  naked  in her presence. Until now he had been too much
ashamed of his pale and meagre body, with  the  varicose  veins
standing  out  on his calves and the discoloured patch over his
ankle. There were no sheets, but the blanket they  lay  on  was
threadbare  and smooth, and the size and springiness of the bed
astonished both of them. 'It's sure to be full of bugs, but who
cares?' said Julia. One never saw a double bed nowadays, except
in the homes of the proles. Winston had occasionally  slept  in
one  in his boyhood: Julia had never been in one before, so far
as she could remember.
     Presently they  fell  asleep  for  a  little  while.  When
Winston  woke  up  the  hands  of  the clock had crept round to
nearly nine. He did not stir, because Julia was  sleeping  with
her  head  in  the  crook  of  his arm. Most of her make-up had
transferred itself to his own face or the bolster, but a  light
stain of rouge still brought out the beauty of her cheekbone. A
yellow ray from the sinking sun fell across the foot of the bed
and  lighted  up  the fireplace, where the water in the pan was
boiling fast. Down in the yard the woman had  stopped  singing,
but the faint shouts of children floated in from the street. He
wondered  vaguely  whether  in the abolished past it had been a
normal experience to lie in bed like this, in  the  cool  of  a
summer  evening,  a  man and a woman with no clothes on, making
love when they chose, talking of what they chose,  not  feeling
any  compulsion  to get up, simply lying there and listening to
peaceful sounds outside. Surely there could never have  been  a
time when that seemed ordinary? Julia woke up, rubbed her eyes,
and raised herself on her elbow to look at the oilstove.
     'Half  that  water's  boiled away,' she said. 'I'll get up
and make some coffee in another moment. We've got an hour. What
time do they cut the lights off at your flats?'
     'Twenty-three thirty.'
     'It's twenty-three at the hostel. But you have to  get  in
earlier than that, because -- Hi! Get out, you filthy brute!'
     She  suddenly  twisted  herself  over in the bed, seized a
shoe from the floor, and sent it hurtling into the corner  with
a  boyish jerk of her arm, exactly as he had seen her fling the
dictionary at Goldstein, that morning during  the  Two  Minutes
     'What was it?' he said in surprise.
     'A  rat.  I  saw  him  stick  his  beastly nose out of the
wainscoting. There's a hole down  there.  I  gave  him  a  good
fright, anyway.'
     'Rats!' murmured Winston. 'In this room!'
     'They're  all over the place,' said Julia indifferently as
she lay down again. 'We've even got them in the kitchen at  the
hostel.  Some  parts  of London are swarming with them. Did you
know they attack children? Yes,  they  do.  In  some  of  these
streets  a  woman  daren't  leave a baby alone for two minutes.
It's the great huge brown ones that do it. And the nasty  thing
is that the brutes always-'
     'Don't  go on!' said Winston, with his eyes tightly
     'Dearest! You've gone quite pale. What's  the  matter?  Do
they make you feel sick?'
     'Of all horrors in the world -- a rat!'
     She  pressed herself against him and wound her limbs round
him, as though to reassure him with the warmth of her body.  He
did not reopen his eyes immediately. For several moments he had
had the feeling of being back in a nightmare which had recurred
from  time to time throughout his life. It was always very much
the same. He was standing in front of a wall of  darkness,  and
on  the  other  side  of  it  there  was something unendurable,
something too dreadful to be faced. In the  dream  his  deepest
feeling  was  always  one of self- deception, because he did in
fact know what was behind the wall of darkness. With  a  deadly
effort,  like  wrenching a piece out of his own brain, he could
even have dragged the thing into the open. He  always  woke  up
without  discovering  what it was: but somehow it was connected
with what Julia had been saying when he cut her short.
     'I'm sorry,' he said, 'it's nothing. I  don't  like  rats,
that's all.'
     'Don't  worry,  dear,  we're  not going to have the filthy
brutes in here. I'll stuff the  hole  with  a  bit  of  sacking
before  we  go.  And  next  time  we  come here I'll bring some
plaster and bung it up properly.'
     Already the black instant  of  panic  was  half-forgotten.
Feeling  slightly  ashamed  of  himself,  he sat up against the
bedhead. Julia got out of bed, pulled on her overalls, and made
the coffee. The smell  that  rose  from  the  saucepan  was  so
powerful  and  exciting  that they shut the window lest anybody
outside should notice it and become inquisitive. What was  even
better than the taste of the coffee was the silky texture given
to  it by the sugar, a thing Winston had almost forgotten after
years of saccharine. With one hand in her pocket and a piece of
bread and jam in the other,  Julia  wandered  about  the  room,
glancing  indifferently  at the bookcase, pointing out the best
way of repairing the gateleg table, plumping  herself  down  in
the  ragged  arm-chair  to  see  if  it  was  comfortable,  and
examining the absurd twelve-hour clock with a sort of  tolerant
amusement. She brought the glass paperweight over to the bed to
have  a  look  at  it  in a better light. He took it out of her
hand, fascinated, as always, by the soft, rainwatery appearance
of the glass.
     'What is it, do you think?' said Julia.
     'I don't think it's anything-I mean, I don't think it  was
ever put to any use. That's what I like about it. It's a little
chunk  of  history  that  they've  forgotten  to  alter. It's a
message from a hundred years ago, if one knew how to read it.'
     'And that  picture  over  there'  --  she  nodded  at  the
engraving  on  the opposite wall-'would that be a hundred years
     'More. Two hundred, I  dare  say.  One  can't  tell.  It's
impossible to discover the age of anything nowadays.'
     She  went  over  to  look  at it. 'Here's where that brute
stuck  his  nose  out,'  she  said,  kicking  the   wainscoting
immediately  below  the picture. 'What is this place? I've seen
it before somewhere.'
     'It's a church, or at least it  used  to  be.  St  Clement
Danes  its name was.' The fragment of rhyme that Mr Charrington
had  taught  him  came  back  into  his  head,  and  he   added
half-nostalgically:  "Oranges  and  lemons, say the bells of St
     To his astonishment she capped the line:

     'You owe me three farthings, say the bells of St Martin's,
     When will you pay me? say the bells of Old Bailey -- '

     'I can't remember how it goes on after that. But anyway  I
remember  it ends up, "Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
here comes a chopper to chop off your head!"
     It was like the two halves of  a  countersign.  But  there
must  be  another line after 'the bells of Old Bailey'. Perhaps
it could be dug out of Mr  Charrington's  memory,  if  he  were
suitably prompted.
     'Who taught you that?' he said.
     'My  grandfather.  He  used  to  say it to me when I was a
little girl. He was vaporized when I was eight -- at any  rate,
he   disappeared.  I  wonder  what  a  lemon  was,'  she  added
inconsequently. 'I've seen oranges. They're  a  kind  of  round
yellow fruit with a thick skin.'
     'I  can  remember  lemons,' said Winston. 'They were quite
common in the fifties. They were so sour that it set your teeth
on edge even to smell them.'
     'I bet that picture's got bugs  behind  it,'  said  Julia.
'I'll take it down and give it a good clean some day. I suppose
it's  almost  time  we  were leaving. I must start washing this
paint off. What a bore! I'll get the  lipstick  off  your  face
     Winston  did  not  get up for a few minutes more. The room
was darkening. 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.

     x x x

     Syme 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 of suffocation.
     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
     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 up.
     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
     '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 off.'
     'I'm not interested in  the  next  generation,  dear.  I'm
interested in us.
     'You're  only  a  rebel from the waist downwards,' he told
     She thought this brilliantly  witty  and  flung  her  arms
round him in delight.
     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.

     x x x

     It had happened at last. The expected  message  had  come.
All his life, it seemed to him, he had been waiting for this to
     He  was walking down the long corridor at the Ministry and
he was almost at the spot where Julia had slipped the note into
his hand when he became aware that someone larger than  himself
was walking just behind him. The person, whoever it was, gave a
small  cough,  evidently  as  a  prelude  to  speaking. Winston
stopped abruptly and turned. It was O'Brien.
     At last they were face to face, and  it  seemed  that  his
only  impulse  was to run away. His heart bounded violently. He
would have been incapable of speaking.  O'Brien,  however,  had
continued  forward in the same movement, laying a friendly hand
for a moment on Winston's arm, so that the  two  of  them  were
walking side by side. He began speaking with the peculiar grave
courtesy  that  differentiated  him  from the majority of Inner
Party members.
     'I had been hoping for an opportunity of talking to  you,'
he said. 'I was reading one of your Newspeak articles in The
Times  the  other  day.  You  take  a scholarly interest in
Newspeak, I believe?'
     Winston had recovered part of his self-possession. 'Hardly
scholarly,' he said. 'I'm only an amateur. It's not my subject.
I have never had anything to do with the actual construction of
the language.'
     'But you write it very elegantly,' said O'Brien. 'That  is
not  only my own opinion. I was talking recently to a friend of
yours who is certainly an  expert.  His  name  has  slipped  my
memory for the moment.'
     Again   Winston's   heart   stirred   painfully.   It  was
inconceivable that this was anything other than a reference  to
Syme.  But  Syme  was  not  only  dead,  he  was  abolished, an
unperson. Any identifiable reference to him  would  have
been  mortally  dangerous. O'Brien's remark must obviously have
been intended as a signal, a codeword. By sharing a  small  act
of thoughtcrime he had turned the two of them into accomplices.
They  had continued to stroll slowly down the corridor, but now
O'Brien halted. With the curious, disarming  friendliness  that
he  always  managed  to  put in to the gesture he resettled his
spectacles on his nose. Then he went on:
     'What I had really  intended  to  say  was  that  in  your
article  I  noticed  you  had  used two words which have become
obsolete. But they have only become so very recently. Have  you
seen the tenth edition of the Newspeak Dictionary?'
     'No,'  said  Winston.  'I  didn't think it had been issued
yet. We are still using the ninth in the Records Department.'
     'The tenth edition is not due to appear for some months, I
believe. But a few advance copies have been circulated. I  have
one myself. It might interest you to look at it, perhaps?'
     'Very  much  so,'  said  Winston, immediately seeing where
this tended.
     'Some of the new  developments  are  most  ingenious.  The
reduction in the number of verbs -- that is the point that will
appeal to you, I think. Let me see, shall I send a messenger to
you  with  the  dictionary? But I am afraid I invariably forget
anything of that kind. Perhaps you could pick it up at my  flat
at  some  time  that  suited  you?  Wait.  Let  me  give you my
     They were standing in  front  of  a  telescreen.  Somewhat
absentmindedly  O'Brien  felt  two  of  his  pockets  and  then
produced a small  leather-covered  notebook  and  a  gold  ink-
pencil.  Immediately beneath the telescreen, in such a position
that anyone who was watching at the other end of the instrument
could read what he was writing, he scribbled an  address,  tore
out the page and handed it to Winston.
     'I  am usually at home in the evenings,' he said. 'If not,
my servant will give you the dictionary.'
     He was gone, leaving Winston holding the scrap  of  paper,
which  this  time there was no need to conceal. Nevertheless he
carefully memorized what was written  on  it,  and  some  hours
later  dropped  it  into  the  memory hole along with a mass of
other papers.
     They had been talking to  one  another  for  a  couple  of
minutes  at  the  most.  There  was  only  one meaning that the
episode could possibly have. It had been contrived as a way  of
letting  Winston  know  O'Brien's  address. This was necessary,
because except by direct  enquiry  it  was  never  possible  to
discover  where  anyone lived. There were no directories of any
kind. 'If you ever want to see me,  this  is  where  I  can  be
found,'  was what O'Brien had been saying to him. Perhaps there
would even be a message concealed somewhere in the  dictionary.
But  at any rate, one thing was certain. The conspiracy that he
had dreamed of did exist, and he had reached the outer edges of
     He knew that sooner  or  later  he  would  obey  O'Brien's
summons. Perhaps tomorrow, perhaps after a long delay -- he was
not  certain.  What was happening was only the working-out of a
process that had started years ago. The first step had  been  a
secret, involuntary thought, the second had been the opening of
the  diary.  He  had moved from thoughts to words, and now from
words to actions. The last step was something that would happen
in the Ministry of Love.  He  had  accepted  it.  The  end  was
contained  in  the  beginning. But it was frightening: or, more
exactly, it was like a foretaste of death, like being a  little
less  alive.  Even  whiIe  he was speaking to O'Brien, when the
meaning of the words had sunk in, a chilly  shuddering  feeling
had  taken  possession  of  his  body.  He had the sensation of
stepping into the dampness of a grave,  and  it  was  not  much
better because he had always known that the grave was there and
waiting for him.

     x x x

     Winston  had  woken  up with his eyes full of tears. Julia
rolled sleepily against him,  murmuring  something  that  might
have been 'What's the matter?'
     'I  dreamt-'  he  began,  and  stopped  short.  It was too
complex to be put into words. There was the dream  itself,  and
there  was  a  memory  connected with it that had swum into his
mind in the few seconds after waking.
     He lay back with  his  eyes  shut,  still  sodden  in  the
atmosphere of the dream. It was a vast, luminous dream in which
his  whole  life  seemed  to  stretch  out  before  him  like a
landscape on a summer evening after rain. It had  all  occurred
inside  the glass paperweight, but the surface of the glass was
the dome of the sky, and inside the dome everything was flooded
with clear soft light in which one could see into  interminable
distances.  The  dream had also been comprehended by -- indeed,
in some sense it had consisted in -- a gesture of the arm  made
by  his mother, and made again thirty years later by the Jewish
woman he had seen on the news film, trying to shelter the small
boy from the bullets, before the helicopter blew them  both  to
     'Do you know,' he said, 'that until this moment I believed
I had murdered my mother?'
     'Why did you murder her?' said Julia, almost asleep.
     'I didn't murder her. Not physically.'
     In  the  dream  he  had remembered his last glimpse of his
mother, and within a few moments of waking the cluster of small
events surrounding it had all come back. It was a  memory  that
he  must have deliberately pushed out of his consciousness over
many years. He was not certain of the date, but  he  could  not
have been less than ten years old, possibly twelve, when it had
     His  father  had  disappeared  some time earlier, how much
earlier  he  could  not  remember.  He  remembered  better  the
rackety,  uneasy  circumstances  of  the  time:  the periodical
panics about air-raids and the sheltering in Tube stations, the
piles of rubble everywhere,  the  unintelligible  proclamations
posted at street corners, the gangs of youths in shirts all the
same  colour,  the  enormous  queues  outside the bakeries, the
intermittent machine-gun fire in the distance -- above all, the
fact that there was never enough to  eat.  He  remembered  long
afternoons  spent  with other boys in scrounging round dustbins
and rubbish heaps, picking out  the  ribs  of  cabbage  leaves,
potato peelings, sometimes even scraps of stale breadcrust from
which  they  carefully  scraped  away  the cinders; and also in
waiting for the  passing  of  trucks  which  travelled  over  a
certain  route  and were known to carry cattle feed, and which,
when they jolted over the bad patches in  the  road,  sometimes
spilt a few fragments of oil-cake.
     When  his  father disappeared, his mother did not show any
surprise or any violent grief, but a sudden  change  came  over
her.  She  seemed  to have become completely spiritless. It was
evident even to Winston that she was waiting for something that
she knew must happen. She did everything  that  was  needed  --
cooked,  washed,  mended, made the bed, swept the floor, dusted
the mantelpiece -- always very slowly and with a  curious  lack
of  superfluous  motion, like an artist's lay- figure moving of
its own accord.  Her  large  shapely  body  seemed  to  relapse
naturally  into  stillness.  For  hours at a time she would sit
almost immobile on the bed, nursing his young sister,  a  tiny,
ailing,  very  silent  child  of two or three, with a face made
simian by thinness. Very occasionally she would take Winston in
her arms and press him against her  for  a  long  time  without
saying anything. He was aware, in spite of his youthfulness and
selfishness,   that   this   was  somehow  connected  with  the
never-mentioned thing that was about to happen.
     He  remembered  the  room  where  they  lived,   a   dark,
closesmelling  room  that  seemed  half  filled by a bed with a
white counterpane. There was a gas ring in the  fender,  and  a
shelf where food was kept, and on the landing outside there was
a   brown   earthenware  sink,  common  to  several  rooms.  He
remembered his mother's statuesque body bending  over  the  gas
ring  to  stir  at  something  in  a  saucepan.  Above  all  he
remembered his continuous hunger, and the fierce sordid battles
at mealtimes. He would ask his mother naggingly, over and  over
again, why there was not more food, he would shout and storm at
her  (he  even  remembered  the  tones  of his voice, which was
beginning to  break  prematurely  and  sometimes  boomed  in  a
peculiar  way), or he would attempt a snivelling note of pathos
in his efforts to get more than his share. His mother was quite
ready to give him more than his share. She took it for  granted
that  he,  'the  boy',  should  have  the  biggest portion; but
however much she gave him he invariably demanded more. At every
meal she would beseech him not to be selfish  and  to  remember
that  his  little  sister was sick and also needed food, but it
was no use. He  would  cry  out  with  rage  when  she  stopped
ladling,  he  would try to wrench the saucepan and spoon out of
her hands, he would grab bits from his sister's plate. He  knew
that  he  was starving the other two, but he could not help it;
he even felt that he had a right to do it. The clamorous hunger
in his belly seemed to  justify  him.  Between  meals,  if  his
mother  did not stand guard, he was constantly pilfering at the
wretched store of food on the shelf.
     One day a chocolate-ration was issued. There had  been  no
such  issue  for  weeks  or  months  past.  He remembered quite
clearly that precious little morsel  of  chocolate.  It  was  a
two-ounce  slab  (they still talked about ounces in those days)
between the three of them. It was obvious that it ought  to  be
divided  into  three  equal  parts. Suddenly, as though he were
listening to somebody else, Winston heard himself demanding  in
a  loud  booming voice that he should be given the whole piece.
His mother told him not to be greedy. There was a long, nagging
argument that went round and round, with shouts, whines, tears,
remonstrances, bargainings. His tiny sister,  clinging  to  her
mother with both hands, exactly like a baby monkey, sat looking
over  her shoulder at him with large, mournful eyes. In the end
his mother broke off three-quarters of the chocolate  and  gave
it  to  Winston,  giving  the  other quarter to his sister. The
little girl took hold of it and looked at it dully, perhaps not
knowing what it was. Winston stood watching her for  a  moment.
Then  with  a  sudden swift spring he had snatched the piece of
chocolate out of his sister's hand  and  was  fleeing  for  the
     'Winston,  Winston!'  his  mother  called after him. 'Come
back! Give your sister back her chocolate!'
     He stopped, but did not come back.  His  mother's  anxious
eyes were fixed on his face. Even now he was thinking about the
thing,  he  did  not  know what it was that was on the point of
happening. His sister,  conscious  of  having  been  robbed  of
something,  had  set  up a feeble wail. His mother drew her arm
round the child  and  pressed  its  face  against  her  breast.
Something in the gesture told him that his sister was dying. He
turned  and  fled  down  the stairs. with the chocolate growing
sticky in his hand.
     He never saw his mother again. After he had  devoured  the
chocolate he felt somewhat ashamed of himself and hung about in
the  streets  for  several  hours, until hunger drove him home.
When he came back his mother had disappeared. This was  already
becoming  normal  at  that time. Nothing was gone from the room
except his mother and  his  sister.  They  had  not  taken  any
clothes, not even his mother's overcoat. To this day he did not
know  with  any  certainty  that  his  mother  was dead. It was
perfectly  possible  that  she  had  merely  been  sent  to   a
forced-labour  camp.  As  for  his  sister, she might have been
removed, like Winston himself,  to  one  of  the  colonies  for
homeless children (Reclamation Centres, they were called) which
had  grown  up  as a result of the civil war, or she might have
been sent to the labour camp along with his mother,  or  simply
left somewhere or other to die.
     The  dream  was  still  vivid  in his mind, especially the
enveloping protecting gesture of the arm  in  which  its  whole
meaning  seemed  to be contained. His mind went back to another
dream of two months ago. Exactly as his mother had sat  on  the
dingy  whitequilted bed, with the child clinging to her, so she
had sat in the sunken ship, far underneath  him,  and  drowning
deeper  every  minute,  but still looking up at him through the
darkening water.
     He told Julia the story  of  his  mother's  disappearance.
Without  opening  her  eyes she rolled over and settled herself
into a more comfortable position.
     'I expect you were a beastly little swine in those  days,'
she said indistinctly. 'All children are swine.'
     'Yes. But the real point of the story-'
     From  her  breathing it was evident that she was going off
to sleep again. He would have liked to continue  talking  about
his  mother. He did not suppose, from what he could remember of
her, that  she  had  been  an  unusual  woman,  still  less  an
intelligent  one; and yet she had possessed a kind of nobility,
a kind of purity, simply because the standards that she  obeyed
were  private ones. Her feelings were her own, and could not be
altered from outside. It would not have occurred to her that an
action which is ineffectual thereby becomes meaningless. If you
loved someone, you loved him, and when you had nothing else  to
give,  you  still gave him love. When the last of the chocolate
was gone, his mother had clasped the child in her arms. It  was
no  use, it changed nothing, it did not produce more chocolate,
it did not avert the child's death or her own;  but  it  seemed
natural to her to do it. The refugee woman in the boat had also
covered  the  little  boy  with  her arm, which was no more use
against the bullets than a sheet of paper. 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. You  were  lifted  clean
out of the stream of history. And yet to the people of only two
generations  ago  this  would  not  have  seemed all-important,
because they were not attempting to alter  history.  They  were
governed by private loyalties which they did not question. What
mattered   were  individual  relationships,  and  a  completely
helpless gesture, an embrace, a tear, a word spoken to a  dying
man,  could  have  value  in  itself.  The  proles, it suddenly
occurred to him, had remained in this condition. They were  not
loyal  to  a  party or a country or an idea, they were loyal to
one another. For the first time in his life he did not  despise
the  proles  or  think  of  them merely as an inert force which
would one day spring to life  and  regenerate  the  world.  The
proles  had  stayed human. They had not become hardened inside.
They had held on to the primitive emotions which he himself had
to re-learn by  conscious  effort.  And  in  thinking  this  he
remembered,  without apparent relevance, how a few weeks ago he
had seen a severed hand lying on the pavement and had kicked it
into the gutter as though it had been a cabbage-stalk.
     'The proles are human beings,' he said aloud. 'We are  not
     'Why not?' said Julia, who had woken up again.
     He  thought  for  a little while. 'Has it ever occurred to
you. he said, 'that the best thing for us to do would be simply
to walk out of here before it's too late, and  never  see  each
other again?'
     'Yes,  dear, it has occurred to me, several times. But I'm
not going to do it, all the same.'
     'We've been lucky,'  he  said  'but  it  can't  last  much
longer. You're young. You look normal and innocent. If you keep
clear of people like me, you might stay alive for another fifty
     'No.  I've  thought  it all out. What you do, I'm going to
do. And don't be too downhearted. I'm rather  good  at  staying
     'We  may  be  together for another six months -- a year --
there's no knowing. At the end we're certain to  be  apart.  Do
you  realize  how utterly alone we shall be? When once they get
hold of us there  will  be  nothing,  literally  nothing,  that
either  of us can do for the other. If I confess, they'll shoot
you, and if I refuse to confess, they'll  shoot  you  just  the
same. Nothing that I can do or say, or stop myself from saying,
will put off your death for as much as five minutes. Neither of
us  will even know whether the other is alive or dead. We shall
be utterly without power  of  any  kind.  The  one  thing  that
matters  is that we shouldn't betray one another, although even
that can't make the slightest difference.'
     'If you mean confessing,' she said,  'we  shall  do  that,
right  enough.  Everybody  always confesses. You can't help it.
They torture you.'
     'I don't mean confessing. Confession is not betrayal. What
you say or do doesn't matter: only  feelings  matter.  If  they
could  make  me  stop  loving  you  --  that  would be the real
     She thought it  over.  'They  can't  do  that,'  she  said
finally.  'It's  the one thing they can't do. They can make you
say anything -- any- thing -- but they can't make
you believe it. They can't get inside you.'
     'No,' he said a little more hopefully, 'no;  that's  quite
true.  They  can't  get inside you. If you can feel that
staying human is worth while,  even  when  it  can't  have  any
result whatever, you've beaten them.'
     He  thought of the telescreen with its never-sleeping ear.
They could spy upon you night and day, but  if  you  kept  your
head  you  could  still  outwit them. With all their cleverness
they had never mastered the secret of finding out what  another
human  being  was thinking. Perhaps that was less true when you
were actually in their hands. One did not  know  what  happened
inside  the  Ministry  of  Love,  but it was possible to guess:
tortures, drugs,  delicate  instruments  that  registered  your
nervous  reactions,  gradual  wearing-down by sleeplessness and
solitude and persistent questioning. Facts, at any rate,  could
not be kept hidden. They could be tracked down by enquiry, they
could  be squeezed out of you by torture. But if the object was
not to stay alive but to stay human,  what  difference  did  it
ultimately  make?  They could not alter your feelings: for that
matter you could not alter them yourself, even  if  you  wanted
to.  They  could  lay bare in the utmost detail everything that
you had done or said or thought; but  the  inner  heart,  whose
workings   were   mysterious   even   to   yourself,   remained

     x x x

     They had done it, they had done it at last!
     The room they were standing in was long-shaped and  softly
lit. The telescreen was dimmed to a low murmur; the richness of
the  dark-blue  carpet  gave  one the impression of treading on
velvet. At the far end of the room O'Brien  was  sitting  at  a
table  under  a  green-shaded  lamp,  with  a mass of papers on
either side of him. He had not bothered to  look  up  when  the
servant showed Julia and Winston in.
     Winston's  heart  was  thumping  so  hard  that he doubted
whether he would be able to speak. They had done it,  they  had
done it at last, was all he could think. It had been a rash act
to come here at all, and sheer folly to arrive together; though
it was true that they had come by different routes and only met
on  O'Brien's  doorstep.  But  merely to walk into such a place
needed an effort of  the  nerve.  It  was  only  on  very  rare
occasions  that one saw inside the dwelling-places of the Inner
Party, or even penetrated into the quarter of  the  town  where
they  lived.  The  whole atmosphere of the huge block of flats,
the richness and spaciousness  of  everything,  the  unfamiliar
smells of good food and good tobacco, the silent and incredibly
rapid  lifts  sliding  up and down, the white-jacketed servants
hurrying to and fro -- everything was intimidating. Although he
had a good pretext for coming here, he  was  haunted  at  every
step  by  the  fear that a black-uniformed guard would suddenly
appear from round the corner, demand his papers, and order  him
to get out. O'Brien's servant, however, had admitted the two of
them  without demur. He was a small, dark-haired man in a white
jacket, with a diamond-shaped, completely  expressionless  face
which might have been that of a Chinese. The passage down which
he  led  them was softly carpeted, with cream-papered walls and
white  wainscoting,  all  exquisitely  clean.  That   too   was
intimidating.  Winston  could  not remember ever to have seen a
passageway whose walls were not grimy from the contact of human
     O'Brien had a slip of paper between his fingers and seemed
to be studying it intently. His heavy face, bent down  so  that
one  could see the line of the nose, looked both formidable and
intelligent.  For  perhaps  twenty  seconds  he   sat   without
stirring.  Then he pulled the speakwrite towards him and rapped
out a message in the hybrid jargon of the Ministries:
     'Items one comma five comma seven approved  fullwise  stop
suggestion  contained  item  six  doubleplus ridiculous verging
crimethink cancel stop unproceed  constructionwise  antegetting
plusfull estimates machinery overheads stop end message.'
     He  rose deliberately from his chair and came towards them
across  the  soundless  carpet.  A  little  of   the   official
atmosphere  seemed  to  have  fallen  away  from  him  with the
Newspeak words, but his expression was grimmer than  usual,  as
though  he were not pleased at being disturbed. The terror that
Winston already felt was suddenly shot through by a  streak  of
ordinary embarrassment. It seemed to him quite possible that he
had  simply  made a stupid mistake. For what evidence had he in
reality that O'Brien was any  kind  of  political  conspirator?
Nothing  but a flash of the eyes and a single equivocal remark:
beyond that, only his  own  secret  imaginings,  founded  on  a
dream.  He could not even fall back on the pretence that he had
come to borrow the dictionary, because  in  that  case  Julia's
presence  was  impossible  to  explain.  As  O'Brien passed the
telescreen a thought seemed to strike him. He  stopped,  turned
aside and pressed a switch on the wall. There was a sharp snap.
The voice had stopped.
     Julia  uttered a tiny sound, a sort of squeak of surprise.
Even in the midst of his panic,  Winston  was  too  much  taken
aback to be able to hold his tongue.
     'You can turn it off!' he said.
     'Yes,'  said  O'Brien,  'we  can turn it off. We have that
     He was opposite them now. His solid form towered over  the
pair  of  them,  and  the  expression  on  his  face  was still
indecipherable. He was waiting, somewhat sternly,  for  Winston
to  speak,  but  about  what? Even now it was quite conceivabIe
that he was simply a busy man wondering irritably  why  he  had
been  interrupted.  Nobody  spoke.  After  the  stopping of the
telescreen the room seemed deadly silent. The  seconds  marched
past,  enormous.  With difficulty Winston continued to keep his
eyes fixed on O'Brien's. Then suddenly the grim face broke down
into what might have been the beginnings of a smile.  With  his
characteristic  gesture O'Brien resettled his spectacles on his
     'Shall I say it, or will you?' he said.
     'I will say it,' said Winston  promptly.  'That  thing  is
really turned off?'
     'Yes, everything is turned off. We are alone.'
     'We have come here because-'
     He  paused,  realizing for the first time the vagueness of
his own motives. Since he did not in fact  know  what  kind  of
help  he  expected  from O'Brien, it was not easy to say why he
had come here. He went on, conscious that what  he  was  saying
must sound both feeble and pretentious:
     'We  believe  that  there is some kind of conspiracy, some
kind of secret organization working against the Party, and that
you are involved in it. We want to join it and work for it.  We
are  enemies  of  the Party. We disbelieve in the principles of
Ingsoc. We are thought-criminals. We  are  also  adulterers.  I
tell  you  this because we want to put ourselves at your mercy.
If you want us to incriminate ourselves in any  other  way,  we
are ready.'
     He stopped and glanced over his shoulder, with the feeling
that the  door had opened. Sure enough, the little yellow-faced
servant had come in without knocking. Winston saw that  he  was
carrying a tray with a decanter and glasses.
     'Martin  is  one  of us,' said O'Brien impassively. 'Bring
the drinks over here, Martin. Put them on the round table. Have
we enough chairs? Then we may as well  sit  down  and  talk  in
comfort.  Bring a chair for yourself, Martin. This is business.
You can stop being a servant for the next ten minutes.'
     The little man sat down, quite at his ease, and yet  still
with  a  servant-like  air,  the  air  of  a  valet  enjoying a
privilege. Winston regarded him out of the corner of  his  eye.
It struck him that the man's whole life was playing a part, and
that he felt it to be dangerous to drop his assumed personality
even  for  a  moment. O'Brien took the decanter by the neck and
filled up the glasses with a dark- red liquid.  It  aroused  in
Winston  dim memories of something seen long ago on a wall or a
hoarding -- a vast bottle composed  of  electric  lights  which
seemed  to move up and down and pour its contents into a glass.
Seen from the top the stuff looked almost  black,  but  in  the
decanter  it gleamed like a ruby. It had a sour-sweet smell. He
saw Julia pick  up  her  glass  and  sniff  at  it  with  frank
     'It is called wine,' said O'Brien with a faint smile. 'You
will have read about it in books, no doubt. Not much of it gets
to the  Outer  Party, I am afraid.' His face grew solemn again,
and he raised his glass: 'I think it is fitting that we  should
begin  by  drinking  a  health.  To  our  Leader:  To  Emmanuel
     Winston took up his glass with a certain  eagerness.  Wine
was  a  thing  he  had  read  and dreamed about. Like the glass
paperweight or  Mr  Charrington's  half-remembered  rhymes,  it
belonged  to  the vanished, romantic past, the olden time as he
liked to call it in his secret thoughts. For some reason he had
always thought of wine as having an intensely sweet taste, like
that of blackberry jam and an  immediate  intoxicating  effect.
Actually,  when he came to swallow it, the stuff was distinctly
disappointing. The truth was that after years  of  gin-drinking
he could barely taste it. He set down the empty glass.
     'Then there is such a person as Goldstein?' he said.
     'Yes, there is such a person, and he is alive. Where, I do
not know.'
     'And the conspiracy -- the organization? Is it real? It is
not simply an invention of the Thought Police?'
     'No,  it  is  real.  The Brotherhood, we call it. You will
never learn much more about the Brotherhood than that it exists
and that you belong to it. I will come back to that presently.'
He looked at his wrist-watch. 'It is unwise even for members of
the Inner Party to turn off the telescreen for more  than  half
an hour. You ought not to have come here together, and you will
have to leave separately. You, comrade' -- he bowed his head to
Julia -- 'will leave first. We have about twenty minutes at our
disposal.  You  will understand that I must start by asking you
certain questions. In general terms, what are you  prepared  to
     'Anything that we are capable of,' said Winston.
     O'Brien  had  turned himself a little in his chair so that
he was facing Winston. He almost ignored Julia, seeming to take
it for granted that Winston could speak for her. For  a  moment
the  lids  flitted  down  over  his  eyes.  He began asking his
questions in a low, expressionless voice, as though this were a
routine, a sort of catechism, most of whose answers were  known
to him already.
     'You are prepared to give your lives?'
     'You are prepared to commit murder?'
     'To  commit  acts of sabotage which may cause the death of
hundreds of innocent people?'
     'To betray your country to foreign powers?'
     'You are prepared to cheat, to  forge,  to  blackmail,  to
corrupt  the  minds  of  children,  to distribute habit-forming
drugs,  to  encourage  prostitution,  to  disseminate  venereal
diseases   --   to   do  anything  which  is  likely  to  cause
demoralization and weaken the power of the Party?'
     'If, for example, it would somehow serve our interests  to
throw  sulphuric  acid in a child's face -- are you prepared to
do that?'
     'You are prepared to lose your identity and live  out  the
rest of your life as a waiter or a dock-worker?'
     'You  are prepared to commit suicide, if and when we order
you to do so?'
     'You are prepared, the two of you, to separate  and  never
see one another again?'
     'No!' broke in Julia.
     It  appeared  to Winston that a long time passed before he
answered. For a moment he seemed even to have been deprived  of
the power of speech. His tongue worked soundlessly, forming the
opening  syllables  first  of one word, then of the other, over
and over again. Until he had said it, he  did  not  know  which
word he was going to say. 'No,' he said finally.
     'You  did well to tell me,' said O'Brien. 'It is necessary
for us to know everything.'
     He turned himself toward Julia and added in a  voice  with
somewhat more expression in it:
     'Do  you understand that even if he survives, it may be as
a different person? We  may  be  obliged  to  give  him  a  new
identity.  His face, his movements, the shape of his hands, the
colour of his hair -- even his voice would  be  different.  And
you yourself might have become a different person. Our surgeons
can alter people beyond recognition. Sometimes it is necessary.
Sometimes we even amputate a limb.'
     Winston  could  not help snatching another sidelong glance
at Martin's Mongolian face. There were no scars that  he  could
see.  Julia had turned a shade paler, so that her freckles were
showing, but she faced O'Brien boldly. She  murmured  something
that seemed to be assent.
     'Good. Then that is settled.'
     There  was a silver box of cigarettes on the table. With a
rather  absent-minded  air  O'Brien  pushed  them  towards  the
others,  took  one  himself,  then  stood  up and began to pace
slowly to and fro, as though he could  think  better  standing.
They  were  very  good  cigarettes, very thick and well-packed,
with an unfamiliar silkiness in the paper.  O'Brien  looked  at
his wrist-watch again.
     'You  had better go back to your Pantry, Martin,' he said.
'I shall switch on in a quarter of an hour. Take a good look at
these comrades' faces before you go. You will  be  seeing  them
again. I may not.
     Exactly  as  they  had  done at the front door, the little
man's dark eyes flickered over their faces.  There  was  not  a
trace  of  friendliness  in his manner. He was memorizing their
appearance, but he felt no interest in  them,  or  appeared  to
feel  none.  It  occurred  to Winston that a synthetic face was
perhaps incapable of changing its expression. Without  speaking
or  giving any kind of salutation, Martin went out, closing the
door silently behind him. O'Brien was strolling  up  and  down,
one hand in the pocket of his black overalls, the other holding
his cigarette.
     'You  understand,'  he said, 'that you will be fighting in
the dark. You will always be in  the  dark.  You  will  receive
orders  and  you  will  obey them, without knowing why. Later I
shall send you a book from which you will learn the true nature
of the society we live in, and the strategy by which  we  shall
destroy  it.  When  you  have  read  the book, you will be full
members of the Brotherhood. But between the general  aims  that
we are fighting for and the immedi ate tasks of the moment, you
will  never  know  anything.  I  tell  you that the Brotherhood
exists, but I cannot tell you  whether  it  numbers  a  hundred
members,  or ten million. From your personal knowledge you will
never be able to say that it numbers even as many as  a  dozen.
You  will have three or four contacts, who will be renewed from
time to time as they disappear. As this was your first contact,
it will be preserved. When you receive orders, they  will  come
from  me.  If  we find it necessary to communicate with you, it
will be through Martin. When you are finally caught,  you  will
confess.  That is unavoidable. But you will have very little to
confess, other than your own actions. You will not be  able  to
betray  more than a handful of unimportant people. Probably you
will not even betray me. By that time I may be dead, or I shall
have become a different person, with a different face.'
     He continued to move to and fro over the soft  carpet.  In
spite of the bulkiness of his body there was a remarkable grace
in his movements. It came out even in the gesture with which he
thrust a hand into his pocket, or manipulated a cigarette. More
even  than of strength, he gave an impression of confidence and
of an understanding tinged by irony. However much in earnest he
might be, he had nothing of the single-mindedness that  belongs
to  a  fanatic.  When  he  spoke  of  murder, suicide, venereal
disease, amputated limbs, and altered  faces,  it  was  with  a
faint  air  of  persiflage.  'This  is  unavoidable,' his voice
seemed to say; 'this is what we have got to do,  unflinchingly.
But  this  is  not  what  we  shall be doing when life is worth
living again.' A wave of admiration, almost of worship,  flowed
out  from  Winston  towards  O'Brien.  For  the  moment  he had
forgotten the shadowy figure of Goldstein. When you  looked  at
O'Brien's  powerful  shoulders  and his blunt-featured face, so
ugly and yet so civilized, it was impossible to believe that he
could be defeated. There was no stratagem that he was not equal
to, no danger that he could not foresee. Even Julia  seemed  to
be  impressed.  She  had  let  her  cigarette  go  out  and was
listening intently. O'Brien went on:
     'You will have heard  rumours  of  the  existence  of  the
Brotherhood.  No  doubt you have formed your own picture of it.
You have imagined, probably, a huge underworld of conspirators,
meeting secretly in  cellars,  scribbling  messages  on  walls,
recognizing one another by codewords or by special movements of
the  hand.  Nothing  of  the  kind  exists.  The members of the
Brotherhood have no way of recognizing one another, and  it  is
impossible  for  any  one member to be aware of the identity of
more than a few others. Goldstein himself, if he fell into  the
hands  of  the  Thought  Police, could not give them a complete
list of members, or any information that would lead them  to  a
complete  list.  No such list exists. The Brotherhood cannot be
wiped out because it is not an  organization  in  the  ordinary
sense.  Nothing  holds  it  together  except  an  idea which is
indestructible. You will never have anything  to  sustain  you,
except   the   idea.   You  will  get  no  comradeship  and  no
encouragement. When finally you are caught,  you  will  get  no
help. We never help our members. At most, when it is absolutely
necessary  that someone should be silenced, we are occasionally
able to smuggle a razor blade into a prisoner's cell. You  will
have  to  get  used to living without results and without hope.
You will work for  a  while,  you  will  be  caught,  you  will
confess, and then you will die. Those are the only results that
you will ever see. There is no possibility that any perceptible
change  will  happen  within our own lifetime. We are the dead.
Our only true life is in the future. We shall take part  in  it
as  handfuls  of  dust  and splinters of bone. But how far away
that future may be, there is no knowing. It might be a thousand
years. At present nothing is possible except to extend the area
of sanity little by little. We cannot act collectively. We  can
only   spread   our   knowledge  outwards  from  individual  to
individual, generation after generation. In  the  face  of  the
Thought Police there is no other way.'
     He  halted  and  looked  for  the third time at his wrist-
     'It is almost time for you to leave, comrade,' he said  to
Julia. 'Wait. The decanter is still half full.'
     He  filled  the  glasses  and  raised his own glass by the
     'What shall it be this time?' he said, still with the same
faint suggestion of irony. 'To the  confusion  of  the  Thought
Police?  To  the  death  of  Big  Brother?  To humanity? To the
     'To the past,' said Winston.
     'The past is more important,' agreed O'Brien gravely.
     They emptied their glasses, and a moment later Julia stood
up to go. O'Brien took a small box from the top  of  a  cabinet
and  handed  her a flat white tablet which he told her to place
on her tongue. It  was  important,  he  said,  not  to  go  out
smelling  of  wine: the lift attendants were very observant. As
soon as the door had shut behind her he appeared to forget  her
existence.  He  took  another  pace  or  two  up and down, then
     'There are details to be settled,' he said. 'I assume that
you have a hiding-place of some kind?'
     Winston explained about the  room  over  Mr  Charrington's
     'That  will  do  for  the  moment.  Later  we will arrange
something else  for  you.  It  is  important  to  change  one's
hiding-place  frequently.  Meanwhile I shall send you a copy of
the book' -- even O'Brien, Winston  noticed,  seemed  to
pronounce   the   words   as   though  they  were  in  italics-
'Goldstein's book, you understand, as soon as possible. It  may
be  some  days before I can get hold of one. There are not many
in existence, as you can imagine. The Thought Police hunt  them
down and destroy them almost as fast as we can produce them. It
makes  very  little  difference. The book is indestructible. If
the last copy were gone, we could reproduce it almost word  for
word. Do you carry a brief-case to work with you?' he added.
     'As a rule, yes.'
     'What is it like?'
     'Black, very shabby. With two straps.'
     'Black,  two  straps,  very shabby -- good. One day in the
fairly near future-I cannot give a date -- one of the  messages
among  your  morning's work will contain a misprinted word, and
you will have to ask for a repeat. On  the  following  day  you
will  go  to  work without your brief-case. At some time during
the day, in the street, a man will touch you on the arm and say
"I think you have dropped your brief-case." The  one  he  gives
you will contain a copy of Goldstein's book. You will return it
within fourteen days.'
     They were silent for a moment.
     'There  are  a couple of minutes before you need go,' said
O'Brien. 'We shall meet again -- if we do meet again-'
     Winston looked up at him. 'In the place where there is  no
darkness?' he said hesitantly.
     O'Brien  nodded  without  appearance  of surprise. 'In the
place where there is no darkness,' he said, as  though  he  had
recognized  the  allusion.  'And  in  the  meantime,  is  there
anything that you wish to say before you  leave?  Any  message?
Any question?.'
     Winston  thought.  There  did  not  seem to be any further
question that he wanted to ask: still  less  did  he  feel  any
impulse   to   utter  high-sounding  generalities.  Instead  of
anything directly connected with O'Brien  or  the  Brotherhood,
there  came  into  his  mind a sort of composite picture of the
dark bedroom where his mother had spent her last days, and  the
little   room   over  Mr  Charrington's  shop,  and  the  glass
paperweight, and the steel engraving  in  its  rosewood  frame.
Almost at random he said:
     'Did  you  ever  happen  to  hear an old rhyme that begins
"Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St Clement's"?'
     Again O'Brien nodded. With a sort  of  grave  courtesy  he
completed the stanza:

     'Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St Clement's,
     You owe me three farthings, say the bells of St Martin's,
     When will you pay me? say the bells of Old Bailey
     When I grow rich, say the bells of Shoreditch.'

     'You knew the last line!' said Winston.
     'Yes,  I  knew  the last line. And now, I am afraid, it is
time for you to go. But wait. You had better let  me  give  you
one of these tablets.'
     As  Winston stood up O'Brien held out a hand. His powerful
grip crushed the bones of Winston's palm. At the  door  Winston
looked  back,  but  O'Brien  seemed already to be in process of
putting him out of mind. He was waiting with his  hand  on  the
switch that controlled the telescreen. Beyond him Winston could
see  the  writing-table  with  its  green-  shaded lamp and the
speakwrite and the wire baskets deep- laden  with  papers.  The
incident was closed. Within thirty seconds, it occurred to him,
O'Brien  would be back at his interrupted and important work on
behalf of the Party.

     x x x

     Winston was gelatinous with fatigue.  Gelatinous  was  the
right  word.  It had come into his head spontaneously. His body
seemed to have not only  the  weakness  of  a  jelly,  but  its
translucency.  He  felt that if he held up his hand he would be
able to see the light through it. All the blood and  lymph  had
been drained out of him by an enormous debauch of work, leaving
only  a  frail  structure  of  nerves,  bones,  and  skin.  All
sensations seemed to be magnified.  His  overalls  fretted  his
shoulders,  the pavement tickled his feet, even the opening and
closing of a hand was an effort that made his joints creak.
     He had worked more than ninety hours in five days. So  had
everyone  else in the Ministry. Now it was all over, and he had
literally nothing to do, no  Party  work  of  any  description,
until  tomorrow  morning.  He  could  spend  six  hours  in the
hiding-place and another nine in his own bed. Slowly,  in  mild
afternoon  sunshine,  he  walked  up  a  dingy  street  in  the
direction of Mr Charrington's shop, keeping one  eye  open  for
the  patrols,  but  irrationally  convinced that this afternoon
there was no danger of anyone interfering with him.  The  heavy
brief-case that he was carrying bumped against his knee at each
step,  sending a tingling sensation up and down the skin of his
leg. Inside it was the book, which he had now had in his
possession for six days and had not yet opened, nor even looked
     On the sixth day of Hate Week, after the processions,  the
speeches,  the shouting, the singing, the banners, the posters,
the films, the waxworks, the rolling of drums and squealing  of
trumpets,  the  tramp  of  marching  feet,  the grinding of the
caterpillars of tanks, the roar of massed planes,  the  booming
of  guns  --  after six days of this, when the great orgasm was
quivering to its climax and the general hatred of  Eurasia  had
boiled  up  into such delirium that if the crowd could have got
their hands on the 2,000 Eurasian war-criminals who were to  be
publicly  hanged on the last day of the proceedings, they would
unquestionably have torn them to pieces -- at just this  moment
it  had  been  announced  that Oceania was not after all at war
with Eurasia. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Eurasia was  an
     There  was,  of  course,  no admission that any change had
taken place. Merely it became known,  with  extreme  suddenness
and  everywhere  at once, that Eastasia and not Eurasia was the
enemy. Winston was taking part in a demonstration in one of the
central London squares at the moment when it happened.  It  was
night, and the white faces and the scarlet banners were luridly
floodlit.  The  square was packed with several thousand people,
including a block of about a  thousand  schoolchildren  in  the
uniform of the Spies. On a scarlet-draped platform an orator of
the  Inner Party, a small lean man with disproportionately long
arms and a large  bald  skull  over  which  a  few  lank  locks
straggled,  was  haranguing the crowd. A little Rumpelstiltskin
figure, contorted with hatred,  he  gripped  the  neck  of  the
microphone  with  one hand while the other, enormous at the end
of a bony arm, clawed the air menacingly above  his  head.  His
voice, made metallic by the amplifiers, boomed forth an endless
catalogue  of  atrocities,  massacres,  deportations, lootings,
rapings, torture of  prisoners,  bombing  of  civilians,  lying
propaganda,  unjust aggressions, broken treaties. It was almost
impossible to listen to him without being first  convinced  and
then  maddened.  At  every  few  moments  the fury of the crowd
boiled over and the voice of the speaker was drowned by a  wild
beast-like  roaring  that rose uncontrollably from thousands of
throats.  The  most  savage  yells  of  all   came   from   the
schoolchildren.  The  speech  had  been  proceeding for perhaps
twenty minutes when a messenger hurried on to the platform  and
a  scrap  of  paper  was  slipped  into  the speaker's hand. He
unrolled and read it without pausing  in  his  speech.  Nothing
altered  in  his  voice or manner, or in the content of what he
was saying, but suddenly  the  names  were  different.  Without
words  said, a wave of understanding rippled through the crowd.
Oceania was at war with Eastasia! The next moment there  was  a
tremendous  commotion.  The  banners and posters with which the
square was decorated were all wrong! Quite half of them had the
wrong faces on them. It was sabotage! The agents  of  Goldstein
had  been  at work! There was a riotous interlude while posters
were ripped from the walls, banners torn to shreds and trampled
underfoot.  The  Spies  performed  prodigies  of  activity   in
clambering  over  the  rooftops  and cutting the streamers that
fluttered from the chimneys. But within two or three minutes it
was all over. The  orator,  still  gripping  the  neck  of  the
microphone,  his  shoulders  hunched  forward,  his  free  hand
clawing at the air, had gone straight on with his  speech.  One
minute  more,  and  the feral roars of rage were again bursting
from the crowd. The Hate continued exactly  as  before,  except
that the target had been changed.
     The  thing that impressed Winston in looking back was that
the speaker had switched from one line to the other actually in
midsentence,  not  only  without  a  pause,  but  without  even
breaking  the  syntax. But at the moment he had other things to
preoccupy him. It was during the moment of disorder  while  the
posters  were  being torn down that a man whose face he did not
see had tapped him on the shoulder  and  said,  'Excuse  me,  I
think  you've  dropped your brief-case.' He took the brief-case
abstractedly, without speaking. He knew that it would  be  days
before  he  had  an  opportunity to look inside it. The instant
that the  demonstration  was  over  he  went  straight  to  the
Ministry  of Truth, though the time was now nearly twenty-three
hours. The entire staff of the Ministry had done likewise.  The
orders  already  issuing from the telescreen, recalling them to
their posts, were hardly necessary.
     Oceania was at war with Eastasia: Oceania had always  been
at  war with Eastasia. A large part of the political literature
of five years was now completely obsolete. Reports and  records
of    all   kinds,   newspapers,   books,   pamphlets,   films,
sound-tracks,  photographs  --  all  had  to  be  rectified  at
lightning  speed. Although no directive was ever issued, it was
known that the chiefs of the Department  intended  that  within
one  week no reference to the war with Eurasia, or the alliance
with Eastasia, should remain in existence  anywhere.  The  work
was overwhelming, all the more so because the processes that it
involved  could  not be called by their true names. Everyone in
the  Records  Department   worked   eighteen   hours   in   the
twenty-four,  with two three-hour snatches of sleep. Mattresses
were brought up from the  cellars  and  pitched  all  over  the
corridors:  meals  consisted  of  sandwiches and Victory Coffee
wheeled round on trolleys by attendants from the canteen.  Each
time  that  Winston broke off for one of his spells of sleep he
tried to leave his desk clear of work, and each  time  that  he
crawled  back  sticky-eyed  and  aching,  it  was  to find that
another shower of paper cylinders had covered the desk  like  a
snowdrift, halfburying the speakwrite and overflowing on to the
floor,  so  that  the first job was always to stack them into a
neat enough pile to give him room to work. What  was  worst  of
all  was that the work was by no means purely mechanical. Often
it was enough merely to substitute one name  for  another,  but
any  detailed  report  of events demanded care and imagination.
Even the geographical knowledge that one needed in transferring
the war from one part of the world to another was considerable.
     By the  third  day  his  eyes  ached  unbearably  and  his
spectacles  needed  wiping  every  few  minutes.  It  was  like
struggling with some crushing physical  task,  something  which
one  had  the  right  to  refuse and which one was nevertheless
neurotically anxious to accomplish. In so far as he had time to
remember it, he was not troubled by the fact that every word he
murmured into the speakwrite, every stroke of  his  ink-pencil,
was  a  deliberate lie. He was as anxious as anyone else in the
Department that the forgery should be perfect. On  the  morning
of  the  sixth day the dribble of cylinders slowed down. For as
much as half an hour nothing came out of  the  tube;  then  one
more  cylinder, then nothing. Everywhere at about the same time
the work was easing off. A deep and as it were secret sigh went
through the Department. A mighty deed,  which  could  never  be
mentioned,  had  been  achieved.  It was now impossible for any
human being to prove by documentary evidence that the war  with
Eurasia   had   ever   happened.   At  twelve  hundred  it  was
unexpectedly announced that all workers in  the  Ministry  were
free   till  tomorrow  morning.  Winston,  still  carrying  the
brief-case  containing  the  book,  which  had  remained
between  his  feet  while he worked and under his body while he
slept, went home, shaved himself, and almost fell asleep in his
bath, although the water was barely more than tepid.
     With a sort  of  voluptuous  creaking  in  his  joints  he
climbed  the  stair  above Mr Charrington's shop. He was tired,
but not sleepy any longer. He opened the window, lit the  dirty
little  oilstove  and  put  on a pan of water for coffee. Julia
would arrive presently: meanwhile there was the book. He
sat down in the sluttish armchair and undid the straps  of  the
     A  heavy black volume, amateurishly bound, with no name or
title on the cover. The print also looked  slightly  irregular.
The  pages  were  worn at the edges, and fell apart, easily, as
though the book had passed through many hands. The  inscription
on the title-page ran:

     Emmanuel Goldstein

     Winston began reading:

     Chapter I
     Ignorance is Strength

     Throughout  recorded  time,  and probably since the end of
the Neolithic Age, there have been three kinds of people in the
world, the High, the  Middle,  and  the  Low.  They  have  been
subdivided  in  many  ways, they have borne countless different
names, and their relative numbers, as well  as  their  attitude
towards  one  another,  have  varied  from  age to age: but the
essential structure of society has never  altered.  Even  after
enormous  upheavals and seemingly irrevocable changes, the same
pattern has always reasserted itself, just as a gyroscope  will
always  return to equilibrium, however far it is pushed one way
or the other.
     The aims of these groups are entirely irreconcilable. . .
     Winston stopped reading, chiefly in  order  to  appreciate
the  fact that he was reading, in comfort and safety. He
was alone: no telescreen, no ear at  the  keyhole,  no  nervous
impulse  to glance over his shoulder or cover the page with his
hand. The sweet summer  air  played  against  his  cheek.  From
somewhere  far away there floated the faint shouts of children:
in the room itself there was no sound except the  insect  voice
of  the clock. He settled deeper into the arm-chair and put his
feet up on the fender. It was bliss, it was etemity.  Suddenly,
as  one  sometimes does with a book of which one knows that one
will ultimately read and re-read every word, he opened it at  a
different  place  and  found himself at Chapter III. He went on

     Chapter III
     War is Peace

     The  splitting  up  of  the   world   into   three   great
super-states  was  an  event  which  could  be  and  indeed was
foreseen before the middle of the twentieth century.  With  the
absorption of Europe by Russia and of the British Empire by the
United  States,  two  of the three existing powers, Eurasia and
Oceania,  were  already  effectively  in  being.   The   third,
Eastasia,  only emerged as a distinct unit after another decade
of  confused  fighting.  The  frontiers   between   the   three
super-states  are  in some places arbitrary, and in others they
fluctuate according to the fortunes of war, but in general they
follow geographical lines. Eurasia comprises the whole  of  the
northern  part  of  the  European  and  Asiatic land-mass, from
Portugal to the Bering Strait. Oceania comprises the  Americas,
the  Atlantic islands including the British Isles, Australasia,
and the southern portion of Africa. Eastasia, smaller than  the
others  and  with  a  less definite western frontier, comprises
China and the countries  to  the  south  of  it,  the  Japanese
islands  and  a  large  but  fluctuating  portion of Manchuria,
Mongolia, and Tibet.
     In one combination or another,  these  three  super-states
are  permanently  at  war,  and  have  been  so  for  the  past
twenty-five years. War, however, is no  longer  the  desperate,
annihilating  struggle  that it was in the early decades of the
twentieth centary. It is a  warfare  of  limited  aims  between
combatants  who  are  unable  to  destroy  one another, have no
material cause for fighting and are not divided by any  genuine
ideological  difference.  This  is  not  to say that either the
conduct of war, or the  prevailing  attitude  towards  it,  has
become  less  bloodthirsty or more chivalrous. On the contrary,
war hysteria is continuous and universal in all countries,  and
such  acts  as  raping, looting, the slaughter of children, the
reduction  of  whole  populations  to  slavery,  and  reprisals
against  prisoners  which  extend  even  to boiling and burying
alive, are looked upon as normal, and, when they are  committed
by  one's  own side and not by the enemy, meritorious. But in a
physical sense war  involves  very  small  numbers  of  people,
mostly highly-trained specialists, and causes comparatively few
casualties. The fighting, when there is any, takes place on the
vague  frontiers  whose  whereabouts  the  average man can only
guess  at,  or  round  the  Floating  Fortresses  which   guard
strategic   spots   on   the  sea  lanes.  In  the  centres  of
civilization war means no more than a  continuous  shortage  of
consumption  goods,  and  the occasional crash of a rocket bomb
which may cause a few scores of deaths. War has in fact changed
its character. More exactly, the reasons for which war is waged
have changed in their order of importance. Motives  which  were
already  present  to some small extent in the great wars of the
early twentieth centuary  have  now  become  dominant  and  are
consciously recognized and acted upon.
     To  understand  the  nature  of  the present war -- for in
spite of the regrouping which occurs every  few  years,  it  is
always the same war -- one must realize in the first place that
it  is  impossible  for  it  to  be decisive. None of the three
super-states could be definitively conquered even by the  other
two  in  combination.  They  are  too evenly matched, and their
natural defences are too formidable. Eurasia  is  protected  by
its  vast land spaces. Oceania by the width of the Atlantic and
the Pacific, Eastasia by the fecundity and indus triousness  of
its  inhabitants.  Secondly,  there is no longer, in a material
sense, anything to  fight  about.  With  the  establishment  of
self-contained  economies,  in which production and consumption
are geared to one another, the scramble for markets which was a
main cause of previous wars has  come  to  an  end,  while  the
competition for raw materials is no longer a matter of life and
death.  In  any  case each of the three super-states is so vast
that it can obtain almost  all  the  materials  that  it  needs
within  its  own  boundaries. In so far as the war has a direct
economic purpose, it is a war for  labour  power.  Between  the
frontiers  of  the  super-  states,  and not permanently in the
possession of any of them, there  lies  a  rough  quadrilateral
with  its  corners  at  Tangier,  Brazzaville, Darwin, and Hong
Kong, containing within it about a fifth of the  population  of
the  earth. It is for the possession of these thickly-populated
regions, and of the northern ice-cap, that the three powers are
constantly struggling. In practice no one power  ever  controls
the  whole  of the disputed area. Portions of it are constantly
changing hands, and it is the chance of seizing  this  or  that
fragment  by  a  sudden  stroke  of treachery that dictates the
endless changes of alignment.
     All of the disputed territories contain valuable minerals,
and some of them yield important  vegetable  products  such  as
rubber  which  in colder climates it is necessary to synthesize
by comparatively expensive methods. But above all they  contain
a  bottomless reserve of cheap labour. Whichever power controls
equatorial Africa, or the countries  of  the  Middle  East,  or
Southern India, or the Indonesian Archipelago, disposes also of
the  bodies  of  scores or hundreds of millions of ill-paid and
hard-working coolies. The inhabitants of these  areas,  reduced
more  or  less openly to the status of slaves, pass continually
from conqueror to conqueror, and are expended like so much coal
or oil in the race to turn out more armaments, to capture  more
territory,  to  control  more  labour  power,  to turn out more
armaments, to capture more territory, and so  on  indefinitely.
It  should be noted that the fighting never really moves beyond
the edges of the disputed areas. The frontiers of Eurasia  flow
back  and forth between the basin of the Congo and the northern
shore of the Mediterranean; the islands of the Indian Ocean and
the Pacific are constantly being  captured  and  recaptured  by
Oceania  or  by Eastasia; in Mongolia the dividing line between
Eurasia and Eastasia is never stable; round the Pole all  three
powers  lay  claim  to  enormous  territories which in fact are
largely unihabited and unexplored: but  the  balance  of  power
always  remains roughly even, and the territory which forms the
heartland  of  each  super-state  always   remains   inviolate.
Moreover, the labour of the exploited peoples round the Equator
is  not  really  necessary  to  the  world's  economy. They add
nothing to the wealth of the world, since whatever they produce
is used for purposes of war, and the object of waging a war  is
always to be in a better position in which to wage another war.
By  their  labour  the  slave  populations  allow  the tempo of
continuous warfare to be speeded up. But if they did not exist,
the structure of world society, and the  process  by  which  it
maintains itself, would not be essentially different.
     The  primary aim of modern warfare (in accordance with the
principles of doublethink, this  aim  is  simultaneously
recognized  and  not  recognized by the directing brains of the
Inner Party) is to use up the products of the  machine  without
raising  the  general standard of living. Ever since the end of
the nineteenth century, the problem of  what  to  do  with  the
surplus  of  consumption  goods  has  been latent in industrial
society. At present, when few human beings even have enough  to
eat,  this  problem  is  obviously not urgent, and it might not
have become so, even if no artificial processes of  destruction
had  been  at  work.  The  world  of  today  is a bare, hungry,
dilapidated place compared with the world that  existed  before
1914,  and  still more so if compared with the imaginary future
to which the people of that period looked forward. In the early
twentieth century, the vision of a future society  unbelievably
rich,   leisured,   orderly,  and  efficient  --  a  glittering
antiseptic world of glass and steel and snow-white concrete  --
was  part of the consciousness of nearly every literate person.
Science and technology were developing at a  prodigious  speed,
and  it  seemed  natural  to  assume  that  they  would  go  on
developing. This  failed  to  happen,  partly  because  of  the
impoverishment caused by a long series of wars and revolutions,
partly  because  scientific  and technical progress depended on
the empirical habit of thought, which could not  survive  in  a
strictly  regimented  society.  As  a  whole  the world is more
primitive today than it was fifty years ago.  Certain  backward
areas  have  advanced,  and various devices, always in some way
connected  with  warfare  and  police  espionage,   have   been
developed,  but  experiment and invention have largely stopped,
and the ravages of the atomic war of the nineteen- fifties have
never been fully repaired. Nevertheless the dangers inherent in
the machine are still there. From the moment when  the  machine
first  made  its appearance it was clear to all thinking people
that the need for human drudgery,  and  therefore  to  a  great
extent  for  human  inequality, had disappeared. If the machine
were used deliberately for that end,  hunger,  overwork,  dirt,
illiteracy,  and  disease  could  be  eliminated  within  a few
generations. And in fact,  without  being  used  for  any  such
purpose,  but  by  a  sort of automatic process -- by producing
wealth which it was sometimes impossible not to  distribute  --
the  machine  did  raise  the  living  standards of the average
humand being very greatly over a period of about fifty years at
the end of the nineteenth and the beginning  of  the  twentieth
     But it was also clear that an all-round increase in wealth
threatened  the  destruction  --  indeed, in some sense was the
destruction -- of a hierarchical society. In a world  in  which
everyone  worked  short  hours,  had  enough to eat, lived in a
house with a bathroom  and  a  refrigerator,  and  possessed  a
motor-car  or  even  an aeroplane, the most obvious and perhaps
the most  important  form  of  inequality  would  already  have
disappeared.  If it once became general, wealth would confer no
distinction. It was possible, no doubt, to imagine a society in
which wealth, in the sense of personal  possessions  and
luxuries,  should  be  evenly  distributed,  while power
remained in the hands of  a  small  privileged  caste.  But  in
practice  such  a  society could not long remain stable. For if
leisure and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great  mass
of  human  beings  who  are normally stupefied by poverty would
become literate and would learn to think  for  themselves;  and
when  once  they  had  done  this,  they  would sooner or later
realize that the privileged minority had no function, and  they
would  sweep  it  away. In the long run, a hierarchical society
was only possible on a  basis  of  poverty  and  ignorance.  To
return  to  the  agricultural  past, as some thinkers about the
beginning of the twentieth century dreamed of doing, was not  a
practicable  solution.  It conflicted with the tendency towards
mechanization which  had  become  quasi-instinctive  throughout
almost  the  whole  world,  and  moreover,  any  country  which
remained industrially backward was helpless in a military sense
and was bound to be dominated, directly or indirectly,  by  its
more advanced rivals.
     Nor  was  it a satisfactory solution to keep the masses in
poverty by restricting the output of goods. This happened to  a
great  extent  during  the  final  phase of capitalism, roughly
between 1920 and  1940.  The  economy  of  many  countries  was
allowed  to  stagnate,  land  went  out of cultivation, capital
equipment was not added to, great blocks of the population were
prevented from working and kept half alive  by  State  charity.
But  this,  too,  entailed  military  weakness,  and  since the
privations it inflicted were  obviously  unnecessary,  it  made
opposition  inevitable.  The problem was how to keep the wheels
of industry turning without increasing the real wealth  of  the
world.   Goods   must   be  produced,  but  they  must  not  be
distributed. And in practice the only way of achieving this was
by continuous warfare.
     The essential act of war is destruction,  not  necessarily
of  human  lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a
way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the  stratosphere,
or  sinking  in  the  depths  of the sea, materials which might
otherwise be used to  make  the  masses  too  comfortable,  and
hence,  in  the long run, too intelligent. Even when weapons of
war are not actually destroyed, their manufacture  is  still  a
convenient  way  of  expending  labour  power without producing
anything  that  can  be  consumed.  A  Floating  Fortress,  for
example,  has  locked  up  in  it  the  labour that would build
several hundred  cargo-ships.  Ultimately  it  is  scrapped  as
obsolete, never having brought any material benefit to anybody,
and  with further enormous labours another Floating Fortress is
built. In principle the war effort is always so planned  as  to
eat  up  any  surplus  that  might exist after meeting the bare
needs  of  the  population.  In  practice  the  needs  of   the
population  are  always  underestimated,  with  the result that
there is a chronic shortage of half the  necessities  of  life;
but  this is looked on as an advantage. It is deliberate policy
to keep even the favoured groups somewhere near  the  brink  of
hardship,  because  a  general  state of scarcity increases the
importance  of  small  privileges  and   thus   magnifies   the
distinction  between one group and another. By the standards of
the early twentieth century, even a member of the  Inner  Party
lives an austere, laborious kind of life. Nevertheless, the few
luxuries that he does enjoy his large, well-appointed flat, the
better  texture  of his clothes, the better quality of his food
and drink and tobacco, his two or three servants,  his  private
motor-car  or helicopter -- set him in a different world from a
member of the Outer Party, and the members of the  Outer  Party
have  a  similar  advantage  in  comparison  with the submerged
masses whom we call 'the proles'. The social atmosphere is that
of  a  besieged  city,  where  the  possession  of  a  lump  of
horseflesh makes the difference between wealth and poverty. And
at  the  same  time  the  consciousness  of  being  at war, and
therefore in danger, makes the handing-over of all power  to  a
small   caste   seem  the  natural,  unavoidable  condition  of
     War,  it  will  be  seen,   accomplishes   the   necessary
destruction,   but   accomplishes   it   in  a  psychologically
acceptable way. In principle it would be quite simple to  waste
the  surplus  labour  of  the  world  by  building  temples and
pyramids, by digging holes and filling them up again,  or  even
by  producing vast quantities of goods and then setting fire to
them. But this would provide only  the  economic  and  not  the
emotional  basis  for a hierarchical society. What is concerned
here is not the morale of masses, whose attitude is unimportant
so long as they are kept steadily at work, but  the  morale  of
the Party itself. Even the humblest Party member is expected to
be  competent,  industrious, and even intelligent within narrow
limits, but it is also necessary that he should be a  credulous
and  ignorant  fanatic whose prevailing moods are fear, hatred,
adulation,  and  orgiastic  triumph.  In  other  words  it   is
necessary  that  he  should have the mentality appropriate to a
state of war. It does not matter whether the  war  is  actually
happening,  and, since no decisive victory is possible, it does
not matter whether the war is going well or badly. All that  is
needed  is  that  a state of war should exist. The splitting of
the intelligence which the Party requires of its  members,  and
which  is  more easily achieved in an atmosphere of war, is now
almost universal, but the higher up the  ranks  one  goes,  the
more marked it becomes. It is precisely in the Inner Party that
war  hysteria  and  hatred  of  the enemy are strongest. In his
capacity as an administrator,  it  is  often  necessary  for  a
member of the Inner Party to know that this or that item of war
news  is  untruthful, and he may often be aware that the entire
war is spurious and is either not happening or is  being  waged
for  purposes  quite  other  than  the  declared ones: but such
knowledge  is  easily   neutralized   by   the   technique   of
doublethink.  Meanwhile no Inner Party member wavers for
an instant in his mystical belief that the war is  real,
and  that  it  is  bound  to end victoriously, with Oceania the
undisputed master of the entire world.
     All members of the Inner  Party  believe  in  this  coming
conquest as an article of faith. It is to be achieved either by
gradually  acquiring more and more territory and so building up
an overwhelming preponderance of power, or by the discovery  of
some  new  and  unanswerable weapon. The search for new weapons
continues unceasingly, and is one of  the  very  few  remaining
activities  in  which the inventive or speculative type of mind
can find any outlet. In Oceania at the present day, Science, in
the old sense, has almost ceased to exist. In Newspeak there is
no word for 'Science'. The  empirical  method  of  thought,  on
which all the scientific achievements of the past were founded,
is  opposed  to  the most fundamental principles of Ingsoc. And
even technological progress only happens when its products  can
in some way be used for the diminution of human liberty. In all
the  useful  arts  the  world is either standing still or going
backwards. The fields are cultivated with  horse-ploughs  while
books  are  written  by  machinery.  But  in  matters  of vital
importance -- meaning, in effect, war and police  espionage  --
the  empirical  approach  is  still  encouraged,  or  at  least
tolerated. The two aims of the Party are to conquer  the  whole
surface  of  the  earth  and to extinguish once and for all the
possibility of independent thought.  There  are  therefore  two
great  problems  which  the Party is concerned to solve. One is
how to discover, against his will, what another human being  is
thinking,  and the other is how to kill several hundred million
people in a few seconds without giving warning  beforehand.  In
so  far  as  scientific  research  still continues, this is its
subject matter. The scientist of today is either a  mixture  of
psychologist   and  inquisitor,  studying  with  real  ordinary
minuteness the meaning of  facial  expressions,  gestures,  and
tones  of  voice,  and  testing  the truth-producing effects of
drugs, shock therapy, hypnosis, and physical torture; or he  is
chemist,  physicist,  or  biologist  concerned  only  with such
branches of his special subject as are relevant to  the  taking
of life. In the vast laboratories of the Ministry of Peace, and
in  the  experimental stations hidden in the Brazilian forests,
or in  the  Australian  desert,  or  on  lost  islands  of  the
Antarctic, the teams of experts are indefatigably at work. Some
are  concerned  simply  with  planning  the logistics of future
wars; others devise larger and larger rocket  bombs,  more  and
more  powerful  explosives,  and  more  and  more  impenetrable
armour- plating; others search for new and deadlier  gases,  or
for   soluble   poisons  capable  of  being  produced  in  such
quantities as to destroy the vegetation of whole continents, or
for breeds of disease  germs  immunized  against  all  possible
antibodies;  others strive to produce a vehicle that shall bore
its way under the soil like a submarine under the water, or  an
aeroplane  as independent of its base as a sailing-ship; others
explore even remoter possibilities such as focusing  the  sun's
rays  through  lenses suspended thousands of kilometres away in
space, or producing artificial earthquakes and tidal  waves  by
tapping the heat at the earth's centre.
     But  none  of  these  projects  ever  comes  anywhere near
realization, and none of the three super-states  ever  gains  a
significant lead on the others. What is more remarkable is that
all  three powers already possess, in the atomic bomb, a weapon
far more powerful than any that their  present  researches  are
likely to discover. Although the Party, according to its habit,
claims the invention for itself, atomic bombs first appeared as
early  as the nineteen- forties, and were first used on a large
scale about ten years later. At  that  time  some  hundreds  of
bombs  were  dropped on industrial centres, chiefly in European
Russia, Western Europe, and North America. The  effect  was  to
convince  the  ruling  groups  of all countries that a few more
atomic bombs would mean the end of organized society, and hence
of their own power. Thereafter, although  no  formal  agreement
was  ever  made  or  hinted at, no more bombs were dropped. All
three powers merely continue to produce atomic bombs and  store
them up against the decisive opportunity which they all believe
will  come  sooner  or  later. And meanwhile the art of war has
remained  almost  stationary  for  thirty   or   forty   years.
Helicopters  are  more  used  than  they were formerly, bombing
planes  have  been   largely   superseded   by   self-propelled
projectiles,  and  the fragile movable battleship has given way
to the almost unsinkable Floating Fortress; but otherwise there
has been little  development.  The  tank,  the  submarine,  the
torpedo,  the  machine gun, even the rifle and the hand grenade
are still in use.  And  in  spite  of  the  endless  slaughters
reported  in  the  Press  and on the telescreens, the desperate
battles of earlier wars, in which hundreds of thousands or even
millions of men were often killed in a few  weeks,  have  never
been repeated.
     None of the three super-states ever attempts any manoeuvre
which  involves  the  risk  of  serious  defeat. When any large
operation is  undertaken,  it  is  usually  a  surprise  attack
against  an  ally.  The  strategy  that  all  three  powers are
following, or pretend to themselves that they are following, is
the  same.  The  plan  is,  by  a  combination   of   fighting,
bargaining,  and  well-timed strokes of treachery, to acquire a
ring of bases completely encircling one or other of  the  rival
states,  and  then to sign a pact of friendship with that rival
and remain on peaceful terms for  so  many  years  as  to  lull
suspicion to sleep. During this time rockets loaded with atomic
bombs can be assembled at all the strategic spots; finally they
will  all  be fired simultaneously, with effects so devastating
as to make retaliation impossible. It will then be time to sign
a  pact  of  friendship  with  the  remaining  world-power,  in
preparation  for  another  attack.  This  scheme,  it is hardly
necessary  to  say,  is  a   mere   daydream,   impossible   of
realization.  Moreover,  no  fighting ever occurs except in the
disputed areas round the Equator and the Pole: no  invasion  of
enemy territory is ever undertaken. This explains the fact that
in  some  places  the  frontiers  between  the  superstates are
arbitrary. Eurasia,  for  example,  could  easily  conquer  the
British  Isles,  which are geographically part of Europe, or on
the other hand it would be possible for  Oceania  to  push  its
frontiers  to  the Rhine or even to the Vistula. But this would
violate the principle,  followed  on  all  sides  though  never
formulated,  of  cultural integrity. If Oceania were to conquer
the areas that used once to be known as France and Germany,  it
would  be  necessary  either  to exterminate the inhabitants, a
task  of  great  physical  difficulty,  or  to   assimilate   a
population  of  about  a hundred million people, who, so far as
technical development goes, are roughly on the  Oceanic  level.
The  problem  is  the  same  for  all three super-states. It is
absolutely necessary to their structure that there should be no
contact with foreigners, except, to a limited extent, with  war
prisoners  and  coloured  slaves. Even the official ally of the
moment is always  regarded  with  the  darkest  suspicion.  War
prisoners apart, the average citizen of Oceania never sets eyes
on a citizen of either Eurasia or Eastasia, and he is forbidden
the  knowledge of foreign languages. If he were allowed contact
with foreigners he  would  discover  that  they  are  creatures
similar to himself and that most of what he has been told about
them  is  lies.  The  sealed  world  in which he lives would be
broken, and the fear, hatred, and self-righteousness  on  which
his morale depends might evaporate. It is therefore realized on
all  sides  that  however  often  Persia, or Egypt, or Java, or
Ceylon may change hands,  the  main  frontiers  must  never  be
crossed by anything except bombs.
     Under  this lies a fact never mentioned aloud, but tacitly
understood and acted upon: namely, that the conditions of  life
in  all  three  super-states are very much the same. In Oceania
the prevailing philosophy is called Ingsoc, in  Eurasia  it  is
called  Neo-Bolshevism,  and  in  Eastasia  it  is  called by a
Chinese name usually translated as Death- Worship, but  perhaps
better  rendered  as  Obliteration  of the Self. The citizen of
Oceania is not allowed to know anything of the  tenets  of  the
other  two  philosophies,  but he is taught to execrate them as
barbarous outrages upon morality and common sense. Actually the
three philosophies are barely distinguishable, and  the  social
systems  which  they  support  are  not distinguishable at all.
Everywhere there is the  same  pyramidal  structure,  the  same
worship of semi-divine leader, the same economy existing by and
for  continuous warfare. It follows that the three super-states
not  only  cannot  conquer  one  another,  but  would  gain  no
advantage  by doing so. On the contrary, so long as they remain
in conflict they prop one another up,  like  three  sheaves  of
corn.  And, as usual, the ruling groups of all three powers are
simultaneously aware and unaware of what they are doing.  Their
lives  are dedicated to world conquest, but they also know that
it is necessary that the war should continue everlastingly  and
without  victory.  Meanwhile  the  fact that there is no
danger of conquest makes possible the denial of  reality  which
is  the  special  feature  of  Ingsoc  and its rival systems of
thought. Here it is necessary to  repeat  what  has  been  said
earlier,  that  by  becoming  continuous  war has fundamentally
changed its character.
     In past ages, a war, almost by definition,  was  something
that  sooner  or  later came to an end, usually in unmistakable
victory or defeat. In the past, also, war was one of  the  main
instruments  by  which  human societies were kept in touch with
physical reality. All rulers in all ages have tried to impose a
false view of the world upon their followers,  but  they  could
not  afford  to  encourage  any  illusion that tended to impair
military efficiency. So  long  as  defeat  meant  the  loss  of
independence,  or  some  other  result  generally  held  to  be
undesirable, the precautions against defeat had to be  serious.
Physical   facts  could  not  be  ignored.  In  philosophy,  or
religion, or ethics, or politics, two and two might make  five,
but  when  one  was designing a gun or an aeroplane they had to
make four. Inefficient nations were always conquered sooner  or
later,   and  the  struggle  for  efficiency  was  inimical  to
illusions. Moreover, to be efficient it  was  necessary  to  be
able  to  learn  from  the  past,  which  meant having a fairly
accurate idea of what had happened in the past. Newspapers  and
history  books were, of course, always coloured and biased, but
falsification of the kind that is practised  today  would  have
been impossible. War was a sure safeguard of sanity, and so far
as  the  ruling classes were concerned it was probably the most
important of all safeguards. While wars could be won  or  lost,
no ruling class could be completely irresponsible.
     But  when war becomes literally continuous, it also ceases
to be dangerous. When war is continuous there is no such  thing
as  military  necessity.  Technical  progress can cease and the
most palpable facts can be denied or disregarded.  As  we  have
seen,  researches  that  could  be  called scientific are still
carried out for the purposes of war, but they are essentially a
kind of daydreaming, and their failure to show results  is  not
important.  Efficiency,  even military efficiency, is no longer
needed. Nothing is efficient  in  Oceania  except  the  Thought
Police.  Since each of the three super-states is unconquerable,
each is in effect a separate universe within which  almost  any
perversion  of  thought  can  be safely practised. Reality only
exerts its pressure through the needs of everyday life  --  the
need  to  eat  and drink, to get shelter and clothing, to avoid
swallowing poison or stepping out of  top-storey  windows,  and
the like. Between life and death, and between physical pleasure
and  physical  pain,  there is still a distinction, but that is
all. Cut off from contact with the outer world,  and  with  the
past,  the  citizen  of  Oceania  is like a man in interstellar
space, who has no way of knowing  which  direction  is  up  and
which  is down. The rulers of such a state are absolute, as the
Pharaohs or the Caesars could  not  be.  They  are  obliged  to
prevent their followers from starving to death in numbers large
enough  to  be  inconvenient, and they are obliged to remain at
the same low level of military technique as their  rivals;  but
once  that  minimum  is  achieved,  they can twist reality into
whatever shape they choose.
     The war, therefore, if we judge it  by  the  standards  of
previous  wars,  is merely an imposture. It is like the battles
between certain ruminant animals whose horns are set at such an
angle that they are  incapable  of  hurting  one  another.  But
though  it  is  unreal  it  is  not meaningless. It eats up the
surplus of consumable goods,  and  it  helps  to  preserve  the
special  mental  atmosphere  that a hierarchical society needs.
War, it will be seen, is now a purely internal affair.  In  the
past,  the  ruling groups of all countries, although they might
recognize  their  common  interest  and  therefore  limit   the
destructiveness  of war, did fight against one another, and the
victor always plundered the vanquished. In our own day they are
not fighting against one another at all. The war  is  waged  by
each  ruling  group against its own subjects, and the object of
the war is not to make or prevent conquests of  territory,  but
to  keep  the structure of society intact. The very word 'war',
therefore, has become misleading. It would probably be accurate
to say that by becoming continuous war has ceased to exist. The
peculiar pressure that it exerted on human beings  between  the
Neolithic  Age  and the early twentieth century has disappeared
and been replaced by  something  quite  different.  The  effect
would  be  much  the same if the three super-states, instead of
fighting one another, should agree to live in perpetual  peace,
each inviolate within its own boundaries. For in that case each
would  still  be a self-contained universe, freed for ever from
the sobering influence of external danger.  A  peace  that  was
truly  permanent  would be the same as a permanent war. This --
although the vast majority of Party members understand it  only
in  a  shallower  sense  --  is  the inner meaning of the Party
slogan: War is Peace.
     Winston stopped reading for a moment. Somewhere in  remote
distance a rocket bomb thundered. The blissful feeling of being
alone  with  the  forbidden book, in a room with no telescreen,
had not worn off. Solitude and safety were physical sensations,
mixed up somehow with the tiredness of his body,  the  softness
of  the  chair,  the  touch of the faint breeze from the window
that played upon his cheek. The book fascinated  him,  or  more
exactly  it  reassured him. In a sense it told him nothing that
was new, but that was part of the attraction. It said  what  he
would  have  said,  if  it had been possible for him to set his
scattered thoughts in order. It  was  the  product  of  a  mind
similar   to  his  own,  but  enormously  more  powerful,  more
systematic, less fear-ridden. The best books, he perceived, are
those that tell you what you know already. He had  just  turned
back  to  Chapter I when he heard Julia's footstep on the stair
and started out of his chair to meet her. She dumped her  brown
tool-bag  on  the floor and flung herself into his arms. It was
more than a week since they had seen one another.
     'I've got the book,' he said as  they  disentangled
     'Oh, you've got it? Good,' she said without much interest,
and almost  immediately  knelt down beside the oilstove to make
the coffee.
     They did not return to the subject until they had been  in
bed  for half an hour. The evening was just cool enough to make
it worth while to pull up the counterpane. From below came  the
familiar  sound  of  singing  and  the  scrape  of boots on the
flagstones. The brawny red-armed woman whom  Winston  had  seen
there  on  his  first  visit  was almost a fixture in the yard.
There seemed to be  no  hour  of  daylight  when  she  was  not
marching   to  and  fro  between  the  washtub  and  the  line,
alternately gagging herself  with  clothes  pegs  and  breaking
forth  into  lusty song. Julia had settled down on her side and
seemed to be already on the point of falling asleep. He reached
out for the book, which was lying on  the  floor,  and  sat  up
against the bedhead.
     'We  must  read it,' he said. 'You too. All members of the
Brotherhood have to read it.'
     'You read it,' she said  with  her  eyes  shut.  'Read  it
aloud.  That's  the  best way. Then you can explain it to me as
you go.'
     The clock's hands said six,  meaning  eighteen.  They  had
three  or four hours ahead of them. He propped the book against
his knees and began reading:

     Chapter I
     Ignorance is Strength

     Throughout recorded time, and probably since  the  end  of
the Neolithic Age, there have been three kinds of people in the
world,  the  High,  the  Middle,  and  the  Low. They have been
subdivided in many ways, they have  borne  countless  different
names,  and  their  relative numbers, as well as their attitude
towards one another, have varied  from  age  to  age:  but  the
essential  structure  of  society has never altered. Even after
enormous upheavals and seemingly irrevocable changes, the  same
pattern  has always reasserted itself, just as a gyroscope will
always return to equilibnum, however far it is pushed  one  way
or the other
     'Julia, are you awake?' said Winston.
     'Yes, my love, I'm listening. Go on. It's marvellous.'
     He continued reading:
     The    aims   of   these   three   groups   are   entirely
irreconcilable. The aim of the High is  to  remain  where  they
are.  The  aim of the Middle is to change places with the High.
The aim of the Low, when they have an  aim  --  for  it  is  an
abiding  characteristic  of  the  Low  that  they  are too much
crushed by drudgery to be more than intermittently conscious of
anything outside  their  daily  lives  --  is  to  abolish  all
distinctions  and  create  a  society in which all men shall be
equal. Thus throughout history a struggle which is the same  in
its  main outlines recurs over and over again. For long periods
the High seem to be securely in  power,  but  sooner  or  later
there  always comes a moment when they lose either their belief
in themselves or their capacity to govern efficiently, or both.
They are then overthrown by the Middle, who enlist the  Low  on
their  side  by  pretending  to them that they are fighting for
liberty and  justice.  As  soon  as  they  have  reached  their
objective,  the  Middle  thrust  the  Low  back  into their old
position  of  servitude,  and  themselves  become   the   High.
Presently  a  new Middle group splits off from one of the other
groups, or from both of them,  and  the  struggle  begins  over
again.  Of  the  three  groups,  only  the  Low  are never even
temporarily successful in achieving their aims. It would be  an
exaggeration  to  say that throughout history there has been no
progress of a  material  kind.  Even  today,  in  a  period  of
decline,  the average human being is physically better off than
he was a few centuries  ago.  But  no  advance  in  wealth,  no
softening  of manners, no reform or revolution has ever brought
human equality a millimetre nearer. From the point of  view  of
the  Low,  no  historic  change has ever meant much more than a
change in the name of their masters.
     By the late nineteenth  century  the  recurrence  of  this
pattern  had  become obvious to many observers. There then rose
schools of thinkers  who  interpreted  history  as  a  cyclical
process and claimed to show that inequality was the unalterable
law of human life. This doctrine, of course, had always had its
adherents,  but  in  the manner in which it was now put forward
there was a significant change. In the  past  the  need  for  a
hierarchical form of society had been the doctrine specifically
of  the High. It had been preached by kings and aristocrats and
by the priests, lawyers, and the like who were parasitical upon
them, and  it  had  generally  been  softened  by  promises  of
compensation  in  an  imaginary  world  beyond  the  grave. The
Middle, so long as it was struggling for power, had always made
use of such terms as freedom,  justice,  and  fraternity.  Now,
however,  the concept of human brotherhood began to be assailed
by people who were not yet in positions of command, but  merely
hoped  to  be  so  before long. In the past the Middle had made
revolutions under the banner of equality, and  then  had  estab
lished  a  fresh tyranny as soon as the old one was overthrown.
The new  Middle  groups  in  effect  proclaimed  their  tyranny
beforehand.  Socialism,  a  theory  which appeared in the early
nineteenth century and was the last link in a chain of  thought
stretching back to the slave rebellions of antiquity, was still
deeply  infected  by  the  Utopianism of past ages. But in each
variant of Socialism that appeared from about 1900 onwards  the
aim  of  establishing  liberty  and  equality was more and more
openly abandoned. The  new  movements  which  appeared  in  the
middle  years of the century, Ingsoc in Oceania, Neo-Bolshevism
in  Eurasia,  Death-Worship,  as  it  is  commonly  called,  in
Eastasia,  had  the conscious aim of perpetuating unfreedom and
inequality. These new movements, of course, grew out of the old
ones and tended to keep their  names  and  pay  lip-service  to
their  ideology.  But  the purpose of all of them was to arrest
progress and freeze history at a chosen  moment.  The  familiar
pendulum  swing  was  to  happen  once  more, and then stop. As
usual, the High were to be turned out by the Middle, who  would
then become the High; but this time, by conscious strategy, the
High would be able to maintain their position permanently.
     The new doctrines arose partly because of the accumulation
of historical  knowledge,  and  the  growth  of  the historical
sense, which had hardly existed before the nineteenth  century.
The  cyclical  movement  of  history  was  now intelligible, or
appeared to be so; and if it  was  intelligible,  then  it  was
alterable.  But  the  principal,  underlying cause was that, as
early as the beginning of the twentieth century, human equality
had become technically possible. It was  still  true  that  men
were  not  equal in their native talents and that functions had
to be  specialized  in  ways  that  favoured  some  individuals
against others; but there was no longer any real need for class
distinctions  or  for  large  differences of wealth. In earlier
ages, class distinctions  had  been  not  only  inevitable  but
desirable.  Inequality  was the price of civilization. With the
development  of  machine  production,  however,  the  case  was
altered.  Even if it was still necessary for human beings to do
different kinds of work, it was no longer necessary for them to
live at different social or economic  levels.  Therefore,  from
the  point  of  view of the new groups who were on the point of
seizing power, human equality was no  longer  an  ideal  to  be
striven  after,  but  a danger to be averted. In more primitive
ages, when  a  just  and  peaceful  society  was  in  fact  not
possible, it had been fairly easy to believe it. The idea of an
earthly  paradise  in which men should live together in a state
of brotherhood, without laws  and  without  brute  labour,  had
haunted  the human imagination for thousands of years. And this
vision had had a certain hold even on the groups  who  actually
profited  by  each  historical change. The heirs of the French,
English, and American revolutions had partly believed in  their
own  phrases  about  the  rights  of  man,  freedom  of speech,
equality before the law, and the like, and  have  even  allowed
their  conduct  to be influenced by them to some extent. But by
the fourth  decade  of  the  twentieth  century  all  the  main
currents  of  political thought were authoritarian. The earthly
paradise had been discredited at exactly  the  moment  when  it
became realizable. Every new political theory, by whatever name
it  called itself, led back to hierarchy and regimentation. And
in the general hardening of outlook that  set  in  round  about
1930,  practices  which  had been long abandoned, in some cases
for hundreds of years -- imprisonment without trial, the use of
war prisoners as slaves, public executions, torture to  extract
confessions,  the use of hostages, and the deportation of whole
populations-not only became common again,  but  were  tolerated
and   even   defended   by  people  who  considered  themselves
enlightened and progressive.
     It was only after a decade of national wars,  civil  wars,
revolutions,  and counter-revolutions in all parts of the world
that  Ingsoc  and  its  rivals  emerged  as  fully   worked-out
political  theories.  But  they  had  been  foreshadowed by the
various  systems,  generally  called  totalitarian,  which  had
appeared  earlier  in the century, and the main outlines of the
world which would emerge from the  prevailing  chaos  had  long
been  obvious. What kind of people would control this world had
been equally obvious. The new aristocracy was made up  for  the
most  part of bureaucrats, scientists, technicians, trade-union
organizers,   publicity   experts,   sociologists,    teachers,
journalists,  and professional politicians. These people, whose
origins lay in the salaried middle class and the  upper  grades
of  the  working class, had been shaped and brought together by
the  barren  world  of  monopoly   industry   and   centralized
government.  As  compared  with  their opposite numbers in past
ages, they  were  less  avaricious,  less  tempted  by  luxury,
hungrier for pure power, and, above all, more conscious of what
they  were  doing  and more intent on crushing opposition. This
last difference was cardinal. By comparison with that  existing
today,  all  the  tyrannies  of  the past were half-hearted and
inefficient. The ruling groups were  always  infected  to  some
extent  by  liberal ideas, and were content to leave loose ends
everywhere, to regard only the overt act and to be uninterested
in what their subjects were thinking. Even the Catholic  Church
of  the  Middle  Ages was tolerant by modern standards. Part of
the reason for this was that in the past no government had  the
power  to  keep  its  citizens under constant surveillance. The
invention of print,  however,  made  it  easier  to  manipulate
public  opinion, and the film and the radio carried the process
further. With the development of television, and the  technical
advance   which  made  it  possible  to  receive  and  transmit
simultaneously on the same instrument, private life came to  an
end.  Every citizen, or at least every citizen important enough
to be worth watching, could be kept for twentyfour hours a  day
under  the  eyes  of  the  police  and in the sound of official
propaganda, with all other channels  of  communication  closed.
The possibility of enforcing not only complete obedience to the
will  of  the  State, but complete uniformity of opinion on all
subjects, now existed for the first time.
     After the revolutionary period of the fifties and sixties,
society regrouped itself, as always,  into  High,  Middle,  and
Low.  But  the  new High group, unlike all its forerunners, did
not act upon instinct but knew what was needed to safeguard its
position. It had long been realized that the only secure  basis
for  oligarchy  is  collectivism. Wealth and privilege are most
easily defended when they are possessed jointly. The  so-called
'abolition  of private property' which took place in the middle
years of the century meant, in  effect,  the  concentration  of
property  in  far  fewer  hands  than  before:  but  with  this
difference, that the new owners were a group instead of a  mass
of  individuals.  Individually,  no  member  of  the Party owns
anything, except petty personal belongings.  Collectively,  the
Party   owns   everything   in  Oceania,  because  it  controls
everything, and disposes of the products as it thinks  fit.  In
the  years  following  the  Revolution it was able to step into
this commanding position almost unopposed,  because  the  whole
process  was  represented as an act of collectivization. It had
always  been  assumed  that  if  the  capitalist   class   were
expropriated,  Socialism  must  follow:  and unquestionably the
capitalists had  been  expropriated.  Factories,  mines,  land,
houses,  transport -- everything had been taken away from them:
and since these things were  no  longer  private  property,  it
followed  that they must be public property. Ingsoc, which grew
out  of  the  earlier  Socialist  movement  and  inherited  its
phraseology,  has  in  fact  carried  out  the main item in the
Socialist programme; with the  result,  foreseen  and  intended
beforehand, that economic inequality has been made permanent.
     But the problems of perpetuating a hierarchical society go
deeper  than  this.  There are only four ways in which a ruling
group can fall from power. Either it is conquered from without,
or it governs so inefficiently that the masses are  stirred  to
revolt,  or it allows a strong and discontented Middle group to
come into being,  or  it  loses  its  own  self-confidence  and
willingness  to govern. These causes do not operate singly, and
as a rule all four of them are present in some degree. A ruling
class which could guard against all of  them  would  remain  in
power  permanently.  Ultimately  the  determining factor is the
mental attitude of the ruling class itself.
     After the middle of the present century, the first  danger
had  in reality disappeared. Each of the three powers which now
divide the world is  in  fact  unconquerable,  and  could  only
become  conquerable  through  slow  demographic changes which a
government with  wide  powers  can  easily  avert.  The  second
danger,  also,  is  only  a  theoretical  one. The masses never
revolt of their  own  accord,  and  they  never  revolt  merely
because  they  are  oppressed.  Indeed, so long as they are not
permitted to have standards  of  comparison,  they  never  even
become  aware  that  they are oppressed. The recurrent economic
crises of past times were totally unnecessary and are  not  now
permitted  to  happen, but other and equally large dislocations
can and do happen without  having  political  results,  because
there  is  no way in which discontent can become articulate. As
fcr the problem of overproduction, which has been latent in our
society since the  development  of  machine  technique,  it  is
solved  by  the device of continuous warfare (see Chapter III),
which is  also  useful  in  keying  up  public  morale  to  the
necessary  pitch. From the point of view of our present rulers,
therefore, the only genuine dangers are the splitting-off of  a
new  group of able, underemployed, power-hungry people, and the
growth of liberalism and scepticism in  their  own  ranks.  The
problem,  that  is  to  say, is educational. It is a problem of
continuously moulding the consciousness both of  the  directing
group  and  of the larger executive group that lies immediately
below it. The consciousness of the  masses  needs  only  to  be
influenced in a negative way.
     Given  this  background,  one  could infer, if one did not
know it already, the general structure of Oceanic  society.  At
the  apex  of  the  pyramid  comes  Big Brother. Big Brother is
infallible and all-powerful. Every success, every  achievement,
every  victory,  every scientific discovery, all knowledge, all
wisdom, all happiness, all virtue, are held to  issue  directly
from  his  leadership and inspiration. Nobody has ever seen Big
Brother. He is  a  face  on  the  hoardings,  a  voice  on  the
telescreen.  We  may be reasonably sure that he will never die,
and there is already considerable uncertainty as to when he was
born. Big Brother is the guise in which the  Party  chooses  to
exhibit  itself  to  the  world.  His  function  is to act as a
focusing point for love, fear, and  reverence,  emotions  which
are  more  easily  felt  towards  an individual than towards an
organization. Below Big Brother  comes  the  Inner  Party.  its
numbers  limited  to six millions, or something less than 2 per
cent of the population of Oceania. Below the Inner Party  comes
the  Outer Party, which, if the Inner Party is described as the
brain of the State, may be justly likened to the  hands.  Below
that  come  the dumb masses whom we habitually refer to as 'the
proles', numbering perhaps 85 per cent of  the  population.  In
the  terms  of  our  earlier classification, the proles are the
Low: for the slave population of the equatorial lands who  pass
constantly  from conqueror to conqueror, are not a permanent or
necessary part of the structure.
     In principle, membership of  these  three  groups  is  not
hereditary.  The  child of Inner Party parents is in theory not
born into the Inner Party. Admission to either  branch  of  the
Party  is  by  examination, taken at the age of sixteen. Nor is
there any racial discrimination, or any  marked  domination  of
one province by another. Jews, Negroes, South Americans of pure
Indian blood are to be found in the highest ranks of the Party,
and  the  administrators  of any area are always drawn from the
inhabitants of  that  area.  In  no  part  of  Oceania  do  the
inhabitants   have   the  feeling  that  they  are  a  colonial
population  ruled  from  a  distant  capital.  Oceania  has  no
capital,  and  its  titular  head is a person whose whereabouts
nobody knows.  Except  that  English  is  its  chief  lingua
franca  and  Newspeak  its  official  language,  it  is not
centralized in any way. Its rulers are  not  held  together  by
blood-ties  but  by  adherence to a common doctrine. It is true
that our society is stratified, and very rigidly stratified, on
what at first sight appear to be hereditary lines. There is far
less to- and-fro movement between  the  different  groups  than
happened  under  capitalism  or even in the pre-industrial age.
Between the two branches of the Party there is a certain amount
of interchange, but only so much as will ensure that  weaklings
are excluded from the Inner Party and that ambitious members of
the  Outer  Party  are  made harmless by allowing them to rise.
Proletarians, in practice, are not allowed to graduate into the
Party. The most gifted among them, who  might  possibly  become
nuclei  of  discontent,  are  simply marked down by the Thought
Police and  eliminated.  But  this  state  of  affairs  is  not
necessarily  permanent,  nor  is  it a matter of principle. The
Party is not a class in the old sense of the word. It does  not
aim  at transmitting power to its own children, as such; and if
there were no other way of keeping the  ablest  people  at  the
top,  it  would  be perfectly prepared to recruit an entire new
generation from the ranks of the proletariat.  In  the  crucial
years,  the fact that the Party was not a hereditary body did a
great  deal  to  neutralize  opposition.  The  older  kind   of
Socialist,  who  had  been  trained  to fight against something
called 'class privilege' assumed that what  is  not  hereditary
cannot  be  permanent. He did not see that the continuity of an
oligarchy need not be physical, nor did  he  pause  to  reflect
that  hereditary  aristocracies  have  always  been shortlived,
whereas adoptive organizations such as the Catholic Church have
sometimes lasted  for  hundreds  or  thousands  of  years.  The
essence  of oligarchical rule is not father-to-son inheritance,
but the persistence of a certain world-view and a  certain  way
of life, imposed by the dead upon the living. A ruling group is
a  ruling  group so long as it can nominate its successors. The
Party is not concerned with perpetuating  its  blood  but  with
perpetuating  itself. Who wields power is not important,
provided that the hierarchical  structure  remains  always  the
     All   the   beliefs,   habits,  tastes,  emotions,  mental
attitudes that characterize our time  are  really  designed  to
sustain  the  mystique of the Party and prevent the true nature
of  present-day  society   from   being   perceived.   Physical
rebellion,  or  any  preliminary  move towards rebellion, is at
present not possible. From the proletarians nothing  is  to  be
feared.  Left to themselves, they will continue from generation
to generation and from century to century,  working,  breeding,
and  dying,  not only without any impulse to rebel, but without
the power of grasping that the world could be other than it is.
They could only become dangerous if the advance  of  industrial
technique  made  it necessary to educate them more highly; but,
since military and commercial rivalry are no longer  important,
the  level  of  popu  lar education is actually declining. What
opinions the masses hold, or do not hold, is  looked  on  as  a
matter  of  indifference.  They  can  be  granted  intellectual
liberty because they have no intellect. In a Party  member,  on
the  other  hand, not even the smallest deviation of opinion on
the most unimportant subject can be tolerated.
     A Party member lives from birth to death under the eye  of
the  Thought Police. Even when he is alone he can never be sure
that he is alone. Wherever he may be, asleep or awake,  working
or  resting, in his bath or in bed, he can be inspected without
warning and without knowing that he is being inspected. Nothing
that he does is indifferent. His friendships, his  relaxations,
his  behaviour towards his wife and children, the expression of
his face when he is alone, the words he mutters in sleep,  even
the  characteristic  movements  of  his body, are all jealously
scrutinized.  Not  only  any  actual  misdemeanour,   but   any
eccentricity,  however small, any change of habits, any nervous
mannerism that could  possibly  be  the  symptom  of  an  inner
struggle,  is  certain  to  be  detected.  He has no freedom of
choice in any direction whatever. On the other hand his actions
are not regulated by law or by any clearly formulated  code  of
behaviour.  In  Oceania  there  is no law. Thoughts and actions
which, when detected,  mean  certain  death  are  not  formally
forbidden,   and   the   endless   purges,  arrests,  tortures,
imprisonments,  and  vaporizations   are   not   inflicted   as
punishment  for  crimes which have actually been committed, but
are merely the wiping-out of persons who might perhaps commit a
crime at some time in the future. A Party member is required to
have not only the right opinions, but the right instincts. Many
of the beliefs and attitudes demanded of him are never  plainly
stated,  and  could  not  be  stated  without  laying  bare the
contradictions inherent in Ingsoc. If he is a person  naturally
orthodox  (in  Newspeak  a  goodthinker), he will in all
circumstances know, without taking thought, what  is  the  true
belief  or  the desirable emotion. But in any case an elaborate
mental training, undergone in  childhood  and  grouping  itself
round  the  Newspeak  words  crimestop,  blackwhite, and
doublethink, makes him unwilling and unable to think too
deeply on any subject whatever.
     A Party member is expected to have no private emotions and
no respites from enthusiasm.  He  is  supposed  to  live  in  a
continuous  frenzy  of  hatred  of foreign enemies and internal
traitors, triumph over victories, and selfabasement before  the
power  and wisdom of the Party. The discontents produced by his
bare, unsatisfying life are deliberately  turned  outwards  and
dissipated  by  such  devices  as the Two Minutes Hate, and the
speculations  which  might  possibly  induce  a  sceptical   or
rebellious attitude are killed in advance by his early acquired
inner   discipline.   The  first  and  simplest  stage  in  the
discipline, which can be taught  even  to  young  children,  is
called,  in  Newspeak,  crimestop.  Crimestop  means the
faculty of stopping  short,  as  though  by  instinct,  at  the
threshold  of  any  dangerous thought. It includes the power of
not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical  errors,
of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical
to  Ingsoc,  and  of  being  bored  or repelled by any train of
thought which is capable of leading in a  heretical  direction.
Crimestop,  in  short,  means  protective stupidity. But
stupidity is not enough. On the contrary, orthodoxy in the full
sense demands a control over  one's  own  mental  processes  as
complete  as  that  of  a  contortionist over his body. Oceanic
society rests ultimately on the  belief  that  Big  Brother  is
omnipotent  and  that  the  Party  is  infallible. But since in
reality Big Brother is not omnipotent  and  the  party  is  not
infallible,  there  is need for an unwearying, moment-to-moment
flexibility in the treatment of  facts.  The  keyword  here  is
blackwhite.  Like  so many Newspeak words, this word has
two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it
means the habit of impudently claiming that black is white,  in
contradiction of the plain facts. Applied to a Party member, it
means a loyal willingness to say that black is white when Party
discipline  demands  this.  But  it  means  also the ability to
believe that black is white, and  more,  to  know
that  black  is white, and to forget that one has ever believed
the contrary. This demands a continuous alteration of the past,
made possible by the system of thought  which  really  embraces
all   the   rest,   and   which   is   known   in  Newspeak  as
     The alteration of the past is necessary for  two  reasons,
one of which is subsidiary and, so to speak, precautionary. The
subsidiary   reason   is   that  the  Party  member,  like  the
proletarian, tolerates present-day conditions partly because he
has no standards of comparison. He must be  cut  off  from  the
past,  just  as  he  must  be  cut  off from foreign countries,
because it is necessary for him to believe that  he  is  better
off  than  his ancestors and that the average level of material
comfort is constantly rising. But by  far  the  more  important
reason  for  the  readjustment  of  the  past  is  the  need to
safeguard the infallibility of the Party. It is not merely that
speeches,  statistics,  and  records  of  every  kind  must  be
constantly  brought  up  to  date  in  order  to  show that the
predictions of the Party were in all cases right.  It  is  also
that  no  change in doctrine or in political alignment can ever
be admitted. For to change one's mind, or even one's policy, is
a confession of weakness. If, for example, Eurasia or  Eastasia
(whichever  it  may  be)  is the enemy today, then that country
must always have been the enemy. And if the facts say otherwise
then the facts must be altered. Thus  history  is  continuously
rewritten.  This day- to-day falsification of the past, carried
out by the Ministry of Truth, is as necessary to the  stability
of  the re/gime as the work of repression and espionage carried
out by the Ministry of Love.
     The mutability of the past is the central tenet of Ingsoc.
Past events, it is argued, have  no  objective  existence,  but
survive only in written records and in human memories. The past
is  whatever the records and the memories agree upon. And since
the Party is in full control of all records and in equally full
control of the minds of its members, it follows that  the  past
is  whatever the Party chooses to make it. It also follows that
though the past is alterable, it never has been altered in  any
specific  instance.  For when it has been recreated in whatever
shape is needed at the moment, then this new version  is
the  past,  and  no  different past can ever have existed. This
holds good even when, as often happens, the same event  has  to
be  altered out of recognition several times in the course of a
year. At all times the  Party  is  in  possession  of  absolute
truth,  and  clearly the absolute can never have been different
from what it is now. It will be seen that the  control  of  the
past  depends above all on the training of memory. To make sure
that all written records agree with the orthodoxy of the moment
is merely a  mechanical  act.  But  it  is  also  necessary  to
remember that events happened in the desired manner. And
if  it  is  necessary  to rearrange one's memories or to tamper
with written records, then it  is  necessary  to  forget
that  one  has  done so. The trick of doing this can be learned
like any other mental technique. It is  learned  by  the
majority  of  Party  members,  and  certainly  by  all  who are
intelligent as well as orthodox.  In  Oldspeak  it  is  called,
quite  frankly,  'reality  control'.  In  Newspeak it is called
doublethink, though  doublethink  comprises  much
else as well.
     Doublethink   means   the   power  of  holding  two
contradictory  beliefs  in  one's  mind   simultaneously,   and
accepting  both  of them. The Party intellectual knows in which
direction his memories must be altered; he therefore knows that
he is playing tricks with  reality;  but  by  the  exercise  of
doublethink  he  also  satisfies himself that reality is
not violated. The process has to be conscious, or it would  not
be carried out with sufficient precision, but it also has to be
unconscious, or it would bring with it a feeling of falsity and
hence  of  guilt.  Doublethink lies at the very heart of
Ingsoc, since  the  essential  act  of  the  Party  is  to  use
conscious  deception  while  retaining  the firmness of purpose
that goes with complete honesty. To tell deliberate lies  while
genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become
inconvenient,  and  then,  when  it becomes necessary again, to
draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to
deny the existence of objective reality and all  the  while  to
take  account  of  the  reality which one denies -- all this is
indispensably   necessary.   Even    in    using    the    word
doublethink     it     is    necessary    to    exercise
doublethink. For by using the word one admits  that  one
is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink
one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie
always  one  leap ahead of the truth. Ultimately it is by means
of doublethink that the Party has been able -- and  may,
for  all we know, continue to be able for thousands of years --
to arrest the course of history.
     All past oligarchies have fallen from power either because
they ossified or because they grew  soft.  Either  they  became
stupid  and  arrogant,  failed to adjust themselves to changing
circumstances, and were overthrown; or they became liberal  and
cowardly,  made  concessions  when they should have used force,
and once again were overthrown. They  fell,  that  is  to  say,
either  through consciousness or through unconsciousness. It is
the achievement of the Party  to  have  produced  a  system  of
thought  in which both conditions can exist simultaneously. And
upon no other intellectual basis  could  the  dominion  of  the
Party  be  made  permanent.  If one is to rule, and to continue
ruling, one must be able to dislocate the sense of reality. For
the secret of rulership is to combine a  belief  in  one's  own
infallibility with the Power to learn from past mistakes.
     It  need hardly be said that the subtlest practitioners of
doublethink are those  who  invented  doublethink
and  know  that  it is a vast system of mental cheating. In our
society, those who have the best knowledge of what is happening
are also those who are furthest from seeing the world as it is.
In general, the greater  the  understanding,  the  greater  the
delusion;  the  more  intelligent,  the  less  sane.  One clear
illustration of this is the fact that war hysteria increases in
intensity as  one  rises  in  the  social  scale.  Those  whose
attitude  towards  the  war  is  most  nearly  rational are the
subject peoples of the disputed territories.  To  these  people
the war is simply a continuous calamity which sweeps to and fro
over their bodies like a tidal wave. Which side is winning is a
matter  of complete indifference to them. They are aware that a
change of overlordship means simply that they will be doing the
same work as before for new masters who treat them in the  same
manner as the old ones. The slightly more favoured workers whom
we  call  'the proles' are only intermittently conscious of the
war. When it is necessary they can be prodded into frenzies  of
fear  and  hatred, but when left to themselves they are capable
of forgetting for long periods that the war is happening. It is
in the ranks of the Party, and above all of  the  Inner  Party,
that  the  true  war  enthusiasm  is  found.  World-conquest is
believed in most firmly by those who know it to be  impossible.
This  peculiar  linking-together of opposites -- knowledge with
ignorance,  cynicism  with  fanaticism-is  one  of  the   chief
distinguishing  marks of Oceanic society. The official ideology
abounds with contradictions even when  there  is  no  practical
reason  for  them.  Thus,  the Party rejects and vilifies every
principle for which the Socialist  movement  originally  stood,
and it chooses to do this in the name of Socialism. It preaches
a contempt for the working class unexampled for centuries past,
and  it  dresses its members in a uniform which was at one time
peculiar to manual workers and was adopted for that reason.  It
systematically  undermines the solidarity of the family, and it
calls its leader by a name which is  a  direct  appeal  to  the
sentiment  of  family  loyalty.  Even  the  names  of  the four
Ministries by which we are governed exhibit a sort of impudence
in their deliberate reversal of  the  facts.  The  Ministry  of
Peace  concerns  itself  with  war,  the Ministry of Truth with
lies, the Ministry of Love with torture  and  the  Ministry  of
Plenty   with   starvation.   These   contradictions   are  not
accidental, nor do they result from  ordinary  hypocrisy;  they
are  deliberate exercises in doublethink. For it is only
by  reconciling  contradictions  that  power  can  be  retained
indefinitely.  In  no  other  way  could  the  ancient cycle be
broken. If human equality is to be for ever averted --  if  the
High,  as  we  have  called  them,  are  to  keep  their places
permanently -- then the prevailing  mental  condition  must  be
controlled insanity.
     But  there is one question which until this moment we have
almost ignored. It is;  why  should  human  equality  be
averted?  Supposing that the mechanics of the process have been
rightly described, what is the motive for this huge, accurately
planned effort to freeze history  at  a  particular  moment  of
     Here  we  reach  the  central secret. As we have seen. the
mystique of the Party,  and  above  all  of  the  Inner  Party,
depends  upon doublethink. But deeper than this lies the
original motive, the never-questioned instinct that  first  led
to  the  seizure  of  power and brought doublethink, the
Thought Police, continuous warfare, and all the other necessary
paraphernalia into existence  afterwards.  This  motive  really
consists  . . . Winston became aware of silence, as one becomes
aware of a new sound. It seemed to him that Julia had been very
still for some time past. She was lying on her side, naked from
the waist upwards, with her cheek pillowed on her hand and  one
dark  lock  tumbling  across her eyes. Her breast rose and fell
slowly and regularly.
     No answer.
     'Julia, are you awake?'
     No answer. She was  asleep.  He  shut  the  book,  put  it
carefully  on the floor, lay down, and pulled the coverlet over
both of them.
     He had still,  he  reflected,  not  learned  the  ultimate
secret.   He  understood  how;  he  did  not  understand
why. Chapter I, like Chapter III, had not actually  told
him  anything  that he did not know, it had merely systematized
the knowledge that he possessed already. But after  reading  it
he  knew  better  than  before  that he was not mad. Being in a
minority, even a minority of one, did not make you  mad.  There
was  truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth
even against the whole world, you were not mad. A  yellow  beam
from  the  sinking  sun  slanted in through the window and fell
across the pillow. He shut his eyes. The sun on  his  face  and
the  girl's  smooth  body  touching  his own gave him a strong,
sleepy, confident feeling. He  was  safe,  everything  was  all
right.  He  fell  asleep murmuring 'Sanity is not statistical,'
with the feeling that this remark contained in  it  a  profound
wisdom.  When he woke it was with the sensation of having slept
for a long time, but a glance at the old-fashioned  clock  told
him that it was only twenty- thirty. He lay dozing for a while;
then  the  usual  deep-  lunged singing struck up from the yard

     'It was only an 'opeless fancy,
     It passed like an Ipril dye,
     But a look an' a word an' the dreams they stirred
     They 'ave stolen my 'eart awye!'

     The driveling song seemed to have kept its popularity. You
still heard it all over the place. It  had  outlived  the  Hate
Song.  Julia  woke at the sound, stretched herself luxuriously,
and got out of bed.
     'I'm hungry,' she said.  'Let's  make  some  more  coffee.
Damn!  The  stove's  gone out and the water's cold.' She picked
the stove up and shook it. 'There's no oil in it.'
     'We can get some from old Charrington, I expect.'
     'The funny thing is I made sure it was full. I'm going  to
put my clothes on,' she added. 'It seems to have got colder.'
     Winston also got up and dressed himself. The indefatigable
voice sang on:

     'They sye that time 'eals all things,
     They sye you can always forget;
     But the smiles an' the tears acrorss the years
     They twist my 'eart-strings yet!'

     As he fastened the belt of his overalls he strolled across
to the  window.  The sun must have gone down behind the houses;
it was not shining into the yard  any  longer.  The  flagstones
were  wet  as  though they had just been washed, and he had the
feeling that the sky had been washed too, so fresh and pale was
the blue between the chimney-pots. Tirelessly the woman marched
to and fro, corking and uncorking herself, singing and  falling
silent, and pegging out more diapers, and more and yet more. He
wondered whether she took in washing for a living or was merely
the  slave  of  twenty  or thirty grandchildren. Julia had come
across to his side; together they gazed down  with  a  sort  of
fascination  at  the  sturdy  figure below. As he looked at the
woman in her characteristic attitude, her thick  arms  reaching
up  for the line, her powerful mare-like buttocks protruded, it
struck him for the first time that she was  beautiful.  It  had
never before occurred to him that the body of a woman of fifty,
blown   up   to  monstrous  dimensions  by  childbearing,  then
hardened, roughened by work till it was  coarse  in  the  grain
like  an  over-ripe  turnip, could be beautiful. But it was so,
and after all, he thought,  why  not?  The  solid,  contourless
body,  like  a block of granite, and the rasping red skin, bore
the same relation to the body of a girl as the rose-hip to  the
rose. Why should the fruit be held inferior to the flower?
     'She's beautiful,' he murmured.
     'She's a metre across the hips, easily,' said Julia.
     'That is her style of beauty,' said Winston.
     He  held Julia's supple waist easily encircled by his arm.
From the hip to the knee her flank  was  against  his.  Out  of
their  bodies  no child would ever come. That was the one thing
they could never do. Only by word of mouth, from mind to  mind,
could  they  pass  on  the  secret. The woman down there had no
mind, she had only strong arms, a warm  heart,  and  a  fertile
belly. He wondered how many children she had given birth to. It
might easily be fifteen. She had had her momentary flowering, a
year,  perhaps,  of  wild-rose beauty and then she had suddenly
swollen like a fertilized fruit and  grown  hard  and  red  and
coarse,  and  then  her  life  had  been laundering, scrubbing,
darning,  cooking,  sweeping,  polishing,  mending,  scrubbing,
laundering,  first  for  children, then for grandchildren, over
thirty unbroken years. At the end of it she was still  singing.
The  mystical  reverence that he felt for her was somehow mixed
up with the aspect of the pale, cloudless sky, stretching  away
behind  the  chimney-pots  into  interminable  distance. It was
curious to think that the sky was the same  for  everybody,  in
Eurasia  or  Eastasia as well as here. And the people under the
sky were also very much the same -- everywhere,  all  over  the
world,  hundreds  of  thousands of millions of people just like
this, people ignorant of one another's existence, held apart by
walls of hatred and lies, and yet almost exactly  the  same  --
people  who  had never learned to think but who were storing up
in their hearts and bellies and muscles the  power  that  would
one  day  overturn  the world. 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.
     'Do you remember,' he said, 'the thrush that sang  to  us,
that first day, at the edge of the wood?'
     'He  wasn't singing to us,' said Julia. 'He was singing to
please himself. Not even that. He was just singing.'
     The birds sang, the proles sang. the Party did  not  sing.
All  round  the  world,  in  London and New York, in Africa and
Brazil, and in  the  mysterious,  forbidden  lands  beyond  the
frontiers,  in the streets of Paris and Berlin, in the villages
of the endless Russian plain, in the bazaars of China and Japan
-- everywhere stood the same solid unconquerable  figure,  made
monstrous by work and childbearing, toiling from birth to death
and  still  singing.  Out  of  those  mighty  loins  a  race of
conscious beings must one day come. You were the  dead,  theirs
was  the future. But you could share in that future if you kept
alive the mind as they kept alive the body, and passed  on  the
secret doctrine that two plus two make four.
     'We are the dead,' he said.
     'We are the dead,' echoed Julia dutifully.
     'You are the dead,' said an iron voice behind them.
     They  sprang  apart.  Winston's  entrails  seemed  to have
turned into ice. He could see the white all round the irises of
Julia's eyes. Her face had turned a milky yellow. The smear  of
rouge  that  was  still  on  each  cheekbone stood out sharply,
almost as though unconnected with the skin beneath.
     'You are the dead,' repeated the iron voice.
     'It was behind the picture,' breathed Julia.
     'It was behind  the  picture,'  said  the  voice.  'Remain
exactly where you are. Make no movement until you are ordered.'
     It  was  starting,  it was starting at last! They could do
nothing except stand gazing into one another's eyes. To run for
life, to get out of the house before it was too late -- no such
thought occurred to them. Unthinkable to disobey the iron voice
from the wall. There was a snap as  though  a  catch  had  been
turned  back,  and  a  crash of breaking glass. The picture had
fallen to the floor uncovering the telescreen behind it.
     'Now they can see us,' said Julia.
     ' Now we can see you,' said the voice. ' Stand out in  the
middle of the room. Stand back to back. Clasp your hands behind
your heads. Do not touch one another.'
     They were not touching, but it seemed to him that he could
feel Julia's body shaking. Or perhaps it was merely the shaking
of his  own.  He could just stop his teeth from chattering, but
his knees were  beyond  his  control.  There  was  a  sound  of
trampling  boots  below, inside the house and outside. The yard
seemed to be full of men. Something was  being  dragged  across
the stones. The woman's singing had stopped abruptly. There was
a  long,  rolling  clang,  as though the washtub had been flung
across the yard, and then a confusion  of  angry  shouts  which
ended in a yell of pain.
     'The house is surrounded,' said Winston.
     'The house is surrounded,' said the voice.
     He  heard Julia snap her teeth together. 'I suppose we may
as well say good-bye,' she said.
     'You may as well say good-bye,' said the voice.  And  then
another  quite  different voice, a thin, cultivated voice which
Winston had the impression of having heard before,  struck  in;
'And  by  the  way,  while we are on the subject, "Here comes a
candle to light you to bed, here comes a chopper  to  chop  off
your head"!'
     Something crashed on to the bed behind Winston's back. The
head of  a  ladder  had  been thrust through the window and had
burst in the frame. Someone was climbing  through  the  window.
There  was a stampede of boots up the stairs. The room was full
of solid men in black uniforms, with iron-shod boots  on  their
feet and truncheons in their hands.
     Winston  was  not  trembling  any longer. Even his eyes he
barely moved. One thing alone mattered; to keep still, to  keep
still  and  not  give  them an excuse to hit you ! A man with a
smooth prizefighter's jowl in which the mouth was only  a  slit
paused   opposite  him  balancing  his  truncheon  meditatively
between thumb and forefinger. Winston met his eyes. The feeling
of nakedness, with one's hands behind one's head and one's face
and body all exposed, was almost unbearable. The man  protruded
the  tip  of  a  white  tongue, licked the place where his lips
should have been, and then passed on. There was another  crash.
Someone  had picked up the glass paperweight from the table and
smashed it to pieces on the hearth-stone.
     The fragment of coral, a tiny crinkle of pink like a sugar
rosebud from a cake, rolled across the mat. How small,  thought
Winston,  how small it always was! There was a gasp and a thump
behind him, and he received a violent kick on the  ankle  which
nearly  flung  him  off his balance. One of the men had smashed
his fist into Julia's solar plexus,  doubling  her  up  like  a
pocket  ruler.  She  was thrashing about on the floor, fighting
for  breath.  Winston  dared  not  turn  his  head  even  by  a
millimetre,  but  sometimes her livid, gasping face came within
the angle of his vision. Even in his terror it was as though he
could feel the pain in his own  body,  the  deadly  pain  which
nevertheless  was less urgent than the struggle to get back her
breath. He knew what it was like; the terrible, agonizing  pain
which  was  there  all the while but could not be suffered yet,
because before all else it was necessary to be able to breathe.
Then two of the men hoisted her up by knees and shoulders,  and
carried  her out of the room like a sack. Winston had a glimpse
of her face, upside down, yellow and contorted, with  the  eyes
shut, and still with a smear of rouge on either cheek; and that
was the last he saw of her.
     He  stood  dead  still.  No  one had hit him yet. Thoughts
which came of their own accord but seemed totally uninteresting
began to flit through his mind. He wondered  whether  they  had
got Mr Charrington. He wondered what they had done to the woman
in  the  yard.  He noticed that he badly wanted to urinate, and
felt a faint surprise, because he had done so only two or three
hours ago. He noticed that the clock on  the  mantelpiece  said
nine,  meaning  twenty-one.  But  the  light seemed too strong.
Would not the light be fading at twenty-one hours on an  August
evening?  He  wondered  whether  after  all  he  and  Julia had
mistaken the time -- had slept the clock round and  thought  it
was twenty-thirty when really it was nought eight-thirty on the
following  morning.  But he did not pursue the thought further.
It was not interesting.
     There  ws  another,  lighter  step  in  the  passage.   Mr
Charrington  came  into  the  room. The demeanour of the black-
uniformed men suddenly became more subdued. Something had  also
changed  in  Mr  Charrington's  appearance. His eye fell on the
fragments of the glass paperweight.
     'Pick up those pieces,' he said sharply.
     A man stooped to obey. The cockney accent had disappeared;
Winston suddenly realized whose voice it was that he had  heard
a  few  moments ago on the telescreen. Mr Charrington was still
wearing his old velvet jacket, but his  hair,  which  had  been
almost  white,  had  turned  black. Also he was not wearing his
spectacles. He gave Winston a single sharp  glance,  as  though
verifying his identity, and then paid no more attention to him.
He  was  still recognizable, but he was not the same person any
longer. His body had straightened, and  seemed  to  have  grown
bigger.  His  face  had  undergone  only  tiny changes that had
nevertheless  worked  a  complete  transformation.  The   black
eyebrows  were  less  bushy,  the wrinkles were gone, the whole
lines of the face seemed to have altered; even the nose  seemed
shorter.  It  was  the  alert,  cold  face  of  a  man of about
five-and-thirty. It occurred to Winston that for the first time
in his life he was looking, with knowledge, at a member of  the
Thought Police.

      * Chapter Three *

     x x x

     He  did  not  know  where he was. Presumably he was in the
Ministry of Love, but there was no way of  making  certain.  He
was   in   a  high-ceilinged  windowless  cell  with  walls  of
glittering white porcelain. Concealed  lamps  flooded  it  with
cold  light, and there was a low, steady humming sound which he
supposed had something to do with the air supply. A  bench,  or
shelf,  just  wide  enough to sit on ran round the wall, broken
only by the door and, at the end opposite the door, a  lavatory
pan  with  no  wooden seat. There were four telescreens, one in
each wall.
     There was a dull aching in his belly. It  had  been  there
ever  since they had bundled him into the closed van and driven
him away. But he was also hungry, with a  gnawing,  unwholesome
kind  of  hunger.  It  might  be twenty-four hours since he had
eaten, it might be thirty-six. He still did not know,  probably
never  would  know, whether it had been morning or evening when
they arrested him. Since he was arrested he had not been fed.
     He sat as still as he could on the narrow bench, with  his
hands crossed on his knee. He had already learned to sit still.
If  you  made  unexpected movements they yelled at you from the
telescreen. But the craving for food was growing upon him. What
he longed for above all was a piece of bread. He  had  an  idea
that  there  were  a  few  breadcrumbs  in  the  pocket  of his
overalls. It was even possible -- he thought this because  from
time  to  time something seemed to tickle his leg -- that there
might be a  sizeable  bit  of  crust  there.  In  the  end  the
temptation  to  find  out  overcame his fear; he slipped a hand
into his pocket.
     'Smith!' yelled a voice from the telescreen.  '6079  Smith
W.! Hands out of pockets in the cells!'
     He  sat still again, his hands crossed on his knee. Before
being brought here he had been taken  to  another  place  which
must  have  been an ordinary prison or a temporary lock-up used
by the patrols. He did not know how long  he  had  been  there;
some  hours  at any rate; with no clocks and no daylight it was
hard to gauge the time. It was a  noisy,  evil-smelling  place.
They  had put him into a cell similar to the one he was now in,
but filthily dirty and at all times crowded by ten  or  fifteen
people.  The  majority of them were common criminals, but there
were a few political prisoners among them. He  had  sat  silent
against  the  wall, jostled by dirty bodies, too preoccupied by
fear and the pain in his belly to take  much  interest  in  his
surroundings,  but still noticing the astonishing difference in
demeanour between the Party prisoners and the others. The Party
prisoners were always silent and terrified,  but  the  ordinary
criminals  seemed  to  care  nothing  for  anybody. They yelled
insults  at  the  guards,  fought  back  fiercely  when   their
belongings  were  impounded,  wrote obscene words on the floor,
ate  smuggled  food  which  they   produced   from   mysterious
hiding-places  in  their  clothes,  and  even  shouted down the
telescreen when it tried to restore order. On  the  other  hand
some of them seemed to be on good terms with the guards, called
them  by nicknames, and tried to wheedle cigarettes through the
spyhole in the  door.  The  guards,  too,  treated  the  common
criminals  with  a  certain  forbearance, even when they had to
handle  them  roughly.  There   was   much   talk   about   the
forced-labour  camps to which most of the prisoners expected to
be sent. It was 'all right' in the camps, he gathered, so  long
as you had good contacts and knew the ropes. There was bribery,
favouritism,   and   racketeering  of  every  kind,  there  was
homosexuality and prostitution, there was even illicit  alcohol
distilled from potatoes. The positions of trust were given only
to  the  common  criminals,  especially  the  gangsters and the
murderers, who formed a sort of aristocracy. All the dirty jobs
were done by the politicals.
     There was a constant come-and-go  of  prisoners  of  every
description:    drug-peddlers,    thieves,    bandits,   black-
marketeers, drunks, prostitutes. Some of  the  drunks  were  so
violent  that  the  other  prisoners had to combine to suppress
them. An enormous wreck of a  woman,  aged  about  sixty,  with
great  tumbling breasts and thick coils of white hair which had
come down  in  her  struggles,  was  carried  in,  kicking  and
shouting,  by  four  guards,  who  had  hold of her one at each
corner. They wrenched off the boots with  which  she  had  been
trying  to kick them, and dumped her down across Winston's lap,
almost breaking his  thigh-bones.  The  woman  hoisted  herself
upright  and  followed them out with a yell of 'F -- bastards!'
Then, noticing that she was sitting on  something  uneven,  she
slid off Winston's knees on to the bench.
     'Beg pardon, dearie,' she said. 'I wouldn't 'a sat on you,
only the  buggers  put me there. They dono 'ow to treat a lady,
do they?' She paused, patted her breast, and belched. 'Pardon,'
she said, 'I ain't meself, quite.'
     She leant forward and vomited copiously on the floor.
     'Thass better,' she said, leaning back with  closed  eyes.
'Never  keep  it  down,  thass what I say. Get it up while it's
fresh on your stomach, like.'
     She revived, turned to have another look  at  Winston  and
seemed  immediately  to take a fancy to him. She put a vast arm
round his shoulder and drew him towards her, breathing beer and
vomit into his face.
     'Wass your name, dearie?' she said.
     'Smith,' said Winston.
     'Smith?' said the woman. 'Thass  funny.  My  name's  Smith
too. Why,' she added sentimentally, 'I might be your mother!'
     She  might,  thought Winston, be his mother. She was about
the right age and physique, and it  was  probable  that  people
changed somewhat after twenty years in a forced-labour camp.
     No  one else had spoken to him. To a surprising extent the
ordinary criminals ignored the Party prisoners.  'The  polits,'
they  called  them,  with  a sort of uninterested contempt. The
Party prisoners seemed terrified of speaking  to  anybody,  and
above all of speaking to one another. Only once, when two Party
members,  both women, were pressed close together on the bench,
he overheard amid the din of voices a  few  hurriedly-whispered
words;  and in particular a reference to something called 'room
one-ohone', which he did not understand.
     It might be two or three hours ago that they  had  brought
him  here.  The  dull  pain  in  his belly never went away, but
sometimes it grew better and sometimes worse, and his  thoughts
expanded  or  contracted  accordingly.  When  it  grew worse he
thought only of the pain itself, and of his  desire  for  food.
When it grew better, panic took hold of him. There were moments
when  he  foresaw the things that would happen to him with such
actuality that his heart galloped and his  breath  stopped.  He
felt  the smash of truncheons on his elbows and iron-shod boots
on his shins; he saw himself grovelling on the floor, screaming
for mercy through broken teeth. He hardly thought of Julia.  He
could  not  fix  his  mind  on  her. He loved her and would not
betray her; but that was only a fact,  known  as  he  knew  the
rules  of  arithmetic.  He  felt no love for her, and he hardly
even wondered what was happening to her. He thought oftener  of
O'Brien, with a flickering hope. O'Brien might know that he had
been  arrested.  The  Brotherhood,  he had said, never tried to
save its members. But there was the  razor  blade;  they  would
send the razor blade if they could. There would be perhaps five
seconds  before  the  guard could rush into the cell. The blade
would bite into him with a sort of burning coldness,  and  even
the  fingers  that held it would be cut to the bone. Everything
came back to his sick body, which  shrank  trembling  from  the
smallest  pain.  He was not certain that he would use the razor
blade even if he got the chance. It was more natural  to  exist
from moment to moment, accepting another ten minutes' life even
with the certainty that there was torture at the end of it.
     Sometimes  he  tried  to calculate the number of porcelain
bricks in the walls of the cell. It should have been easy,  but
he  always  lost  count at some point or another. More often he
wondered where he was, and what time of  day  it  was.  At  one
moment  he felt certain that it was broad daylight outside, and
at the next equally certain that it was pitch darkness. In this
place, he knew instinctively, the lights would never be  turned
out.  It was the place with no darkness: he saw now why O'Brien
had seemed to recognize the allusion. In the Ministry  of  Love
there  were  no  windows. His cell might be at the heart of the
building or against its outer wall;  it  might  be  ten  floors
below  ground,  or  thirty  above it. He moved himself mentally
from place to place, and tried to determine by the  feeling  of
his  body whether he was perched high in the air or buried deep
     There was a sound of marching  boots  outside.  The  steel
door  opened  with  a  clang.  A  young  officer, a trim black-
uniformed figure who seemed to glitter all over  with  polished
leather,  and whose pale, straight-featured face was like a wax
mask, stepped smartly through the doorway. He motioned  to  the
guards  outside to bring in the prisoner they were leading. The
poet Ampleforth shambled into the cell. The door  clanged  shut
     Ampleforth  made  one or two uncertain movements from side
to side, as though having some idea that there was another door
to go out of, and then began to wander up and down the cell. He
had not yet noticed Winston's presence. His troubled eyes  were
gazing  at  the wall about a metre above the level of Winston's
head. He was shoeless; large, dirty toes were sticking  out  of
the  holes  in  his socks. He was also several days away from a
shave. A scrubby beard covered  his  face  to  the  cheekbones,
giving  him an air of ruffianism that went oddly with his large
weak frame and nervous movements.
     Winston roused hirnself a little  from  his  lethargy.  He
must   speak   to  Ampleforth,  and  risk  the  yell  from  the
telescreen. It was even conceivable  that  Ampleforth  was  the
bearer of the razor blade.
     'Ampleforth,' he said.
     There  was no yell from the telescreen. Ampleforth paused,
mildly startled. His eyes focused themselves slowly on Winston.
     'Ah, Smith!' he said. 'You too!'
     'What are you in for?'
     'To tell you the truth -- ' He sat down awkwardly  on  the
bench  opposite  Winston.  'There is only one offence, is there
not?' he said.
     'And have you committed it?'
     'Apparently I have.'
     He put a hand to his forehead and pressed his temples  for
a moment, as though trying to remember something.
     'These things happen,' he began vaguely. 'I have been able
to recall  one  instance  --  a  possible  instance.  It was an
indiscretion,  undoubtedly.  We  were  producing  a  definitive
edition  of  the  poems of Kipling. I allowed the word "God" to
remain at the end of a line. I could not  help  it!'  he  added
almost  indignantly,  raising  his face to look at Winston. 'It
was impossible to change the line. The rhyme was "rod". Do  you
realize  that  there  are  only  twelve  rhymes to "rod" in the
entire language?  For  days  I  had  racked  my  brains.  There
was no other rhyme.'
     The  expression  on his face changed. The annoyance passed
out of it and for a moment he looked almost pleased. A sort  of
intellectual  warmth,  the  joy of the pedant who has found out
some useless fact, shone through the dirt and scrubby hair.
     'Has it ever occurred to you,' he said,  'that  the  whole
history  of English poetry has been determined by the fact that
the English language lacks rhymes?'
     No, that particular thought had never occurred to Winston.
Nor, in the circumstances, did it strike him as very  important
or interesting.
     'Do you know what time of day it is?' he said.
     Ampleforth  looked  startled  again. 'I had hardly thought
about it. They arrested me -- it  could  be  two  days  ago  --
perhaps  three.' His eyes flitted round the walls, as though he
half  expected  to  find  a  window  somewhere.  'There  is  no
difference  between  night  and day in this place. I do not see
how one can calculate the time.'
     They talked desultorily for some  minutes,  then,  without
apparent  reason,  a  yell  from  the  telescreen  bade them be
silent. Winston sat quietly, his hands crossed. Ampleforth, too
large to sit in comfort on the narrow bench, fidgeted from side
to side, clasping his lank hands first  round  one  knee,  then
round  the  other.  The telescreen barked at him to keep still.
Time passed. Twenty minutes, an hour --  it  was  difficult  to
judge.  Once more there was a sound of boots outside. Winston's
entrails contracted. Soon, very soon, perhaps in five  minutes,
perhaps  now,  the  tramp of boots would mean that his own turn
had come.
     The door opened. The cold-faced young officer stepped into
the cell. With a  brief  movement  of  the  hand  he  indicated
     'Room 101,' he said.
     Ampleforth  marched  clumsily  out between the guards, his
face vaguely perturbed, but uncomprehending.
     What seemed like a long time passed. The pain in Winston's
belly had revived. His mind sagged round and round on the  same
trick, like a ball falling again and again into the same series
of  slots.  He  had only six thoughts. The pain in his belly; a
piece of bread; the blood and the screaming; O'Brien  ;  Julia;
the  razor  blade. There was another spasm in his entrails, the
heavy boots were approaching. As the door opened, the  wave  of
air  that it created brought in a powerful smell of cold sweat.
Parsons walked into the cell. He was wearing khaki shorts and a
     This time Winston was startled into self-forgetfulness.
     'You here!' he said.
     Parsons gave Winston a glance in which there  was  neither
interest  nor  surprise,  but  only  misery.  He  began walking
jerkily up and down, evidently unable to keep still. Each  time
he  straightened his pudgy knees it was apparent that they were
trembling. His eyes had a wide-open, staring look, as though he
could not prevent himself  from  gazing  at  something  in  the
middle distance.
     'What are you in for?' said Winston.
     'Thoughtcrime!'  said Parsons, almost blubbering. The tone
of his voice implied at once a complete admission of his  guilt
and  a  sort  of  incredulous  horror that such a word could be
applied to  himself.  He  paused  opposite  Winston  and  began
eagerly appealing to him: 'You don't think they'll shoot me, do
you,  old  chap?  They  don't shoot you if you haven't actually
done anything -- only thoughts, which you can't  help?  I  know
they  give  you  a  fair  hearing.  Oh,  I trust them for that!
They'll know my record, won't they? You know what kind of  chap
I  was.  Not  a  bad chap in my way. Not brainy, of course, but
keen. I tried to do my best for the Party, didn't I?  I'll  get
off with five years, don't you think? Or even ten years? A chap
like me could make himself pretty useful in a labour-camp. They
wouldn't shoot me for going off the rails just once?'
     'Are you guilty?' said Winston.
     'Of  course  I'm  guilty  !'  cried Parsons with a servile
glance at the telescreen. 'You  don't  think  the  Party  would
arrest  an  innocent  man,  do  you?'  His  frog-like face grew
calmer, and even took on a slightly  sanctimonious  expression.
'Thoughtcrime   is   a   dreadful  thing,  old  man,'  he  said
sententiously. 'It's insidious. It can get hold of you  without
your  even knowing it. Do you know how it got hold of me? In my
sleep! Yes, that's a fact. There I was, working away, trying to
do my bit -- never knew I had any bad stuff in my mind at  all.
And  then  I started talking in my sleep. Do you know what they
heard me saying?'
     He sank his voice, like someone who is obliged for medical
reasons to utter an obscenity.
     "Down with Big Brother!" Yes, I said that!  Said  it  over
and over again, it seems. Between you and me, old man, I'm glad
they  got  me  before it went any further. Do you know what I'm
going to say to them when I go up before the  tribunal?  "Thank
you,"  I'm going to say, "thank you for saving me before it was
too late."
     'Who denounced you?' said Winston.
     'It was my little daughter,' said Parsons with a  sort  of
doleful  pride.  'She listened at the keyhole. Heard what I was
saying, and nipped off to the patrols the very next day. Pretty
smart for a nipper of seven, eh? I don't bear  her  any  grudge
for  it. In fact I'm proud of her. It shows I brought her up in
the right spirit, anyway.'
     He made a few more jerky movements up  and  down,  several
times,  casting  a  longing glance at the lavatory pan. Then he
suddenly ripped down his shorts.
     'Excuse me, old man,' he said. 'I can't help it. It's  the
     He  plumped  his  large  posterior  into the lavatory pan.
Winston covered his face with his hands.
     'Smith!' yelled the voice from the telescreen. '6079 Smith
W! Uncover your face. No faces covered in the cells.'
     Winston uncovered his face.  Parsons  used  the  lavatory,
loudly  and  abundantly.  It  then turned out that the plug was
defective and the cell stank abominably for hours afterwards.
     Parsons  was  removed.  More  prisoners  came  and   went,
mysteriously.  One,  a woman, was consigned to 'Room 101', and,
Winston noticed, seemed to shrivel and turn a different  colour
when  she  heard  the  words.  A time came when, if it had been
morning when he was brought here, it would be afternoon; or  if
it  had  been  afternoon, then it would be midnight. There were
six prisoners in the cell, men and women. All sat  very  still.
Opposite  Winston  there sat a man with a chinless, toothy face
exactly like that of some  large,  harmless  rodent.  His  fat,
mottled  cheeks  were  so  pouched  at  the  bottom that it was
difficult not to believe that he  had  little  stores  of  food
tucked  away  there. His pale-grey eyes flitted timorously from
face to face and turned  quickly  away  again  when  he  caught
anyone's eye.
     The door opened, and another prisoner was brought in whose
appearance  sent  a  momentary  chill through Winston. He was a
commonplace, mean-looking man who might have been  an  engineer
or  technician  of  some  kind.  But what was startling was the
emaciation of his face. It was like a  skull.  Because  of  its
thinness  the  mouth  and eyes looked disproportionately large,
and the eyes  seemed  filled  with  a  murderous,  unappeasable
hatred of somebody or something.
     The  man  sat  down on the bench at a little distance from
Winston. Winston did not look at him again, but the  tormented,
skull-like  face was as vivid in his mind as though it had been
straight in front of his eyes. Suddenly he  realized  what  was
the  matter.  The man was dying of starvation. The same thought
seemed to occur almost simultaneously to everyone in the  cell.
There  was  a  very faint stirring all the way round the bench.
The  eyes  of  the  chinless  man  kept  flitting  towards  the
skull-faced man, then turning guiltily away, then being dragged
back  by  an  irresistible  attraction.  Presently  he began to
fidget on his seat. At  last  he  stood  up,  waddled  clumsily
across the cell, dug down into the pocket of his overalls, and,
with  an  abashed  air,  held out a grimy piece of bread to the
skull- faced man.
     There was a furious, deafening roar from  the  telescreen.
The  chinless man jumped in his tracks. The skull-faced man had
quickly  thrust  his  hands  behind   his   back,   as   though
demonstrating to all the world that he refused the gift.
     'Bumstead!'  roared the voice. '2713 Bumstead J.! Let fall
that piece of bread!'
     The chinless man dropped the piece of bread on the floor.
     'Remain standing where you are,' said the voice. 'Face the
door. Make no movement.'
     The chinless man obeyed.  His  large  pouchy  cheeks  were
quivering  uncontrollably.  The door clanged open. As the young
officer entered and stepped aside, there  emerged  from  behind
him  a  short stumpy guard with enormous arms and shoulders. He
took his stand opposite the chinless man, and then, at a signal
from the officer, let free  a  frightful  blow,  with  all  the
weight of his body behind it, full in the chinless man's mouth.
The  force of it seemed almost to knock him clear of the floor.
His body was flung across the cell and fetched up  against  the
base  of  the  lavatory  seat.  For  a  moment he lay as though
stunned, with dark blood oozing from his mouth and nose. A very
faint whimpering or squeaking, which seemed  unconscious,  came
out  of  him. Then he rolled over and raised himself unsteadily
on hands and knees. Amid a stream of blood and saliva, the  two
halves of a dental plate fell out of his mouth.
     The prisoners sat very still, their hands crossed on their
knees.  The  chinless man climbed back into his place. Down one
side of his face the flesh was darkening. His mouth had swollen
into a shapeless cherry-coloured mass with a black hole in  the
middle of it.

     From  time to time a little blood dripped on to the breast
of his overalls. His grey eyes still flitted from face to face,
more guiltily than ever, as though he were trying  to  discover
how much the others despised him for his humiliation.

     The   door  opened.  With  a  small  gesture  the  officer
indicated the skull-faced man.
     'Room 101,' he said.
     There was a gasp and a flurry at Winston's side.  The  man
had  actually flung himself on his knees on the floor, with his
hand clasped together.
     'Comrade! Officer!' he cried. 'You don't have to  take  me
to that place! Haven't I told you everything already? What else
is  it  you  want  to know? There's nothing I wouldn't confess,
nothing! Just tell me what it is and I'll confess straight off.
Write it down and I'll sign it -- anything! Not room 101 !'
     'Room 101,' said the officer.
     The man's face, already very pale, turned a colour Winston
would  not  have  believed   possible.   It   was   definitely,
unmistakably, a shade of green.
     'Do  anything  to me!' he yelled. 'You've been starving me
for weeks. Finish it off and let me die.  Shoot  me.  Hang  me.
Sentence  me  to  twenty-five years. Is there somebody else you
want me to give away? Just say who it  is  and  I'll  tell  you
anything  you  want.  I  don't care who it is or what you do to
them. I've got a wife and three children. The biggest  of  them
isn't six years old. You can take the whole lot of them and cut
their  throats in front of my eyes, and I'll stand by and watch
it. But not Room 101!'
     'Room 101,' said the officer.
     The man looked frantically round at the  other  prisoners,
as  though  with  some idea that he could put another victim in
his own place. His eyes settled on  the  smashed  face  of  the
chinless man. He flung out a lean arm.
     'That's  the  one  you  ought  to  be  taking, not me!' he
shouted. 'You didn't hear what he was saying after they  bashed
his  face. Give me a chance and I'll tell you every word of it.
He's the one that's against  the  Party,  not  me.'  The
guards  stepped forward. The man's voice rose to a shriek. 'You
didn't hear him!' he repeated. 'Something went wrong  with  the
telescreen. He's the one you want. Take him, not me!'
     The two sturdy guards had stooped to take him by the arms.
But just  at  this  moment he flung himself across the floor of
the cell and grabbed one of the iron legs  that  supported  the
bench.  He  had  set up a wordless howling, like an animal. The
guards took hold of him to wrench him loose, but  he  clung  on
with astonishing strength. For perhaps twenty seconds they were
hauling at him. The prisoners sat quiet, their hands crossed on
their  knees,  looking  straight  in front of them. The howling
stopped; the man had no breath left for anything except hanging
on. Then there was a different kind  of  cry.  A  kick  from  a
guard's  boot  had broken the fingers of one of his hands. They
dragged him to his feet.
     'Room 101,' said the officer.
     The man was led out, walking unsteadily, with head sunken,
nursing his crushed hand, all the fight had gone out of him.
     A long time passed. If  it  had  been  midnight  when  the
skull-faced  man was taken away, it was morning: if morning, it
was afternoon. Winston was alone, and had been alone for hours.
The pain of sitting on the narrow bench was such that often  he
got  up  and  walked  about,  unreproved by the telescreen. The
piece of bread still lay where the chinless man had dropped it.
At the beginning it needed a hard effort not to look at it, but
presently hunger gave way to thirst. His mouth was  sticky  and
evil-tasting.  The  humming sound and the unvarying white light
induced a sort of faintness, an empty feeling inside his  head.
He  would  get  up  because the ache in his bones was no longer
bearable, and then would sit down again almost at once  because
he  was too dizzy to make sure of staying on his feet. Whenever
his physical sensations were a little under control the  terror
returned.  Sometimes  with  a fading hope he thought of O'Brien
and the razor blade. It was  thinkable  that  the  razor  blade
might  arrive  concealed in his food, if he were ever fed. More
dimly he thought of Julia. Somewhere or other she was suffering
perhaps far worse than he. She might be screaming with pain  at
this  moment. He thought: 'If I could save Julia by doubling my
own pain, would I do it? Yes, I would.' But that was merely  an
intellectual  decision,  taken because he knew that he ought to
take it. He did not feel it. In this place you could  not  feel
anything,  except  pain and foreknowledge of pain. Besides, was
it possible, when you were actually suffering it, to  wish  for
any  reason  that  your  own  pain  should  increase?  But that
question was not answerable yet.
     The boots were approaching again. The door opened. O'Brien
came in.
     Winston started to his feet. The shock of  the  sight  had
driven all caution out of him. For the first time in many years
he forgot the presence of the telescreen.
     'They've got you too!' he cried.
     'They  got  me a long time ago,' said O'Brien with a mild,
almost regretful irony. He stepped aside. from behind him there
emerged a broad-chested guard with a long  black  truncheon  in
his hand.
     'You  know  him,  Winston,'  said  O'Brien. 'Don't deceive
yourself. You did know it -- you have always known it.'
     Yes, he saw now, he had always known it. But there was  no
time to think of that. All he had eyes for was the truncheon in
the  guard's hand. It might fall anywhere; on the crown, on the
tip of the ear, on the upper arm, on the elbow-
     The elbow! He had slumped to his knees, almost  paralysed,
clasping the stricken elbow with his other hand. Everything had
exploded  into  yellow light. Inconceivable, inconceivable that
one blow could cause such pain! The light cleared and he  could
see  the  other two looking down at him. The guard was laughing
at his contortions. One question  at  any  rate  was  answered.
Never,  for any reason on earth, could you wish for an increase
of pain. Of pain you could wish only one thing: that it  should
stop.  Nothing in the world was so bad as physical pain. In the
face of pain there are no heroes, no heroes,  he  thought  over
and over as he writhed on the floor, clutching uselessly at his
disabled left arm.

     x x x

     He  was  lying  on  something  that  felt like a camp bed,
except that it was higher off the ground and that he was  fixed
down  in  some way so that he could not move. Light that seemed
stronger than usual  was  falling  on  his  face.  O'Brien  was
standing  at  his  side,  looking  down at him intently. At the
other side of him stood a  man  in  a  white  coat,  holding  a
hypodermic syringe.
     Even  after his eyes were open he took in his surroundings
only gradually. He had the impression of swimming up into  this
room  from  some  quite  different  world, a sort of underwater
world far beneath it. How long he had been down  there  he  did
not  know.  Since  the moment when they arrested him he had not
seen darkness or  daylight.  Besides,  his  memories  were  not
continuous.  There  had been times when consciousness, even the
sort of consciousness that one has in sleep, had  stopped  dead
and  started  again  after  a  blank  interval. But whether the
intervals were of days or weeks or only seconds, there  was  no
way of knowing.
     With  that  first  blow  on  the  elbow  the nightmare had
started. Later he was to realize that all  that  then  happened
was  merely  a  preliminary,  a  routine interrogation to which
nearly all prisoners were subjected. There was a long range  of
crimes  --  espionage,  sabotage,  and  the  like  --  to which
everyone had to confess as a matter of course.  The  confession
was a formality, though the torture was real. How many times he
had  been beaten, how long the beatings had continued, he could
not remember. Always there  were  five  or  six  men  in  black
uniforms   at  him  simultaneously.  Sometimes  it  was  fists,
sometimes it was  truncheons,  sometimes  it  was  steel  rods,
sometimes  it  was boots. There were times when he rolled about
the floor, as shameless as an animal, writhing  his  body  this
way and that in an endless, hopeless effort to dodge the kicks,
and  simply  inviting  more and yet more kicks, in his ribs, in
his belly, on his elbows, on his shins, in his  groin,  in  his
testicles,  on  the  bone  at the base of his spine. There were
times  when  it  went  on  and  on  until  the  cruel,  wicked,
unforgivable  thing seemed to him not that the guards continued
to beat him but that he could not force  hirnself  into  losing
consciousness.  There  were times when his nerve so forsook him
that he began shouting for mercy even before the beating began,
when the mere sight of a fist drawn back for a blow was  enough
to  make  him  pour  forth  a  confession of real and imaginary
crimes. There were other times when he  started  out  with  the
resolve of confessing nothing, when every word had to be forced
out  of him between gasps of pain, and there were times when he
feebly tried to compromise, when he said to  himself:  'I  will
confess,  but  not  yet.  I must hold out till the pain becomes
unbearable. Three more kicks, two more kicks, and then  I  will
tell  them  what  they  want.'  Sometimes he was beaten till he
could hardly stand, then flung like a sack of  potatoes  on  to
the  stone floor of a cell, left to recuperate for a few hours,
and then taken out and beaten again.  There  were  also  longer
periods  of  recovery.  He  remembered them dimly, because they
were spent chiefly in sleep or stupor.  He  remembered  a  cell
with  a  plank bed, a sort of shelf sticking out from the wall,
and a tin wash-basin, and meals  of  hot  soup  and  bread  and
sometimes  coffee.  He  remembered  a  surly barber arriving to
scrape  his  chin  and  crop  his   hair,   and   businesslike,
unsympathetic men in white coats feeling his pulse, tapping his
reflexes,  turning  up  his eyelids, running harsh fingers over
him in search for broken bones, and shooting needles  into  his
arm to make him sleep.
     The  beatings  grew  less  frequent,  and  became mainly a
threat, a horror to which he could be sent back at  any  moment
when  his answers were unsatisfactory. His questioners now were
not ruffians in black uniforms but Party intellectuals,  little
rotund  men  with  quick movements and flashing spectacles, who
worked on him  in  relays  over  periods  which  lasted  --  he
thought,  he  could  not  be  sure  -- ten or twelve hours at a
stretch. These other questioners saw  to  it  that  he  was  in
constant  slight  pain,  but  it was not chiefly pain that they
relied on. They slapped his face, wrung his  ears.  pulled  his
hair,  made him stand on one leg, refused him leave to urinate,
shone glaring lights in his face until his eyes ran with water;
but the aim of this was simply to humiliate him and destroy his
power of arguing and  reasoning.  Their  real  weapon  was  the
merciless  questioning  that  went  on and on, hour after hour,
tripping him up, laying traps for him, twisting everything that
he  said,  convicting  him  at   every   step   of   lies   and
self-contradiction until he began weeping as much from shame as
from nervous fatigue Sometimes he would weep half a dozen times
in  a  single  session. Most of the time they screamed abuse at
him and threatened at every hesitation to deliver him  over  to
the  guards  again;  but  sometimes  they would suddenly change
their tune, call him comrade, appeal to  him  in  the  name  of
Ingsoc  and  Big  Brother, and ask him sorrowfully whether even
now he had not enough loyalty to the Party  left  to  make  him
wish to undo the evil he had done. When his nerves were in rags
after  hours  of questioning, even this appeal could reduce him
to snivelling tears. In the end the nagging  voices  broke  him
down more completely than the boots and fists of the guards. He
became  simply  a  mouth  that  uttered,  a  hand  that signed,
whatever was demanded of him. His sole concern was to find  out
what  they  wanted him to confess, and then confess it quickly,
before  the  bullying  started  anew.  He  confessed   to   the
assassination  of  eminent  Party  members, the distribution of
seditious pamphlets, embezzlement  of  public  funds,  sale  of
military  secrets, sabotage of every kind. He confessed that he
had been a spy in the pay of the Eastasian  government  as  far
back as 1968. He confessed that he was a religious believer, an
admirer  of capitalism, and a sexual pervert. He confessed that
he had murdered his wife, although he knew, and his questioners
must have known, that his wife was still  alive.  He  confessed
that for years he had been in personal touch with Goldstein and
had  been  a  member  of  an underground organization which had
included almost every human being he had  ever  known.  It  was
easier  to confess everything and implicate everybody. Besides,
in a sense it was all true. It was true that he  had  been  the
enemy  of  the Party, and in the eyes of the Party there was no
distinction between the thought and the deed.
     There were also memories of another kind. They  stood  out
in  his  mind  disconnectedly, like pictures with blackness all
round them.
     He was in a cell which might  have  been  either  dark  or
light, because he could see nothing except a pair of eyes. Near
at  hand  some  kind  of  instrument  was  ticking  slowly  and
regularly. The eyes grew larger and more luminous. Suddenly  he
floated out of his seat, dived into the eyes, and was swallowed
     He  was  strapped  into a chair surrounded by dials, under
dazzling lights. A man in a white coat was reading  the  dials.
There  was  a  tramp  of  heavy boots outside. The door clanged
open. The waxed-faced  officer  marched  in,  followed  by  two
     'Room 101,' said the officer.
     The  man  in the white coat did not turn round. He did not
look at Winston either; he was looking only at the dials.
     He was rolling down a mighty corridor, a  kilometre  wide,
full  of  glorious,  golden  light,  roaring  with laughter and
shouting out confessions at  the  top  of  his  voice.  He  was
confessing  everything,  even  the  things  he had succeeded in
holding back under the torture.  He  was  relating  the  entire
history  of  his  life to an audience who knew it already. With
him were the guards, the other questioners, the  men  in  white
coats,  O'Brien,  Julia,  Mr  Charrington, all rolling down the
corridor together and shouting  with  laughter.  Some  dreadful
thing  which  had  lain embedded in the future had somehow been
skipped over and had not happened. Everything  was  all  right,
there  was  no  more pain, the last detail of his life was laid
bare, understood, forgiven.
     He was starting  up  from  the  plank  bed  in  the  half-
certainty  that  he  had heard O'Brien's voice. All through his
interrogation, although he had never seen him, he had  had  the
feeling  that  O'Brien  was at his elbow, just out of sight. It
was O'Brien who was directing everything. It was he who set the
guards on to Winston and who prevented them from  killing  him.
It  was  he  who  decided when Winston should scream with pain,
when he should have a respite, when he should be fed,  when  he
should  sleep, when the drugs should be pumped into his arm. It
was he who asked the questions and suggested  the  answers.  He
was the tormentor, he was the protector, he was the inquisitor,
he  was  the  friend.  And  once  -- Winston could not remember
whether it was in drugged sleep, or in normal sleep, or even in
a moment of wakefulness -- a voice murmured in his ear:  'Don't
worry,  Winston;  you are in my keeping. For seven years I have
watched over you. Now the turning-point has come. I shall  save
you,  I shall make you perfect.' He was not sure whether it was
O'Brien's voice; but it was the same voice  that  had  said  to
him,  'We  shall meet in the place where there is no darkness,'
in that other dream, seven years ago.
     He did not remember any ending to his interrogation. There
was a period of blackness and then the cell, or room, in  which
he  now was had gradually materialized round him. He was almost
flat on his back, and unable to move. His body was held down at
every essential point. Even the back of his head was gripped in
some manner. O'Brien was looking down at him gravely and rather
sadly. His face, seen from below, looked coarse and worn,  with
pouches  under  the  eyes and tired lines from nose to chin. He
was  older  than  Winston  had  thought  him;  he  was  perhaps
forty-eight  or  fifty.  Under his hand there was a dial with a
lever on top and figures running round the face.
     'I told you,' said O'Brien, 'that if we met again it would
be here.'
     'Yes,' said Winston.
     Without any warning except a slight movement of  O'Brien's
hand,  a  wave  of  pain flooded his body. It was a frightening
pain, because he could not see what was happening, and  he  had
the  feeling  that some mortal injury was being done to him. He
did not know whether the thing was really happening, or whether
the effect was electrically produced ; but his body  was  being
wrenched out of shape, the joints were being slowly torn apart.
Although  the  pain  had brought the sweat out on his forehead,
the worst of all was the fear that his backbone  was  about  to
snap.  He  set  his  teeth  and breathed hard through his nose,
trying to keep silent as long as possible.
     'You are afraid,' said O'Brien, watching his  face,  'that
in  another  moment  something is going to break. Your especial
fear is that it will be your backbone. You have a vivid  mental
picture  of  the  vertebrae snapping apart and the spinal fluid
dripping out of them. That is what you are thinking, is it not,
     Winston did not answer. O'Brien drew back the lever on the
dial. The wave of pain receded almost  as  quickly  as  it  had
     'That  was  forty,'  said  O'Brien.  'You can see that the
numbers on this dial run up  to  a  hundred.  Will  you  please
remember,  throughout  our  conversation,  that I have it in my
power to inflict pain on you at  any  moment  and  to  whatever
degree  I  choose?  If  you  tell  me  any  lies, or attempt to
prevaricate in any way, or even fall below your usual level  of
intelligence,  you  will  cry  out with pain, instantly. Do you
understand that?'
     'Yes,' said Winston.
     O'Brien's manner became  less  severe.  He  resettled  his
spectacles  thoughtfully,  and  took a pace or two up and down.
When he spoke his voice was gentle and patient. He had the  air
of  a  doctor, a teacher, even a priest, anxious to explain and
persuade rather than to punish.
     'I am taking trouble with you, Winston,' he said, 'because
you are worth trouble. You know  perfectly  well  what  is  the
matter  with  you. You have known it for years, though you have
fought against the knowledge. You are  mentally  deranged.  You
suffer from a defective memory. You are unable to remember real
events and you persuade yourself that you remember other events
which never happened. Fortunately it is curable. You have never
cured  yourself of it, because you did not choose to. There was
a small effort of the will that you were  not  ready  to  make.
Even  now,  I  am  well aware, you are clinging to your disease
under the impression that it is a virtue. Now we will  take  an
example. At this moment, which power is Oceania at war with?'
     'When I was arrested, Oceania was at war with Eastasia.
     'With  Eastasia.  Good. And Oceania has always been at war
with Eastasia, has it not?'
     Winston drew in his breath. He opened his mouth  to  speak
and  then  did  not speak. He could not take his eyes away from
the dial.
     'The truth, please, Winston. Your  truth.  Tell  me
what you think you remember.'
     'I  remember that until only a week before I was arrested,
we were not at war with Eastasia at all. We  were  in  alliance
with  them.  The  war  was against Eurasia. That had lasted for
four years. Before that -- '
     O'Brien stopped him with a movement of the hand.
     'Another example,' he said. 'Some years ago you had a very
serious delusion indeed. You believed  that  three  men,  three
onetime Party members named Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford men
who  were  executed for treachery and sabotage after making the
fullest possible confession -- were not guilty  of  the  crimes
they  were  charged  with.  You  believed  that  you  had  seen
unmistakable   documentary   evidence   proving   that    their
confessions  were  false.  There was a certain photograph about
which you had  a  hallucination.  You  believed  that  you  had
actually  held  it in your hands. It was a photograph something
like this.'
     An oblong slip of newspaper had appeared between O'Brien's
fingers. For perhaps five seconds it was within  the  angle  of
Winston's  vision.  It  was  a  photograph,  and  there  was no
question of its identity. It was the photograph. It  was
another   copy  of  the  photograph  of  Jones,  Aaronson,  and
Rutherford at the party function in  New  York,  which  he  had
chanced  upon eleven years ago and promptly destroyed. For only
an instant it was before his eyes, then it  was  out  of  sight
again.  But  he  had seen it, unquestionably he had seen it! He
made a desperate, agonizing effort to wrench the  top  half  of
his  body  free.  It  was  impossible  to  move  so  much  as a
centimetre in  any  direction.  For  the  moment  he  had  even
forgotten the dial. All he wanted was to hold the photograph in
his fingers again, or at least to see it.
     'It exists!' he cried.
     'No,' said O'Brien.
     He stepped across the room. There was a memory hole in the
opposite  wall.  O'Brien  lifted the grating. Unseen, the frail
slip of paper was whirling away on the current of warm air;  it
was vanishing in a flash of flame. O'Brien turned away from the
     'Ashes,'  he  said. 'Not even identifiable ashes. Dust. It
does not exist. It never existed.'
     'But it did exist! It does exist! It exists in  memory.  I
remember it. You remember it.'
     'I do not remember it,' said O'Brien.
     Winston's  heart  sank.  That  was  doublethink.  He had a
feeling of deadly helplessness. If he could have  been  certain
that O'Brien was lying, it would not have seemed to matter. But
it was perfectly possible that O'Brien had really forgotten the
photograph. And if so, then already he would have forgotten his
denial  of remembering it, and forgotten the act of forgetting.
How could one be sure that it was simple trickery? Perhaps that
lunatic dislocation in the mind could really happen:  that  was
the thought that defeated him.
     O'Brien  was  looking down at him speculatively. More than
ever he had the air of a teacher taking pains  with  a  wayward
but promising child.
     'There  is  a Party slogan dealing with the control of the
past,' he said. 'Repeat it, if you please.'
     "Who controls the past controls the future:  who  controls
the present controls the past," repeated Winston obediently.
     "Who   controls  the  present  controls  the  past,"  said
O'Brien, nodding his head  with  slow  approval.  'Is  it  your
opinion, Winston, that the past has real existence?'
     Again  the feeling of helplessness descended upon Winston.
His eyes flitted towards the dial. He not  only  did  not  know
whether  'yes'  or 'no' was the answer that would save him from
pain; he did not even know which answer he believed to  be  the
true one.
     O'Brien   smiled   faintly.  'You  are  no  metaphysician,
Winston,' he said. 'Until this moment you had never  considered
what  is meant by existence. I will put it more precisely. Does
the past exist concretely, in  space?  Is  there  somewhere  or
other  a  place,  a  world  of solid objects, where the past is
still happening?'
     'Then where does the past exist, if at all?'
     'In records. It is written down.'
     'In records. And- ?'
     'In the mind. In human memories.
     'In memory. Very well, then. We, the  Party,  control  all
records, and we control all memories. Then we control the past,
do we not?'
     'But  how  can  you stop people remembering things?' cried
Winston  again  momentarily  forgetting  the   dial.   'It   is
involuntary. It is outside oneself. How can you control memory?
You have not controlled mine!'
     O'Brien's manner grew stern again. He laid his hand on the
     'On   the   contrary,'   he  said,  'you  have  not
controlled it. That is what has brought you here. You are  here
because  you  have failed in humility, in self- discipline. You
would not make the act of submission  which  is  the  price  of
sanity.  You preferred to be a lunatic, a minority of one. Only
the disciplined mind can see reality, Winston. You believe that
reality is something objective, external, existing in  its  own
right.   You  also  believe  that  the  nature  of  reality  is
self-evident. When you delude yourself into thinking  that  you
see  something,  you  assume  that  everyone else sees the same
thing as you. But I tell you,  Winston,  that  reality  is  not
external.  Reality  exists in the human mind, and nowhere else.
Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any
case soon perishes: only in the mind of  the  Party,  which  is
collective  and  immortal.  Whatever  the Party holds to be the
truth, is truth. It is impossible to see reality  except
by looking through the eyes of the Party. That is the fact that
you  have  got  to  relearn,  Winston. It needs an act of self-
destruction, an effort of the will. You  must  humble  yourself
before you can become sane.'
     He  paused  for  a few moments, as though to allow what he
had been saying to sink in.
     'Do you remember,' he went on, ' writing  in  your  diary,
"Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four"?'
     'Yes,' said Winston.
     O'Brien  held  up his left hand, its back towards Winston,
with the thumb hidden and the four fingers extended.
     'How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?
     'And if the party says that it is not  four  but  five  --
then how many?'
     The  word  ended in a gasp of pain. The needle of the dial
had shot up to fifty-five. The sweat had sprung  out  all  over
Winston's body. The air tore into his lungs and issued again in
deep  groans  which  even  by  clenching his teeth he could not
stop. O'Brien watched him, the four fingers still extended.  He
drew  back  the  lever.  This  time  the pain was only slightly
     'How many fingers, Winston?'
     The needle went up to sixty.
     'How many fingers, Winston?'
     'Four! Four! What else can I say? Four!'
     The needle must have risen again, but he did not  look  at
it.  The  heavy,  stern  face  and  the four fingers filled his
vision. The fingers stood up  before  his  eyes  like  pillars,
enormous,  blurry,  and  seeming  to  vibrate, but unmistakably
     'How many fingers, Winston?'
     'Four! Stop it, stop it! How can you go on? Four! Four!'
     'How many fingers, Winston?'
     'Five! Five! Five!'
     'No, Winston, that is no use. You  are  lying.  You  still
think there are four. How many fingers, please?'
     'Four!  five!  Four! Anything you like. Only stop it, stop
the pain!
     Abruptly he was sitting up with O'Brien's  arm  round  his
shoulders. He had perhaps lost consciousness for a few seconds.
The  bonds  that  had held his body down were loosened. He felt
very cold,  he  was  shaking  uncontrollably,  his  teeth  were
chattering,  the  tears  were  rolling  down  his cheeks. For a
moment he clung to O'Brien like a baby, curiously comforted  by
the  heavy  arm  round  his  shoulders. He had the feeling that
O'Brien was his protector, that the  pain  was  something  that
came  from  outside,  from  some  other source, and that it was
O'Brien who would save him from it.
     'You are a slow learner, Winston,' said O'Brien gently.
     'How can I help it?' he blubbered. 'How can I help  seeing
what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.
     Sometimes,  Winston.  Sometimes  they  are five. Sometimes
they are three. Sometimes they are all of  them  at  once.  You
must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.'
     He  laid  Winston  down  on the bed. The grip of his limbs
tightened again, but the pain had ebbed away and the  trembling
had stopped, leaving him merely weak and cold. O'Brien motioned
with  his  head  to  the  man  in the white coat, who had stood
immobile throughout the proceedings. The man in the white  coat
bent  down  and  looked  closely  into Winston's eyes, felt his
pulse, laid an ear against his chest, tapped  here  and  there,
then he nodded to O'Brien.
     'Again,' said O'Brien.
     The pain flowed into Winston's body. The needle must be at
seventy,  seventy-five. He had shut his eyes this time. He knew
that the fingers were still there, and  still  four.  All  that
mattered was somehow to stay alive until the spasm was over. He
had ceased to notice whether he was crying out or not. The pain
lessened  again. He opened his eyes. O'Brien had drawn back the
     'How many fingers, Winston?'
     'Four. I suppose there are four. I would  see  five  if  I
could. I am trying to see five.'
     'Which  do  you wish: to persuade me that you see five, or
really to see them?'
     'Really to see them.'
     'Again,' said O'Brien.
     Perhaps the needle was eighty -- ninety. Winston could not
intermittently remember why the pain was happening. Behind  his
screwed-up eyelids a forest of fingers seemed to be moving in a
sort  of  dance,  weaving  in  and out, disappearing behind one
another and reappearing again. He was trying to count them,  he
could  not remember why. He knew only that it was impossible to
count them, and that this was somehow  due  to  the  mysterious
identity  between five and four. The pain died down again. When
he opened his eyes it was to find that he was still seeing  the
same  thing. Innumerable fingers, like moving trees, were still
streaming past in either direction, crossing and recrossing. He
shut his eyes again.
     'How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?'
     'I don't know. I don't know. You will kill me  if  you  do
that again. Four, five, six -- in all honesty I don't know.'
     'Better,' said O'Brien.
     A  needle  slid  into  Winston's  arm.  Almost in the same
instant a blissful, healing warmth spread all through his body.
The pain was already half-forgotten. He  opened  his  eyes  and
looked  up  gratefully at O'Brien. At sight of the heavy, lined
face, so ugly and so intelligent,  his  heart  seemed  to  turn
over. If he could have moved he would have stretched out a hand
and laid it on O'Brien arm. He had never loved him so deeply as
at this moment, and not merely because he had stopped the pain.
The  old  feeling,  that  it  bottom  it did not matter whether
O'Brien was a friend or an enemy, had come back. O'Brien was  a
person  who  could be talked to. Perhaps one did not want to be
loved so much as to be understood. O'Brien had tortured him  to
the  edge  of lunacy, and in a little while, it was certain, he
would send him to his death. It made  no  difference.  In  some
sense  that  went  deeper than friendship, they were intimates:
somewhere or other, although the actual words  might  never  be
spoken,  there  was  a  place  where  they could meet and talk.
O'Brien was looking  down  at  him  with  an  expression  which
suggested  that the same thought might be in his own mind. When
he spoke it was in an easy, conversational tone.
     'Do you know where you are, Winston?' he said.
     'I don't know. I can guess. In the Ministry of Love.'
     'Do you know how long you have been here?'
     'I don't know. Days,  weeks,  months  --  I  think  it  is
     'And  why  do  you  imagine  that  we bring people to this
     'To make them confess.'
     'No, that is not the reason. Try again.'
     'To punish them.'
     'No!'   exclaimed   O'Brien.   His   voice   had   changed
extraordinarily,  and  his  face had suddenly become both stern
and animated. 'No! Not merely to extract your  confession,  not
to  punish  you. Shall I tell you why we have brought you here?
To cure you ! To make you sane ! Will you understand,  Winston,
that  no  one whom we bring to this place ever leaves our hands
uncured? We are not interested in those stupid crimes that  you
have  committed.  The Party is not interested in the overt act:
the thought is all we care about. We do not merely destroy  our
enemies,  we  change  them.  Do  you  understand what I mean by
     He was bending over  Winston.  His  face  looked  enormous
because of its nearness, and hideously ugly because it was seen
from below. Moreover it was filled with a sort of exaltation, a
lunatic intensity. Again Winston's heart shrank. If it had been
possible  he  would  have  cowered deeper into the bed. He felt
certain that O'Brien was about to twist the dial out  of  sheer
wantonness.  At  this  moment, however, O'Brien turned away. He
took a pace  or  two  up  and  down.  Then  he  continued  less
     'The  first  thing  for  you to understand is that in this
place there are no martyrdoms. You have read of  the  religious
persecutions  of  the  past.  In  the Middle Ages there was the
Inquisitlon. It was a failure. It set out to eradicate  heresy,
and  ended  by  perpetuating it. For every heretic it burned at
the stake, thousands of others rose up. Why was  that?  Because
the Inquisition killed its enemies in the open, and killed them
while  they  were  still  unrepentant:  in fact, it killed them
because they were unrepentant.  Men  were  dying  because  they
would  not  abandon their true beliefs. Naturally all the glory
belonged to the victim and all the shame to the Inquisitor  who
burned  him.  Later,  in  the twentieth century, there were the
totalitarians, as they were called. There were the German Nazis
and the Russian Communists. The Russians persecuted heresy more
cruelly than the Inquisition had done. And they  imagined  that
they  had  learned from the mistakes of the past; they knew, at
any rate, that one must not make martyrs. Before  they  exposed
their victims to public trial, they deliberately set themselves
to  destroy  their  dignity. They wore them down by torture and
solitude  until  they  were  despicable,   cringing   wretches,
confessing   whatever  was  put  into  their  mouths,  covering
themselves with  abuse,  accusing  and  sheltering  behind  one
another,  whimpering  for mercy. And yet after only a few years
the same thing had happened over again. The dead men had become
martyrs and their degradation was forgotten.  Once  again,  why
was  it?  In the first place, because the confessions that they
had made were obviously extorted and untrue.  We  do  not  make
mistakes  of  that  kind.  All the confessions that are uttered
here are true. We make them true. And above all we do not allow
the dead to rise up against us. You must  stop  imagining  that
posterity  will  vindicate  you,  Winston. Posterity will never
hear of you. You will be lifted clean out from  the  stream  of
history.  We  shall  turn  you  into  gas and pour you into the
stratosphere. Nothing will remain of  you,  not  a  name  in  a
register,  not  a  memory  in  a  living  brain.  You  will  be
annihilated in the past as well as  in  the  future.  You  will
never have existed.'
     Then  why  bother  to  torture me? thought Winston, with a
momentary  bitterness.  O'Brien  checked  his  step  as  though
Winston had uttered the thought aloud. His large ugly face came
nearer, with the eyes a little narrowed.
     'You  are  thinking,'  he  said,  'that since we intend to
destroy you utterly, so that nothing that you  say  or  do  can
make  the  smallest difference -- in that case, why do we go to
the trouble of interrogating you first? That is what  you  were
thinking, was it not?'
     'Yes,' said Winston.
     O'Brien  smiled  slightly. 'You are a flaw in the pattern,
Winston. You are a stain that must be wiped out. Did I not tell
you just now that we are different from the persecutors of  the
past? We are not content with negative obedience, nor even with
the  most  abject submission. When finally you surrender to us,
it must be of your own free will. We do not destroy the heretic
because he resists us: so  long  as  he  resists  us  we  never
destroy  him.  We  convert  him,  we capture his inner mind, we
reshape him. We burn all evil and all illusion out of  him;  we
bring  him  over to our side, not in appearance, but genuinely,
heart and soul. We make him one of  ourselves  before  we  kill
him.  It  is intolerable to us that an erroneous thought should
exist anywhere in the world, however secret  and  powerless  it
may  be.  Even  in  the  instant  of death we cannot permit any
deviation. In the old days the  heretic  walked  to  the  stake
still  a  heretic, proclaiming his heresy, exulting in it. Even
the victim of the Russian purges could carry  rebellion  locked
up  in  his skull as he walked down the passage waiting for the
bullet. But we make the brain perfect before we  blow  it  out.
The  command  of  the  old despotisms was "Thou shalt not". The
command of the totalitarians was "Thou shalt". Our  command  is
"Thou  art".  No  one  whom  we bring to this place ever
stands out against us. Everyone is  washed  clean.  Even  those
three  miserable  traitors in whose innocence you once believed
-- Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford -- in the end we broke  them
down.  I  took  part  in their interrogation myself. I saw them
gradually worn down, whimpering, grovelling, weeping -- and  in
the  end  it was not with pain or fear, only with penitence. By
the time we had finished with them they were only the shells of
men. There was nothing left in them except sorrow for what they
had done, and love of Big Brother. It was touching to  see  how
they  loved  him.  They begged to be shot quickly, so that they
could die while their minds were still clean.'
     His voice had grown almost  dreamy.  The  exaltation,  the
lunatic   enthusiasm,   was  still  in  his  face.  He  is  not
pretending, thought Winston, he is not a hypocrite, he believes
every  word  he  says.  What  most  oppressed   him   was   the
consciousness  of  his own intellectual inferiority. He watched
the heavy yet graceful form strolling to and fro, in and out of
the range of his vision. O'Brien was a being in all ways larger
than himself. There was no idea that he had ever had, or  could
have,  that  O'Brien  had  not  long  ago  known, examined, and
rejected. His mind contained Winston's mind. But in that
case how could it be true that O'Brien was mad? It must be  he,
Winston,  who  was  mad. O'Brien halted and looked down at him.
His voice had grown stern again.
     'Do not imagine that  you  will  save  yourself,  Winston,
however  completely  you  surrender  to us. No one who has once
gone astray is ever spared. And even if we  chose  to  let  you
live  out  the natural term of your life, still you would never
escape  from  us.  What  happens  to  you  here  is  for  ever.
Understand  that  in  advance.  We  shall crush you down to the
point from which there is no coming back. Things will happen to
you from which you could not recover, if you lived  a  thousand
years.  Never  again  will  you  be  capable  of ordinary human
feeling. Everything will be dead inside you. Never  again  will
you  be  capable  of  love, or friendship, or joy of living, or
laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You  will  be
hollow.  We shall squeeze you empty, and then we shall fill you
with ourselves.'
     He paused and signed to the man in the white coat. Winston
was aware of some heavy piece of apparatus  being  pushed  into
place  behind his head. O'Brien had sat down beside the bed, so
that his face was almost on a level with Winston's.
     'Three thousand,' he said, speaking over Winston's head to
the man in the white coat.
     Two  soft  pads,  which  felt  slightly   moist,   clamped
themselves  against  Winston's  temples.  He quailed. There was
pain  coming,  a  new  kind  of  pain.  O'Brien  laid  a   hand
reassuringly, almost kindly, on his.
     'This  time  it  will  not hurt,' he said. 'Keep your eyes
fixed on mine.'
     At this moment there was a devastating explosion, or  what
seemed  like  an  explosion,  though it was not certain whether
there was any noise. There was undoubtedly a blinding flash  of
light.  Winston  was not hurt, only prostrated. Although he had
already been lying on his back when the thing happened, he  had
a  curious feeling that he had been knocked into that position.
A terrific painless blow had flattened him out. Also  something
had  happened inside his head. As his eyes regained their focus
he remembered who he was, and where he was, and recognized  the
face that was gazing into his own; but somewhere or other there
was  a  large  patch  of  emptiness, as though a piece had been
taken out of his brain.
     'It will not last,' said O'Brien. 'Look me  in  the  eyes.
What country is Oceania at war with?'
     Winston  thought.  He  knew  what was meant by Oceania and
that he himself was a citizen of Oceania.  He  also  remembered
Eurasia  and  Eastasia; but who was at war with whom he did not
know. In fact he had not been aware that there was any war.
     'I don't remember.'
     'Oceania is at war with Eastasia.  Do  you  remember  that
     'Oceania  has  always been at war with Eastasia. Since the
beginning of your life, since the beginning of the Party, since
the beginning of history,  the  war  has  continued  without  a
break, always the same war. Do you remember that?'
     '  Eleven  years  ago you created a legend about three men
who had been condemned to death for  treachery.  You  pretended
that  you had seen a piece of paper which proved them innocent.
No such piece of paper ever existed. You invented it, and later
you grew to believe in it. You remember now the very moment  at
which you first invented it. Do you remember that?'
     'Just now I held up the fingers of my hand to you. You saw
five fingers. Do you remember that?'
     O'Brien  held  up  the  fingers of his left hand, with the
thumb concealed.
     'There are five fingers there. Do you see five fingers?'
     And he did see them, for a fleeting  instant,  before  the
scenery of his mind changed. He saw five fingers, and there was
no  deformity.  Then  everything  was normal again, and the old
fear, the hatred,  and  the  bewilderment  came  crowding  back
again. But there had been a moment -- he did not know how long,
thirty seconds, perhaps -- of luminous certainty, when each new
suggestion  of O'Brien's had filled up a patch of emptiness and
become absolute truth, and when two and  two  could  have  been
three  as  easily as five, if that were what was needed. It had
faded but before O'Brien had dropped his hand;  but  though  he
could  not recapture it, he could remember it, as one remembers
a vivid experience at some period of one's life when one was in
effect a different person.
     'You see now,' said O'Brien,  'that  it  is  at  any  rate
     'Yes,' said Winston.
     O'Brien  stood  up  with a satisfied air. Over to his left
Winston saw the man in the white coat break an ampoule and draw
back the plunger of a syringe. O'Brien turned to Winston with a
smile. In almost the old manner he resettled his spectacles  on
his nose.
     'Do you remember writing in your diary,' he said, 'that it
did not  matter whether I was a friend or an enemy, since I was
at least a person who understood you and could  be  talked  to?
You  were  right.  I enjoy talking to you. Your mind appeals to
me. It resembles my own mind  except  that  you  happen  to  be
insane.  Before we bring the session to an end you can ask me a
few questions, if you choose.'
     'Any question I like?'
     'Anything.' He saw that Winston's eyes were upon the dial.
'It is switched off. What is your first question?'
     'What have you done with Julia?' said Winston.
     O'Brien  smiled  again.  'She   betrayed   you,   Winston.
Immediately-unreservedly.  I  have seldom seen anyone come over
to us so promptly. You would hardly recognize her  if  you  saw
her.  All  her  rebelliousness,  her  deceit,  her  folly,  her
dirty-mindedness -- everything has been burned out of  her.  It
was a perfect conversion, a textbook case.'
     'You tortured her?'
     O'Brien left this unanswered. 'Next question,' he said.
     'Does Big Brother exist?'
     'Of course he exists. The Party exists. Big Brother is the
embodiment of the Party.'
     'Does he exist in the same way as I exist?
     'You do not exist,' said O'Brien.
     Once  again  the  sense  of  helplessness assailed him. He
knew, or he could imagine, the arguments which proved  his  own
nonexistence;  but they were nonsense, they were only a play on
words. Did not the statement, 'You do  not  exist',  contain  a
logical  absurdity?  But  what  use  was it to say so? His mind
shrivelled as he thought of  the  unanswerable,  mad  arguments
with which O'Brien would demolish him.
     'I  think I exist,' he said wearily. 'I am conscious of my
own identity. I was born and I shall die. I have arms and legs.
I occupy a particular point in space. No other solid object can
occupy the same point simultaneously. In that sense,  does  Big
Brother exist?'
     'It is of no importance. He exists.'
     'Will Big Brother ever die?'
     'Of course not. How could he die? Next question.'
     'Does the Brotherhood exist?'
     'That,  Winston,  you will never know. If we choose to set
you free when we have finished with you, and if you live to  be
ninety years old, still you will never learn whether the answer
to  that  question is Yes or No. As long as you live it will be
an unsolved riddle in your mind.'
     Winston lay silent. His breast  rose  and  fell  a  little
faster.  He still had not asked the question that had come into
his mind the first. He had got to ask it, and  yet  it  was  as
though  his  tongue  would  not  utter it. There was a trace of
amusement in O'Brien's face. Even his spectacles seemed to wear
an ironical gleam. He knows, thought Winston suddenly, he knows
what I am going to ask! At the thought the words burst  out  of
     'What is in Room 101?'
     The  expression  on  O'Brien's  face  did  not  change. He
answered drily:
     'You know what is in Room  101,  Winston.  Everyone  knows
what is in Room 101.'
     He raised a finger to the man in the white coat. Evidently
the session  was at an end. A needle jerked into Winston's arm.
He sank almost instantly into deep sleep.

     x x x

     'There are  three  stages  in  your  reintegration,'  said
O'Brien.  'There is learning, there is understanding, and there
is acceptance. It is time for you  to  enter  upon  the  second
     As always, Winston was lying flat on his back. But of late
his bonds  were  looser. They still held him to the bed, but he
could move his knees a little and could turn his head from side
to side and raise his arms from the elbow. The dial, also,  had
grown  to  be  less of a terror. He could evade its pangs if he
was  quick-witted  enough:  it  was  chiefly  when  he   showed
stupidity  that  O'Brien  pulled  the lever. Sometimes they got
through a whole session without use of the dial. He  could  not
remember  how  many  sessions there had been. The whole process
seemed to stretch out over a long, indefinite  time  --  weeks,
possibly  --  and  the  intervals  between  the  sessions might
sometimes have been days, sometimes only an hour or two.
     'As you lie there,' said O'Brien, 'you have often wondered
you have even asked me --  why  the  Ministry  of  Love  should
expend  so much time and trouble on you. And when you were free
you were puzzled by what was essentially the same question. You
could grasp the mechanics of the Society you lived in, but  not
its  underlying motives. Do you remember writing in your diary,
"I understand how: I do not understand why"? It was when
you thought about "why" that you doubted your own  sanity.  You
have read the book, Goldstein's book, or parts of it, at
least. Did it tell you anything that you did not know already?'
     'You have read it?' said Winston.
     'I wrote it. That is to say, I collaborated in writing it.
No book is produced individually, as you know.'
     'Is it true, what it says?'
     'A  description,  yes.  The  programme  it  sets  forth is
nonsense. The secret accumulation of  knowledge  --  a  gradual
spread  of  enlightenment -- ultimately a proletarian rebellion
-- the overthrow of the Party. You foresaw yourself  that  that
was  what  it  would  say. It is all nonsense. The proletarians
will never revolt, not in a thousand years or a  million.  They
cannot.  I  do  not  have  to  tell you the reason: you know it
already. If you have  ever  cherished  any  dreams  of  violent
insurrection,  you  must abandon them. There is no way in which
the Party can be overthrown. The rule of the Party is for ever.
Make that the starting-point of your thoughts.'
     He came closer to the bed. 'For ever!' he  repeated.  'And
now  let  us  get  back to the question of "how" and "why". You
understand well enough how the Party maintains itself in
power. Now tell me why we cling to power. What is  our  motive?
Why  should  we  want power? Go on, speak,' he added as Winston
remained silent.
     Nevertheless Winston did not speak for another  moment  or
two. A feeling of weariness had overwhelmed him. The faint, mad
gleam  of enthusiasm had come back into O'Brien's face. He knew
in advance what O'Brien would say. That the Party did not  seek
power  for its own ends, but only for the good of the majority.
That it sought  power  because  men  in  the  mass  were  frail
cowardly  creatures  who  could  not endure liberty or face the
truth, and must be ruled over and  systematically  deceived  by
others  who  were stronger than themselves. That the choice for
mankind lay between freedom and happiness, and  that,  for  the
great bulk of mankind, happiness was better. That the party was
the  eternal  guardian of the weak, a dedicated sect doing evil
that good might come, sacrificing its own happiness to that  of
others. The terrible thing, thought Winston, the terrible thing
was  that when O'Brien said this he would believe it. You could
see it in his face. O'Brien knew everything. A  thousand  times
better  than Winston he knew what the world was really like, in
what degradation the mass of human beings  lived  and  by  what
lies  and  barbarities  the  Party  kept  them  there.  He  had
understood it all, weighed it all, and it made  no  difference:
all  was  justified  by  the ultimate purpose. What can you do,
thought Winston, against the lunatic who  is  more  intelligent
than yourself, who gives your arguments a fair hearing and then
simply persists in his lunacy?
     'You are ruling over us for our own good,' he said feebly.
'You believe   that   human   beings  are  not  fit  to  govern
themselves, and therefore-'
     He started and almost cried out. A pang of pain  had  shot
through  his  body. O'Brien had pushed the lever of the dial up
to thirty-five.
     'That was stupid, Winston, stupid!' he said.  'You  should
know better than to say a thing like that.'
     He pulled the lever back and continued:
     'Now  I  will  tell  you  the answer to my question. It is
this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake.  We  are
not interested in the good of others ; we are interested solely
in  power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only
power, pure power. What pure power means  you  will  understand
presently.  We  are  different  from all the oligarchies of the
past, in that we know what we are doing. All the  others,  even
those  who  resembled  ourselves, were- cowards and hypocrites.
The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close  to
us  in  their  methods,  but  they  never  had  the  courage to
recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they  even
believed,  that  they  had  seized  power unwillingly and for a
limited time, and that  just  round  the  corner  there  lay  a
paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not
like  that.  We  know  that  no  one ever seizes power with the
intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it  is  an
end.  One  does  not  establish  a  dictatorship  in  order  to
safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution  in  order  to
establish  the  dictatorship.  The  object  of  persecution  is
persecution. The object of torture is torture.  The  object  of
power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?'
     Winston  was  struck, as he had been struck before, by the
tiredness of O'Brien's face.  It  was  strong  and  fleshy  and
brutal,  it  was  full of intelligence and a sort of controlled
passion before which he  felt  himself  helpless;  but  it  was
tired.  There were pouches under the eyes, the skin sagged from
the cheekbones. O'Brien leaned over him, deliberately  bringing
the worn face nearer.
     'You  are  thinking,'  he  said,  'that my face is old and
tired. You are thinking that I talk of power, and yet I am  not
even  able  to  prevent  the  decay of my own body. Can you not
understand, Winston, that the individual is only  a  cell?  The
weariness of the cell is the vigour of the organism. Do you die
when you cut your fingernails?'
     He  turned  away  from  the bed and began strolling up and
down again, one hand in his pocket.
     'We are the priests of power,' he said. 'God is power. But
at present power is only a word so far as you are concerned. It
is time for you to gather some idea of what  power  means.  The
first  thing  you must realize is that power is collective. The
individual only has power in so far  as  he  ceases  to  be  an
individual.  You  know  the Party slogan: "Freedom is Slavery".
Has it ever occurred to you that it is reversible?  Slavery  is
freedom.  Alone  -- free -- the human being is always defeated.
It must be so, because every human  being  is  doomed  to  die,
which  is  the  greatest  of  all  failures. But if he can make
complete, utter submission, if he can escape from his identity,
if he can merge himself in the Party so that he  is  the
Party,  then  he is all-powerful and immortal. The second thing
for you to realize is that power is power  over  human  beings.
Over  the body but, above all, over the mind. Power over matter
-- external reality, as you would call it -- is not  important.
Already our control over matter is absolute.'
     For  a  moment Winston ignored the dial. He made a violent
effort to raise himself into a  sitting  position,  and  merely
succeeded in wrenching his body painfully.
     'But how can you control matter?' he burst out. 'You don't
even control  the  climate or the law of gravity. And there are
disease, pain, death-'
     O'Brien silenced him  by  a  movement  of  his  hand.  'We
control  matter  because we control the mind. Reality is inside
the skull. You will learn by degrees, Winston. There is nothing
that we could not do. Invisibility, levitation --  anything.  I
could  float  off this floor like a soap bubble if I wish to. I
do not wish to, because the Party does not wish  it.  You  must
get  rid  of  those  nineteenth-century ideas about the laws of
Nature. We make the laws of Nature.'
     'But you do not! You are not even masters of this  planet.
What  about  Eurasia  and Eastasia? You have not conquered them
     'Unimportant. We shall conquer them when it suits us.  And
if  we did not, what difference would it make? We can shut them
out of existence. Oceania is the world.'
     'But the world itself is only a speck of dust. And man  is
tiny  helpless! How long has he been in existence? For millions
of years the earth was uninhabited.'
     'Nonsense. The earth is as old as we are,  no  older.  How
could   it  be  older?  Nothing  exists  except  through  human
     'But the rocks are full of the bones of extinct animals --
mammoths and mastodons and enormous reptiles which  lived  here
long before man was ever heard of.'
     'Have  you  ever seen those bones, Winston? Of course not.
Nineteenth-century biologists invented them. Before  man  there
was nothing. After man, if he could come to an end, there would
be nothing. Outside man there is nothing.'
     'But the whole universe is outside us. Look at the stars !
Some of  them  are  a million light-years away. They are out of
our reach for ever.'
     'What are the stars?' said  O'Brien  indifferently.  'They
are  bits of fire a few kilometres away. We could reach them if
we wanted to. Or we could blot  them  out.  The  earth  is  the
centre of the universe. The sun and the stars go round it.'
     Winston made another convulsive movement. This time he did
not say  anything.  O'Brien  continued  as  though  answering a
spoken objection:
     'For certain purposes, of course, that is not  true.  When
we  navigate the ocean, or when we predict an eclipse, we often
find it convenient to assume that the earth goes round the  sun
and  that  the  stars  are millions upon millions of kilometres
away. But what of it? Do you suppose it is beyond us to produce
a dual system of astronomy? The stars can be near  or  distant,
according  as  we  need them. Do you suppose our mathematicians
are unequal to that? Have you forgotten doublethink?'
     Winston shrank back upon the bed. Whatever  he  said,  the
swift  answer  crushed him like a bludgeon. And yet he knew, he
knew, that he was in the right. The belief that  nothing
exists  outside  your own mind -- surely there must be some way
of demonstrating that it was false? Had  it  not  been  exposed
long  ago  as a fallacy? There was even a name for it, which he
had forgotten. A faint smile twitched the corners of  O'Brien's
mouth as he looked down at him.
     'I  told  you, Winston,' he said, 'that metaphysics is not
your strong point. The word you  are  trying  to  think  of  is
solipsism.  But  you  are  mistaken.  This  is  not  solipsism.
Collective solipsism, if you like.  But  that  is  a  different
thing:  in fact, the opposite thing. All this is a digression,'
he added in a different tone. 'The real  power,  the  power  we
have  to fight for night and day, is not power over things, but
over men.' He paused, and for a moment assumed again his air of
a schoolmaster questioning a promising pupil: 'How does one man
assert his power over another, Winston?'
     Winston thought. 'By making him suffer,' he said.
     'Exactly. By making him suffer. Obedience is  not  enough.
Unless  he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying
your will and not his own? Power  is  in  inflicting  pain  and
humiliation.  Power  is  in  tearing  human minds to pieces and
putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.
Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are  creating?
It  is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that
the old reformers imagined. A world of fear  and  treachery  is
torment,  a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world
which will grow  not  less  but  more  merciless  as  it
refines  itself. Progress in our world will be progress towards
more pain. The old civilizations claimed that they were founded
on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In  our  world
there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-
abasement. Everything else we shall destroy everything. Already
we  are breaking down the habits of thought which have survived
from before the Revolution. We have cut the links between child
and parent, and between man and man, and between man and woman.
No one dares trust a wife or a child or a  friend  any  longer.
But  in  the  future  there  will  be  no wives and no friends.
Children will be taken from their  mothers  at  birth,  as  one
takes  eggs  from  a  hen. The sex instinct will be eradicated.
Procreation will be an annual formality like the renewal  of  a
ration  card. We shall abolish the orgasm. Our neurologists are
at work upon it now. There will be no loyalty,  except  loyalty
towards  the  Party.  There will be no love, except the love of
Big Brother. There will be no laughter,  except  the  laugh  of
triumph  over  a  defeated  enemy.  There  will  be  no art, no
literature, no science. When we are omnipotent we shall have no
more need of science. There  will  be  no  distinction  between
beauty  and  ugliness. There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment
of the  process  of  life.  All  competing  pleasures  will  be
destroyed.  But always -- do not forget this, Winston -- always
there will be the intoxication of power, constantly  increasing
and  constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there
will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an
enemy who is helpless. If you want a  picture  of  the  future,
imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- for ever.'
     He  paused as though he expected Winston to speak. Winston
had tried to shrink back into the surface of the bed again.  He
could  not say anything. His heart seemed to be frozen. O'Brien
went on:
     'And remember that it is for ever. The face will always be
there to be stamped upon. The heretic, the  enemy  of  society,
will always be there, so that he can be defeated and humiliated
over  again.  Everything that you have undergone since you have
been in our hands -- all that will  continue,  and  worse.  The
espionage,  the  betrayals,  the  arrests,  the  tortures,  the
executions, the disappearances will never cease. It will  be  a
world  of  terror  as  much as a world of triumph. The more the
Party is powerful, the less it will be tolerant: the weaker the
opposition,  the  tighter  the  despotism.  Goldstein  and  his
heresies  will  live for ever. Every day, at every moment, they
will be defeated, discredited, ridiculed,  spat  upon  and  yet
they  will  always  survive.  This drama that I have played out
with you during seven years will be played out  over  and  over
again  generation  after  generation,  always in subtler forms.
Always we shall have the heretic here at our  mercy,  screaming
with  pain,  broken  up, contemptible -- and in the end utterly
penitent, saved from himself, crawling to our feet of  his  own
accord.  That  is  the  world that we are preparing, Winston. A
world of victory after victory,  triumph  after  triumph  after
triumph: an endless pressing, pressing, pressing upon the nerve
of  power.  You  are beginning, I can see, to realize what that
world will be like. But in  the  end  you  will  do  more  than
understand  it.  You will accept it, welcome it, become part of
     Winston had recovered himself sufficiently to speak.  'You
can't!' he said weakly.
     'What do you mean by that remark, Winston?'
     'You  could  not  create  such  a  world  as you have just
described. It is a dream. It is impossible.'
     'It is impossible to found  a  civilization  on  fear  and
hatred and cruelty. It would never endure.'
     'Why not?'
     'It  would  have  no  vitality.  It would disintegrate. It
would commit suicide.'
     'Nonsense. You are under the  impression  that  hatred  is
more  exhausting  than  love. Why should it be? And if it were,
what difference would that make? Suppose that we choose to wear
ourselves out faster. Suppose that  we  quicken  the  tempo  of
human life till men are senile at thirty. Still what difference
would  it  make?  Can  you not understand that the death of the
individual is not death? The party is immortal.'
     As  usual,   the   voice   had   battered   Winston   into
helplessness.  Moreover he was in dread that if he persisted in
his disagreement O'Brien would twist the dial again. And yet he
could not keep silent. Feebly, without arguments, with  nothing
to  support  him except his inarticulate horror of what O'Brien
had said, he returned to the attack.
     'I don't know -- I don't  care.  Somehow  you  will  fail.
Something will defeat you. Life will defeat you.'
     'We  control  life,  Winston,  at  all its levels. You are
imagining that there is something  called  human  nature  which
will be outraged by what we do and will turn against us. But we
create  human  nature. Men are infinitely malleable. Or perhaps
you have returned to your old idea that the proletarians or the
slaves will arise and overthrow us. Put it out  of  your  mind.
They are helpless, like the animals. Humanity is the Party. The
others are outside -- irrelevant.'
     'I  don't  care.  In the end they will beat you. Sooner or
later they will see you for what you are, and  then  they  will
tear you to pieces.'
     'Do  you  see  any evidence that that is happening? Or any
reason why it should?'
     'No. I believe it. I know that you will fail. There
is something in the universe -- I don't know, some spirit, some
principle -- that you will never overcome.'
     'Do you believe in God, Winston?'
     'Then what is it, this principle that will defeat us?'
     'I don't know. The spirit of Man.'
     'And do you consider yourself a man?.'
     'If you are a man, Winston, you are  the  last  man.  Your
kind  is extinct; we are the inheritors. Do you understand that
you  are  alone?  You  are  outside  history,  you   are
non-existent.'  His  manner  changed  and he said more harshly:
'And you consider yourself morally superior  to  us,  with  our
lies and our cruelty?'
     'Yes, I consider myself superior.'
     O'Brien  did  not  speak.  Two other voices were speaking.
After a moment Winston recognized one of them as  his  own.  It
was  a sound-track of the conversation he had had with O'Brien,
on the night when he had enrolled himself in  the  Brotherhood.
He  heard  himself  promising  to  lie,  to steal, to forge, to
murder,  to  encourage   drug-taking   and   prostitution,   to
disseminate  venereal  diseases,  to throw vitriol in a child's
face. O'Brien made a small impatient gesture, as though to  say
that  the demonstration was hardly worth making. Then he turned
a switch and the voices stopped.
     'Get up from that bed,' he said.
     The bonds had loosened themselves. Winston lowered himself
to the floor and stood up unsteadily.
     'You are  the  last  man,'  said  O'Brien.  'You  are  the
guardian  of  the  human  spirit. You shall see yourself as you
are. Take off your clothes.'
     Winston undid the bit of string  that  held  his  overalls
together.  The zip fastener had long since been wrenched out of
them. He could not remember  whether  at  any  time  since  his
arrest  he  had  taken off all his clothes at one time. Beneath
the overalls his body was looped with  filthy  yellowish  rags,
just  recognizable  as the remnants of underclothes. As he slid
them to the ground he saw that there was a  three-sided  mirror
at  the  far  end  of  the room. He approached it, then stopped
short. An involuntary cry had broken out of him.
     'Go on,' said O'Brien. 'Stand between  the  wings  of  the
mirror. You shall see the side view as well.'
     He  had  stopped  because  he  was  frightened.  A  bowed,
greycoloured, skeleton-like thing was coming towards  him.  Its
actual appearance was frightening, and not merely the fact that
he  knew  it  to  be himself. He moved closer to the glass. The
creature's face seemed to be protruded,  because  of  its  bent
carriage.  A  forlorn,  jailbird's  face  with a nobby forehead
running  back  into  a  bald  scalp,  a   crooked   nose,   and
battered-looking  cheekbones  above  which his eyes were fierce
and watchful. The cheeks were seamed, the mouth had a  drawn-in
look.  Certainly it was his own face, but it seemed to him that
it had changed more than he had changed inside. The emotions it
registered would be different from the ones  he  felt.  He  had
gone  partially  bald. For the first moment he had thought that
he had gone grey as well, but it was only the  scalp  that  was
grey.  Except  for his hands and a circle of his face, his body
was grey all over with ancient, ingrained dirt. Here and  there
under the dirt there were the red scars of wounds, and near the
ankle  the  varicose  ulcer was an inflamed mass with flakes of
skin peeling off it. But the truly frightening  thing  was  the
emaciation of his body. The barrel of the ribs was as narrow as
that  of a skeleton: the legs had shrunk so that the knees were
thicker than the thighs. He saw  now  what  O'Brien  had  meant
about  seeing  the  side  view.  The curvature of the spine was
astonishing. The thin shoulders were hunched forward so  as  to
make  a  cavity  of  the  chest,  the scraggy neck seemed to be
bending double under the weight of the skull.  At  a  guess  he
would  have  said  that  it  was  the  body  of a man of sixty,
suffering from some malignant disease.
     'You have thought sometimes,' said O'Brien, 'that my  face
-- the  face  of  a  member of the Inner Party -- looks old and
worn. What do you think of your own face?'
     He seized Winston's shoulder and spun him round so that he
was facing him.
     'Look at the condition you are in!' he said. 'Look at this
filthy grime all over your body. Look at the dirt between  your
toes.  Look at that disgusting running sore on your leg. Do you
know that you stink like a goat? Probably you  have  ceased  to
notice  it.  Look at your emaciation. Do you see? I can make my
thumb and forefinger meet round your bicep. I could  snap  your
neck  like a carrot. Do you know that you have lost twenty-five
kilograms since you have been in our hands? Even your  hair  is
coming out in handfuls. Look!' He plucked at Winston's head and
brought  away  a  tuft  of  hair.  'Open your mouth. Nine, ten,
eleven teeth left. How many had you when you came  to  us?  And
the  few  you  have  left  are  dropping out of your head. Look
     He seized one of Winston's remaining front  teeth  between
his  powerful  thumb  and  forefinger.  A  twinge  of pain shot
through Winston's jaw. O'Brien had wrenched the loose tooth out
by the roots. He tossed it across the cell.
     'You are rotting away,'  he  said;  'you  are  falling  to
pieces.  What are you? A bag of filth. Now turn around and look
into that mirror again. Do you see that thing facing you?  That
is  the  last  man. If you are human, that is humanity. Now put
your clothes on again.'
     Winston began to dress himself with slow stiff  movements.
Until now he had not seemed to notice how thin and weak he was.
Only one thought stirred in his mind: that he must have been in
this  place  longer  than  he had imagined. Then suddenly as he
fixed the miserable rags round himself a feeling  of  pity  for
his  ruined body overcame him. Before he knew what he was doing
he had collapsed on to a small stool that stood beside the  bed
and  burst  into  tears.  He  was  aware  of  his ugliness, his
gracelessness, a bundle of bones in filthy underclothes sitting
weeping in the  harsh  white  light:  but  he  could  not  stop
himself. O'Brien laid a hand on his shoulder, almost kindly.
     'It will not last for ever,' he said. 'You can escape from
it whenever you choose. Everything depends on yourself.'
     'You  did  it!'  sobbed  Winston.  'You reduced me to this
     'No, Winston, you reduced yourself to it. This is what you
accepted when you set yourself up against the Party. It was all
contained in that first act. Nothing has happened that you  did
not foresee.'
     He paused, and then went on:
     'We  have  beaten you, Winston. We have broken you up. You
have seen what your body is like. Your  mind  is  in  the  same
state.  I do not think there can be much pride left in you. You
have been kicked and flogged and insulted,  you  have  screamed
with  pain,  you have rolled on the floor in your own blood and
vomit.  You  have  whimpered  for  mercy,  you  have   betrayed
everybody and everything. Can you think of a single degradation
that has not happened to you?'
     Winston  had  stopped weeping, though the tears were still
oozing out of his eyes. He looked up at O'Brien.
     'I have not betrayed Julia,' he said.
     O'Brien looked down at him thoughtfully.  'No,'  he  said;
'no; that is perfectly true. You have not betrayed Julia.'
     The  peculiar  reverence for O'Brien, which nothing seemed
able  to  destroy,   flooded   Winston's   heart   again.   How
intelligent,  he  thought,  how  intelligent! Never did O'Brien
fail to understand what was said to him. Anyone else  on  earth
would have answered promptly that he had betrayed Julia.
For  what  was there that they had not screwed out of him under
the torture? He had told them everything he knew about her, her
habits, her character, her past life; he had confessed  in  the
most  trivial  detail  everything  that  had  happened at their
meetings, all that he had said to her and  she  to  him,  their
black-market  meals,  their  adulteries,  their vague plottings
against the Party -- everything. And yet, in the sense in which
he intended the word, he had  not  betrayed  her.  He  had  not
stopped  loving  her; his feelings towards her had remained the
same. O'Brien had seen what  he  meant  without  the  need  for
     'Tell me,' he said, 'how soon will they shoot me?'
     'It  might  be  a  long  time,'  said  O'Brien. 'You are a
difficult case. But don't  give  up  hope.  Everyone  is  cured
sooner or later. In the end we shall shoot you.'

     x x x

     He  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
     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:


     Then almost without a pause he wrote beneath it:


     But  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:


     He 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,
truly happens.
     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 to attain.
     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 to 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
     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
     '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.

     x x x

     At  each stage of his imprisonment he had known, or seemed
to  know,  whereabouts  he  was  in  the  windowless  building.
Possibly there were slight differences in the air pressure. The
cells  where the guards had beaten him were below ground level.
The room where he had been interrogated by O'Brien was high  up
near  the roof. This place was many metres underground, as deep
down as it was possible to go.
     It was bigger than most of the cells he had been  in.  But
he  hardly  noticed  his  surroundings. All he noticed was that
there were two small tables straight  in  front  of  him,  each
covered with green baize. One was only a metre or two from him,
the  other  was  further  away,  near the door. He was strapped
upright in a chair, so tightly that he could move nothing,  not
even  his  head.  A  sort  of pad gripped his head from behind,
forcing him to look straight in front of him.
     For a moment he  was  alone,  then  the  door  opened  and
O'Brien came in.
     'You  asked me once,' said O'Brien, 'what was in Room 101.
I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it.
The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world.'
     The door opened again. A guard came in, carrying something
made of wire, a box or basket of some kind. He set it  down  on
the further table. Because of the position in which O'Brien was
standing. Winston could not see what the thing was.
     'The worst thing in the world,' said O'Brien, 'varies from
individual  to  individual. It may be burial alive, or death by
fire, or by drowning, or by impalement, or fifty other  deaths.
There  are cases where it is some quite trivial thing, not even
     He had moved a little to one side, so that Winston  had  a
better  view  of  the thing on the table. It was an oblong wire
cage with a handle on top for carrying  it  by.  Fixed  to  the
front of it was something that looked like a fencing mask, with
the concave side outwards. Although it was three or four metres
away  from  him,  he  could  see  that  the  cage  was  divided
lengthways into two compart ments, and that there was some kind
of creature in each. They were rats.
     'In your case, said O'Brien, 'the worst thing in the world
happens to be rats.'
     A sort of premonitory tremor, a fear of he was not certain
what, had passed through Winston as soon as he caught his first
glimpse of the cage. But at this  moment  the  meaning  of  the
mask-like attachment in front of it suddenly sank into him. His
bowels seemed to turn to water.
     'You can't do that!' he cried out in a high cracked voice.
'You couldn't, you couldn't! It's impossible.'
     'Do you remember,' said O'Brien, 'the moment of panic that
used to  occur in your dreams? There was a wall of blackness in
front of you, and a roaring  sound  in  your  ears.  There  was
something terrible on the other side of the wall. You knew that
you  knew what it was, but you dared not drag it into the open.
It was the rats that were on the other side of the wall.'
     'O'Brien!' said Winston, making an effort to  control  his
voice.  'You  know  this  is not necessary. What is it that you
want me to do?'
     O'Brien made no direct answer. When he spoke it was in the
schoolmasterish manner that he sometimes  affected.  He  looked
thoughtfully into the distance, as though he were addressing an
audience somewhere behind Winston's back.
     'By  itself,'  he  said, 'pain is not always enough. There
are occasions when a human being will stand out  against  pain,
even to the point of death. But for everyone there is something
unendurable  --  something that cannot be contemplated. Courage
and cowardice are not involved.  If  you  are  falling  from  a
height it is not cowardly to clutch at a rope. If you have come
up  from  deep water it is not cowardly to fill your lungs with
air. It is merely an instinct which cannot be destroyed. It  is
the same with the rats. For you, they are unendurable. They are
a  form  of  pressure  that  you  cannot withstand. even if you
wished to. You will do what is required of you.
     'But what is it, what is it? How can I do it  if  I  don't
know what it is?'
     O'Brien  picked  up  the cage and brought it across to the
nearer table. He set it down  carefully  on  the  baize  cloth.
Winston  could  hear  the blood singing in his ears. He had the
feeling of sitting in utter loneliness. He was in the middle of
a great empty plain, a  flat  desert  drenched  with  sunlight,
across  which  all sounds came to him out of immense distances.
Yet the cage with the rats was not two metres  away  from  him.
They  were  enormous  rats.  They  were at the age when a rat's
muzzle grows blunt and fierce and  his  fur  brown  instead  of
     'The  rat,'  said  O'Brien, still addressing his invisible
audience, 'although a rodent, is carnivorous. You are aware  of
that. You will have heard of the things that happen in the poor
quarters  of  this town. In some streets a woman dare not leave
her baby alone in the house, even for five  minutes.  The  rats
are  certain  to attack it. Within quite a small time they will
strip it to the bones. They also attack sick or  dying  people.
They  show  astonishing  intelligence  in  knowing when a human
being is helpless.'
     There was an outburst of squeals from the cage. It  seemed
to  reach  Winston  from far away. The rats were fighting; they
were trying to get at each  other  through  the  partition.  He
heard  also  a deep groan of despair. That, too, seemed to come
from outside himself.
     O'Brien picked up the cage, and, as  he  did  so,  pressed
something  in  it.  There  was  a  sharp  click. Winston made a
frantic effort to tear himself loose from  the  chair.  It  was
hopeless; every part of him, even his head, was held immovably.
O'Brien  moved  the  cage nearer. It was less than a metre from
Winston's face.
     'I have pressed  the  first  lever,'  said  O'Brien.  'You
understand  the  construction  of  this cage. The mask will fit
over your head, leaving no exit. When I press this other lever,
the door of the cage will slide up. These starving brutes  will
shoot  out  of  it  like bullets. Have you ever seen a rat leap
through the air? They will  leap  on  to  your  face  and  bore
straight  into  it.  Sometimes  they  attack  the  eyes  first.
Sometimes  they  burrow  through  the  cheeks  and  devour  the
     The  cage  was  nearer; it was closing in. Winston heard a
succession of shrill cries which appeared to  be  occurring  in
the  air  above  his  head. But he fought furiously against his
panic. To think, to think, even with a split second left --  to
think  was  the only hope. Suddenly the foul musty odour of the
brutes struck his nostrils. There was a violent  convulsion  of
nausea inside him, and he almost lost consciousness. Everything
had  gone  black.  For  an  instant  he was insane, a screaming
animal. Yet he came out of the  blackness  clutching  an  idea.
There  was  one  and  only  one  way  to  save himself. He must
interpose another human being, the body of another human
being, between himself and the rats.
     The circle of the mask was large enough now  to  shut  out
the  vision  of  anything  else.  The wire door was a couple of
hand-spans from his face. The rats knew what  was  coming  now.
One  of  them  was leaping up and down, the other, an old scaly
grandfather of the  sewers,  stood  up,  with  his  pink  hands
against  the  bars, and fiercely sniffed the air. Winston could
see the whiskers and the yellow teeth. Again  the  black  panic
took hold of him. He was blind, helpless, mindless.
     'It  was  a  common  punishment  in  Imperial China,' said
O'Brien as didactically as ever.
     The mask was closing on his face.  The  wire  brushed  his
cheek.  And  then  --  no, it was not relief, only hope, a tiny
fragment of hope. Too  late,  perhaps  too  late.  But  he  had
suddenly  understood  that  in  the  whole world there was just
one person to whom he could transfer his  punishment  --
one  body  that  he could thrust between himself and the
rats. And he was shouting frantically, over and over.
     'Do it to Julia! Do it to Julia! Not me!  Julia!  I  don't
care  what  you  do to her. Tear her face off, strip her to the
bones. Not me! Julia! Not me!'
     He was falling backwards, into enormous depths, away  from
the rats. He was still strapped in the chair, but he had fallen
through  the  floor, through the walls of the building, through
the earth, through the oceans,  through  the  atmosphere,  into
outer  space,  into the gulfs between the stars -- always away,
away, away from the rats.  He  was  light  years  distant,  but
O'Brien  was  still  standing  at his side. There was still the
cold touch of wire against his cheek. But through the  darkness
that  enveloped  him  he heard another metallic click, and knew
that the cage door had clicked shut and not open.

     x x x

     The Chestnut Tree was almost  empty.  A  ray  of  sunlight
slanting  through a window fell on dusty table-tops. It was the
lonely hour  of  fifteen.  A  tinny  music  trickled  from  the
     Winston  sat  in  his  usual  corner, gazing into an empty
glass. Now and again he glanced up at a vast  face  which  eyed
him  from  the  opposite wall. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the
caption said. Unbidden, a waiter came and filled his  glass  up
with  Victory  Gin,  shaking  into  it a few drops from another
bottle with  a  quill  through  the  cork.  It  was  saccharine
flavoured with cloves, the speciality of the cafe/.
     Winston  was  listening to the telescreen. At present only
music was coming out of it, but there was a possibility that at
any moment there might be a special bulletin from the  Ministry
of  Peace.  The  news from the African front was disquieting in
the extreme. On and off he had been worrying about it all  day.
A  Eurasian  army (Oceania was at war with Eurasia: Oceania had
always been at  war  with  Eurasia)  was  moving  southward  at
terrifying  speed.  The  mid-day bulletin had not mentioned any
definite area, but it was probable that already  the  mouth  of
the  Congo was a battlefield. Brazzaville and Leopoldville were
in danger. One did not have to look at the map to see  what  it
meant.  It  was not merely a question of losing Central Africa:
for the first time in the whole war, the territory  of  Oceania
itself was menaced.
     A  violent  emotion,  not  fear  exactly  but  a  sort  of
undifferentiated excitement,  flared  up  in  him,  then  faded
again.  He  stopped  thinking  about  the war. In these days he
could never fix his mind on any one subject for more than a few
moments at a time. He picked up his glass and drained it  at  a
gulp.  As  always,  the  gin  made  him  shudder and even retch
slightly. The stuff was horrible. The  cloves  and  saccharine,
themselves  disgusting  enough  in  their sickly way, could not
disguise the flat oily smell; and what was  worst  of  all  was
that  the smell of gin, which dwelt with him night and day, was
inextricably mixed up in his mind with the smell of those-
     He never named them, even in his thoughts, and so  far  as
it  was  possible he never visualized them. They were something
that he was half-aware of, hovering close to his face, a  smell
that  clung  to his nostrils. As the gin rose in him he belched
through purple lips. He had grown fatter  since  they  released
him,  and  had  regained  his  old  colour -- indeed, more than
regained it. His features had thickened, the skin on  nose  and
cheekbones was coarsely red, even the bald scalp was too deep a
pink.  A waiter, again unbidden, brought the chessboard and the
current issue of The Times, with the page turned down at
the chess problem. Then, seeing that Winston's glass was empty,
he brought the gin bottle and filled it. There was no  need  to
give  orders.  They  knew his habits. The chessboard was always
waiting for him, his corner table  was  always  reserved;  even
when  the  place  was  full  he had it to himself, since nobody
cared to be seen sitting  too  close  to  him.  He  never  even
bothered  to  count  his  drinks.  At  irregular intervals they
presented him with a dirty slip of paper which  they  said  was
the   bill,   but  he  had  the  impression  that  they  always
undercharged him. It would have made no difference  if  it  had
been  the  other  way  about.  He  had  always  plenty of money
nowadays. He even had a job, a sinecure, more highly-paid  than
his old job had been.
     The  music  from  the  telescreen stopped and a voice took
over. Winston raised his head to listen. No bulletins from  the
front,  however.  It  was  merely a brief announcement from the
Ministry of Plenty. In the preceding quarter, it appeared,  the
Tenth   ThreeYear   Plan's   quota   for   bootlaces  had  been
overfulfilled by 98 per cent.
     He examined the chess problem and set out the  pieces.  It
was  a  tricky ending, involving a couple of knights. 'White to
play and mate in two moves.' Winston looked up at the  portrait
of  Big  Brother. White always mates, he thought with a sort of
cloudy mysticism. Always, without exception, it is so arranged.
In no chess problem since the beginning of the world has  black
ever  won.  Did it not symbolize the eternal, unvarying triumph
of Good over Evil? The huge face gazed back  at  him,  full  of
calm power. White always mates.
     The  voice  from  the  telescreen  paused  and  added in a
different and much graver tone: 'You are warned to stand by for
an important announcement at fifteen-thirty.  Fifteen-  thirty!
This  is  news of the highest importance. Take care not to miss
it. Fifteen-thirty !' The tinking music struck up again.
     Winston's heart stirred. That was the  bulletin  from  the
front;  instinct told him that it was bad news that was coming.
All day, with little spurts of excitement,  the  thought  of  a
smashing  defeat  in Africa had been in and out of his mind. He
seemed actually to see the Eurasian army  swarming  across  the
never-broken  frontier  and pouring down into the tip of Africa
like a column of ants. Why had it not been possible to outflank
them in some way? The outline of the West African  coast  stood
out  vividly  in  his  mind.  He picked up the white knight and
moved it across the board. There was  the  proper  spot.
Even  while  he  saw  the  black  horde racing southward he saw
another force,  mysteriously  assembled,  suddenly  planted  in
their  rear,  cutting  their  comunications by land and sea. He
felt that by willing it he was bringing that other  force  into
existence.  But  it was necessary to act quickly. If they could
get control of the whole of Africa, if they had  airfields  and
submarine  bases  at  the Cape, it would cut Oceania in two. It
might mean anything: defeat, breakdown, the redivision  of  the
world,  the destruction of the Party! He drew a deep breath. An
extraordinary medley  of  feeling-but  it  was  not  a  medley,
exactly;  rather  it was successive layers of feeling, in which
one could not say which layer was  undermost  struggled  inside
     The  spasm  passed.  He  put  the white knight back in its
place, but for the moment he could not settle down  to  serious
study of the chess problem. His thoughts wandered again. Almost
unconsciously  he  traced  with  his  finger in the dust on the
table: 2+2=
     'They can't get inside you,' she had said. But they  could
get  inside you. 'What happens to you here is for ever,'
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.
     He  had  seen her; he had even spoken to her. There was no
danger in it. He knew as though  instinctively  that  they  now
took  almost  no interest in his doings. He could have arranged
to meet her a second time if either  of  them  had  wanted  to.
Actually  it  was  by  chance  that they had met. It was in the
Park, on a vile, biting day in March, when the earth  was  like
iron  and  all  the  grass  seemed dead and there was not a bud
anywhere except a few crocuses which had pushed  themselves  up
to  be  dismembered  by  the  wind.  He was hurrying along with
frozen hands and watering eyes when he saw her not  ten  metres
away  from  him.  It struck him at once that she had changed in
some ill-defined way. They almost passed one another without  a
sign,  then  he  turned  and followed her, not very eagerly. He
knew that there was no danger, nobody would take  any  interest
in him. She did not speak. She walked obliquely away across the
grass as though trying to get rid of him, then seemed to resign
herself to having him at her side. Presently they were in among
a   clump   of  ragged  leafless  shrubs,  useless  either  for
concealment or as protection from the wind. They halted. It was
vilely cold. The wind whistled through the  twigs  and  fretted
the  occasional,  dirty-looking  crocuses. He put his arm round
her waist.
     There  was  no  telescreen,  but  there  must  be   hidden
microphones:  besides,  they  could be seen. It did not matter,
nothing mattered. They could have lain down on the  ground  and
done  that  if  they had wanted to. His flesh froze with
horror at the thought of it. She made no response  whatever  to
the  clasp  of  his  arm  ;  she  did not even try to disengage
herself. He knew now what had changed  in  her.  Her  face  was
sallower, and there was a long scar, partly hidden by the hair,
across her forehead and temple; but that was not the change. It
was that her waist had grown thicker, and, in a surprising way,
had stiffened. He remembered how once, after the explosion of a
rocket  bomb, he had helped to drag a corpse out of some ruins,
and had been astonished not only by the  incredible  weight  of
the thing, but by its rigidity and awkwardness to handle, which
made  it  seem  more  like stone than flesh. Her body felt like
that. It occurred to him that the texture of her skin would  be
quite different from what it had once been.
     He  did  not  attempt  to kiss her, nor did they speak. As
they walked back across the grass, she looked directly  at  him
for  the  first  time.  It was only a momentary glance, full of
contempt and dislike. He wondered whether it was a dislike that
came purely out of the past or whether it was inspired also  by
his  bloated  face  and  the water that the wind kept squeezing
from his eyes. They sat down on two iron chairs, side  by  side
but not too close together. He saw that she was about to speak.
She  moved  her  clumsy shoe a few centimetres and deliberately
crushed a twig. Her feet  seemed  to  have  grown  broader,  he
     'I betrayed you,' she said baldly.
     'I betrayed you,' he said.
     She gave him another quick look of dislike.
     '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
     '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.'
     There did not seem to be anything more to  say.  The  wind
plastered  their  thin overalls against their bodies. Almost at
once it became embarrassing to sit there in  silence:  besides,
it  was  too  cold  to  keep  still.  She  said something about
catching her Tube and stood up to go.
     'We must meet again,' he said.
     'Yes,' she said, 'we must meet again. '
     He followed irresolutely for a  little  distance,  half  a
pace behind her. They did not speak again. She did not actually
try  to  shake  him  off, but walked at just such a speed as to
prevent his keeping abreast of her. He had  made  up  his  mind
that  he  would  accompany  her as far as the Tube station, but
suddenly this process of trailing  along  in  the  cold  seemed
pointless and unbearable. He was overwhelmed by a desire not so
much to get away from Julia as to get back to the Chestnut Tree
Cafe/,  which had never seemed so attractive as at this moment.
He had a  nostalgic  vision  of  his  corner  table,  with  the
newspaper  and  the  chessboard  and the everflowing gin. Above
all, it would be warm in there. The next moment, not altogether
by accident, he allowed himself to become separated from her by
a small knot of people. He made a halfhearted attempt to  catch
up,  then  slowed  down,  turned,  and made off in the opposite
direction. When he had gone fifty metres he  looked  back.  The
street  was  not  crowded, but already he could not distinguish
her. Any one of a dozen hurrying figures might have been  hers.
Perhaps   her   thickened,   stiffened   body   was  no  longer
recognizable from behind.
     'At the time when it happens,' she had said, 'you do  mean
it.'  He had meant it. He had not merely said it, he had wished
it. He had wished that she and not he should be delivered  over
to the-
     Something  changed  in  the  music  that trickled from the
telescreen. A cracked and jeering note,  a  yellow  note,  came
into  it.  And then -- perhaps it was not happening, perhaps it
was only a memory taking on the semblance of sound --  a  voice
was singing:

     'Under the spreading chestnut tree
     I sold you and you sold me '

     The  tears welled up in his eyes. A passing waiter noticed
that his glass was empty and came back with the gin bottle.
     He took up his glass and sniffed at it. The stuff grew not
less but more horrible with every mouthful he drank. But it had
become the element he swam in. It was his life, his death,  and
his  resurrection.  It  was gin that sank him into stupor every
night, and gin that revived him every morning.  When  he  woke,
seldom  before eleven hundred, with gummed-up eyelids and fiery
mouth and a back that seemed to be broken, it would  have  been
impossible  even to rise from the horizontal if it had not been
for the bottle and teacup  placed  beside  the  bed  overnight.
Through  the  midday  hours he sat with glazed face, the bottle
handy,  listening  to   the   telescreen.   From   fifteen   to
closing-time  he  was  a  fixture  in the Chestnut Tree. No one
cared  what  he  did  any  longer,  no  whistle  woke  him,  no
telescreen  admonished him. Occasionally, perhaps twice a week,
he went to a dusty, forgotten-looking office in the Ministry of
Truth and did a little work, or what was called  work.  He  had
been  appointed to a sub-committee of a sub-committee which had
sprouted from one of the innumerable  committees  dealing  with
minor  difficulties  that  arose  in  the  compilation  of  the
Eleventh Edition of the Newspeak Dictionary. They were  engaged
in  producing  something  called an Interim Report, but what it
was that they were reporting on he had never  definitely  found
out. It was something to do with the question of whether commas
should  be  placed inside brackets, or outside. There were four
others on  the  committee,  all  of  them  persons  similar  to
himself.  There were days when they assembled and then promptly
dispersed again, frankly admitting to one  another  that  there
was  not  really anything to be done. But there were other days
when they settled down to their work almost eagerly,  making  a
tremendous  show of entering up their minutes and drafting long
memoranda which were never finished -- when the argument as  to
what  they  were  supposedly arguing about grew extraordinarily
involved and abstruse, with subtle haggling  over  definitions,
enormous  digressions,  quarrels  threats,  even,  to appeal to
higher authority. And then suddenly the life would  go  out  of
them  and they would sit round the table looking at one another
with extinct eyes, like ghosts fading at cock-crow.
     The telescreen was silent for a moment. Winston raised his
head again. The bulletin! But no, they were merely changing the
music. He had  the  map  of  Africa  behind  his  eyelids.  The
movement  of  the  armies  was a diagram: a black arrow tearing
vertically southward, and a white arrow horizontally  eastward,
across  the  tail  of  the  first. As though for reassurance he
looked up at the imperturbable face in  the  portrait.  Was  it
conceivable that the second arrow did not even exist?
     His  interest  flagged again. He drank another mouthful of
gin, picked up the white knight  and  made  a  tentative  move.
Check. But it was evidently not the right move, because
     Uncalled,  a  memory  floated  into  his  mind.  He  saw a
candle-lit  room  with  a  vast  white-counterpaned  bed,   and
himself,  a boy of nine or ten, sitting on the floor, shaking a
dice-box,  and  laughing  excitedly.  His  mother  was  sitting
opposite him and also laughing.
     It must have been about a month before she disappeared. It
was a  moment of reconciliation, when the nagging hunger in his
belly was forgotten and  his  earlier  affection  for  her  had
temporarily  revived.  He  remembered  the day well, a pelting,
drenching day when the water streamed down the window-pane  and
the  light  indoors was too dull to read by. The boredom of the
two children in the dark, cramped  bedroom  became  unbearable.
Winston  whined  and  grizzled,  made  futile demands for food,
fretted about the room pulling  everything  out  of  place  and
kicking  the  wainscoting  until  the  neighbours banged on the
wall, while the younger child wailed intermittently. In the end
his mother said, 'Now be good, and I'Il buy you a toy. A lovely
toy -- you'll love it'; and then she had gone out in the  rain,
to  a  little  general  shop  which was still sporadically open
nearby, and came back with a cardboard box containing an outfit
of Snakes and Ladders. He could still remember the smell of the
damp cardboard. It  was  a  miserable  outfit.  The  board  was
cracked  and  the  tiny  wooden  dice were so ill-cut that they
would hardly lie on their sides. Winston looked  at  the  thing
sulkily  and  without interest. But then his mother lit a piece
of candle and they sat down on the floor to play. Soon  he  was
wildly  excited  and shouting with laughter as the tiddly-winks
climbed hopefully up the ladders and then came slithering  down
the  snakes  again,  almost to the starting- point. They played
eight games, winning four each. His tiny sister, too  young  to
understand  what the game was about, had sat propped up against
a bolster, laughing because the others  were  laughing.  For  a
whole  afternoon  they  had  all been happy together, as in his
earlier childhood.
     He pushed the picture out of his  mind.  It  was  a  false
memory.  He  was  troubled by false memories occasionally. They
did not matter so long as one knew them  for  what  they  were.
Some  things  had  happened, others had not happened. He turned
back to the chessboard and picked up the  white  knight  again.
Almost  in  the  same instant it dropped on to the board with a
clatter. He had started as though a pin had run into him.
     A shrill trumpet-call had pierced  the  air.  It  was  the
bulletin! Victory! It always meant victory when a trumpet- call
preceded  the  news.  A  sort of electric drill ran through the
cafe/. Even the waiters had started and pricked up their ears.
     The trumpet-call had  let  loose  an  enormous  volume  of
noise.   Already   an  excited  voice  was  gabbling  from  the
telescreen, but even as it started it was almost drowned  by  a
roar  of  cheering  from  outside.  The  news had run round the
streets like magic. He could  hear  just  enough  of  what  was
issuing  from  the  telescreen  to  realize  that  it  had  all
happened, as he  had  foreseen;  a  vast  seaborne  armada  had
secretly assembled a sudden blow in the enemy's rear, the white
arrow  tearing  across  the  tail  of  the  black. Fragments of
triumphant phrases pushed themselves  through  the  din:  'Vast
strategic  manoeuvre  -- perfect co-ordination -- utter rout --
half a million prisoners -- complete demoralization --  control
of  the  whole  of  Africa  --  bring the war within measurable
distance of its  end  victory  --  greatest  victory  in  human
history -- victory, victory, victory !'
     Under  the table Winston's feet made convulsive movements.
He had not stirred from his  seat,  but  in  his  mind  he  was
running,  swiftly  running,  he  was  with  the crowds outside,
cheering himself deaf. He looked up again at  the  portrait  of
Big  Brother.  The  colossus that bestrode the world ! The rock
against which the hordes of Asia dashed themselves in vain ! He
thought how ten minutes ago-yes, only ten minutes -- there  had
still been equivocation in his heart as he wondered whether the
news  from  the front would be of victory or defeat. Ah, it was
more than a Eurasian army that had perished! Much  had  changed
in  him  since  that first day in the Ministry of Love, but the
final, indispensable, healing change had never happened,  until
this moment.
     The  voice from the telescreen was still pouring forth its
tale of prisoners and booty and  slaughter,  but  the  shouting
outside  had  died down a little. The waiters were turning back
to their work. One of them  approached  with  the  gin  bottle.
Winston,  sitting in a blissful dream, paid no attention as his
glass was filled up. He was not running or cheering any longer.
He was back in the Ministry of Love, with everything  forgiven,
his  soul  white as snow. He was in the public dock, confessing
everything, implicating everybody.  He  was  walking  down  the
white-tiled  corridor, with the feeling of walking in sunlight,
and an armed guard at his back. The  longhoped-for  bullet  was
entering his brain.
     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.

      * APPENDIX. The Principles of Newspeak *

     Newspeak was the official language of Oceania and had been
devised to meet the ideological needs  of  Ingsoc,  or  English
Socialism.  In  the  year  1984 there was not as yet anyone who
used Newspeak as his sole means  of  communication,  either  in
speech  or  writing.  The  leading articles in The Times
were written in it, but this was a tour de  force  which
could only be carried out by a specialist. It was expected that
Newspeak  would  have  finally superseded Oldspeak (or Standard
English, as  we  should  call  it)  by  about  the  year  2050.
Meanwhile  it gained ground steadily, all Party members tending
to use Newspeak words and grammatical  constructions  more  and
more  in their everyday speech. The version in use in 1984, and
embodied in the  Ninth  and  Tenth  Editions  of  the  Newspeak
Dictionary,   was   a   provisional  one,  and  contained  many
superfluous words and archaic formations which were due  to  be
suppressed  later.  It is with the final, perfected version, as
embodied in the Eleventh Edition of the Dictionary, that we are
concerned here.
     The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide  a  medium
of  expression  for  the world-view and mental habits proper to
the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of  thought
impossible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted
once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought --
that  is,  a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc --
should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought  is
dependent  on  words.  Its  vocabulary was so constructed as to
give exact and often very subtle expression  to  every  meaning
that  a  Party  member  could  properly  wish to express, while
excluding all  other  meanings  and  also  the  possibility  of
arriving  at  them by indirect methods. This was done partly by
the  invention  of  new  words,  but  chiefly  by   eliminating
undesirable  words  and  by stripping such words as remained of
unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible  of  all  secondary
meanings   whatever.   To  give  a  single  example.  The  word
free still existed in Newspeak, but  it  could  only  be
used  in  such  statements  as  'This dog is free from lice' or
'This field is free from weeds'. It could not be  used  in  its
old sense of ' politically free' or 'intellectually free' since
political  and  intellectual  freedom no longer existed even as
concepts, and were therefore of necessity nameless. Quite apart
from the suppression of definitely heretical  words,  reduction
of  vocabulary  was  regarded  as an end in itself, and no word
that could be dispensed with was allowed to  survive.  Newspeak
was  designed not to extend but to diminish the range of
thought, and this purpose was indirectly  assisted  by  cutting
the choice of words down to a minimum.
     Newspeak  was  founded  on  the English language as we now
know  it,  though  many  Newspeak  sentences,  even  when   not
containing newly-created words, would be barely intelligible to
an  English-speaker of our own day. Newspeak words were divided
into three distinct classes, known as the A vocabulary,  the  B
vocabulary  (also called compound words), and the C vocabulary.
It will be simpler to discuss each class  separately,  but  the
grammatical  peculiarities of the language can be dealt with in
the section devoted to the A vocabulary, since the  same  rules
held good for all three categories.

     The A vocabulary.

     The A vocabulary consisted of the
words  needed  for  the  business  of everyday life -- for such
things as eating, drinking, working, putting on one's  clothes,
going  up  and  down  stairs,  riding  in  vehicles, gardening,
cooking, and the like. It was composed almost entirely of words
that we already possess words  like  hit,  run,  dog,  tree,
sugar,   house,   field  --  but  in  comparison  with  the
present-day  English  vocabulary  their  number  was  extremely
small,  while their meanings were far more rigidly defined. All
ambiguities and shades of meaning had been purged out of  them.
So  far  as it could be achieved, a Newspeak word of this class
was simply  a  staccato  sound  expressing  one  clearly
understood  concept. It would have been quite impossible to use
the A vocabulary for literary  purposes  or  for  political  or
philosophical  discussion.  It  was  intended  only  to express
simple, purposive thoughts, usually involving concrete  objects
or physical actions.
     The grammar of Newspeak had two outstanding peculiarities.
The first  of  these  was an almost complete interchangeability
between different parts of speech. Any word in the language (in
principle this applied even to  very  abstract  words  such  as
if  or  when) could be used either as verb, noun,
adjective, or adverb. Between the verb and the noun form,  when
they were of the same root, there was never any variation, this
rule of itself involving the destruction of many archaic forms.
The   word  thought,  for  example,  did  not  exist  in
Newspeak. Its place was taken by think, which  did  duty
for  both noun and verb. No etymological principle was followed
here: in some cases it was the original noun  that  was  chosen
for  retention,  in other cases the verb. Even where a noun and
verb of kindred meaning were not etymologically connected,  one
or  other  of  them  was  frequently suppressed. There was, for
example,  no  such  word  as  cut,  its  meaning   being
sufficiently  covered by the noun-verb knife. Adjectives
were formed by adding the suffix-ful to  the  noun-verb,
and   adverbs   by   adding  -wise.  Thus  for  example,
speedful  meant  'rapid'  and   speedwise   meant
'quickly'.  Certain  of  our  present-day  adjectives,  such as
good, strong, big, black,  soft,  were  retained,
but  their  total  number was very small. There was little need
for them, since almost any adjectival meaning could be  arrived
at   by   adding-ful   to   a  noun-verb.  None  of  the
now-existing adverbs  was  retained,  except  for  a  very  few
already   ending  in-wise:  the  -wise  termination  was
invariable. The word well, for example, was replaced  by
     In  addition,  any word -- this again applied in principle
to every word in the language -- could be negatived  by  adding
the  affix  un-  or  could  be strengthened by the affix
plus-,    or,    for     still     greater     emphasis,
doubleplus-.  Thus,  for  example,  uncold  meant
'warm', while pluscold and doublepluscold  meant,
respectively, 'very cold' and 'superlatively cold'. It was also
possible,  as  in present-day English, to modify the meaning of
almost any word by prepositional affixes such as  ante-,
post-, up-, down-, etc. By such methods it
was  found  possible  to  bring about an enormous diminution of
vocabulary. Given, for instance, the  word  good,  there
was  no  need for such a word as bad, since the required
meaning was equally well --  indeed,  better  --  expressed  by
ungood.  All  that  was necessary, in any case where two
words formed a natural pair of opposites, was to  decide  which
of  them  to  suppress.  Dark,  for  example,  could  be
replaced by unlight, or light  by  undark,
according to preference.
     The second distinguishing mark of Newspeak grammar was its
regularity.  Subject  to  a  few exceptions which are mentioned
below all inflexions followed the  same  rules.  Thus,  in  all
verbs  the  preterite and the past participle were the same and
ended  in-ed.  The   preterite   of   steal   was
stealed,    the    preterite    of    think   was
thinked, and so on throughout  the  language,  all  such
forms   as   swam,   gave,   brought,   spoke,
taken, etc., being abolished.  All  plurals  were  made  by
adding-s or-es as the case might be. The plurals of man, ox,
life,   were   mans,   oxes,  lifes.  Comparison  of
adjectives was  invariably  made  by  adding-er,-est  (good,
gooder, goodest), irregular forms and the more, most
formation being suppressed.
     The  only  classes  of  words  that  were still allowed to
inflect irregularly  were  the  pronouns,  the  relatives,  the
demonstrative adjectives, and the auxiliary verbs. All of these
followed  their ancient usage, except that whom had been
scrapped as unnecessary, and the  shall,  should  tenses
had  been  dropped, all their uses being covered by will
and would. There were  also  certain  irregularities  in
word-formation  arising  out  of  the  need  for rapid and easy
speech. A word which was difficult to utter, or was  liable  to
be  incorrectly  heard,  was held to be ipso facto a bad
word: occasionally therefore, for the sake  of  euphony,  extra
letters  were  inserted into a word or an archaic formation was
retained. But this need made itself felt chiefly  in  connexion
with  the  B  vocabulary. Why so great an importance was
attached to ease of pronunciation will be made clear  later  in
this essay.

     The B vocabulary.

     The  B vocabulary consisted of
words which had been  deliberately  constructed  for  political
purposes:  words,  that  is to say, which not only had in every
case a political implication, but were  intended  to  impose  a
desirable mental attitude upon the person using them. Without a
full understanding of the principles of Ingsoc it was difficult
to  use  these  words  correctly.  In  some cases they couId be
translated into Oldspeak, or even into words taken from  the  A
vocabulary,  but  this  usually  demanded a long paraphrase and
always involved the loss of certain overtones. The B words were
a sort of verbal shorthand, often packing whole ranges of ideas
into a few syllables, and at the same time  more  accurate  and
forcible than ordinary language.
     The B words were in all cases compound words.
     They  consisted of two or more words,
or  portions  of  words,   welded   together   in   an   easily
pronounceable   form.   The  resulting  amalgam  was  always  a
noun-verb, and inflected according to the  ordinary  rules.  To
take a single example: the word goodthink, meaning, very
roughly,  'orthodoxy', or, if one chose to regard it as a verb,
'to think in an orthodox manner'. This  inflected  as  follows:
noun-verb,  goodthink;  past  tense and past participle,
goodthinked;    present     participle,     good-
thinking;    adjective,   goodthinkful;   adverb,
goodthinkwise; verbal noun, goodthinker.
     The B words were not constructed on any etymological plan.
The words of which they were made up  could  be  any  parts  of
speech,  and  could be placed in any order and mutilated in any
way which made them easy to pronounce  while  indicating  their
derivation.  In  the word crimethink (thoughtcrime), for
instance,   the   think   came   second,   whereas    in
thinkpol  Thought  Police)  it  came  first,  and in the
latter word police had lost its second syllable. Because
of  the  great  difficuIty  in  securing   euphony,   irregular
formations  were  commoner  in  the  B vocabulary than in the A
vocabulary. For example, the adjective  forms  of  Minitrue,
Minipax,    and    Miniluv    were,    respectively,
Minitruthful,   Minipeaceful,   and   Minilovely,
simply because- trueful,-paxful, and-loveful were
slightly  awkward  to  pronounce.  In principle, however, all B
words could inflect, and all inflected in exactly the same way.
     Some of the B words had highly subtilized meanings, barely
intelligible to anyone who had not mastered the language  as  a
whole.  Consider,  for  example, such a typical sentence from a
Times  leading  article  as  Oldthinkers  unbellyfeel
Ingsoc.  The shortest rendering that one could make of this
in Oldspeak would be: 'Those whose ideas were formed before the
Revolution cannot have a full emotional  understanding  of  the
principles  of  English Socialism.' But this is not an adequate
translation. To begin with, in order to

      Compound words  such  as  speakwrite,
were  of course to be found in the A vocabulary, but these were
merely convenient abbreviations and had no  special  ideologcal
     grasp  the  full  meaning  of the Newspeak sentence quoted
above, one would have to have a clear idea of what is meant  by
Ingsoc.  And  in  addition,  only  a  person  thoroughly
grounded in Ingsoc could appreciate the full force of the  word
bellyfeel,   which   implied   a   blind,   enthusiastic
acceptance  difficult  to  imagine  today;  or  of   the   word
oldthink,  which was inextricably mixed up with the idea
of wickedness  and  decadence.  But  the  special  function  of
certain  Newspeak  words, of which oldthink was one, was
not so much to express  meanings  as  to  destroy  them.  These
words,  necessarily  few  in  number,  had  had  their meanings
extended until they contained within themselves whole batteries
of words which, as they were sufficiently covered by  a  single
comprehensive  term,  could  now be scrapped and forgotten. The
greatest  difficulty  facing  the  compilers  of  the  Newspeak
Dictionary  was  not  to invent new words, but, having invented
them, to make sure what they meant: to make sure,  that  is  to
say, what ranges of words they cancelled by their existence.
     As  we  have  already  seen  in the case of the word free,
words which had once borne a heretical meaning  were  sometimes
retained  for  the  sake  of  convenience,  but  only  with the
undesirable meanings purged out of them. Countless other  words
such   as   honour,   justice,  morality,  internationalism,
democracy, science, and religion had  simply  ceased
to  exist.  A  few blanket words covered them, and, in covering
them, abolished them. All words grouping themselves  round  the
concepts  of liberty and equality, for instance, were contained
in the single word crimethink, while all words  grouping
themselves  round  the  concepts of objectivity and rationalism
were contained in  the  single  word  oldthink.  Greater
precision  would  have  been  dangerous. What was required in a
Party member was an outlook similar  to  that  of  the  ancient
Hebrew  who  knew,  without knowing much else, that all nations
other than his own worshipped 'false gods'. He did not need  to
know   that  these  gods  were  called  Baal,  Osiris,  Moloch,
Ashtaroth, and the like: probably the less he knew  about  them
the   better  for  his  orthodoxy.  He  knew  Jehovah  and  the
commandments of Jehovah: he knew, therefore, that all gods with
other names or other attributes were false  gods.  In  somewhat
the  same  way,  the  party  member knew what constituted right
conduct, and in exceedingly vague, generalized  terms  he  knew
what kinds of departure from it were possible. His sexual life,
for  example,  was entirely regulated by the two Newspeak words
sexcrime (sexual  immorality)  and  goodsex  (chastity).
Sexcrime   covered  all  sexual  misdeeds  whatever.  It
covered  fornication,  adultery,   homosexuality,   and   other
perversions, and, in addition, normal intercourse practised for
its  own  sake. There was no need to enumerate them separately,
since they were all equally culpable, and,  in  principle,  all
punishable  by  death.  In the C vocabulary, which consisted of
scientific and technical words, it might be necessary  to  give
specialized  names  to  certain  sexual  aberrations,  but  the
ordinary citizen had no need of them. He knew what was meant by
goodsex -- that is to say,  normal  intercourse  between
man  and  wife, for the sole purpose of begetting children, and
without physical pleasure on the part of the  woman:  all  else
was  sexcrime.  In  Newspeak  it  was seldom possible to
follow a heretical thought further than the perception that  it
was  heretical:  beyond  that  point  the  necessary words were
     No word in the B vocabulary was ideologically  neutral.  A
great  many  were  euphemisms.  Such  words,  for  instance, as
joycamp (forced-labour camp) or Minipax  Ministry
of  Peace,  i.  e.  Ministry  of  War)  meant  almost the exact
opposite of what they appeared to  mean.  Some  words,  on  the
other hand, displayed a frank and contemptuous understanding of
the   real   nature   of   Oceanic   society.  An  example  was
prolefeed,  meaning  the  rubbishy   entertainment   and
spurious  news  which the Party handed out to the masses. Other
words, again, were ambivalent, having  the  connotation  'good'
when  applied  to  the  Party  and  'bad'  when  applied to its
enemies. But in addition there  were  great  numbers  of  words
which  at  first  sight  appeared  to be mere abbreviations and
which derived their ideological colour not from their  meaning,
but from their structure.
     So  far  as  it could be contrived, everything that had or
might have political significance of any kind was  fitted  into
the  B  vocabulary.  The name of every organization, or body of
people, or doctrine, or  country,  or  institution,  or  public
building, was invariably cut down into the familiar shape; that
is, a single easily pronounced word with the smallest number of
syllables  that  would preserve the original derivation. In the
Ministry of Truth, for  example,  the  Records  Department,  in
which  Winston  Smith  worked,  was  called  Recdep, the
Fiction Department was called Ficdep, the Teleprogrammes
Department was called Teledep, and so on. This  was  not
done  solely  with the object of saving time. Even in the early
decades of the twentieth century, telescoped words and  phrases
had  been  one  of  the  characteristic  features  of political
language; and it had been noticed  that  the  tendency  to  use
abbreviations  of  this  kind  was  most marked in totalitarian
countries and totalitarian organizations.  Examples  were  such
words  as  Nazi,  Gestapo,  Comin-  tern,  Inprecorr,
Agitprop. In the beginning the practice had been adopted as
it were instinctively, but in  Newspeak  it  was  used  with  a
conscious purpose. It was perceived that in thus abbreviating a
name  one  narrowed  and subtly altered its meaning, by cutting
out most of the associations that would otherwise cling to  it.
The words Communist International, for instance, call up
a  composite picture of universal human brotherhood, red flags,
barricades,  Karl  Marx,  and  the  Paris  Commune.  The   word
Comintern,   on   the  other  hand,  suggests  merely  a
tightly-knit organization and a well-defined body of  doctrine.
It  refers  to  something  almost  as easily recognized, and as
limited in purpose, as a chair or a table. Comintern  is
a  word  that  can  be  uttered  almost without taking thought,
whereas Communist International is a phrase  over  which
one is obliged to linger at least momentarily. In the same way,
the  associations  called up by a word like Minitrue are
fewer and more controllable than those called up by Ministry
of  Truth.  This  accounted  not  only  for  the  habit  of
abbreviating   whenever  possible,  but  also  for  the  almost
exaggerated care that was  taken  to  make  every  word  easily
     In  Newspeak, euphony outweighed every consideration other
than exactitude of meaning. Regularity of  grammar  was  always
sacrificed  to  it  when  it  seemed necessary. And rightly so,
since what was required, above all for political purposes,  was
short  clipped  words  of  unmistakable  meaning which could be
uttered rapidly and which roused the minimum of echoes  in  the
speaker's  mind.  The  words of the B vocabulary even gained in
force from the fact that nearly all  of  them  were  very  much
alike.  Almost invariably these words -- goodthink, Minipax,
prolefeed,   sexcrime,   joycamp,   Ingsoc,   bellyfeel,
thinkpol,  and  countless  others  --  were words of two or
three syllables, with the stress  distributed  equally  between
the  first  syllable and the last. The use of them encouraged a
gabbling style of speech, at once staccato and monotonous.  And
this  was  exactly what was aimed at. The intention was to make
speech, and especially speech on any subject not  ideologically
neutral,  as  nearly  as possible independent of consciousness.
For the purposes of everyday life it was no doubt necessary, or
sometimes necessary, to reflect before speaking,  but  a  Party
member  called  upon  to  make a political or ethical judgement
should  be  able  to  spray  forth  the  correct  opinions   as
automatically  as  a  machine  gun  spraying forth bullets. His
training fitted him to do this, the language gave him an almost
foolproof instrument, and the texture of the words, with  their
harsh  sound  and a certain wilful ugliness which was in accord
with the spirit of Ingsoc, assisted the process still further.
     So did the fact of having very few words to  choose  from.
Relative  to our own, the Newspeak vocabulary was tiny, and new
ways of reducing it were constantly  being  devised.  Newspeak,
indeed,  differed  from  most  all  other languages in that its
vocabulary grew smaller instead  of  larger  every  year.  Each
reduction was a gain, since the smaller the area of choice, the
smaller the temptation to take thought. Ultimately it was hoped
to  make  articulate  speech  issue  from  the  larynx  without
involving the higher brain centres at all. This aim was frankly
admitted in the Newspeak word duckspeak,  meaning  '  to
quack  like  a  duck'.  Like  various  other  words  in  the  B
vocabulary,  duckspeak  was   ambivalent   in   meaning.
Provided that the opinions which were quacked out were orthodox
ones,  it implied nothing but praise, and when The Times
referred  to  one  of  the  orators   of   the   Party   as   a
doubleplusgood  duckspeaker  it  was  paying  a warm and
valued compliment.

     The C vocabulary.

   The C vocabulary was supplementary
to the  others  and  consisted  entirely  of   scientific   and
technical  terms.  These  resembled the scientific terms in use
today, and were constructed from the same roots, but the  usual
care  was  taken  to  define  them  rigidly  and  strip them of
undesirable meanings. They followed the same grammatical  rules
as  the  words in the other two vocabularies. Very few of the C
words  had  any  currency  either  in  everyday  speech  or  in
political  speech.  Any  scientific  worker or technician could
find all the words he needed in the list  devoted  to  his  own
speciality,  but  he  seldom  had more than a smattering of the
words occurring in the other lists. Only a very few words  were
common to all lists, and there was no vocabulary expressing the
function of Science as a habit of mind, or a method of thought,
irrespective  of its particular branches. There was, indeed, no
word for 'Science', any meaning that  it  could  possibly  bear
being already sufficiently covered by the word Ingsoc.
     From  the  foregoing  account  it  will  be  seen  that in
Newspeak the expression of unorthodox opinions,  above  a  very
low  level, was well-nigh impossible. It was of course possible
to utter heresies of a very crude kind, a species of blasphemy.
It would have been possible, for example, to say Big Brother
is ungood. But this statement, which  to  an  orthodox  ear
merely  conveyed  a self-evident absurdity, could not have been
sustained by reasoned argument,  because  the  necessary  words
were  not  available.  Ideas  inimical  to Ingsoc could only be
entertained in a vague wordless form, and could only  be  named
in  very  broad terms which lumped together and condemned whole
groups of heresies without  defining  them  in  doing  so.  One
could,  in  fact,  only use Newspeak for unorthodox purposes by
illegitimately  translating  some  of  the  words   back   into
Oldspeak. For example, All mans are equal was a possible
Newspeak  sentence,  but only in the same sense in which All
men are redhaired is a possible  Oldspeak  sentence.
It  did  not  contain  a  grammatical error, but it expressed a
palpable untruth-i.e. that all men are of equal  size,  weight,
or  strength.  The  concept  of  political  equality  no longer
existed, and this secondary meaning had accordingly been purged
out of the word equal. In 1984, when Oldspeak was  still
the  normal  means  of  communication, the danger theoretically
existed that in using Newspeak words one might  remember  their
original  meanings.  In  practice  it was not difficult for any
person well grounded in doublethink to avoid doing this,
but within a couple of generations even the possibility of such
a lapse would have vaished. A person growing up  with  Newspeak
as  his  sole language would no more know that equal had
once had the secondary meaning of 'politically equal', or  that
free  had  once  meant  'intellectually  free', than for
instance, a person who had never heard of chess would be  aware
of   the  secondary  meanings  attaching  to  queen  and
rook. There would be many crimes  and  errors  which  it
would  be  beyond his power to commit, simply because they were
nameless and therefore unimaginable. And it was to be  foreseen
that    with   the   passage   of   time   the   distinguishing
characteristics  of  Newspeak  would  become  more   and   more
pronounced -- its words growing fewer and fewer, their meanings
more and more rigid, and the chance of putting them to improper
uses always diminishing.
     When  Oldspeak  had  been once and for all superseded, the
last link with the past would have been  severed.  History  had
already  been rewritten, but fragments of the literature of the
past survived here and there, imperfectly censored, and so long
as one retained one's knowledge of Oldspeak it was possible  to
read  them.  In the future such fragments, even if they chanced
to survive, would be unintelligible and untranslatable. It  was
impossible  to  translate any passage of Oldspeak into Newspeak
unless it either referred to some  technical  process  or  some
very   simple   everyday   action,   or  was  already  orthodox
(goodthinkful  would  be  the  NewsPeak  expression)  in
tendency.  In  practice  this meant that no book written before
approximately  1960   could   be   translated   as   a   whole.
Pre-revolutionary   literature   could  only  be  subjected  to
ideological translation -- that is, alteration in sense as well
as language. Take for example the well-known passage  from  the
Declaration of Independence:
     We  hold  these truths to be self-evident, that all men
are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator  with
certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty,
and  the  pursuit  of  happiness.  That to secure these rights,
Governments are instituted among  men,  deriving  their  powers
from  the  consent  of  the governed. That whenever any form of
Government becomes destructive of those ends, it is  the  right
of  the  People  to  alter  or abolish it, and to institute new
Government. . .
     It would have been quite impossible to  render  this  into
Newspeak  while  keeping  to  the  sense  of  the original. The
nearest one could come to doing so  would  be  to  swallow  the
whole  passage  up in the single word crimethink. A full
translation could only be an ideological  translation,  whereby
Jefferson's words would be changed into a panegyric on absolute
     A  good  deal  of  the literature of the past was, indeed,
already  being  transformed  in  this  way.  Considerations  of
prestige  made  it  desirable to preserve the memory of certain
historical figures, while  at  the  same  time  bringing  their
achievements  into  line with the philosophy of Ingsoc. Various
writers, such as Shakespeare, Milton,  Swift,  Byron,  Dickens,
and  some others were therefore in process of translation: when
the task had been completed, their original writings, with  all
else  that  survived  of  the  literature of the past, would be
destroyed.  These  translations  were  a  slow  and   difficult
business,  and  it was not expected that they would be finished
before the first or second decade of the twenty-first  century.
There   were   also  large  quantities  of  merely  utilitarian
literature -- indispensable technical manuals, and the like  --
that had to be treated in the same way. It was chiefly in order
to  allow time for the preliminary work of translation that the
final adoption of Newspeak had been fixed for so late a date as