From this moment on, Winston has really no idea regarding the passage of
time. He is also not completely sure of his whereabouts. He assumes he is somewhere in the Ministry of Love, but as there are no windows in the building he can’t tell whether he is above or below
ground. Before reaching this location, he had been incarcerated in a holding jail where he was imprisoned with all sorts of criminals, prostitutes, drug peddlers etc.
All he knew was that he was now in this sparse cell with a bench going round
the whole room with a gap for the door. On each wall was a telescreen. Whenever he moved, he was yelled at by a voice from the telescreen. He has received nothing to eat since his arrest, but he
might have a crust of bread in his pocket. Overcoming his fear he slips his hand into his overalls only to be yelled at by the telescreen.
He wondered if O’Brien might be able to smuggle him a razor blade, and he
could quickly end it all.
Suddenly he heard he sound of marching boots and the steel door opened with
a clang. One of his work colleagues, the poet Ampleforth, was ushered in. Ampleforth’s job in the Ministry of Truth was to convert poetry into Newspeak. This was a difficult task because there were
fewer words that rhymed. Ampleforth thinks he has been arrested because he used the word ‘God’ in one of Kipling’s poems because it was the only one that could rhyme with ‘rod’ and make sense.
Ampleforth was taken away again to Room 101.
Soon another colleague of Winston was ushered into the cell, Parsons.
His 7 year-old daughter for a Thought Crime had turned him in.
She had heard him talking in his sleep, saying ‘Down with Big Brother’. Parsons is relieved to have been caught before his Thought Crimes became more serious and is very proud of his daughter for doing her best for the Party. Parsons wonders if he will be lucky and get off with 5 years or maybe 10, in a labor camp. He intends to give a complete confession at his Tribunal.
There was a steady flow of prisoners into Winston’s cell. Those that
were consigned to Room 101 were reduced to quivering jellies at the thought of this ultimate punishment. One of the prisoners was an emaciated man who was clearly dying of starvation.
A fat man offered him some bread from his pocket, but before he could give this to him guards entered and smashed the fat man in the face with a truncheon. He was knocked clean across the cell, and his false teeth fell shattered out of his mouth. The emaciated man was told he was going to Room 101 again, and despite his condition he went into hysterics, hanging on to the bench with surprising strength. He pleaded to be killed rather than going to this room again. He would stand by and watch them kill his wife and 3 children, anything but to go back to this room.
Soon Winston was alone again and had still not received anything to eat.
The sound of heavy boots was heard again, and this time O’Brien came in.
He responded by saying, “They’ve got you too!” O’Brien responded by saying, “They got me a long time ago.” O’Brien signals to the guard who is carrying a long black truncheon, and Winston slowly realizes the error in thinking O’Brien was a kindred spirit. The guard smashes Winston’s elbow and he never knew that pain could be so bad.
The inevitable has happened, and Winston is in the clutches of the Thought
Police, and he will face a long road of pain, suffering and mental torture.
This Chapter is aimed at giving the reader a taste of the environment inside
the Ministry of Love, a place full of fear and pain, where the inmates are treated like worthless beings. The guards are sadistic and clearly obtain delight in inflicting pain on the prisoners.
The reader realizes at the end of this Chapter that O’Brien will be
Winston’s torturer instead of friend.
It is not clear whether Ampleforth and Parsons have really committed crimes
or whether they have been imprisoned co-incidentally in Winston’s cell with a view to softening him and undermining his confidence. They are certainly terrified of what awaits them in respect of their very
minor Thought Crimes.
What will Winston face in respect of his rebellion?