george orwell nineteen eighty-four part i chapter 1 it was a bright cold day in april, and theclocks were striking thirteen. winston smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effortto escape the vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of victory mansions, thoughnot quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him. the hallway smelt of boiled cabbage and oldrag mats. at one end of it a coloured poster,
too large for indoor display, had been tackedto the wall. it depicted simply an enormous face, more than a metre wide: the face ofa 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 timesit was seldom working, and at present the electric current was cut off during daylighthours. it was part of the economy drive in preparation for hate week. the flat was sevenflights 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 whichare so contrived that the eyes follow you
about when you move. big brother is watchingyou, the caption beneath it ran. inside the flat a fruity voice was readingout a list of figures which had something to do with the production of pig-iron. thevoice came from an oblong metal plaque like a dulled mirror which formed part of the surfaceof the right-hand wall. winston turned a switch and the voice sank somewhat, though the wordswere 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, frailfigure, the meagreness of his body merely emphasized by the blue overalls which werethe uniform of the party. his hair was very fair, his face naturally sanguine, his skinroughened 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 andtorn paper into spirals, and though the sun was shining and the sky a harsh blue, thereseemed 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 onthe house-front immediately opposite. big brother is watching you, the caption said,while the dark eyes looked deep into winston’s own. down at street level another poster,torn at one corner, flapped fitfully in the wind, alternately covering and uncoveringthe 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 telescreenwas still babbling away about pig-iron and the overfulfilment of the ninth three-yearplan. 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 heremained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seenas well as heard. there was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watchedat any given moment. how often, or on what
system, the thought police plugged in on anyindividual wire was guesswork. it was even conceivable that they watched everybody allthe time. but at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. youhad to live â€” did live, from habit that became instinct â€” in the assumption thatevery 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 awaythe ministry of truth, his place of work, towered vast and white above the grimy landscape.this, he thought with a sort of vague distaste â€” this was london, chief city of airstripone, itself the third most populous of the
provinces of oceania. he tried to squeezeout some childhood memory that should tell him whether london had always been quite likethis. were there always these vistas of rotting nineteenth-century houses, their sides shoredup with baulks of timber, their windows patched with cardboard and their roofs with corrugatediron, their crazy garden walls sagging in all directions? and the bombed sites wherethe 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 sordidcolonies 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 againstno background and mostly unintelligible.
the ministry of truth â€” minitrue, in newspeak(1)â€” was startlingly different from any other object in sight. it was an enormous pyramidalstructure of glittering white concrete, soaring up, terrace after terrace, 300 metres intothe air. from where winston stood it was just possible to read, picked out on its whiteface in elegant lettering, the three slogans of the party: war is peacefreedom is slavery ignorance is strength the ministry of truth contained, it was said,three thousand rooms above ground level, and corresponding ramifications below. scatteredabout london there were just three other buildings
of similar appearance and size. so completelydid they dwarf the surrounding architecture that from the roof of victory mansions youcould see all four of them simultaneously. they were the homes of the four ministriesbetween which the entire apparatus of government was divided. the ministry of truth, whichconcerned itself with news, entertainment, education, and the fine arts. the ministryof peace, which concerned itself with war. the ministry of love, which maintained lawand order. and the ministry of plenty, which was responsible for economic affairs. theirnames, in newspeak: minitrue, minipax, miniluv, and miniplenty. the ministry of love was the really frighteningone. 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 officialbusiness, and then only by penetrating through a maze of barbed-wire entanglements, steeldoors, and hidden machine-gun nests. even the streets leading up to its outer barrierswere roamed by gorilla-faced guards in black uniforms, armed with jointed truncheons. winston turned round abruptly. he had sethis features into the expression of quiet optimism which it was advisable to wear whenfacing the telescreen. he crossed the room into the tiny kitchen. by leaving the ministryat this time of day he had sacrificed his lunch in the canteen, and he was aware thatthere was no food in the kitchen except a
hunk of dark-coloured bread which had gotto be saved for tomorrow’s breakfast. he took down from the shelf a bottle of colourlessliquid with a plain white label marked victory gin. it gave off a sickly, oily smell, asof chinese rice-spirit. 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 thewater ran out of his eyes. the stuff was like nitric acid, and moreover, in swallowing itone had the sensation of being hit on the back of the head with a rubber club. the nextmoment, however, the burning in his belly died down and the world began to look morecheerful. he took a cigarette from a crumpled packet marked victory cigarettes and incautiouslyheld it upright, whereupon the tobacco fell
out on to the floor. with the next he wasmore successful. he went back to the living-room and sat down at a small table that stood tothe left of the telescreen. from the table drawer he took out a penholder, a bottle ofink, and a thick, quarto-sized blank book with a red back and a marbled cover. for some reason the telescreen in the living-roomwas in an unusual position. instead of being placed, as was normal, in the end wall, whereit could command the whole room, it was in the longer wall, opposite the window. to oneside of it there was a shallow alcove in which winston was now sitting, and which, when theflats 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 presentposition he could not be seen. it was partly the unusual geography of the room that hadsuggested to him the thing that he was now about to do. but it had also been suggested by the bookthat he had just taken out of the drawer. it was a peculiarly beautiful book. its smoothcreamy paper, a little yellowed by age, was of a kind that had not been manufactured forat least forty years past. he could guess, however, that the book was much older thanthat. he had seen it lying in the window of a frowsy little junk-shop in a slummy quarterof the town (just what quarter he did not
now remember) and had been stricken immediatelyby an overwhelming desire to possess it. party members were supposed not to go into ordinaryshops (‘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 impossibleto get hold of in any other way. he had given a quick glance up and down the street andthen had slipped inside and bought the book for two dollars fifty. at the time he wasnot conscious of wanting it for any particular purpose. he had carried it guiltily home inhis briefcase. even with nothing written in it, it was a compromising possession. the thing that he was about to do was to opena 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 atleast by twenty-five years in a forced-labour camp. winston fitted a nib into the penholderand sucked it to get the grease off. the pen was an archaic instrument, seldom used evenfor signatures, and he had procured one, furtively and with some difficulty, simply because ofa feeling that the beautiful creamy paper deserved to be written on with a real nibinstead 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 speak-writewhich was of course impossible for his present purpose. he dipped the pen into the ink andthen faltered for just a second. a tremor
had gone through his bowels. to mark the paperwas the decisive act. in small clumsy letters he wrote: april 4th, 1984. he sat back. a sense of complete helplessnesshad descended upon him. to begin with, he did not know with any certainty that thiswas 1984. it must be round about that date, since he was fairly sure that his age wasthirty-nine, and he believed that he had been born in 1944 or 1945; but it was never possiblenowadays to pin down any date within a year or two. 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 momentround the doubtful date on the page, and then fetched up with a bump against the newspeakword 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 thefuture would resemble the present, in which case it would not listen to him: or it wouldbe different from it, and his predicament would be meaningless. for some time he sat gazing stupidly at thepaper. the telescreen had changed over to strident military music. it was curious thathe seemed not merely to have lost the power of expressing himself, but even to have forgottenwhat it was that he had originally intended
to say. for weeks past he had been makingready for this moment, and it had never crossed his mind that anything would be needed exceptcourage. the actual writing would be easy. all he had to do was to transfer to paperthe interminable restless monologue that had been running inside his head, literally foryears. at this moment, however, even the monologue had dried up. moreover his varicose ulcerhad begun itching unbearably. he dared not scratch it, because if he did so it alwaysbecame inflamed. the seconds were ticking by. he was conscious of nothing except theblankness of the page in front of him, the itching of the skin above his ankle, the blaringof 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 straggledup 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 inthe mediterranean. audience much amused by shots of a great huge fat man trying to swimaway with a helicopter after him, first you saw him wallowing along in the water likea porpoise, then you saw him through the helicopters gunsights, then he was full of holes and thesea 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 witha helicopter hovering over it. there was a middle-aged woman might have been a jewesssitting up in the bow with a little boy about three years old in her arms. little boy screamingwith fright and hiding his head between her breasts as if he was trying to burrow rightinto her and the woman putting her arms round him and comforting him although she was bluewith fright herself, all the time covering him up as much as possible as if she thoughther arms could keep the bullets off him. then the helicopter planted a 20 kilo bomb in amongthem terrific flash and the boat went all to matchwood. then there was a wonderful shotof a child’s arm going up up up right up into the air a helicopter with a camera in itsnose must have followed it up and there was
a lot of applause from the party seats buta woman down in the prole part of the house suddenly started kicking up a fuss and shoutingthey didnt oughter of showed it not in front of kids they didnt it aint right not in frontof kids it aint until the police turned her turned her out i dont suppose anything happenedto her nobody cares what the proles say typical prole reaction they never â€” winston stopped writing, partly because hewas suffering from cramp. he did not know what had made him pour out this stream ofrubbish. but the curious thing was that while he was doing so a totally different memoryhad 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 comehome and begin the diary today. 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 recordsdepartment, where winston worked, they were dragging the chairs out of the cubicles andgrouping them in the centre of the hall opposite the big telescreen, in preparation for thetwo minutes hate. winston was just taking his place in one of the middle rows when twopeople 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 â€” since he had sometimesseen her with oily hands and carrying a spanner
â€” she had some mechanical job on one ofthe 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 junioranti-sex league, was wound several times round the waist of her overalls, just tightly enoughto bring out the shapeliness of her hips. winston had disliked her from the very firstmoment of seeing her. he knew the reason. it was because of the atmosphere of hockey-fieldsand cold baths and community hikes and general clean-mindedness which she managed to carryabout 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 adherentsof 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 whenthey passed in the corridor she gave him a quick sidelong glance which seemed to pierceright into him and for a moment had filled him with black terror. the idea had even crossedhis mind that she might be an agent of the thought police. that, it was true, was veryunlikely. still, he continued to feel a peculiar uneasiness, which had fear mixed up in itas 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 winstonhad only a dim idea of its nature. a momentary
hush passed over the group of people roundthe chairs as they saw the black overalls of an inner party member approaching. o’brienwas a large, burly man with a thick neck and a coarse, humorous, brutal face. in spiteof his formidable appearance he had a certain charm of manner. he had a trick of resettlinghis spectacles on his nose which was curiously disarming â€” in some indefinable way, curiouslycivilized. it was a gesture which, if anyone had still thought in such terms, might haverecalled an eighteenth-century nobleman offering his snuffbox. winston had seen o’brien perhapsa dozen times in almost as many years. he felt deeply drawn to him, and not solely becausehe 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 â€” or perhaps not even a belief, merelya hope â€” that o’brien’s political orthodoxy was not perfect. something in his face suggestedit irresistibly. and again, perhaps it was not even unorthodoxy that was written in hisface, but simply intelligence. but at any rate he had the appearance of being a personthat you could talk to if somehow you could cheat the telescreen and get him alone. winstonhad never made the smallest effort to verify this guess: indeed, there was no way of doingso. at this moment o’brien glanced at his wrist-watch, saw that it was nearly elevenhundred, and evidently decided to stay in the records department until the two minuteshate was over. he took a chair in the same row as winston, a couple of places away. asmall, 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 theend of the room. it was a noise that set one’s teeth on edge and bristled the hair at theback 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 thereamong 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 quiteremembered), had been one of the leading figures
of the party, almost on a level with big brotherhimself, and then had engaged in counter-revolutionary activities, had been condemned to death, andhad mysteriously escaped and disappeared. the programmes of the two minutes hate variedfrom day to day, but there was none in which goldstein was not the principal figure. hewas the primal traitor, the earliest defiler of the party’s purity. all subsequent crimesagainst the party, all treacheries, acts of sabotage, heresies, deviations, sprang directlyout 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, perhapseven â€” so it was occasionally rumoured â€” in some hiding-place in oceania itself.
winston’s diaphragm was constricted. he couldnever see the face of goldstein without a painful mixture of emotions. it was a leanjewish face, with a great fuzzy aureole of white hair and a small goatee beard â€” aclever face, and yet somehow inherently despicable, with a kind of senile silliness in the longthin nose, near the end of which a pair of spectacles was perched. it resembled the faceof a sheep, and the voice, too, had a sheep-like quality. goldstein was delivering his usualvenomous attack upon the doctrines of the party â€” an attack so exaggerated and perversethat a child should have been able to see through it, and yet just plausible enoughto fill one with an alarmed feeling that other people, less level-headed than oneself, mightbe taken in by it. he was abusing big brother,
he was denouncing the dictatorship of theparty, he was demanding the immediate conclusion of peace with eurasia, he was advocating freedomof speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of thought, he was cryinghysterically that the revolution had been betrayed â€” and all this in rapid polysyllabicspeech which was a sort of parody of the habitual style of the orators of the party, and evencontained newspeak words: more newspeak words, indeed, than any party member would normallyuse in real life. and all the while, lest one should be in any doubt as to the realitywhich goldstein’s specious claptrap covered, behind his head on the telescreen there marchedthe endless columns of the eurasian army â€” row after row of solid-looking men with expressionlessasiatic faces, who swam up to the surface
of the screen and vanished, to be replacedby others exactly similar. the dull rhythmic tramp of the soldiers” boots formed the backgroundto 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. theself-satisfied sheep-like face on the screen, and the terrifying power of the eurasian armybehind it, were too much to be borne: besides, the sight or even the thought of goldsteinproduced fear and anger automatically. he was an object of hatred more constant thaneither eurasia or eastasia, since when oceania was at war with one of these powers it wasgenerally at peace with the other. but what was strange was that although goldstein washated 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 â€” in spite of allthis, his influence never seemed to grow less. always there were fresh dupes waiting to beseduced by him. a day never passed when spies and saboteurs acting under his directionswere 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 compendiumof all the heresies, of which goldstein was the author and which circulated clandestinelyhere and there. it was a book without a title.
people referred to it, if at all, simply asthe book. but one knew of such things only through vague rumours. neither the brotherhoodnor the book was a subject that any ordinary party member would mention if there was away 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 inan effort to drown the maddening bleating voice that came from the screen. the littlesandy-haired woman had turned bright pink, and her mouth was opening and shutting likethat of a landed fish. even o’brien’s heavy face was flushed. he was sitting very straightin his chair, his powerful chest swelling and quivering as though he were standing upto 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 atthe 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 heelviolently against the rung of his chair. the horrible thing about the two minutes hatewas not that one was obliged to act a part, but, on the contrary, that it was impossibleto avoid joining in. within thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. a hideousecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in witha 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 therage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one objectto another like the flame of a blowlamp. thus, at one moment winston’s hatred was not turnedagainst goldstein at all, but, on the contrary, against big brother, the party, and the thoughtpolice; and at such moments his heart went out to the lonely, derided heretic on thescreen, sole guardian of truth and sanity in a world of lies. and yet the very nextinstant he was at one with the people about him, and all that was said of goldstein seemedto 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 againstthe hordes of asia, and goldstein, in spite
of his isolation, his helplessness, and thedoubt that hung about his very existence, seemed like some sinister enchanter, capableby the mere power of his voice of wrecking the structure of civilization. it was even possible, at moments, to switchone’s hatred this way or that by a voluntary act. suddenly, by the sort of violent effortwith which one wrenches one’s head away from the pillow in a nightmare, winston succeededin transferring his hatred from the face on the screen to the dark-haired girl behindhim. vivid, beautiful hallucinations flashed through his mind. he would flog her to deathwith a rubber truncheon. he would tie her naked to a stake and shoot her full of arrowslike 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 herbecause she was young and pretty and sexless, because he wanted to go to bed with her andwould never do so, because round her sweet supple waist, which seemed to ask you to encircleit with your arm, there was only the odious scarlet sash, aggressive symbol of chastity. the hate rose to its climax. the voice ofgoldstein had become an actual sheep’s bleat, and for an instant the face changed into thatof a sheep. then the sheep-face melted into the figure of a eurasian soldier who seemedto be advancing, huge and terrible, his sub-machine gun roaring, and seeming to spring out ofthe surface of the screen, so that some of
the people in the front row actually flinchedbackwards in their seats. but in the same moment, drawing a deep sigh of relief fromeverybody, the hostile figure melted into the face of big brother, black-haired, black-moustachio’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 individuallybut restoring confidence by the fact of being spoken. then the face of big brother fadedaway again, and instead the three slogans of the party stood out in bold capitals: but the face of big brother seemed to persistfor several seconds on the screen, as though
the impact that it had made on everyone’seyeballs was too vivid to wear off immediately. the little sandy-haired woman had flung herselfforward over the back of the chair in front of her. with a tremulous murmur that soundedlike ‘my saviour!’ she extended her arms towards the screen. then she buried her face in herhands. it was apparent that she was uttering a prayer. at this moment the entire group of peoplebroke into a deep, slow, rhythmical chant of ‘b-b!… b-b!…’ â€” over and over again,very slowly, with a long pause between the first ‘b’ and the second-a heavy, murmuroussound, somehow curiously savage, in the background of which one seemed to hear the stamp of nakedfeet 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 sortof 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 entrailsseemed 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 hechanted 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 mightconceivably have betrayed him. and it was
exactly at this moment that the significantthing happened â€” if, indeed, it did happen. momentarily he caught o’brien’s eye. o’brienhad stood up. he had taken off his spectacles and was in the act of resettling them on hisnose with his characteristic gesture. but there was a fraction of a second when theireyes met, and for as long as it took to happen winston knew â€” yes, he knew! â€” that o’brienwas thinking the same thing as himself. an unmistakable message had passed. it was asthough their two minds had opened and the thoughts were flowing from one into the otherthrough their eyes. ‘i am with you,’ o’brien seemed to be saying to him. ‘i know preciselywhat you are feeling. i know all about your contempt, your hatred, your disgust. but don’tworry, i am on your side!’ and then the flash
of intelligence was gone, and o’brien’s facewas as inscrutable as everybody else’s. that was all, and he was already uncertainwhether it had happened. such incidents never had any sequel. all that they did was to keepalive 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 â€” perhaps the brotherhoodreally existed! it was impossible, in spite of the endless arrests and confessions andexecutions, to be sure that the brotherhood was not simply a myth. some days he believedin it, some days not. there was no evidence, only fleeting glimpses that might mean anythingor nothing: snatches of overheard conversation, faint scribbles on lavatory walls â€” once,even, when two strangers met, a small movement
of the hand which had looked as though itmight 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 uptheir momentary contact hardly crossed his mind. it would have been inconceivably dangerouseven if he had known how to set about doing it. for a second, two seconds, they had exchangedan equivocal glance, and that was the end of the story. but even that was a memorableevent, in the locked loneliness in which one had to live. 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 discoveredthat while he sat helplessly musing he had also been writing, as though by automaticaction. and it was no longer the same cramped, awkward handwriting as before. his pen hadslid voluptuously over the smooth paper, printing in large neat capitals â€” down with big brotherdown with big brother down with big brother 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 thanthe initial act of opening the diary, but
for a moment he was tempted to tear out thespoiled pages and abandon the enterprise altogether. he did not do so, however, because he knewthat it was useless. whether he wrote down with big brother, or whether he refrainedfrom writing it, made no difference. whether he went on with the diary, or whether he didnot go on with it, made no difference. the thought police would get him just the same.he had committed â€” would still have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper â€” theessential crime that contained all others in itself. thoughtcrime, they called it. thoughtcrimewas 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 â€” the arrests invariablyhappened 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 majorityof cases there was no trial, no report of the arrest. people simply disappeared, alwaysduring the night. your name was removed from the registers, every record of everythingyou had ever done was wiped out, your one-time existence was denied and then forgotten. youwere abolished, annihilated: vapourized 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 shootme in the back of the neck i dont care down
with big brother they always shoot you inthe back of the neck i dont care down with big brother â€” he sat back in his chair, slightly ashamedof himself, and laid down the pen. the next moment he started violently. there was a knockingat the door. already! he sat as still as a mouse, in thefutile hope that whoever it was might go away after a single attempt. but no, the knockingwas repeated. the worst thing of all would be to delay. his heart was thumping like adrum, but his face, from long habit, was probably expressionless. he got up and moved heavilytowards the door. ____
1) newspeak was the official language of oceania.for an account of its structure and etymology see appendix. [back] chapter 2 as he put his hand to the door-knob winstonsaw that he had left the diary open on the table. down with big brother was written allover it, in letters almost big enough to be legible across the room. it was an inconceivablystupid thing to have done. but, he realized, even in his panic he had not wanted to smudgethe creamy paper by shutting the book while the ink was wet. 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, whiningsort of voice, ‘i thought i heard you come in. do you think you could come across andhave a look at our kitchen sink? it’s got blocked up andâ€”’ it was mrs. parsons, the wife of a neighbouron the same floor. (‘mrs.’ was a word somewhat discountenanced by the party â€” you weresupposed to call everyone ‘comrade’ â€” but with some women one used it instinctively.)she was a woman of about thirty, but looking much older. one had the impression that therewas dust in the creases of her face. winston
followed her down the passage. these amateurrepair jobs were an almost daily irritation. victory mansions were old flats, built in1930 or thereabouts, and were falling to pieces. the plaster flaked constantly from ceilingsand walls, the pipes burst in every hard frost, the roof leaked whenever there was snow, theheating system was usually running at half steam when it was not closed down altogetherfrom motives of economy. repairs, except what you could do for yourself, had to be sanctionedby remote committees which were liable to hold up even the mending of a window-panefor 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 theplace had just been visited by some large violent animal. games impedimenta â€” hockey-sticks,boxing-gloves, a burst football, a pair of sweaty shorts turned inside out â€” lay allover 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 posterof big brother. there was the usual boiled-cabbage smell, common to the whole building, but itwas shot through by a sharper reek of sweat, which â€” one knew this at the first sniff,though it was hard to say how â€” 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 tunewith the military music which was still issuing
from the telescreen. ‘it’s the children,’ said mrs. parsons, castinga half-apprehensive glance at the door. ‘they haven’t been out today. and of courseâ€”’ she had a habit of breaking off her sentencesin the middle. the kitchen sink was full nearly to the brim with filthy greenish water whichsmelt worse than ever of cabbage. winston knelt down and examined the angle-joint ofthe pipe. he hated using his hands, and he hated bending down, which was always liableto start him coughing. mrs. parsons looked on helplessly. ‘of course if tom was home he’d put it rightin 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 theministry of truth. he was a fattish but active man of paralysing stupidity, a mass of imbecileenthusiasms â€” one of those completely unquestioning, devoted drudges on whom, more even than onthe thought police, the stability of the party depended. at thirty-five he had just beenunwillingly evicted from the youth league, and before graduating into the youth leaguehe had managed to stay on in the spies for a year beyond the statutory age. at the ministryhe was employed in some subordinate post for which intelligence was not required, but onthe other hand he was a leading figure on the sports committee and all the other committeesengaged in organizing community hikes, spontaneous
demonstrations, savings campaigns, and voluntaryactivities 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 strenuousnessof his life, followed him about wherever he went, and even remained behind him after hehad gone. ‘have you got a spanner?’ said winston, fiddlingwith the nut on the angle-joint. ‘a spanner,’ said mrs. parsons, immediatelybecoming invertebrate. ‘i don’t know, i’m sure. perhaps the childrenâ€”’ there was a trampling of boots and anotherblast on the comb as the children charged
into the living-room. mrs. parsons broughtthe spanner. winston let out the water and disgustedly removed the clot of human hairthat had blocked up the pipe. he cleaned his fingers as best he could in the cold waterfrom the tap and went back into the other room. ‘up with your hands!’ yelled a savage voice. a handsome, tough-looking boy of nine hadpopped up from behind the table and was menacing him with a toy automatic pistol, while hissmall 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 werethe 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’rea thought-criminal! you’re a eurasian spy! i’ll shoot you, i’ll vaporize you, i’ll sendyou to the salt mines!’ suddenly they were both leaping round him,shouting ‘traitor!’ and ‘thought-criminal!’ the little girl imitating her brother in everymovement. it was somehow slightly frightening, like the gambolling of tiger cubs which willsoon grow up into man-eaters. there was a sort of calculating ferocity in the boy’seye, a quite evident desire to hit or kick winston and a consciousness of being verynearly 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 fromwinston to the children, and back again. in the better light of the living-room he noticedwith interest that there actually was dust in the creases of her face. ‘they do get so noisy,’ she said. ‘they’redisappointed because they couldn’t go to see the hanging, that’s what it is. i’m too busyto take them. and tom won’t be back from work in time.’ ‘why can’t we go and see the hanging?’ roaredthe boy in his huge voice. ‘want to see the hanging! want to see thehanging!’ 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 oncea month, and was a popular spectacle. children always clamoured to be taken to see it. hetook his leave of mrs. parsons and made for the door. but he had not gone six steps downthe passage when something hit the back of his neck an agonizingly painful blow. it wasas 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 doorclosed on him. but what most struck winston
was the look of helpless fright on the woman’sgreyish face. back in the flat he stepped quickly past thetelescreen and sat down at the table again, still rubbing his neck. the music from thetelescreen had stopped. instead, a clipped military voice was reading out, with a sortof brutal relish, a description of the armaments of the new floating fortress which had justbeen anchored between lceland and the faroe lslands. with those children, he thought, that wretchedwoman must lead a life of terror. another year, two years, and they would be watchingher 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 weresystematically turned into ungovernable little savages, and yet this produced in them notendency whatever to rebel against the discipline of the party. on the contrary, they adoredthe party and everything connected with it. the songs, the processions, the banners, thehiking, the drilling with dummy rifles, the yelling of slogans, the worship of big brotherâ€” 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. andwith good reason, for hardly a week passed in which the times did not carry a paragraphdescribing how some eavesdropping little sneak
â€” ‘child hero’ was the phrase generallyused â€” had overheard some compromising remark and denounced its parents to the thought police. the sting of the catapult bullet had wornoff. he picked up his pen half-heartedly, wondering whether he could find somethingmore to write in the diary. suddenly he began thinking of o’brien again. years ago â€” how long was it? seven yearsit must be â€” he had dreamed that he was walking through a pitch-dark room. and someonesitting to one side of him had said as he passed: ‘we shall meet in the place wherethere is no darkness.’ it was said very quietly, almost casually â€” 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 thatthey had seemed to take on significance. he could not now remember whether it was beforeor after having the dream that he had seen o’brien for the first time, nor could he rememberwhen he had first identified the voice as o’brien’s. but at any rate the identificationexisted. it was o’brien who had spoken to him out of the dark. winston had never been able to feel sure â€” evenafter this morning’s flash of the eyes it was still impossible to be sure whether o’brienwas a friend or an enemy. nor did it even seem to matter greatly. there was a link ofunderstanding between them, more important
than affection or partisanship. ‘we shallmeet in the place where there is no darkness,’ he had said. winston did not know what itmeant, only that in some way or another it would come true. the voice from the telescreen paused. a trumpetcall, clear and beautiful, floated into the stagnant air. the voice continued raspingly: ‘attention! your attention, please! a newsflashhas this moment arrived from the malabar front. our forces in south india have won a gloriousvictory. i am authorized to say that the action we are now reporting may well bring the warwithin measurable distance of its end. here is the newsflashâ€”’
bad news coming, thought winston. and sureenough, following on a gory description of the annihilation of a eurasian army, withstupendous 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 wearingoff, leaving a deflated feeling. the telescreen â€” perhaps to celebrate the victory, perhapsto drown the memory of the lost chocolate â€” crashed into ‘oceania, ’tis for thee’.you were supposed to stand to attention. however, in his present position he was invisible. ‘oceania, ’tis for thee’ gave way to lightermusic. winston walked over to the window,
keeping his back to the telescreen. the daywas still cold and clear. somewhere far away a rocket bomb exploded with a dull, reverberatingroar. about twenty or thirty of them a week were falling on london at present. down in the street the wind flapped the tornposter to and fro, and the word ingsoc fitfully appeared and vanished. ingsoc. the sacredprinciples of ingsoc. newspeak, doublethink, the mutability of the past. he felt as thoughhe were wandering in the forests of the sea bottom, lost in a monstrous world where hehimself 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 whatway 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 hispocket. there, too, in tiny clear lettering, the same slogans were inscribed, and on theother face of the coin the head of big brother. even from the coin the eyes pursued you. oncoins, on stamps, on the covers of books, on banners, on posters, and on the wrappingsof a cigarette packet â€” everywhere. always the eyes watching you and the voice envelopingyou. asleep or awake, working or eating, indoors or out of doors, in the bath or in bed â€” noescape. nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull.
the sun had shifted round, and the myriadwindows of the ministry of truth, with the light no longer shining on them, looked grimas 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 itdown. he wondered again for whom he was writing the diary. for the future, for the past â€” foran 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 readwhat he had written, before they wiped it out of existence and out of memory. how couldyou make appeal to the future when not a trace of you, not even an anonymous word scribbledon a piece of paper, could physically survive?
the telescreen struck fourteen. he must leavein ten minutes. he had to be back at work by fourteen-thirty. curiously, the chiming of the hour seemedto have put new heart into him. he was a lonely ghost uttering a truth that nobody would everhear. 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 humanheritage. he went back to the table, dipped his pen, and wrote: to the future or to the past, to a time whenthought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone â€” to atime when truth exists and what is done cannot
be undone: from the age of uniformity, from the age ofsolitude, from the age of big brother, from the age of doublethink â€” greetings! he was already dead, he reflected. it seemedto him that it was only now, when he had begun to be able to formulate his thoughts, thathe had taken the decisive step. the consequences of every act are included in the act itself.he wrote: thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrimeis death. now he had recognized himself as a dead manit became important to stay alive as long as possible. two fingers of his right handwere inkstained. it was exactly the kind of
detail that might betray you. some nosingzealot in the ministry (a woman, probably: someone like the little sandy-haired womanor the dark-haired girl from the fiction department) might start wondering why he had been writingduring the lunch interval, why he had used an old-fashioned pen, what he had been writingâ€” and then drop a hint in the appropriate quarter. he went to the bathroom and carefullyscrubbed the ink away with the gritty dark-brown soap which rasped your skin like sandpaperand was therefore well adapted for this purpose. he put the diary away in the drawer. it wasquite useless to think of hiding it, but he could at least make sure whether or not itsexistence had been discovered. a hair laid across the page-ends was too obvious. withthe tip of his finger he picked up an identifiable
grain of whitish dust and deposited it onthe corner of the cover, where it was bound to be shaken off if the book was moved. chapter 3 winston was dreaming of his mother. he must, he thought, have been ten or elevenyears old when his mother had disappeared. she was a tall, statuesque, rather silentwoman with slow movements and magnificent fair hair. his father he remembered more vaguelyas dark and thin, dressed always in neat dark clothes (winston remembered especially thevery thin soles of his father’s shoes) and wearing spectacles. the two of them must evidentlyhave been swallowed up in one of the first
great purges of the fifties. at this moment his mother was sitting in someplace deep down beneath him, with his young sister in her arms. he did not remember hissister 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 â€” thebottom of a well, for instance, or a very deep grave â€” but it was a place which, alreadyfar 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 couldstill see him and he them, but all the while they were sinking down, down into the greenwaters which in another moment must hide them
from sight for ever. he was out in the lightand air while they were being sucked down to death, and they were down there becausehe 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 thatthey must die in order that he might remain alive, and that this was part of the unavoidableorder of things. he could not remember what had happened, buthe knew in his dream that in some way the lives of his mother and his sister had beensacrificed to his own. it was one of those dreams which, while retaining the characteristicdream scenery, are a continuation of one’s intellectual life, and in which one becomesaware of facts and ideas which still seem
new and valuable after one is awake. the thingthat 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 youngand selfish to love her in return, and because somehow, he did not remember how, she hadsacrificed 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 dignityof emotion, no deep or complex sorrows. all
this he seemed to see in the large eyes ofhis mother and his sister, looking up at him through the green water, hundreds of fathomsdown and still sinking. suddenly he was standing on short springyturf, on a summer evening when the slanting rays of the sun gilded the ground. the landscapethat he was looking at recurred so often in his dreams that he was never fully certainwhether or not he had seen it in the real world. in his waking thoughts he called itthe golden country. it was an old, rabbit-bitten pasture, with a foot-track wandering acrossit and a molehill here and there. in the ragged hedge on the opposite side of the field theboughs of the elm trees were swaying very faintly in the breeze, their leaves just stirringin dense masses like women’s hair. somewhere
near at hand, though out of sight, there wasa clear, slow-moving stream where dace were swimming in the pools under the willow trees. the girl with dark hair was coming towardsthem across the field. with what seemed a single movement she tore off her clothes andflung them disdainfully aside. her body was white and smooth, but it aroused no desirein him, indeed he barely looked at it. what overwhelmed him in that instant was admirationfor the gesture with which she had thrown her clothes aside. with its grace and carelessnessit seemed to annihilate a whole culture, a whole system of thought, as though big brotherand the party and the thought police could all be swept into nothingness by a singlesplendid movement of the arm. that too was
a gesture belonging to the ancient time. winstonwoke up with the word ‘shakespeare’ on his lips. the telescreen was giving forth an ear-splittingwhistle 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 â€” naked, fora member of the outer party received only 3,000 clothing coupons annually, and a suitof pyjamas was 600 â€” and seized a dingy singlet and a pair of shorts that were lyingacross a chair. the physical jerks would begin in three minutes. the next moment he was doubledup 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 lyingon his back and taking a series of deep gasps. his veins had swelled with the effort of thecough, and the varicose ulcer had started itching. ‘thirty to forty group!’ yapped a piercingfemale voice. ‘thirty to forty group! take your places, please. thirties to forties!’ winston sprang to attention in front of thetelescreen, upon which the image of a youngish woman, scrawny but muscular, dressed in tunicand gym-shoes, had already appeared. ‘arms bending and stretching!’ she rappedout. ‘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 quitedriven out of winston’s mind the impression made by his dream, and the rhythmic movementsof 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 physicaljerks, he was struggling to think his way backward into the dim period of his earlychildhood. 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 ownlife 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 beendifferent 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 englandor britain, though london, he felt fairly certain, had always been called london. winston could not definitely remember a timewhen his country had not been at war, but it was evident that there had been a fairlylong interval of peace during his childhood, because one of his early memories was of anair raid which appeared to take everyone by surprise. perhaps it was the time when theatomic bomb had fallen on colchester. he did
not remember the raid itself, but he did rememberhis father’s hand clutching his own as they hurried down, down, down into some place deepin the earth, round and round a spiral staircase which rang under his feet and which finallyso 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 babysister â€” or perhaps it was only a bundle of blankets that she was carrying: he wasnot 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-flaggedfloor, and other people, packed tightly together,
were sitting on metal bunks, one above theother. winston and his mother and father found themselves a place on the floor, and nearthem an old man and an old woman were sitting side by side on a bunk. the old man had ona decent dark suit and a black cloth cap pushed back from very white hair: his face was scarletand his eyes were blue and full of tears. he reeked of gin. it seemed to breathe outof his skin in place of sweat, and one could have fancied that the tears welling from hiseyes were pure gin. but though slightly drunk he was also suffering under some grief thatwas 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 â€” alittle granddaughter, perhaps â€” had been killed. every few minutes the old man keptrepeating: ‘we didn’t ought to ‘ave trusted ’em. i saidso, ma, didn’t i? that’s what comes of trusting ’em. i said so all along. we didn’t oughtto ‘ave trusted the buggers.’ but which buggers they didn’t ought to havetrusted winston could not now remember. since about that time, war had been literallycontinuous, though strictly speaking it had not always been the same war. for severalmonths 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 thanthe existing one. at this moment, for example, in 1984 (if it was 1984), oceania was at warwith eurasia and in alliance with eastasia. in no public or private utterance was it everadmitted 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 eastasiaand in alliance with eurasia. but that was merely a piece of furtive knowledge whichhe happened to possess because his memory was not satisfactorily under control. officiallythe change of partners had never happened. oceania was at war with eurasia: thereforeoceania had always been at war with eurasia.
the enemy of the moment always representedabsolute evil, and it followed that any past or future agreement with him was impossible. the frightening thing, he reflected for theten thousandth time as he forced his shoulders painfully backward (with hands on hips, theywere gyrating their bodies from the waist, an exercise that was supposed to be good forthe back muscles) â€” the frightening thing was that it might all be true. if the partycould thrust its hand into the past and say of this or that event, it never happened â€” that,surely, was more terrifying than mere torture and death? the party said that oceania had never beenin alliance with eurasia. he, winston smith,
knew that oceania had been in alliance witheurasia as short a time as four years ago. but where did that knowledge exist? only inhis own consciousness, which in any case must soon be annihilated. and if all others acceptedthe lie which the party imposed â€” if all records told the same tale â€” then the liepassed 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, thoughof its nature alterable, never had been altered. whatever was true now was true from everlastingto everlasting. it was quite simple. all that was needed was an unending series of victoriesover your own memory. ‘reality control’, they called it: in newspeak, ‘doublethink’
‘stand easy!’ barked the instructress, a littlemore genially. winston sank his arms to his sides and slowlyrefilled 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 carefullyconstructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing themto be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiatemorality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that theparty was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, thento draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forgetit again: and above all, to apply the same
process to the process itself. that was theultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconsciousof the act of hypnosis you had just performed. even to understand the word ‘doublethink’involved the use of doublethink. the instructress had called them to attentionagain. ‘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 sentshooting pains all the way from his heels to his buttocks and often ended by bringingon 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 couldyou 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 itmust have been at some time in the sixties, but it was impossible to be certain. in theparty histories, of course, big brother figured as the leader and guardian of the revolutionsince its very earliest days. his exploits had been gradually pushed backwards in timeuntil already they extended into the fabulous world of the forties and the thirties, whenthe capitalists in their strange cylindrical hats still rode through the streets of londonin great gleaming motor-cars or horse carriages with glass sides. there was no knowing howmuch of this legend was true and how much
invented. winston could not even rememberat what date the party itself had come into existence. he did not believe he had everheard the word ingsoc before 1960, but it was possible that in its oldspeak form â€” ‘englishsocialism’, that is to say â€” 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. heremembered aeroplanes since his earliest childhood. but you could prove nothing. there was neverany evidence. just once in his whole life he had held in his hands unmistakable documentaryproof of the falsification of an historical fact. and on that occasion â€”
‘smith!’ screamed the shrewish voice fromthe telescreen. ‘6079 smith w.! yes, you! bend lower, please! you can do better thanthat. you’re not trying. lower, please! that’s better, comrade. now stand at ease, the wholesquad, and watch me.’ a sudden hot sweat had broken out all overwinston’s body. his face remained completely inscrutable. never show dismay! never showresentment! a single flicker of the eyes could give you away. he stood watching while theinstructress raised her arms above her head and â€” one could not say gracefully, butwith remarkable neatness and efficiency â€” bent over and tucked the first joint of her fingersunder her toes. ‘there, comrades! that’s how i want to seeyou doing it. watch me again. i’m thirty-nine
and i’ve had four children. now look.’ shebent over again. ‘you see my knees aren’t bent. you can all do it if you want to,’ sheadded as she straightened herself up. ‘anyone under forty-five is perfectly capable of touchinghis toes. we don’t all have the privilege of fighting in the front line, but at leastwe can all keep fit. remember our boys on the malabar front! and the sailors in thefloating fortresses! just think what they have to put up with. now try again. that’sbetter, comrade, that’s much better,’ she added encouragingly as winston, with a violentlunge, succeeded in touching his toes with knees unbent, for the first time in severalyears. chapter 4
with the deep, unconscious sigh which noteven the nearness of the telescreen could prevent him from uttering when his day’s workstarted, winston pulled the speakwrite towards him, blew the dust from its mouthpiece, andput on his spectacles. then he unrolled and clipped together four small cylinders of paperwhich had already flopped out of the pneumatic tube on the right-hand side of his desk. in the walls of the cubicle there were threeorifices. 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 ofwinston’s arm, a large oblong slit protected by a wire grating. this last was for the disposalof 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 werenicknamed memory holes. when one knew that any document was due for destruction, or evenwhen one saw a scrap of waste paper lying about, it was an automatic action to liftthe flap of the nearest memory hole and drop it in, whereupon it would be whirled awayon a current of warm air to the enormous furnaces which were hidden somewhere in the recessesof the building. winston examined the four slips of paper whichhe had unrolled. each contained a message of only one or two lines, in the abbreviatedjargon â€” not actually newspeak, but consisting largely of newspeak words â€” which was usedin the ministry for internal purposes. they
ran: times 17.3.84 bb speech malreported africarectify times 19.12.83 forecasts 3 yp 4th quarter83 misprints verify current issue times 14.2.84 miniplenty malquoted chocolaterectify times 3.12.83 reporting bb dayorder doubleplusungoodrefs unpersons rewrite fullwise upsub antefiling with a faint feeling of satisfaction winstonlaid the fourth message aside. it was an intricate and responsible job and had better be dealtwith last. the other three were routine matters, though the second one would probably meansome tedious wading through lists of figures. winston dialled ‘back numbers’ on the telescreenand called for the appropriate issues of the
times, which slid out of the pneumatic tubeafter only a few minutes” delay. the messages he had received referred to articles or newsitems which for one reason or another it was thought necessary to alter, or, as the officialphrase had it, to rectify. for example, it appeared from the times of the seventeenthof march that big brother, in his speech of the previous day, had predicted that the southindian front would remain quiet but that a eurasian offensive would shortly be launchedin north africa. as it happened, the eurasian higher command had launched its offensivein south india and left north africa alone. it was therefore necessary to rewrite a paragraphof big brother’s speech, in such a way as to make him predict the thing that had actuallyhappened. or again, the times of the nineteenth
of december had published the official forecastsof the output of various classes of consumption goods in the fourth quarter of 1983, whichwas also the sixth quarter of the ninth three-year plan. today’s issue contained a statementof the actual output, from which it appeared that the forecasts were in every instancegrossly wrong. winston’s job was to rectify the original figures by making them agreewith the later ones. as for the third message, it referred to a very simple error which couldbe set right in a couple of minutes. as short a time ago as february, the ministry of plentyhad issued a promise (a ‘categorical pledge’ were the official words) that there wouldbe no reduction of the chocolate ration during 1984. actually, as winston was aware, thechocolate ration was to be reduced from thirty
grammes to twenty at the end of the presentweek. all that was needed was to substitute for the original promise a warning that itwould probably be necessary to reduce the ration at some time in april. as soon as winston had dealt with each ofthe messages, he clipped his speakwritten corrections to the appropriate copy of thetimes and pushed them into the pneumatic tube. then, with a movement which was as nearlyas possible unconscious, he crumpled up the original message and any notes that he himselfhad made, and dropped them into the memory hole to be devoured by the flames. what happened in the unseen labyrinth to whichthe 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 ofthe times had been assembled and collated, that number would be reprinted, the originalcopy destroyed, and the corrected copy placed on the files in its stead. this process ofcontinuous alteration was applied not only to newspapers, but to books, periodicals,pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, sound-tracks, cartoons, photographs â€” to every kind ofliterature 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 everyprediction 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 needsof the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. all history was a palimpsest, scraped cleanand reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary. in no case would it have been possible, oncethe deed was done, to prove that any falsification had taken place. the largest section of therecords department, far larger than the one on which winston worked, consisted simplyof 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 ofthe times which might, because of changes in political alignment, or mistaken propheciesuttered by big brother, have been rewritten a dozen times still stood on the files bearingits original date, and no other copy existed
to contradict it. books, also, were recalledand rewritten again and again, and were invariably reissued without any admission that any alterationhad been made. even the written instructions which winston received, and which he invariablygot rid of as soon as he had dealt with them, never stated or implied that an act of forgerywas to be committed: always the reference was to slips, errors, misprints, or misquotationswhich it was necessary to put right in the interests of accuracy. but actually, he thought as he re-adjustedthe ministry of plenty’s figures, it was not even forgery. it was merely the substitutionof one piece of nonsense for another. most of the material that you were dealing withhad no connexion with anything in the real
world, not even the kind of connexion thatis contained in a direct lie. statistics were just as much a fantasy in their original versionas in their rectified version. a great deal of the time you were expected to make themup out of your head. for example, the ministry of plenty’s forecast had estimated the outputof 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 fifty-seven millions, or than 145 millions.very likely no boots had been produced at all. likelier still, nobody knew how manyhad been produced, much less cared. all one
knew was that every quarter astronomical numbersof 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 awayinto a shadow-world in which, finally, even the date of the year had become uncertain. winston glanced across the hall. in the correspondingcubicle on the other side a small, precise-looking, dark-chinned man named tillotson was workingsteadily away, with a folded newspaper on his knee and his mouth very close to the mouthpieceof the speakwrite. he had the air of trying to keep what he was saying a secret betweenhimself and the telescreen. he looked up, and his spectacles darted a hostile flashin winston’s direction.
winston hardly knew tillotson, and had noidea what work he was employed on. people in the records department did not readilytalk about their jobs. in the long, windowless hall, with its double row of cubicles andits endless rustle of papers and hum of voices murmuring into speakwrites, there were quitea dozen people whom winston did not even know by name, though he daily saw them hurryingto and fro in the corridors or gesticulating in the two minutes hate. he knew that in thecubicle next to him the little woman with sandy hair toiled day in day out, simply attracking down and deleting from the press the names of people who had been vaporizedand 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 cubiclesaway a mild, ineffectual, dreamy creature named ampleforth, with very hairy ears anda surprising talent for juggling with rhymes and metres, was engaged in producing garbledversions â€” definitive texts, they were called â€” of poems which had become ideologicallyoffensive, but which for one reason or another were to be retained in the anthologies. andthis hall, with its fifty workers or thereabouts, was only one sub-section, a single cell, asit were, in the huge complexity of the records department. beyond, above, below, were otherswarms of workers engaged in an unimaginable multitude of jobs. there were the huge printing-shopswith their sub-editors, their typography experts, and their elaborately equipped studios forthe 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 werethe armies of reference clerks whose job was simply to draw up lists of books and periodicalswhich were due for recall. there were the vast repositories where the corrected documentswere stored, and the hidden furnaces where the original copies were destroyed. and somewhereor other, quite anonymous, there were the directing brains who co-ordinated the wholeeffort and laid down the lines of policy which made it necessary that this fragment of thepast should be preserved, that one falsified, and the other rubbed out of existence. and the records department, after all, wasitself only a single branch of the ministry
of truth, whose primary job was not to reconstructthe past but to supply the citizens of oceania with newspapers, films, textbooks, telescreenprogrammes, plays, novels â€” 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’sspelling-book to a newspeak dictionary. and the ministry had not only to supply the multifariousneeds of the party, but also to repeat the whole operation at a lower level for the benefitof the proletariat. there was a whole chain of separate departments dealing with proletarianliterature, music, drama, and entertainment generally. here were produced rubbishy newspaperscontaining almost nothing except sport, crime and astrology, sensational five-cent novelettes,films oozing with sex, and sentimental songs
which were composed entirely by mechanicalmeans on a special kind of kaleidoscope known as a versificator. there was even a wholesub-section â€” pornosec, it was called in newspeak â€” engaged in producing the lowestkind 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 pneumatictube while winston was working, but they were simple matters, and he had disposed of thembefore the two minutes hate interrupted him. when the hate was over he returned to hiscubicle, 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 inhis work. most of it was a tedious routine, but included in it there were also jobs sodifficult and intricate that you could lose yourself in them as in the depths of a mathematicalproblem â€” delicate pieces of forgery in which you had nothing to guide you exceptyour knowledge of the principles of ingsoc and your estimate of what the party wantedyou to say. winston was good at this kind of thing. on occasion he had even been entrustedwith 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:
in oldspeak (or standard english) this mightbe rendered: the reporting of big brother’s order for theday in the times of december 3rd 1983 is extremely unsatisfactory and makes references to non-existentpersons. 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 workof an organization known as ffcc, which supplied cigarettes and other comforts to the sailorsin 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 conspicuousmerit, second class.
three months later ffcc had suddenly beendissolved with no reasons given. one could assume that withers and his associates werenow 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 trialor even publicly denounced. the great purges involving thousands of people, with publictrials of traitors and thought-criminals who made abject confession of their crimes andwere afterwards executed, were special show-pieces not occurring oftener than once in a coupleof years. more commonly, people who had incurred the displeasure of the party simply disappearedand were never heard of again. one never had the smallest clue as to what had happenedto them. in some cases they might not even
be dead. perhaps thirty people personallyknown 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 wonderedwhether 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, toturn it over to a committee would be to admit openly that an act of fabrication was takingplace. very likely as many as a dozen people were now working away on rival versions ofwhat big brother had actually said. and presently
some master brain in the inner party wouldselect this version or that, would re-edit it and set in motion the complex processesof cross-referencing that would be required, and then the chosen lie would pass into thepermanent records and become truth. winston did not know why withers had beendisgraced. perhaps it was for corruption or incompetence. perhaps big brother was merelygetting rid of a too-popular subordinate. perhaps withers or someone close to him hadbeen suspected of heretical tendencies. or perhaps â€” what was likeliest of all â€” thething had simply happened because purges and vaporizations were a necessary part of themechanics of government. the only real clue lay in the words ‘refs unpersons’, which indicatedthat withers was already dead. you could not
invariably assume this to be the case whenpeople were arrested. sometimes they were released and allowed to remain at libertyfor as much as a year or two years before being executed. very occasionally some personwhom you had believed dead long since would make a ghostly reappearance at some publictrial 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: hehad never existed. winston decided that it would not be enough simply to reverse thetendency of big brother’s speech. it was better to make it deal with something totally unconnectedwith its original subject. he might turn the speech into the usual denunciationof traitors and thought-criminals, but that
was a little too obvious, while to inventa 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. suddenlythere 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 bigbrother devoted his order for the day to commemorating some humble, rank-and-file party member whoselife and death he held up as an example worthy to be followed. today he should commemoratecomrade ogilvy. it was true that there was no such person as comrade ogilvy, but a fewlines of print and a couple of faked photographs would soon bring him into existence.
winston thought for a moment, then pulledthe speakwrite towards him and began dictating in big brother’s familiar style: a style atonce military and pedantic, and, because of a trick of asking questions and then promptlyanswering them (‘what lessons do we learn from this fact, comrades? the lesson â€” whichis also one of the fundamental principles of ingsoc â€” that,’ etc., etc.), easy toimitate. at the age of three comrade ogilvy had refusedall toys except a drum, a sub-machine gun, and a model helicopter. at six â€” a yearearly, by a special relaxation of the rules â€” he had joined the spies, at nine he hadbeen a troop leader. at eleven he had denounced his uncle to the thought police after overhearinga conversation which appeared to him to have
criminal tendencies. at seventeen he had beena district organizer of the junior anti-sex league. at nine teen he had designed a hand-grenadewhich had been adopted by the ministry of peace and which, at its first trial, had killedthirty-one 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 deepwater, despatches and all â€” an end, said big brother, which it was impossible to contemplatewithout feelings of envy. big brother added a few remarks on the purity and single-mindednessof comrade ogilvy’s life. he was a total abstainer and a nonsmoker, had no recreations excepta daily hour in the gymnasium, and had taken
a vow of celibacy, believing marriage andthe 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 lifeexcept the defeat of the eurasian enemy and the hunting-down of spies, saboteurs, thoughtcriminals,and traitors generally. winston debated with himself whether to awardcomrade ogilvy the order of conspicuous merit: in the end he decided against it because ofthe unnecessary cross-referencing that it would entail. once again he glanced at his rival in theopposite cubicle. something seemed to tell him with certainty that tillotson was busyon 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, unimaginedan hour ago, was now a fact. it struck him as curious that you could create dead menbut not living ones. comrade ogilvy, who had never existed in the present, now existedin 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. chapter 5 in the low-ceilinged canteen, deep underground,the lunch queue jerked slowly forward. the room was already very full and deafeninglynoisy. from the grille at the counter the
steam of stew came pouring forth, with a sourmetallic smell which did not quite overcome the fumes of victory gin. on the far sideof the room there was a small bar, a mere hole in the wall, where gin could be boughtat ten cents the large nip. ‘just the man i was looking for,’ said a voiceat winston’s back. he turned round. it was his friend syme, whoworked in the research department. perhaps ‘friend’ was not exactly the right word. youdid not have friends nowadays, you had comrades: but there were some comrades whose societywas 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 editionof the newspeak dictionary. he was a tiny
creature, smaller than winston, with darkhair and large, protuberant eyes, at once mournful and derisive, which seemed to searchyour face closely while he was speaking to you. ‘i wanted to ask you whether you’d got anyrazor blades,’ he said. ‘not one!’ said winston with a sort of guiltyhaste. ‘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 themfor months past. at any given moment there was some necessary article which the partyshops 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 holdof 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 untruthfully. the queue gave another jerk forward. as theyhalted he turned and faced syme again. each of them took a greasy metal tray from a pileat the end of the counter. ‘did you go and see the prisoners hanged yesterday?’said syme. ‘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’tgo to see those prisoners hanged.’ in an intellectual way, syme was venomously orthodox. he wouldtalk with a disagreeable gloating satisfaction of helicopter raids on enemy villages, andtrials and confessions of thought-criminals, the executions in the cellars of the ministryof love. talking to him was largely a matter of getting him away from such subjects andentangling him, if possible, in the technicalities of newspeak, on which he was authoritativeand interesting. winston turned his head a little aside to avoid the scrutiny of thelarge 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 â€” a quite bright blue.that’s the detail that appeals to me.’ ‘nex’, please!’ yelled the white-aproned prolewith the ladle. winston and syme pushed their trays beneaththe grille. on to each was dumped swiftly the regulation lunch â€” a metal pannikinof pinkish-grey stew, a hunk of bread, a cube of cheese, a mug of milkless victory coffee,and one saccharine tablet. ‘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 handlelesschina mugs. they threaded their way across the crowded room and unpacked their trayson 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. whenhe had winked the tears out of his eyes he suddenly discovered that he was hungry. hebegan swallowing spoonfuls of the stew, which, in among its general sloppiness, had cubesof spongy pinkish stuff which was probably a preparation of meat. neither of them spokeagain till they had emptied their pannikins. from the table at winston’s left, a littlebehind his back, someone was talking rapidly and continuously, a harsh gabble almost likethe quacking of a duck, which pierced the general uproar of the room.
‘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 fascinating.’ he had brightened up immediately at the mentionof newspeak. he pushed his pannikin aside, took up his hunk of bread in one delicatehand and his cheese in the other, and leaned across the table so as to be able to speakwithout shouting. ‘the eleventh edition is the definitive edition,’he said. ‘we’re getting the language into its final shape â€” the shape it’s going tohave when nobody speaks anything else. when we’ve finished with it, people like you willhave to learn it all over again. you think, i dare say, that our chief job is inventingnew words. but not a bit of it! we’re destroying
words â€” scores of them, hundreds of them,every day. we’re cutting the language down to the bone. the eleventh edition won’t containa single word that will become obsolete before the year 2050.’ he bit hungrily into his bread and swalloweda couple of mouthfuls, then continued speaking, with a sort of pedant’s passion. his thindark face had become animated, his eyes had lost their mocking expression and grown almostdreamy. ‘it’s a beautiful thing, the destruction ofwords. of course the great wastage is in the verbs and adjectives, but there are hundredsof nouns that can be got rid of as well. it isn’t only the synonyms; there are also theantonyms. after all, what justification is
there for a word which is simply the oppositeof some other word? a word contains its opposite in itself. take “good”, for instance. if youhave a word like “good”, what need is there for a word like “bad”? “ungood” will do justas well â€” 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 stringof 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 coursewe 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 wordsâ€” in reality, only one word. don’t you see
the beauty of that, winston? it was b. b.’sidea originally, of course,’ he added as an afterthought. a sort of vapid eagerness flitted across winston’sface at the mention of big brother. nevertheless syme immediately detected a certain lack ofenthusiasm. ‘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 itsvagueness and its useless shades of meaning. you don’t grasp the beauty of the destructionof words. do you know that newspeak is the
only language in the world whose vocabularygets smaller every year?’ winston did know that, of course. he smiled,sympathetically he hoped, not trusting himself to speak. syme bit off another fragment ofthe dark-coloured bread, chewed it briefly, and went on: ‘don’t you see that the whole aim of newspeakis 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 beneeded, will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all itssubsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten. already, in the eleventh edition, we’re notfar from that point. but the process will
still be continuing long after you and i aredead. every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a littlesmaller. even now, of course, there’s no reason or excuse for committing thoughtcrime. it’smerely a question of self-discipline, reality-control. but in the end there won’t be any need evenfor that. the revolution will be complete when the language is perfect. newspeak isingsoc and ingsoc is newspeak,’ he added with a sort of mystical satisfaction. ‘has it everoccurred to you, winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single humanbeing will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now?’ ‘exceptâ€”’ began winston doubtfully, andhe 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 remarkwas not in some way unorthodox. syme, however, had divined what he was about to say. ‘the proles are not human beings,’ he saidcarelessly. ‘by 2050 â€” earlier, probably â€” all real knowledge of oldspeak will havedisappeared. the whole literature of the past will have been destroyed. chaucer, shakespeare,milton, byron â€” they’ll exist only in newspeak versions, not merely changed into somethingdifferent, but actually changed into something contradictory of what they used to be. eventhe literature of the party will change. even the slogans will change. how could you havea slogan like “freedom is slavery” when the
concept of freedom has been abolished? thewhole climate of thought will be different. in fact there will be no thought, as we understandit now. orthodoxy means not thinking â€” not needing to think. orthodoxy is unconsciousness.’ one of these days, thought winston with suddendeep conviction, syme will be vaporized. he is too intelligent. he sees too clearly andspeaks too plainly. the party does not like such people. one day he will disappear. itis 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 hisleft the man with the strident voice was still talking remorselessly away. a young womanwho was perhaps his secretary, and who was
sitting with her back to winston, was listeningto him and seemed to be eagerly agreeing with everything that he said. from time to timewinston 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 foran instant, even when the girl was speaking. winston knew the man by sight, though he knewno more about him than that he held some important post in the fiction department. he was a manof about thirty, with a muscular throat and a large, mobile mouth. his head was thrownback a little, and because of the angle at which he was sitting, his spectacles caughtthe 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 impossibleto distinguish a single word. just once winston caught a phrase â€” ‘complete and final eliminationof goldsteinism’ â€” jerked out very rapidly and, as it seemed, all in one piece, likea line of type cast solid. for the rest it was just a noise, a quack-quack-quacking.and yet, though you could not actually hear what the man was saying, you could not bein any doubt about its general nature. he might be denouncing goldstein and demandingsterner measures against thought-criminals and saboteurs, he might be fulminating againstthe atrocities of the eurasian army, he might be praising big brother or the heroes on themalabar front â€” it made no difference. whatever it was, you could be certain that every wordof it was pure orthodoxy, pure ingsoc. as
he watched the eyeless face with the jaw movingrapidly up and down, winston had a curious feeling that this was not a real human beingbut 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 truesense: it was a noise uttered in unconsciousness, like the quacking of a duck. syme had fallen silent for a moment, and withthe handle of his spoon was tracing patterns in the puddle of stew. the voice from theother 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 interestingwords that have two contradictory meanings. applied to an opponent, it is abuse, appliedto someone you agree with, it is praise.’ unquestionably syme will be vaporized, winstonthought again. he thought it with a kind of sadness, although well knowing that syme despisedhim and slightly disliked him, and was fully capable of denouncing him as a thought-criminalif he saw any reason for doing so. there was something subtly wrong with syme. there wassomething that he lacked: discretion, aloofness, a sort of saving stupidity. you could notsay that he was unorthodox. he believed in the principles of ingsoc, he venerated bigbrother, he rejoiced over victories, he hated heretics, not merely with sincerity but witha sort of restless zeal, an up-to-dateness
of information, which the ordinary party memberdid not approach. yet a faint air of disreputability always clung to him. he said things that wouldhave been better unsaid, he had read too many books, he frequented the chestnut tree cafã©,haunt of painters and musicians. there was no law, not even an unwritten law, againstfrequenting the chestnut tree cafã©, yet the place was somehow ill-omened. the old, discreditedleaders of the party had been used to gather there before they were finally purged. goldsteinhimself, it was said, had sometimes been seen there, years and decades ago. syme’s fatewas not difficult to foresee. and yet it was a fact that if syme grasped, even for threeseconds, the nature of his, winston’s, secret opinions, he would betray him instantly tothe 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 seemedto add, ‘that bloody fool’. parsons, winston’s fellow-tenant at victory mansions, was infact threading his way across the room â€” a tubby, middle-sized man with fair hair anda 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 boygrown large, so much so that although he was wearing the regulation overalls, it was almostimpossible not to think of him as being dressed in the blue shorts, grey shirt, and red neckerchiefof the spies. in visualizing him one saw always
a picture of dimpled knees and sleeves rolledback from pudgy forearms. parsons did, indeed, invariably revert to shorts when a communityhike or any other physical activity gave him an excuse for doing so. he greeted them bothwith a cheery ‘hullo, hullo!’ and sat down at the table, giving off an intense smellof sweat. beads of moisture stood out all over his pink face. his powers of sweatingwere extraordinary. at the community centre you could always tell when he had been playingtable-tennis by the dampness of the bat handle. syme had produced a strip of paper on whichthere was a long column of words, and was studying it with an ink-pencil between hisfingers. ‘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 chasingyou. it’s that sub you forgot to give me.’ ‘which sub is that?’ said winston, automaticallyfeeling 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 â€” the house-by-housefund. i’m treasurer for our block. we’re making an all-out effort â€” going to put on a tremendousshow. i tell you, it won’t be my fault if old victory mansions doesn’t have the biggestoutfit of flags in the whole street. two dollars you promised me.’
winston found and handed over two creasedand filthy notes, which parsons entered in a small notebook, in the neat handwritingof the illiterate. ‘by the way, old boy,’ he said. ‘i hear thatlittle beggar of mine let fly at you with his catapult yesterday. i gave him a gooddressing-down 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 goingto the execution,’ said winston. ‘ah, well â€” what i mean to say, shows theright spirit, doesn’t it? mischievous little beggars they are, both of them, but talk aboutkeenness! all they think about is the spies, and the war, of course. d’you know what thatlittle 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 afternoonfollowing 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 enemyagent â€” 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 afunny kind of shoes â€” said she’d never seen anyone wearing shoes like that before. sothe 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 iwouldn’t be altogether surprised ifâ€”’ parsons made the motion of aiming a rifle, and clickedhis tongue for the explosion. ‘good,’ said syme abstractedly, without lookingup 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,’ saidparsons. as though in confirmation of this, a trumpetcall floated from the telescreen just above their heads. however, it was not the proclamationof 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 thestandard of living has risen by no less than 20 per cent over the past year. all over oceaniathis morning there were irrepressible spontaneous demonstrations when workers marched out offactories and offices and paraded through the streets with banners voicing their gratitudeto big brother for the new, happy life which his wise leadership has bestowed upon us.here are some of the completed figures. foodstuffsâ€”’ the phrase ‘our new, happy life’ recurredseveral 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 werein some way a cause for satisfaction. he had lugged out a huge and filthy pipe which wasalready half full of charred tobacco. with the tobacco ration at 100 grammes a week itwas seldom possible to fill a pipe to the top. winston was smoking a victory cigarettewhich he held carefully horizontal. the new ration did not start till tomorrow and hehad only four cigarettes left. for the moment he had shut his ears to the remoter noisesand was listening to the stuff that streamed out of the telescreen. it appeared that therehad even been demonstrations to thank big
brother for raising the chocolate ration totwenty grammes a week. and only yesterday, he reflected, it had been announced that theration was to be reduced to twenty grammes a week. was it possible that they could swallowthat, 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 shouldsuggest that last week the ration had been thirty grammes. syme, too â€” in some morecomplex way, involving doublethink, syme swallowed it. was he, then, alone in the possessionof a memory? the fabulous statistics continued to pourout of the telescreen. as compared with last
year there was more food, more clothes, morehouses, more furniture, more cooking-pots, more fuel, more ships, more helicopters, morebooks, more babies â€” more of everything except disease, crime, and insanity. yearby year and minute by minute, everybody and everything was whizzing rapidly upwards. assyme had done earlier winston had taken up his spoon and was dabbling in the pale-colouredgravy that dribbled across the table, drawing a long streak of it out into a pattern. hemeditated resentfully on the physical texture of life. had it always been like this? hadfood 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 smellof bad gin and bad coffee and metallic stew and dirty clothes. always in your stomachand in your skin there was a sort of protest, a feeling that you had been cheated of somethingthat 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 alwaysbeen battered and rickety, rooms underheated, tube trains crowded, houses falling to pieces,bread dark-coloured, tea a rarity, coffee filthy-tasting, cigarettes insufficient â€” nothingcheap and plentiful except synthetic gin.
and though, of course, it grew worse as one’sbody aged, was it not a sign that this was not the natural order of things, if one’sheart sickened at the discomfort and dirt and scarcity, the interminable winters, thestickiness 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 onefeel it to be intolerable unless one had some kind of ancestral memory that things had oncebeen different? he looked round the canteen again. nearlyeveryone was ugly, and would still have been ugly even if dressed otherwise than in theuniform 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 suspiciousglances from side to side. how easy it was, thought winston, if you did not look aboutyou, to believe that the physical type set up by the party as an ideal-tall muscularyouths and deep-bosomed maidens, blond-haired, vital, sunburnt, carefree â€” existed andeven predominated. actually, so far as he could judge, the majority of people in airstripone were small, dark, and ill-favoured. it was curious how that beetle-like type proliferatedin 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 typethat seemed to flourish best under the dominion of the party.
the announcement from the ministry of plentyended on another trumpet call and gave way to tinny music. parsons, stirred to vagueenthusiasm by the bombardment of figures, took his pipe out of his mouth. ‘the ministry of plenty’s certainly done agood job this year,’ he said with a knowing shake of his head. ‘by the way, smith oldboy, i suppose you haven’t got any razor blades you can let me have?’ ‘not one,’ said winston. ‘i’ve been usingthe same blade for six weeks myself.’ ‘ah, well â€” just thought i’d ask you, oldboy.’ ‘sorry,’ said winston.
the quacking voice from the next table, temporarilysilenced during the ministry’s announcement, had started up again, as loud as ever. forsome reason winston suddenly found himself thinking of mrs. parsons, with her wispy hairand the dust in the creases of her face. within two years those children would be denouncingher to the thought police. mrs. parsons would be vaporized. syme would be vaporized. winstonwould be vaporized. o’brien would be vaporized. parsons, on the other hand, would never bevaporized. the eyeless creature with the quacking voice would never be vaporized. the littlebeetle-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 fictiondepartment â€” she would never be vaporized
either. it seemed to him that he knew instinctivelywho would survive and who would perish: though just what it was that made for survival, itwas not easy to say. at this moment he was dragged out of his reveriewith a violent jerk. the girl at the next table had turned partly round and was lookingat him. it was the girl with dark hair. she was looking at him in a sidelong way, butwith curious intensity. the instant she caught his eye she looked away again. 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 asort of nagging uneasiness behind. why was she watching him? why did she keep followinghim about? unfortunately he could not remember
whether she had already been at the tablewhen he arrived, or had come there afterwards. but yesterday, at any rate, during the twominutes hate, she had sat immediately behind him when there was no apparent need to doso. quite likely her real object had been to listen to him and make sure whether hewas shouting loudly enough. his earlier thought returned to him: probablyshe was not actually a member of the thought police, but then it was precisely the amateurspy who was the greatest danger of all. he did not know how long she had been lookingat him, but perhaps for as much as five minutes, and it was possible that his features hadnot been perfectly under control. it was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander whenyou were in any public place or within range
of a telescreen. the smallest thing couldgive you away. a nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourselfâ€” 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 victorywas 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 thatshe had sat so close to him two days running. his cigarette had gone out, and he laid itcarefully on the edge of the table. he would finish smoking it after work, if he couldkeep the tobacco in it. quite likely the person
at the next table was a spy of the thoughtpolice, and quite likely he would be in the cellars of the ministry of love within threedays, but a cigarette end must not be wasted. syme had folded up his strip of paper andstowed it away in his pocket. parsons had begun talking again. ‘did i ever tell you, old boy,’ he said, chucklinground the stem of his pipe, ‘about the time when those two nippers of mine set fire tothe old market-woman’s skirt because they saw her wrapping up sausages in a poster ofb.b.? sneaked up behind her and set fire to it with a box of matches. burned her quitebadly, i believe. little beggars, eh? but keen as mustard! that’s a first-rate trainingthey give them in the spies nowadays â€” better
than in my day, even. what d’you think’s thelatest thing they’ve served them out with? ear trumpets for listening through keyholes!my little girl brought one home the other night â€” tried it out on our sitting-roomdoor, and reckoned she could hear twice as much as with her ear to the hole. of courseit’s only a toy, mind you. still, gives ’em the right idea, eh?’ at this moment the telescreen let out a piercingwhistle. it was the signal to return to work. all three men sprang to their feet to joinin the struggle round the lifts, and the remaining tobacco fell out of winston’s cigarette. chapter 6
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 adoorway 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 nobodyelse in the street, and no telescreens. she said two dollars. i â€” for the moment it was too difficult to goon. he shut his eyes and pressed his fingers against them, trying to squeeze out the visionthat kept recurring. he had an almost overwhelming
temptation to shout a string of filthy wordsat 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 â€” to do any violent or noisy or painful thing thatmight black out the memory that was tormenting him. your worst enemy, he reflected, was your ownnervous system. at any moment the tension inside you was liable to translate itselfinto some visible symptom. he thought of a man whom he had passed in the street a fewweeks 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 sideof the man’s face was suddenly contorted by
a sort of spasm. it happened again just asthey were passing one another: it was only a twitch, a quiver, rapid as the clickingof a camera shutter, but obviously habitual. he remembered thinking at the time: that poordevil 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 guardingagainst that, so far as he could see. he drew his breath and went on writing: i went with her through the doorway and acrossa backyard into a basement kitchen. there was a bed against the wall, and a lamp onthe table, turned down very low. she â€” his teeth were set on edge. he would haveliked to spit. simultaneously with the woman
in the basement kitchen he thought of katharine,his wife. winston was married â€” had been married, at any rate: probably he still wasmarried, so far as he knew his wife was not dead. he seemed to breathe again the warmstuffy odour of the basement kitchen, an odour compounded of bugs and dirty clothes and villainouscheap scent, but nevertheless alluring, because no woman of the party ever used scent, orcould be imagined as doing so. only the proles used scent. in his mind the smell of it wasinextricably mixed up with fornication. when he had gone with that woman it had beenhis 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 mightmean 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 poorerquarters swarmed with women who were ready to sell themselves. some could even be purchasedfor a bottle of gin, which the proles were not supposed to drink. tacitly the party waseven inclined to encourage prostitution, as an outlet for instincts which could not bealtogether suppressed. mere debauchery did not matter very much, so long as it was furtiveand joyless and only involved the women of a submerged and despised class. the unforgivablecrime was promiscuity between party members. but â€” though this was one of the crimesthat the accused in the great purges invariably
confessed to â€” it was difficult to imagineany such thing actually happening. the aim of the party was not merely to preventmen 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 eroticismwas the enemy, inside marriage as well as outside it. all marriages between party membershad to be approved by a committee appointed for the purpose, and â€” though the principlewas never clearly stated â€” permission was always refused if the couple concerned gavethe impression of being physically attracted to one another. the only recognized purposeof marriage was to beget children for the service of the party. sexual intercourse wasto be looked on as a slightly disgusting minor
operation, like having an enema. this againwas never put into plain words, but in an indirect way it was rubbed into every partymember from childhood onwards. there were even organizations such as the junior anti-sexleague, which advocated complete celibacy for both sexes. all children were to be begottenby artificial insemination (artsem, it was called in newspeak) and brought up in publicinstitutions. this, winston was aware, was not meant altogether seriously, but somehowit fitted in with the general ideology of the party. the party was trying to kill thesex instinct, or, if it could not be killed, then to distort it and dirty it. he did notknow why this was so, but it seemed natural that it should be so. and as far as the womenwere concerned, the party’s efforts were largely
successful. he thought again of katharine. it must benine, ten â€” nearly eleven years since they had parted. it was curious how seldom he thoughtof 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, verystraight, with splendid movements. she had a bold, aquiline face, a face that one mighthave called noble until one discovered that there was as nearly as possible nothing behindit. very early in her married life he had
decided â€” though perhaps it was only thathe knew her more intimately than he knew most people â€” that she had without exceptionthe most stupid, vulgar, empty mind that he had ever encountered. she had not a thoughtin her head that was not a slogan, and there was no imbecility, absolutely none that shewas 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 notbeen for just one thing â€” sex. as soon as he touched her she seemed to winceand stiffen. to embrace her was like embracing a jointed wooden image. and what was strangewas that even when she was clasping him against her he had the feeling that she was simultaneouslypushing him away with all her strength. the
rigidlty of her muscles managed to conveythat impression. she would lie there with shut eyes, neither resisting nor co-operatingbut submitting. it was extraordinarily embarrassing, and, after a while, horrible. but even thenhe 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, producea 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 somethingwhich had to be done that evening and which must not be forgotten. she had two names forit. one was ‘making a baby’, and the other was ‘our duty to the party’ (yes, she hadactually used that phrase). quite soon he
grew to have a feeling of positive dread whenthe appointed day came round. but luckily no child appeared, and in the end she agreedto give up trying, and soon afterwards they parted. winston sighed inaudibly. he picked up hispen again and wrote: she threw herself down on the bed, and atonce, without any kind of preliminary in the most coarse, horrible way you can imagine,pulled up her skirt. i â€” 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 ofdefeat and resentment which even at that moment was mixed up with the thought of katharine’swhite body, frozen for ever by the hypnotic
power of the party. why did it always haveto be like this? why could he not have a woman of his own instead of these filthy scufflesat intervals of years? but a real love affair was an almost unthinkable event. the womenof 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 dinnedinto 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 toldhim 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. thesexual act, successfully performed, was rebellion. desire was thoughtcrime. even to have awakenedkatharine, if he could have achieved it, would have been like a seduction, although she washis wife. but the rest of the story had got to be writtendown. he wrote: i turned up the lamp. when i saw her in thelight â€” after the darkness the feeble light of theparaffin 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 painfullyconscious of the risk he had taken in coming here. it was perfectly possible that the patrolswould catch him on the way out: for that matter
they might be waiting outside the door atthis moment. if he went away without even doing what he had come here to doâ€”! it had got to be written down, it had gotto 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 likea cardboard mask. there were streaks of white in her hair; but the truly dreadful detailwas 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 quitean old woman, fifty years old at least. but
i went ahead and did it just the same. he pressed his fingers against his eyelidsagain. he had written it down at last, but it made no difference. the therapy had notworked. the urge to shout filthy words at the top of his voice was as strong as ever. chapter 7 if there is hope, wrote winston, it lies inthe proles. 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 overthrownfrom within. its enemies, if it had any enemies,
had no way of coming together or even of identifyingone another. even if the legendary brotherhood existed, as just possibly it might, it wasinconceivable 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 whisperedword. but the proles, if only they could somehow become conscious of their own strength. wouldhave no need to conspire. they needed only to rise up and shake themselves like a horseshaking 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 yetâ€”! he remembered how once he had been walkingdown a crowded street when a tremendous shout
of hundreds of voices women’s voices â€” hadburst from a side-street a little way ahead. it was a great formidable cry of anger anddespair, a deep, loud ‘oh-o-o-o-oh!’ that went humming on like the reverberation ofa bell. his heart had leapt. it’s started! he had thought. a riot! the proles are breakingloose at last! when he had reached the spot it was to see a mob of two or three hundredwomen crowding round the stalls of a street market, with faces as tragic as though theyhad been the doomed passengers on a sinking ship. but at this moment the general despairbroke down into a multitude of individual quarrels. it appeared that one of the stallshad been selling tin saucepans. they were wretched, flimsy things, but cooking-potsof 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 theirsaucepans while dozens of others clamoured round the stall, accusing the stall-keeperof favouritism and of having more saucepans somewhere in reserve. there was a fresh outburstof yells. two bloated women, one of them with her hair coming down, had got hold of thesame saucepan and were trying to tear it out of one another’s hands. for a moment theywere both tugging, and then the handle came off. winston watched them disgustedly. andyet, just for a moment, what almost frightening power had sounded in that cry from only afew hundred throats! why was it that they could never shout like that about anythingthat mattered?
he wrote: until they become conscious they will neverrebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious. that, he reflected, might almost have beena transcription from one of the party textbooks. the party claimed, of course, to have liberatedthe 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 (womenstill did work in the coal mines, as a matter of fact), children had been sold into thefactories at the age of six. but simultaneously, true to the principles of doublethink, theparty 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 knownabout the proles. it was not necessary to know much. so long as they continued to workand breed, their other activities were without importance. left to themselves, like cattleturned loose upon the plains of argentina, they had reverted to a style of life thatappeared to be natural to them, a sort of ancestral pattern. they were born, they grewup in the gutters, they went to work at twelve, they passed through a brief blossoming-periodof 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 thehorizon of their minds. to keep them in control was not difficult. a few agents of the thoughtpolice moved always among them, spreading false rumours and marking down and eliminatingthe few individuals who were judged capable of becoming dangerous; but no attempt wasmade to indoctrinate them with the ideology of the party. it was not desirable that theproles should have strong political feelings. all that was required of them was a primitivepatriotism which could be appealed to whenever it was necessary to make them accept longerworking-hours or shorter rations. and even when they became discontented, as they sometimesdid, their discontent led nowhere, because being without general ideas, they could onlyfocus 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 thecivil police interfered with them very little. there was a vast amount of criminality inlondon, a whole world-within-a-world of thieves, bandits, prostitutes, drug-peddlers, and racketeersof every description; but since it all happened among the proles themselves, it was of noimportance. 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 permittedif 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 scratchedhis varicose ulcer. it had begun itching again. the thing you invariably came back to wasthe impossibility of knowing what life before the revolution had really been like. he tookout 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 gloriousrevolution, 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 ofpoor people had no boots on their feet and not even a roof to sleep under. children noolder than you had to work twelve hours a
day for cruel masters who flogged them withwhips 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 housesthat 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, likethe one in the picture on the opposite page. you can see that he is dressed in a long blackcoat 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 allowedto wear it. the capitalists owned everything in the world, and everyone else was theirslave. they owned all the land, all the houses,
all the factories, and all the money. if anyonedisobeyed them they could throw them into prison, or they could take his job away andstarve him to death. when any ordinary person spoke to a capitalist he had to cringe andbow to him, and take off his cap and address him as ‘sir’. the chief of all the capitalistswas called the king, and â€” but he knew the rest of the catalogue. therewould 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 primaenoctis, which would probably not be mentioned in a textbook for children. it was the lawby which every capitalist had the right to
sleep with any woman working in one of hisfactories. 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 beforethe revolution. the only evidence to the contrary was the mute protest in your own bones, theinstinctive feeling that the conditions you lived in were intolerable and that at someother time they must have been different. it struck him that the truly characteristicthing about modern life was not its cruelty and insecurity, but simply its bareness, itsdinginess, its listlessness. life, if you looked about you, bore no resemblance notonly to the lies that streamed out of the telescreens, but even to the ideals that theparty was trying to achieve. great areas of
it, even for a party member, were neutraland 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 idealset up by the party was something huge, terrible, and glittering â€” a world of steel and concrete,of monstrous machines and terrifying weapons â€” a nation of warriors and fanatics, marchingforward in perfect unity, all thinking the same thoughts and shouting the same slogans,perpetually working, fighting, triumphing, persecuting â€” three hundred million peopleall with the same face. the reality was decaying, dingy cities where underfed people shuffledto and fro in leaky shoes, in patched-up nineteenth-century houses that smelt always of cabbage and badlavatories. 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 wispyhair, 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 todayhad more food, more clothes, better houses, better recreations â€” that they lived longer,worked shorter hours, were bigger, healthier, stronger, happier, more intelligent, bettereducated, 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 claimedthat the infant mortality rate was now only
160 per thousand, whereas before the revolutionit had been 300 â€” 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 thingsthat one accepted without question, was pure fantasy. for all he knew there might neverhave been any such law as the jus primae noctis, or any such creature as a capitalist, or anysuch 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 possessedâ€” after the event: that was what counted â€” concrete, unmistakable evidence of anact of falsification. he had held it between his fingers for as long as thirty seconds.in 1973, it must have been â€” at any rate,
it was at about the time when he and katharinehad 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 wipedout once and for all. by 1970 none of them was left, except big brother himself. allthe rest had by that time been exposed as traitors and counter-revolutionaries. goldsteinhad 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 madeconfession 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 oftenhappened, they had vanished for a year or more, so that one did not know whether theywere alive or dead, and then had suddenly been brought forth to incriminate themselvesin the usual way. they had confessed to intelligence with the enemy (at that date, too, the enemywas 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 revolutionhappened, 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, andgiven posts which were in fact sinecures but which sounded important. all three had writtenlong, abject articles in the times, analysing
the reasons for their defection and promisingto make amends. some time after their release winston hadactually seen all three of them in the chestnut tree cafã©. he remembered the sort of terrifiedfascination with which he had watched them out of the corner of his eye. they were menfar older than himself, relics of the ancient world, almost the last great figures leftover from the heroic days of the party. the glamour of the underground struggle and thecivil war still faintly clung to them. he had the feeling, though already at that timefacts and dates were growing blurry, that he had known their names years earlier thanhe 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 oncefallen into the hands of the thought police ever escaped in the end. they were corpseswaiting to be sent back to the grave. there was no one at any of the tables nearestto them. it was not wise even to be seen in the neighbourhood of such people. they weresitting in silence before glasses of the gin flavoured with cloves which was the specialityof the cafã©. 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 inflamepopular opinion before and during the revolution. even now, at long intervals, his cartoonswere appearing in the times. they were simply an imitation of his earlier manner, and curiouslylifeless and unconvincing. always they were
a rehashing of the ancient themes â€” slumtenements, starving children, street battles, capitalists in top hats â€” even on the barricadesthe capitalists still seemed to cling to their top hats an endless, hopeless effort to getback into the past. he was a monstrous man, with a mane of greasy grey hair, his facepouched 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 seemedto be breaking up before one’s eyes, like a mountain crumbling. it was the lonely hour of fifteen. winstoncould not now remember how he had come to be in the cafã© at such a time. the placewas almost empty. a tinny music was trickling
from the telescreens. the three men sat intheir corner almost motionless, never speaking. uncommanded, the waiter brought fresh glassesof gin. there was a chessboard on the table beside them, with the pieces set out but nogame 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 cameinto it â€” but it was something hard to describe. it was a peculiar, cracked, braying, jeeringnote: in his mind winston called it a yellow note. and then a voice from the telescreenwas singing: under the spreading chestnut treei sold you and you sold me: there lie they, and here lie weunder the spreading chestnut tree.
the three men never stirred. but when winstonglanced again at rutherford’s ruinous face, he saw that his eyes were full of tears. andfor the first time he noticed, with a kind of inward shudder, and yet not knowing atwhat 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 theirrelease. at their second trial they confessed to all their old crimes over again, with awhole 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 wadof documents which had just flopped out of
the pneumatic tube on to his desk when hecame on a fragment of paper which had evidently been slipped in among the others and thenforgotten. the instant he had flattened it out he saw its significance. it was a half-pagetorn out of the times of about ten years earlier â€” the top half of the page, so that it includedthe date â€” and it contained a photograph of the delegates at some party function innew york. prominent in the middle of the group were jones, aaronson, and rutherford. therewas no mistaking them, in any case their names were in the caption at the bottom. the point was that at both trials all threemen had confessed that on that date they had been on eurasian soil. they had flown froma secret airfield in canada to a rendezvous
somewhere in siberia, and had conferred withmembers of the eurasian general staff, to whom they had betrayed important militarysecrets. the date had stuck in winston’s memory because it chanced to be midsummer day; butthe whole story must be on record in countless other places as well. there was only one possibleconclusion: 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 thepurges had actually committed the crimes that they were accused of. but this was concreteevidence; it was a fragment of the abolished past, like a fossil bone which turns up inthe wrong stratum and destroys a geological theory. it was enough to blow the party toatoms, if in some way it could have been published
to the world and its significance made known. he had gone straight on working. as soon ashe saw what the photograph was, and what it meant, he had covered it up with another sheetof paper. luckily, when he unrolled it, it had been upside-down from the point of viewof the telescreen. he took his scribbling pad on his knee andpushed back his chair so as to get as far away from the telescreen as possible. to keepyour 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 telescreenwas 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 â€” a sudden draught blowing acrosshis desk, for instance â€” would betray him. then, without uncovering it again, he droppedthe photograph into the memory hole, along with some other waste papers. within anotherminute, perhaps, it would have crumbled into ashes. that was ten â€” eleven years ago. today,probably, he would have kept that photograph. it was curious that the fact of having heldit 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 pastless strong, he wondered, because a piece of evidence which existed no longer had onceexisted?
but today, supposing that it could be somehowresurrected from its ashes, the photograph might not even be evidence. already, at thetime when he made his discovery, oceania was no longer at war with eurasia, and it musthave been to the agents of eastasia that the three dead men had betrayed their country.since then there had been other changes â€” two, three, he could not remember how many. verylikely the confessions had been rewritten and rewritten until the original facts anddates 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 understoodwhy the huge imposture was undertaken. the immediate advantages of falsifying the pastwere 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 wonderedbefore, whether he himself was a lunatic. perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority ofone. 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 troublehim: the horror was that he might also be wrong. he picked up the children’s history book andlooked at the portrait of big brother which
formed its frontispiece. the hypnotic eyesgazed into his own. it was as though some huge force were pressing down upon you â€” somethingthat penetrated inside your skull, battering against your brain, frightening you out ofyour beliefs, persuading you, almost, to deny the evidence of your senses. in the end theparty would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. itwas inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of theirposition demanded it. not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of externalreality, was tacitly denied by their philosophy. the heresy of heresies was common sense. andwhat was terrifying was not that they would kill you for thinking otherwise, but thatthey might be right. for, after all, how do
we know that two and two make four? or thatthe force of gravity works? or that the past is unchangeable? if both the past and theexternal world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable what then? but no! his courage seemed suddenly to stiffenof its own accord. the face of o’brien, not called up by any obvious association, hadfloated into his mind. he knew, with more certainty than before, that o’brien was onhis side. he was writing the diary for o’brien â€” to o’brien: it was like an interminableletter which no one would ever read, but which was addressed to a particular person and tookits colour from that fact. the party told you to reject the evidenceof your eyes and ears. it was their final,
most essential command. his heart sank ashe thought of the enormous power arrayed against him, the ease with which any party intellectualwould 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 solidworld exists, its laws do not change. stones are hard, water is wet, objects unsupportedfall towards the earth’s centre. with the feeling that he was speaking to o’brien, andalso that he was setting forth an important axiom, he wrote: freedom is the freedom to say that two plustwo make four. if that is granted, all else
follows. chapter 8 from somewhere at the bottom of a passagethe smell of roasting coffee â€” real coffee, not victory coffee â€” came floating out intothe street. winston paused involuntarily. for perhaps two seconds he was back in thehalf-forgotten world of his childhood. then a door banged, seeming to cut off the smellas 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 hehad missed an evening at the community centre: a rash act, since you could be certain thatthe number of your attendances at the centre
was carefully checked. in principle a partymember had no spare time, and was never alone except in bed. it was assumed that when hewas 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 ministrythe balminess of the april air had tempted him. the sky was a warmer blue than he hadseen it that year, and suddenly the long, noisy evening at the centre, the boring, exhaustinggames, the lectures, the creaking camaraderie oiled by gin, had seemed intolerable. on impulsehe 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 botheringin which direction he was going. ‘if there is hope,’ he had written in thediary, ‘it lies in the proles.’ the words kept coming back to him, statement of a mysticaltruth and a palpable absurdity. he was somewhere in the vague, brown-coloured slums to thenorth and east of what had once been saint pancras station. he was walking up a cobbledstreet of little two-storey houses with battered doorways which gave straight on the pavementand which were somehow curiously suggestive of ratholes. there were puddles of filthywater here and there among the cobbles. in and out of the dark doorways, and down narrowalley-ways that branched off on either side,
people swarmed in astonishing numbers â€” girlsin full bloom, with crudely lipsticked mouths, and youths who chased the girls, and swollenwaddling women who showed you what the girls would be like in ten years” time, and oldbent creatures shuffling along on splayed feet, and ragged barefooted children who playedin the puddles and then scattered at angry yells from their mothers. perhaps a quarterof the windows in the street were broken and boarded up. most of the people paid no attentionto winston; a few eyed him with a sort of guarded curiosity. two monstrous women withbrick-red forearms folded across thelr aprons were talking outside a doorway. winston caughtscraps of conversation as he approached. ‘”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’seasy 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’sjest where it is.’ the strident voices stopped abruptly. thewomen 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 patrolsmight stop you if you happened to run into them. ‘may i see your papers, comrade? whatare you doing here? what time did you leave
work? is this your usual way home?’ â€” andso 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 likerabbits. a young woman leapt out of a doorway a little ahead of winston, grabbed up a tinychild playing in a puddle, whipped her apron round it, and leapt back again, all in onemovement. 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 proleswere nearly always right when they gave you a warning of this kind. they seemed to possesssome 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 forearmsabove his head. there was a roar that seemed to make the pavement heave; a shower of lightobjects pattered on to his back. when he stood up he found that he was covered with fragmentsof glass from the nearest window. he walked on. the bomb had demolished a groupof houses 200 metres up the street. a black
plume of smoke hung in the sky, and belowit a cloud of plaster dust in which a crowd was already forming around the ruins. therewas a little pile of plaster lying on the pavement ahead of him, and in the middle ofit he could see a bright red streak. when he got up to it he saw that it was a humanhand severed at the wrist. apart from the bloody stump, the hand was so completely whitenedas 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 minuteshe was out of the area which the bomb had affected, and the sordid swarming life ofthe 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 withcustomers. from their grimy swing doors, endlessly opening and shutting, there came forth a smellof urine, sawdust, and sour beer. in an angle formed by a projecting house-front three menwere standing very close together, the middle one of them holding a folded-up newspaperwhich the other two were studying over his shoulder. even before he was near enough tomake out the expression on their faces, winston could see absorption in every line of theirbodies. it was obviously some serious piece of news that they were reading. he was a fewpaces away from them when suddenly the group broke up and two of the men were in violentaltercation. for a moment they seemed almost on the point of blows.
‘can’t you bleeding well listen to what isay? 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 ‘olelot of ’em for over two years wrote down on a piece of paper. i takes ’em down reg’laras the clock. an” i tell you, no number ending in sevenâ€”’ ‘yes, a seven ‘as won! i could pretty neartell you the bleeding number. four oh seven, it ended in. it were in february â€” secondweek in february.’ ‘february your grandmother! i got it all downin black and white. an” i tell you, no numberâ€”’
‘oh, pack it in!’ said the third man. they were talking about the lottery. winstonlooked back when he had gone thirty metres. they were still arguing, with vivid, passionatefaces. the lottery, with its weekly pay-out of enormous prizes, was the one public eventto which the proles paid serious attention. it was probable that there were some millionsof 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 lotterywas concerned, even people who could barely read and write seemed capable of intricatecalculations and staggering feats of memory. there was a whole tribe of men who made aliving simply by selling systems, forecasts,
and lucky amulets. winston had nothing todo with the running of the lottery, which was managed by the ministry of plenty, buthe 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-existentpersons. in the absence of any real intercommunication between one part of oceania and another, thiswas 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 waswhen you looked at the human beings passing you on the pavement that it became an actof faith. the street into which he had turned ran downhill. he had a feeling that he hadbeen 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 thenended in a flight of steps which led down into a sunken alley where a few stall-keeperswere 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 ina 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 appearedto be frosted over but in reality were merely
coated with dust. a very old man, bent butactive, with white moustaches that bristled forward like those of a prawn, pushed openthe swing door and went in. as winston stood watching, it occurred to him that the oldman, who must be eighty at the least, had already been middle-aged when the revolutionhappened. he and a few others like him were the last links that now existed with the vanishedworld of capitalism. in the party itself there were not many people left whose ideas hadbeen formed before the revolution. the older generation had mostly been wiped out in thegreat purges of the fifties and sixties, and the few who survived had long ago been terrifiedinto complete intellectual surrender. if there was any one still alive who could give youa 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 backinto 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 thingsbetter than they are now, or were they worse?’ hurriedly, lest he should have time to becomefrightened, 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 mightplead an attack of faintness, but it was not
likely that they would believe him. he pushedopen the door, and a hideous cheesy smell of sour beer hit him in the face. as he enteredthe din of voices dropped to about half its volume. behind his back he could feel everyoneeyeing his blue overalls. a game of darts which was going on at the other end of theroom interrupted itself for perhaps as much as thirty seconds. the old man whom he hadfollowed 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 roundwith glasses in their hands, were watching the scene. ‘i arst you civil enough, didn’t i?’ saidthe old man, straightening his shoulders pugnaciously.
‘you telling me you ain’t got a pint mug inthe ‘ole bleeding boozer?’ ‘and what in hell’s name is a pint?’ saidthe barman, leaning forward with the tips of his fingers on the counter. ‘ark at ‘im! calls ‘isself a barman and don’tknow what a pint is! why, a pint’s the ‘alf of a quart, and there’s four quarts to thegallon. ‘ave to teach you the a, b, c next.’ ‘never heard of ’em,’ said the barman shortly.’litre and half litre â€” that’s all we serve. there’s the glasses on the shelf in frontof you.’ ‘i likes a pint,’ persisted the old man. ‘youcould ‘a drawed me off a pint easy enough. we didn’t ‘ave these bleeding litres wheni was a young man.’
‘when you were a young man we were all livingin the treetops,’ said the barman, with a glance at the other customers. there was a shout of laughter, and the uneasinesscaused by winston’s entry seemed to disappear. the old man’s whitestubbled face had flushedpink. he turned away, muttering to himself, and bumped into winston. winston caught himgently by the arm. ‘may i offer you a drink?’ he said. ‘you’re a gent,’ said the other, straighteninghis shoulders again. he appeared not to have noticed winston’s blue overalls. ‘pint!’ headded aggressively to the barman. ‘pint of wallop.’
the barman swished two half-litres of dark-brownbeer into thick glasses which he had rinsed in a bucket under the counter. beer was theonly drink you could get in prole pubs. the proles were supposed not to drink gin, thoughin practice they could get hold of it easily enough. the game of darts was in full swingagain, and the knot of men at the bar had begun talking about lottery tickets. winston’spresence was forgotten for a moment. there was a deal table under the window where heand 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 soonas he came in. ”e could ‘a drawed me off a pint,’ grumbledthe 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 youwere a young man,’ said winston tentatively. the old man’s pale blue eyes moved from thedarts board to the bar, and from the bar to the door of the gents, as though it were inthe bar-room that he expected the changes to have occurred. ‘the beer was better,’ he said finally. ‘andcheaper! when i was a young man, mild beer â€” wallop we used to call it â€” was fourpencea 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’sapple made a surprisingly rapid up-and-down movement, and the beer vanished. winston wentto the bar and came back with two more half-litres. the old man appeared to have forgotten hisprejudice against drinking a full litre. ‘you are very much older than i am,’ saidwinston. ‘you must have been a grown man before i was born. you can remember what it was likein the old days, before the revolution. people of my age don’t really know anything aboutthose times. we can only read about them in books, and what it says in the books may notbe true. i should like your opinion on that.
the history books say that life before therevolution 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 massof the people never had enough to eat from birth to death. half of them hadn’t even bootson their feet. they worked twelve hours a day, they left school at nine, they sleptten in a room. and at the same time there were a very few people, only a few thousandsâ€” the capitalists, they were called â€” who were rich and powerful. they owned everythingthat there was to own. they lived in great gorgeous houses with thirty servants, theyrode about in motor-cars and four-horse carriages, they drank champagne, they wore top hatsâ€”’
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 wasat my sister-in-law’s funeral. and that was â€” well, i couldn’t give you the date, butit 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 â€” they and a few lawyers andpriests and so forth who lived on them â€” were the lords of the earth. everything existedfor their benefit. you â€” the ordinary people,
the workers â€” were their slaves. they coulddo what they liked with you. they could ship you off to canada like cattle. they couldsleep with your daughters if they chose. they could order you to be flogged with somethingcalled a cat-o’-nine tails. you had to take your cap off when you passed them. every capitalistwent about with a gang of lackeys whoâ€”’ the old man brightened again. ‘lackeys!’ he said. ‘now there’s a word iain’t ‘eard since ever so long. lackeys! that reg’lar takes me back, that does. i recollectoh, donkey’s years ago â€” i used to sometimes go to ‘yde park of a sunday afternoon to ‘earthe blokes making speeches. salvation army, roman catholics, jews, indians â€” all sortsthere was. and there was one bloke â€” well,
i couldn’t give you ‘is name, but a real powerfulspeaker ‘e was. ‘e didn’t ‘alf give it ’em! “lackeys!” ‘e says, “lackeys of the bourgeoisie!flunkies of the ruling class!” parasites â€” that was another of them. and ‘yenas â€” ‘e definitelycalled ’em ‘yenas. of course ‘e was referring to the labour party, you understand.’ winston had the feeling that they were talkingat cross-purposes. ‘what i really wanted to know was this,’ hesaid. ‘do you feel that you have more freedom now than you had in those days? are you treatedmore like a human being? in the old days, the rich people, the people at the topâ€”’ ‘the ‘ouse of lords,’ put in the old man reminiscently.
‘the house of lords, if you like. what i amasking is, were these people able to treat you as an inferior, simply because they wererich 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 drankoff about a quarter of his beer before answering. ‘yes,’ he said. ‘they liked you to touch yourcap to ’em. it showed respect, like. i didn’t agree with it, myself, but i done it oftenenough. had to, as you might say.’ ‘and was it usual â€” i’m only quoting whati’ve read in history books â€” was it usual for these people and their servants to pushyou off the pavement into the gutter?’ ‘one of ’em pushed me once,’ said the oldman. ‘i recollect it as if it was yesterday.
it was boat race night â€” terribly rowdythey used to get on boat race night â€” and i bumps into a young bloke on shaftesburyavenue. quite a gent, ‘e was â€” dress shirt, top ‘at, black overcoat. ‘e was kind of zig-zaggingacross the pavement, and i bumps into ‘im accidental-like. ‘e says, “why can’t you lookwhere 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’llgive you in charge in ‘alf a minute,” i says. an’ if you’ll believe me, ‘e puts ‘is ‘andon 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, onlyâ€”’
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 daywithout getting any real information. the party histories might still be true, aftera fashion: they might even be completely true. he made a last attempt. ‘perhaps i have not made myself clear,’ hesaid. ‘what i’m trying to say is this. you have been alive a very long time; you livedhalf your life before the revolution. in 1925, for instance, you were already grown up. wouldyou 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 now?’
the old man looked meditatively at the dartsboard. he finished up his beer, more slowly than before. when he spoke it was with a tolerantphilosophical 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 beyoung, if you arst” ’em. you got your ‘ealth and strength when you’re young. when you getto my time of life you ain’t never well. i suffer something wicked from my feet, andmy bladder’s jest terrible. six and seven times a night it ‘as me out of bed. on theother ‘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 more.’ 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 gotup and shuffled rapidly into the stinking urinal at the side of the room. the extrahalf-litre was already working on him. winston sat for a minute or two gazing at his emptyglass, and hardly noticed when his feet carried him out into the street again. within twentyyears at the most, he reflected, the huge and simple question, ‘was life better beforethe 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 theancient world were incapable of comparing one age with another. they remembered a millionuseless things, a quarrel with a workmate, a hunt for a lost bicycle pump, the expressionon 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 theant, which can see small objects but not large ones. and when memory failed and written recordswere falsified â€” when that happened, the claim of the party to have improved the conditionsof human life had got to be accepted, because there did not exist, and never again couldexist, any standard against which it could be tested.
at this moment his train of thought stoppedabruptly. he halted and looked up. he was in a narrow street, with a few dark littleshops, interspersed among dwelling-houses. immediately above his head there hung threediscoloured metal balls which looked as if they had once been gilded. he seemed to knowthe place. of course! he was standing outside the junk-shop where he had bought the diary. a twinge of fear went through him. it hadbeen a sufficiently rash act to buy the book in the beginning, and he had sworn never tocome near the place again. and yet the instant that he allowed his thoughts to wander, hisfeet had brought him back here of their own accord. it was precisely against suicidalimpulses of this kind that he had hoped to
guard himself by opening the diary. at thesame time he noticed that although it was nearly twenty-one hours the shop was stillopen. with the feeling that he would be less conspicuous inside than hanging about on thepavement, he stepped through the doorway. if questioned, he could plausibly say thathe was trying to buy razor blades. the proprietor had just lighted a hangingoil lamp which gave off an unclean but friendly smell. he was a man of perhaps sixty, frailand bowed, with a long, benevolent nose, and mild eyes distorted by thick spectacles. hishair was almost white, but his eyebrows were bushy and still black. his spectacles, hisgentle, 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 debasedthan that of the majority of proles. ‘i recognized you on the pavement,’ he saidimmediately. ‘you’re the gentleman that bought the young lady’s keepsake album. that wasa beautiful bit of paper, that was. cream-laid, it used to be called. there’s been no paperlike that made for â€” oh, i dare say fifty years.’ he peered at winston over the topof his spectacles. ‘is there anything special i can do for you? or did you just want tolook round?’ ‘i was passing,’ said winston vaguely. ‘ijust looked in. i don’t want anything in particular.’ ‘it’s just as well,’ said the other, ‘becausei don’t suppose i could have satisfied you.’
he made an apologetic gesture with his softpalmedhand. ‘you see how it is; an empty shop, you might say. between you and me, the antiquetrade’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 beenmelted down. i haven’t seen a brass candlestick in years.’ the tiny interior of the shop was in factuncomfortably full, but there was almost nothing in it of the slightest value. the floorspacewas 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 brokenblades, tarnished watches that did not even
pretend to be in going order, and other miscellaneousrubbish. only on a small table in the corner was there a litter of odds and ends â€” lacqueredsnuffboxes, agate brooches, and the like â€” which looked as though they might include somethinginteresting. as winston wandered towards the table his eye was caught by a round, smooththing that gleamed softly in the lamplight, and he picked it up. it was a heavy lump of glass, curved on oneside, 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 thecurved surface, there was a strange, pink, convoluted object that recalled a rose ora 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 otherappreciatively. ‘but there’s not many that’d say so nowadays.’ he coughed. ‘now, if itso happened that you wanted to buy it, that’d cost you four dollars. i can remember whena thing like that would have fetched eight pounds, and eight pounds was â€” well, i can’twork it out, but it was a lot of money. but
who cares about genuine antiques nowadayseven the few that’s left?’ winston immediately paid over the four dollarsand slid the coveted thing into his pocket. what appealed to him about it was not so muchits beauty as the air it seemed to possess of belonging to an age quite different fromthe 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 couldguess that it must once have been intended as a paperweight. it was very heavy in hispocket, but fortunately it did not make much of a bulge. it was a queer thing, even a compromisingthing, for a party member to have in his possession. anything old, and for that matter anythingbeautiful, was always vaguely suspect. the
old man had grown noticeably more cheerfulafter receiving the four dollars. winston realized that he would have accepted threeor even two. ‘there’s another room upstairs that you mightcare to take a look at,’ he said. ‘there’s not much in it. just a few pieces. we’ll dowith 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 whichdid 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 tobe 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 clockwith a twelve-hour face was ticking away on the mantelpiece. under the window, and occupyingnearly a quarter of the room, was an enormous bed with the mattress still on it. ‘we lived here till my wife died,’ said theold man half apologetically. ‘i’m selling the furniture off by little and little. nowthat’s a beautiful mahogany bed, or at least it would be if you could get the bugs outof it. but i dare say you’d find it a little bit cumbersome.’ he was holdlng the lamp high up, so as toilluminate 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 rentthe room for a few dollars a week, if he dared to take the risk. it was a wild, impossiblenotion, to be abandoned as soon as thought of; but the room had awakened in him a sortof nostalgia, a sort of ancestral memory. it seemed to him that he knew exactly whatit felt like to sit in a room like this, in an arm-chair beside an open fire with yourfeet in the fender and a kettle on the hob; utterly alone, utterly secure, with nobodywatching you, no voice pursuing you, no sound except the singing of the kettle and the friendlyticking of the clock. ‘there’s no telescreen!’ he could not helpmurmuring. ‘ah,’ said the old man, ‘i never had one ofthose things. too expensive. and i never seemed
to feel the need of it, somehow. now that’sa nice gateleg table in the corner there. though of course you’d have to put new hingeson 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. thehunting-down and destruction of books had been done with the same thoroughness in theprole quarters as everywhere else. it was very unlikely that there existed anywherein oceania a copy of a book printed earlier than 1960. the old man, still carrying thelamp, was standing in front of a picture in a rosewood frame which hung on the other sideof the fireplace, opposite the bed. ‘now, if you happen to be interested in oldprints at allâ€”’ 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 towerin front. there was a railing running round the building, and at the rear end there waswhat appeared to be a statue. winston gazed at it for some moments. it seemed vaguelyfamiliar, though he did not remember the statue. ‘the frame’s fixed to the wall,’ said theold 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 justice.’ ‘that’s right. outside the law courts. itwas bombed in â€” oh, many years ago. it was
a church at one time, st. clement’s danes,its name was.’ he smiled apologetically, as though conscious of saying something slightlyridiculous, and added: ‘”oranges and lemons,” say the bells of st. clement’s!’ ‘what’s that?’ said winston. ‘oh â€” “‘oranges and lemons,’ say the bellsof st. clement’s.” that was a rhyme we had when i was a little boy. how it goes on idon’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 theirarms for you to pass under, and when they came to “here comes a chopper to chop offyour head” they brought their arms down and
caught you. it was just names of churches.all the london churches were in it â€” all the principal ones, that is.’ winston wondered vaguely to what century thechurch belonged. it was always difficult to determine the age of a london building. anythinglarge and impressive, if it was reasonably new in appearance, was automatically claimedas having been built since the revolution, while anything that was obviously of earlierdate was ascribed to some dim period called the middle ages. the centuries of capitalismwere held to have produced nothing of any value. one could not learn history from architectureany more than one could learn it from books. statues, inscriptions, memorial stones, thenames of streets â€” anything that might throw
light upon the past had been systematicallyaltered. ‘i never knew it had been a church,’ he said. ‘there’s a lot of them left, really,’ saidthe old man, ‘though they’ve been put to other uses. now, how did that rhyme go? ah! i’vegot it! ‘oranges and lemons,’ say the bells of st.clement’s, ‘you owe me three farthings,’ say the bellsof st. martin’s â€” there, now, that’s as far as i can get. afarthing, that was a small copper coin, looked something like a cent.’ ‘where was st. martin’s?’ said winston.
‘st. martin’s? that’s still standing. it’sin victory square, alongside the picture gallery. a building with a kind of a triangular porchand pillars in front, and a big flight of steps.’ winston knew the place well. it was a museumused for propaganda displays of various kinds â€” scale models of rocket bombs and floatingfortresses, waxwork tableaux illustrating enemy atrocities, and the like. ‘st. martin’s-in-the-fields it used to becalled,’ supplemented the old man, ‘though i don’t recollect any fields anywhere in thoseparts.’ winston did not buy the picture. it wouldhave been an even more incongruous possession
than the glass paperweight, and impossibleto carry home, unless it were taken out of its frame. but he lingered for some minutesmore, talking to the old man, whose name, he discovered, was not weeks â€” as one mighthave gathered from the inscription over the shop-front â€” 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 hadnever quite got to the point of doing it. all the while that they were talking the half-rememberedrhyme 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 whenyou said it to yourself you had the illusion
of actually hearing bells, the bells of alost london that still existed somewhere or other, disguised and forgotten. from one ghostlysteeple after another he seemed to hear them pealing forth. yet so far as he could rememberhe had never in real life heard church bells ringing. he got away from mr. charrington and wentdown the stairs alone, so as not to let the old man see him reconnoitring the street beforestepping out of the door. he had already made up his mind that after a suitable intervalâ€” a month, say â€” he would take the risk of visiting the shop again. it was perhapsnot more dangerous than shirking an evening at the centre. the serious piece of follyhad been to come back here in the first place,
after buying the diary and without knowingwhether the proprietor of the shop could be trusted. howeverâ€”! yes, he thought again, he would come back.he would buy further scraps of beautiful rubbish. he would buy the engraving of st. clement’sdanes, take it out of its frame, and carry it home concealed under the jacket of hisoveralls. he would drag the rest of that poem out of mr. charrington’s memory. even thelunatic 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 pavementwithout so much as a preliminary glance through the window. he had even started humming toan improvised tune â€”
‘you owe me three farthings,’ say the â€” suddenly his heart seemed to turn to ice andhis bowels to water. a figure in blue overalls was coming down the pavement, not ten metresaway. 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 paralysedto move. then he turned to the right and walked heavily away, not noticing for the momentthat he was going in the wrong direction. at any rate, one question was settled. therewas no doubting any longer that the girl was
spying on him. she must have followed himhere, because it was not credible that by pure chance she should have happened to bewalking on the same evening up the same obscure backstreet, kilometres distant from any quarterwhere party members lived. it was too great a coincidence. whether she was really an agentof 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 glassin his pocket banged against his thigh at each step, and he was half minded to takeit out and throw it away. the worst thing was the pain in his belly. for a couple ofminutes he had the feeling that he would die
if he did not reach a lavatory soon. but therewould be no public lavatories in a quarter like this. then the spasm passed, leavinga 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 toretrace his steps. as he turned it occurred to him that the girl had only passed him threeminutes ago and that by running he could probably catch up with her. he could keep on her tracktill they were in some quiet place, and then smash her skull in with a cobblestone. thepiece of glass in his pocket would be heavy enough for the job. but he abandoned the ideaimmediately, because even the thought of making any physical effort was unbearable. he couldnot 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 deadlylassitude had taken hold of him. all he wanted was to get home quickly and then sit downand be quiet. it was after twenty-two hours when he gotback to the flat. the lights would be switched off at the main at twenty-three thirty. hewent into the kitchen and swallowed nearly a teacupful of victory gin. then he went tothe table in the alcove, sat down, and took the diary out of the drawer. but he did notopen 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 voiceout of his consciousness. it was at night that they came for you, alwaysat night. the proper thing was to kill yourself before they got you. undoubtedly some peopledid so. many of the disappearances were actually suicides. but it needed desperate courageto kill yourself in a world where firearms, or any quick and certain poison, were completelyunprocurable. he thought with a kind of astonishment of the biological uselessness of pain andfear, the treachery of the human body which always freezes into inertia at exactly themoment when a special effort is needed. he might have silenced the dark-haired girl ifonly he had acted quickly enough: but precisely because of the extremity of his danger hehad lost the power to act. it struck him that
in moments of crisis one is never fightingagainst an external enemy, but always against one’s own body. even now, in spite of thegin, the dull ache in his belly made consecutive thought impossible. and it is the same, heperceived, in all seemingly heroic or tragic situations. on the battlefield, in the torturechamber, 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 paralysedby fright or screaming with pain, life is a moment-to-moment struggle against hungeror cold or sleeplessness, against a sour stomach or an aching tooth. he opened the diary. it was important to writesomething down. the woman on the telescreen
had started a new song. her voice seemed tostick into his brain like jagged splinters of glass. he tried to think of o’brien, forwhom, or to whom, the diary was written, but instead he began thinking of the things thatwould happen to him after the thought police took him away. it would not matter if theykilled you at once. to be killed was what you expected. but before death (nobody spokeof such things, yet everybody knew of them) there was the routine of confession that hadto be gone through: the grovelling on the floor and screaming for mercy, the crack ofbroken bones, the smashed teeth, and bloody clots of hair. why did you have to endure it, since the endwas 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 hadsuccumbed to thoughtcrime it was certain that by a given date you would be dead. why thendid that horror, which altered nothing, have to lie embedded in future time? he tried with a little more success than beforeto 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 thereis 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 earshe could not follow the train of thought further.
he put a cigarette in his mouth. half thetobacco promptly fell out on to his tongue, a bitter dust which was difficult to spitout again. the face of big brother swam into his mind, displacing that of o’brien. justas 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 beneaththe dark moustache? like a leaden knell the words came back at him: