1984 Section Three, Part I Summary (pp. 225-239)
by George Orwell

Winston is in a windowless cell with a telescreen on each of the four walls. Previous to coming here, he was in a crowded lockup containing both "proles" and Party members. The "proles" there were far more rebellious, though seeming to be on good terms with the guards. The "proles", especially the gangsters and murderers, compose the prison aristocracy.

While in the first lockup, Winston encounters a drunk "prole" with the same last name as him, who says she might be his mother—a possibility he considers. It is also here Winston first hears of "room one-oh-one" (228). His thoughts move from the first lockup to what the future will bring, yet despite his fear he is sure he will not betray Julia. He thinks of O'Brien with some hope and wonders if the Brotherhood will send him a razor blade so he can end his life and avoid inevitable torture.

Winston realizes he is now in "the place where there is no darkness." He is joined by the poet Ampleforth, who worked with him in the Ministry of Truth. Ampleforth isn't even entirely sure why he's been captured (although he thinks it might be because he didn’t remove the word "God" from a Rudyard Kipling poem.) After a time, Ampleforth is taken away and Parsons, who Winston is surprised to see, is brought in.

Parsons explains he's guilty of Thoughtcrime, and that it was his daughter who denounced him. Parsons is removed and various prisoners come and go until there are six in the cell with Winston, one of whom has a "tormented, skull-like face" (235) because he is dying of starvation. One prisoner offers the starving man a piece of bread and is immediately reprimanded via the telescreen. A large guard arrives and punches him hard enough in the mouth to knock him back and split his dental plate. Throughout Winston's time in the cell, the guards regularly come for prisoners and take them to Room 101. The starving man throws himself down begging when the guards come to take him there, and he even looks around as if "he could put another victim in his own place" (237). Finally, he wrongfully accuses the man who offered him bread so as to escape Room 101, but to no avail.

Winston is alone again when O'Brien enters the cell. Winston is shocked and says, "They've got you too!" to which O'Brien replies, "They got me a long time ago" (238). Accompanying O'Brien is a guard with a truncheon, who proceeds to smack Winston in the elbow with it.

Share on Pinterest