And perhaps you might pretend, afterwards, that it was only a trick and that you just said it to make them stop and didn’t really mean it. But that isn’t true. At the time when it happens you do mean it. You think there’s no other way of saving your

why is this quote significant to the meaning of the novel as a whole?

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There are no heroes under torture. OBrien states that, under torture, it is a mattwer of instinct that people lessen the pain. Winston cannot fight instinct. Both Winston and Julia will confess and say anything to lessen the pain.