1984 Summary and Analysis
Part Two VIII-X
Winston and Julia, having traveled by different routes, arrive at O'Brien's apartment. Winston is nervous to have even entered the rich, spacious part of town that the Inner Party members live in, which smells of rare foods and tobacco. O'Brien's servant, Martin, is dark-haired, has a diamond-shaped face Winston believes to be Chinese, and wears a crisp white jacket. Martin brings Winston and Julia to O'Brien. O'Brien's flat is luxurious, with thick blue carpeting and clean, cream-colored walls. Before greeting his visitors, O'Brien completes a brief bit of business. Winston suddenly wonders if he is welcome, and whether he should have come. He has no proof that O'Brien is a member of a political conspiracy against the Party. He is acting only on glances, brief conversations, and a feeling in his gut.
O'Brien walks over to his guests, switching off his telescreen on his way. Winston and Julia are astounded. They never knew anyone who had the power to turn off a telescreen. O'Brien explains that Inner Party members have that privilege. The three face each other for a moment, and O'Brien asks, "Shall I say it or will you?" Winston launches into an admission of thoughtcrime, his and Julia's hatred of Big Brother and the Party, and their belief in and eagnerness to join the underground movement. Martin appears with refreshments, which turn out to be wine, something Winston and Julia have never tasted. O'Brien explains that Martin is "one of us" and asks him to sit with them.
O'Brien answers Winston's questions, explaining that Goldstein is real and that the Brotherhood (the anti-Party movement) exists. He then asks Winston and Julia what they are willing to do for the cause. They claim that they are willing to do anything, including murdering innocents and committing suicide, to further the Brotherhood. The only thing that they are unwilling to do is to part and never see each other again. O'Brien sends Martin to the pantry and begins to lecture Winston and Julia, explaining to them that they must obey him no matter what his instructions, and that he must effectively keep them in the dark about the extent of the underground organization so as to keep other members safe from discovery. Once the Thought Police find them, the Brotherhood will abandon Winston and Julia to protect the cause. Winston and Julia watch O'Brien with a sense of wonder and deep respect, and Winston believes that O'Brien represents hope for mankind. Before sending Julia out, O'Brien calls for a toast. Winston offers, "To the past," and they drink. Julia leaves, and O'Brien and Winston begin to speak of logistics. Winston reveals his "hiding place," Mr. Charrington's shop, and O'Brien tells him he will send him a copy of "the book...Goldstein's book." One day in the near future, Winston will find a misprint on an assignment and will have to ask for a repeat. The next day, he is to leave his briefcase at home. At some point during the day a man will walk up to him saying, "I believe you dropped your briefcase," and give him a briefcase containing the book. Before Winston and O'Brien part, O'Brien again offers a toast, saying "We shall meet again - if we do not meet again..." Winston interrupts hesitantly, stating, "We shall meet in the place of no darkness?" O'Brien agrees. Asked if he has any more questions before he leaves, Winston questions O'Brien about the rhyme Mr. Charrington taught him. O'Brien reveals the rest of the poem, adding, "When I grow rich, say the bells of Shoreditch." The poem is complete. The men shake hands, and Winston leaves.
Winston is walking towards Mr. Charrington's apartment, carrying "the book" and feeling utterly exhausted. He has worked more than ninety hours in five days, along with everyone else in the Party, because of Hate Week. On the sixth day, the enemy changed from Eurasia to Eastasia. Immediately, all the propaganda had to be adjusted to denounce Eastasia rather than Eurasia, Oceania's new ally. Winston recalls that when the event happened, he was watching a speech. The speaker was interrupted and after reading the newsflash, continued on almost seamlessly, denouncing Eastasia rather than Eurasia, which he had been discussing only moments before. The Party worked to "correct" old news stories and propaganda about being at war with Eurasia. In the view of the Party, Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.
Finally, Winston reaches the apartment, sits on the bed, and opens the book. He reads the title page: "The Theory and Practices of Oligarchical Collectivism by Emmanuel Goldstein." Winston begins to read. The book opens with a discussion of basic class levels. Winston decides to jump ahead and begins reading the third chapter, which discusses how the world was split into three super powers. Russia absorbed Europe, and the United States absorbed Great Britain. A decade later, after a great deal of fighting, Eastasia finally solidified. Eurasia consists of the whole,
"northern part of the European and Asiatic land mass, from Portugal to the Bering Strait, Oceania comprises the Americas, the Atlantaic islands including the British Isles, Australasia, and the souther portion of Africa. Eastasia, smaller than the other and with a less definite western frontier, comprises China and the countries to the south of it, the Japanese islands and a large but fluctuating portion of Manchuria, Mongolia, and Tibet."
Goldstein explains that for the past twenty-five years, these superstates have been permanently at war, despite the impossibility of a decisive outcome. Goldstein claims that the goal of modern warfare is to use the products created by society without raising standards of living. When a war is on, massive production is needed, but economic growth is impossible. The superstate populations are kept "bare, hungry, and dilapidated," compared to how they lived before the Revolution.
Goldstein notes the difficulty in maintaining a balance between wealth and power in healthy, growing societies. He explains that it was perceived that the only way to strike an effective balance and make all members of society equals would be to quickly distribute goods to prevent consumer growth: "The essential act of War is destruction." Scientists no longer pursue knowledge alone. Rather, they study facial expressions to determine ways to detect thoughtcrime, or chemistry to develop new weapons. Goldstein even notes that there has been very little development in weaponry. Each country still builds and hoards atomic bombs, which were developed long before the superstates were established.
Oceania is ruled under the ideology of Ingsoc, Eurasia under Neo-Bolshevism, and Eastasia under what can be translated as either "Death-worship" or "Obliteration of the Self." All countries have an Inner Party, a Party, a prole structure, and worship absolute, semi-divine leaders. Goldstein states, "when war becomes literally continuous, it also ceases to be dangerous...technical progress can cease and the most palpable facts can be denied or disregarded." The people have no way of knowing the true state of the world, and must rely entirely upon the Party. Rather than being a war between nations, the war is waged upon the people to maintain loyalty, unity against a common enemy, and Party domination. Thus, as war maintains order in each individual nation, the meaning of the Party slogan "War is Peace" becomes clear.
Julia arrives, briefly acknowledges the book, and busies herself making coffee. Half an hour later, while lying in bed, Winston tells Julia she must also read the book, and she asks him to read it aloud so that they can both take it in at the same time. He begins again at the first chapter.
Goldstein discusses the pyramidal shape of society, which consists of the High, who wish to remain high, Middle, who wish to change places with the high, and Low, who wish to develop a society based on equality among all men. When the Middle works to overthrow the High, it enlists the Low to achieve its goals, and then pushes the Low back to their place. Thus, the Low are always trod upon, with no hope of true change or progress. This pattern became clear in the nineteenth century, when Socialism began to gain popularity. The socialist movements among the superstates turned into totalitarian rule, which eventually evolved into Ingsoc, Neo-Bolshevism, and Death-worship, and worked directly towards developing "unfreedom and inequality." The purpose of these systems was to stop progress and "freeze history at a chosen moment." Rather than moving forward, society moved backward, embracing concepts such as "imprisonment without trial, the use of war prisoners as slaves, public executions [and] torture." Goldstein blames the invention of the television for the complete loss of privacy and the drastic increase in domestic spying. The television and propagation of print media allows superstates to develop and maintain complete uniformity in opinion.
Goldstein defines the four dangers to a ruling regime as being conquered from without, suffering from inefficient government leading to revolt, permitting a strong and independent Middle Group to develop, or losing self-confidence and willingness to govern. The main danger lies in the growth of liberalism. To address this, the government works efficiently to mold consciousness. As such, the infallible, all-powerful Big Brother sits at the apex of Oceanian society, as a representation of the Party to its country and the world, and "a focus point for love, fear, and reverence, emotions which are more easily felt toward an individual than toward an organization." Next lies the Inner Party, numbering approximately six million, less than two percent of the population. The Outer Party follows, filled with workers who allow the Party to maintain society, and finally come the proles, the "dumb masses" and non-Party members consisting of eighty-five percent of the population. Membership in these groups is defined by heredity, and each is monitored closely by the Thought Police to weed out any independent thinkers.
Goldstein goes on to discuss the advent of Newspeak, the total lack of privacy demanded by the Party, and the central notion of the mutability of the past. Goldstein focuses specifically on the Newspeak word "doublethink," which means "the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them." Goldstein notes that the Party tends to embrace contradiction, "constantly linking opposites - knowledge with ignorance, cynicism with fanaticism," peace with war, truth with lies, plenty with starvation, love with torture. In this way, the Party has abandoned every basic principle of Socialism and turned its back on the original goals of the Revolution.
Winston stops reading and realizes that Julia has fallen asleep. He lies down next to her, noting that he still has not learned the "ultimate secret." He knows how, but not why. He knew all of these things before, but reading Goldstein's words showed him that he was sane. He falls asleep murmuring, "Sanity is not statistical."
Winston wakes thinking that he has slept for a long time, but the clock suggests otherwise. He hears the deep singing of the prole woman in the yard below. Julia wakes and notices that the oil stove is empty, which is strange considering she had been sure to fill it. Julia dresses, and they take a moment to observe the prole woman in her yard, performing her domestic duties and thriving in her simple life. Winston calls her beautiful, and reflects on how she must have changed quite quickly from a young, supple beauty to a hardened, wide mother of many needy children. He thinks about all the people in the world who live similarly simple lives, focused on family, children, and daily work, and again tells himself that if there is hope, it lies in the proles. He knows that this must have been Goldstein's conclusion as well, and takes heart in the notion that eventually "strength would change into consciousness," and humanity would recapture the earth. In comparing himself to the freedom of the proles, he states aloud, "We are the dead." Julia echoes his words, and then suddenly, a voice from behind them states, "You are the dead." Winston and Julia jump apart in fear. Julia realizes that the voice is coming from behind the picture. The voice tells them to stay where they are, and then adds the final lines to the St. Clement's poem, "Here comes a candle to light you to bed / Here comes a chopper to chop off your head!" The picture falls to the ground, revealing a hidden telescreen. The Thought Police break in through the window, smash Winston's coral paperweight to the ground, and hit Julia. Mr. Charrington walks into the room, and Winston realizes that he looks younger, taller, colder, and more alert. He suddenly realizes that it was Mr. Charrington's voice on the telescreen; Mr. Charrington is a member of the Thought Police.
Finally, Winston and Julia meet O'Brien in his home to discuss rebellion against the Party. This pivotal moment places Winston and Julia - in their minds, at least - forever on a path towards rebellion, but in reality only sends them careening towards arrest and torture. Winston's easy admission of hatred for the Party and desire to join an underground organization working against it seals his eventual downfall, but frees his spirit. Winston believes that he has finally found the anti-Party organization he has sought throughout his life. Throughout the meeting, both Winston and Julia are in awe of O'Brien's simultaneous status as a member of the Inner Party position and dedication to the Party's destruction. In expressing great confidence, knowledge and power, O'Brien is further established as a man of great wisdom and knowledge. Winston references his dream when he closes a toast with O'Brien, saying they shall meet "in the place where there is no darkness." Before leaving, Winston asks O'Brien about the St. Clement's Dane rhyme, and O'Brien is symbolically able to complete the verse, which assures Winston of O'Brien's like-mindedness. As is sadly common in Winston's experience, we later learn that O'Brien has lied to Winston and Julia in an effort to build up their hope for rebellion and trap them into arrest, torture, and deep psychological manipulation at the Ministry of Love.
Through the description of Hate Week and the extra hours Winston must spend at work due to the sudden change of enemies in the middle of the propaganda-filled week, we again see the degree to which the Party can successfully manipulate people's minds. The Party changes enemies in the middle of a speech from Eurasia to Eastasia, and immediately claims that Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia. Here, the phenomenon of doublethink is displayed clearly and powerfully. The masses accept this new enemy and the claim that Eastasia has always been the enemy with phenomenal ease.
Chapter IX consists almost entirely of excerpts from "the book," Goldstein's The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism. When Julia arrives and finds Winston with the book, we again see the differences between them. Julia, more interested in her own personal survival than the future of the human race, is only vaguely interested, and after asking Winston to read aloud, falls asleep. Meanwhile, Winston is deeply fascinated by Goldstein's words and believes that the book will unlock the key to the mysteries behind the Party and its rule over Oceania. This section of the book reads largely like a history textbook, and provides a glimpse into Orwell's view of how Socialist revolutions have been abandoned by its champions to develop totalitarian regimes. We can assume that Orwell is drawing significantly from Stalin's rise to power and the institution of Stalinism in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. This section has often been criticized for an excess of academic analysis, but others cite it as supporting the novel's focus on the negative effects of totalitarian regimes. In this section, we can see how closely linked the world of 1984 is to historical events.
During this long discourse on global political developments, Julia is lulled to sleep and Winston eventually follows, but only after he realizes that the book has not told him anything new. Winston and Julia wake in the morning with a false sense of safety and serenity that is interrupted quite dramatically with the invasion of the Thought Police. Only moments earlier, Winston and Julia had again gazed down at the singing prole woman, and Winston had imagined a world filled with simple humanity. Yet it was during this hopeful moment that the Thought Police arrived. Winston has always known he would be arrested, but the scene is a dramatic surprise for the reader. The inevitable day has come.
1984 Essays and Related Content
- 1984: Major Themes
- 1984: Essays
- 1984: Questions
- 1984: Purchase the Novel and Related Material
- George Orwell: Biography
- 1984 Summary
- About 1984
- Character List
- Glossary of Terms
- Major Themes
- Summary and Analysis of Part One I-II
- Summary and Analysis of Part One III-V
- Summary and Analysis of Part One VI-VIII
- Summary and Analysis of Part Two I-III
- Summary and Analysis of Part Two IV-VII
- Summary and Analysis of Part Two VIII-X
- Summary and Analysis of Part Three I-III
- Summary and Analysis of Part Three IV-VI
- Related Links on 1984
- Suggested Essay Questions
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 1
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 2
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 3
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 4
- Author of ClassicNote and Sources