Study Guide

1984 Book 3, Chapter 1

By George Orwell

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Book 3, Chapter 1

  • Winston wakes up in a bright, high-ceilinged, windowless cell in the Ministry of Love. At last, he is at the place where there is no darkness — the lights never go off. Four telescreens monitor him, one on each wall. He is referred to as "6079 Smith W."
  • The cell is crowded with ten or fifteen people, and very noisy. Winston observes that Party prisoners (political ones, nicknamed the "polits") are always silent and terrified, but the ordinary or common criminals seem to care for nothing.
  • Winston first meets a large prole woman who shares his last name (that would be Smith). Both contemplate the possibility of her being his mother.
  • Winston briefly meets a poet, Ampleforth, who was incarcerated for the crime of leaving the word "God" in a Kipling translation. Before long, he was dragged off to a mysterious place called "Room 101."
  • Winston then sees his neighbor and coworker, Tom Parsons, who's supposed to be a goody-two-shoes. Parsons tells Winston that his little daughter ratted him out to the Patrols upon hearing his blabbering "down with Big Brother!" in his sleep.
  • Winston then meets a man dying of starvation, and watches as a man named "2713 Bumstead J" is beaten for trying to feed the starving man. Bumstead is then sent to Room 101. Bummer.
  • Next thing we know, Winston is completely discombobulated, not knowing how much time has passed or whether it is day or night. He dreams about saving Julia by agreeing to double the amount of pain allotted to him.
  • He also wishes the Brotherhood would send him a razorblade to kill himself with. Because that's what brothers are for.
  • Finally, O'Brien enters Winston's cell, and self-introduces as the chief operator of the Ministry of Love.
  • Winston is crushed that his intellectual crush ended up being unworthy, and a guard uses the truncheon to mangle Winston's left arm.
  • At which point he doubts his ability to be a hero at all. So begins his journey of physical torture.

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