Winston wakes and finds himself lying on a bed like an operating table, and
he is strapped down fast. O’Brien, and another man holding a syringe, gaze at him.
Since he received the blow to his elbow he has been in a nightmare world,
lapsing in and out of consciousness.
His life has consisted of a series of beatings, with boots, fists, or truncheons. He got to the stage where he tried to force himself into unconsciousness so that he pain would stop. He was willing to confess to anything, but his problem was trying to find out what they wanted him to confess to. One of his confessions was that he had been in personal touch with Goldstein and had been a member of The Brotherhood.
He was now staring up from the bed at O’Brien who was directing
everything. It was he that was responsible for the beatings and the pain and the questions that were asked of him. This was now different. Winston was holding a lever next to which was a dial marked from
0 to 100.
Suddenly he felt that his body was being torn apart. He was being pressed into the bed. He felt as if his spine was going to break. O’Brien just looked at him and suddenly the paid receded and O’Brien said, “That was 40. 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.”
This was the sort of pressure Winston was now going to be under.
O’Brien explains that the Ministry of Love considers Winston to be worth the
Everyone who enters the Ministry leaves when they are cured. O’Brien explains that one of Winston’s crimes was that he had gathered pieces of history that were inaccurate. O’Brien reminds Winston that some years ago, he had in his hands a photograph concerning Jones, Aaronson and Rutherford, and that he believed that this proved the three were innocent. O’Brien allows Winston to glimpse this photograph, and Winston responds by saying, “It exists”, but O’Brien responds by saying, “No” and he disposes of the photograph in a memory hole. O’Brien has reduced this evidence to ashes and Winston responds, “but it did exist, it does exist. I remember it. You remember it.” O’Brien says, “I do not remember it. That was doublethink.” Winston realizes that he should be using doublethink. This will help him to stop the Thought Crimes.
O’Brien asks Winston if he remembers the Party slogan concerning history and
the past. O’Brien has the demeanor of a teacher taking time with a wayward, but promising child.
Winston responds, “’Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past’”.
O’Brien asks Winston, “Does the past exist?” and he responds by saying, “It
does. It exists in records and in human memories.” O’Brien agrees and the Party has control over all records and must also control all memories.
Winston realizes that one of the reasons he is here is because the Party does not control his memory. O’Brien explains that his crime is the lack of self-discipline regarding his memories.
O’Brien holds up 4 fingers and asks Winston, “How many fingers am I holding
Winston responds by saying, .” His body is racked with pain. Air is ripped out from his lungs. He is asked again and he responds, .” The needle goes up to 60. He still responds ”. Eventually, he says, ”, but this is no use because O’Brien says that he is lying. Winston responds, , 5, 4, anything you like, only stop the pain.” The next thing he remembers is being held in O’Brien’s arms and O’Brien advises him that he is a slow learner.
The man in the white coat examines Winston and advises O’Brien that he is
fit to continue.
Pain flows back through his body. His eyes are tight shut so he cannot see what the meter reads. O’Brien finally asks him again how many fingers he is holding up, and Winston replies, “I don’t know.” O’Brien is pleased with the answer.
Winston is sedated.
When Winston returns to consciousness O’Brien reveals that the Party are not
interested in the stupid crimes he has committed, but they wish to bring him back into the Party and cure him of his lunacy.
Winston then undergoes a different type of electric shock treatment.
This time electrodes were fitted to his head and he experiences not so much pain, but a blinding flash of light inside his head. After this treatment, his memory was incomplete and he really could see 5 fingers when O’Brien held up 4. O’Brien advises him that this session is now drawing to an end, and that he can ask any question that he likes. He finds out that Julia made an unreserved confession and all the rebellious aspects of her mind have been burned out. He also learns that Big Brother exists and always will exist, that O’Brien wrote Goldstein’s book, but he did not receive an answer to whether The Brotherhood exists. His final question is what is in Room 101. O’Brien says, “Everyone knows what is in Room 101.”
Strangely, Winston still regards O’Brien as someone he can converse with, as
he understands what Winston is thinking. In fact, O’Brien predicts some of the concerns that Winston has. Winston is able to divorce O’Brien from the pain. The pain comes from an outside source.
It is strange that Orwell should provide the reader with this paradox that
the victim should come to love his torturer as part of the process of conversion. Clearly O’Brien’s ultimate aim is for Winston to truly love Big Brother.
We also learn that many of the victims in the Ministry of Love, eventually
thank their tormentors for their conversion, and beg to be killed while their mind is in a state of purity.
The whole process of brainwashing is designed to eradicate all the wayward thoughts so that Winston can be reborn.