1984 by George Orwell

Section Three, Part III Summary (pp. 260-274)

While continuing to torture Winston, O'Brien reveals he collaborated in writing Goldstein's book and says the information in it is true as a description, though O'Brien believes a proletarian revolt impossible. He also reveals the answer to the question "why" Winston asked earlier: the Party " 'seeks power entirely for its own sake' "(263). When Winston questions what use is power when O'Brien cannot stop the decay of his own body, O'Brien tells him the power lies in the collective belief of the Party, and that his body is just one cell of a greater organism that is the Party. O'Brien argues the Party controls reality because they control the mind. Despite O'Brien's consistent return to "doublethink", Winston does not accept the same belief.

O'Brien describes a future of total oppression, all joy eradicated, saying "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever" (276). O'Brien denies the power of human nature to resist tyranny. Winston insists the "spirit of Man" (270) will prevail. O'Brien asks Winston if he is morally superior to him, and when Winston replies he is, O'Brien plays back a recording of him swearing to commit terrible acts in the name of the Party.

To undermine Winston's belief in the spirit of Man, O'Brien forces him to look at himself in the mirror. He sees himself transformed, looking much like the skeletal prisoner dragged off to Room 101. O'Brien then says, "If you are human, that is humanity" (272). Winston maintains although he is broken, he has not betrayed Julia. The section ends with O'Brien promising to shoot Winston when he is ready.

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