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Book 2 | Chapter 8

Course Hero's video study guide provides in-depth summary and analysis of Book 2 | Chapter 8 of George Orwell's novel 1984.

1984 | Book 2, Chapter 8 | Summary

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Summary

Having come by different routes, Winston and Julia arrive at O'Brien's apartment in a part of town where the wealthy Inner Party members live. Everything is clean, plush, and spacious, and Inner Party members can turn off the telescreens for up to half an hour at a time. O'Brien seems irritable, and Winston wonders if he misunderstood the invitation. He doubts for a moment that O'Brien is with the resistance.

O'Brien turns off the telescreen, smiles, and offers an invitation for Winston to speak. Winston says that he and Julia want to join the resistance. O'Brien explains that his valet, Martin, is "one of us" and has the man bring them wine. O'Brien has them raise a glass, and they toast Emmanuel Goldstein.

Testing their resolve to overthrow the Party, O'Brien asks a series of grisly questions, including if they're prepared to throw sulfuric acid in a child's face. Winston and Julia answer "yes" to each question until O'Brien asks if they're prepared to never see each other again. To this Julia answers "no." O'Brien explains other rules of the Brotherhood, and Julia leaves. He asks Winston if they have a hiding place, so Winston tells him of the room over Mr. Charrington's shop. O'Brien says he will get a copy of Goldstein's book soon, and Winston leaves.

Analysis

Winston and Julia have shown a new activism by coming to O'Brien's home, and they agree that, in joining the Brotherhood, they are willing, if asked, to do terrible things. But much more is revealed about their personalities by the Q-and-A session, which shows to what violent lengths they are willing to go for the cause.

The mood of a work of literature is its general atmosphere, and it is influenced by how the writer describes characters and scenes, the words and phrases used to describe actions, the dialogue, and other story elements. The prevailing moods of Chapter 8 of Book 2 are suspicion and optimism.

At the end of the chapter, Winston understands that O'Brien is duplicitous; he believes that O'Brien's "true self" supports Goldstein.

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