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Book 3 | Chapter 3

Course Hero's video study guide provides in-depth summary and analysis of Book 3 | Chapter 3 of George Orwell's novel 1984.

1984 | Book 3, Chapter 3 | Summary

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Summary

O'Brien tells Winston that he collaborated in writing "the book" and goes on to give Winston the answer to the question of "why." Winston says what he thinks O'Brien wants to hear: that the Party is ruling the people for their own good. O'Brien dials up the pain threshold. Wrong. O'Brien goes on to explain, "We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power." The Party slogan "Freedom is Slavery" is also reversible: "Slavery is Freedom."

O'Brien continues to explain Party doctrine, alternately dialing up and dialing down the level of pain according to how well Winston's answers agree or disagree not with what Winston believes but with the Party tenets. O'Brien wants to make Winston a parrot of the Party. Nonetheless, Winston continues to hold tight to ideas he knows to be true: gravity exists, the earth has existed for millions of years, the stars are millions of light-years away, and the Party will one day fail.

When Winston sees himself in a mirror, he is frightened by the emaciation of his body. The one thing that sustains him is that in his heart he has not betrayed Julia. He has not stopped loving her, and O'Brien knows it.

Analysis

When O'Brien says that he collaborated in writing "the book," it is likely that he says this to weaken Winston's faith in the existence of the Brotherhood. After all, he follows it up by telling Winston that it's nonsense to believe the Party can ever be overthrown.

The reverence Winston felt for O'Brien in Chapter 2 of Book 1 is still evident even after O'Brien explains that the Party doesn't care about the people's happiness. When Winston believed O'Brien was a kindred spirit, he felt connected to him. Letting go of that connection further isolates Winston. It may, in fact, seem more appealing to Winston to change his view and agree with O'Brien than to be cast out into total isolation.

O'Brien tells Winston that "power is not a means; it is an end." But he goes on to say that this power cannot be experienced if one is alone. It has to be collective, and that's why the Party slogan can be reversed to say "Slavery is freedom." A person must merge into the mind of the Party. He seems to be saying that, when you are alone, you can be defeated, but, if you are free of "aloneness" (when you are enslaved to the Party), you are free not to be defeated.

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