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Literature Study Guides1984Book 2 Chapter 6 Summary


George Orwell

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Book 2 | Chapter 6

Course Hero's video study guide provides in-depth summary and analysis of Book 2 | Chapter 6 of George Orwell's novel 1984.

1984 | Book 2, Chapter 6 | Summary



As Winston walks along a corridor at the Ministry, O'Brien lays a friendly hand on his arm. He'd been reading one of Winston's articles and looking for a chance to talk. He praises the article but points out that Winston used two obsolete words and refers him to the 10th edition of the Newspeak dictionary. The 10th edition hasn't been published yet, but O'Brien says he has one and Winston may borrow it. He gives Winston his address on a slip of paper and suggests that Winston come by. Borrowing this book wouldn't be considered illegal activity.


O'Brien makes an apparent reference to Syme, but Syme is an unperson. Winston believes that this is a signal representing a crack in the Party's reality. This reinforces Winston's belief that O'Brien, an Inner Party member, is actually a dissenter. What Winston does not consider is that O'Brien might be trying to entrap him into committing thoughtcrime by leading him to think about the unperson.

Winston's evolution has become clear, and it is progressing rapidly now. He's moved from a vague dissatisfaction to the blatant expression of his thoughts in his diary. Now he is on the cusp of action, and the narrator says, "The end was contained in the beginning." The message is what Winston has long believed: that he is on the way to his grave. A literary tragedy is when a character's flaw leads him to an end that was inevitable from the beginning because of that flaw. A tragic flaw is a defect that brings about a character's downfall. Although Winston is not the typical tragic hero, he knows the actions he's taking are likely to lead to his demise.

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