Overall, Brave New World is a good book... but it is very confusing, the beginning and ending especially. I find that they were very rushed and under detailed, which made the reading very confusing. In the beginning chapters too much was going on at once, too many different situations were presented, while in the end, there were too many loose ends. The last sentences are a reference to a compass, which makes no sense. We do not know what happens to many of the characters, the story is left unfinished. I think that the author had a specific amount of words or a deadline to respect, so he just rushed it at the end. There are new characters introduced, new changes in people's personalities, new places... it's just too much to take in! I think the book would have been much better if the beginning chapters and the final chapters were more clear.
While Brave New World may be reflecting a communist society, it is also very totalitarian. The reason why? Censorship. Censorship of religion and of literature. On page 200, we learn that the reason why people were deprived from Shakespeare's literature is because it is too old. The government wants everyone to like the new things, not the old ones. Plus, they wouldn't understand plays like Othello and Romeo and Juliet not only because of the old language, but also because they could not relate to these tragedies, as the society is "NOT" socially unstable. If everyone is happy, then why would they want to relate to something sad, like Romeo and Juliet. The only way to prevent the people from being sad is to censor sadness.
The same thing happens with religion. God is old. And even if God doesn't change with time, humanity does. They would no longer be able to understand religion, so why bother them with it? Censoring it is much easier. People don't even know of it's existence, so they do not have to worry about it.
On page 166 John is reading Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, and he finds out he and Lenina are like Romeo and Juliet. They come from two different families that don't necessarily hate each other, but that live differently. "Living in two different worlds" as Bernard would say. For example, in the reserve, people get married, while in London, everyone "owns" or "has" everyone, and there is no love, but simply sexual pleasure. It is for this very reason that it did not work between the couple. Lenina started getting undressed in front of John, but he called her a whore and threatened to kill her (page 177). Perhaps it is better for the two worlds never to mix after all, they are simply too different. Just like the Montagues and the Capulets, the "civilized" ad the "uncivilized" are constantly bullying each other, because they are too different.
I found out what Ford is. He is Henry Ford. The one who founded the Ford company. But why chose him? Ford is very famous because he has perfected mass production and assembly line. Why is this important? Because in Brave New World, humans are MADE in mass production. This was probably inspired by Ford himself. Henry Ford has revolutionized the world as it is in Huxley's dystopian novel. He is praised by everyone, just like Big Brother is praised in 1984. He is so important in the story that the years are no longer measured with Jesus' birth (as religion no longer exists), but rather with Ford's birth. B.C. is now A.F. (After Ford).
On pages 134 and 135, we learn that the Director wants to send Bernard to Iceland because he did not fulfil his duties as an Alpha. But more precisely, he was going to be sent because he is different from the other, he is an individual. The Director was going to send Bernard away because he was afraid that he was going to throw off the government. This reminded me of Anthem by Ayn Rand when Equality was sent to the job of a street sweeper. There too individualism is feared. Equality is a very independent person, and if he becomes too much independent, well he could destroy the government. He almost did too. But the Council of Vocations wanted to avoid this, so Equality was sent to the Home of the Street Sweepers instead of the Home of the Scholars, where he should be.
I guess that's what it is in communist societies; individualism is feared. Anything that is different or unique in its own way can kill the government, so it has to be destroyed. Both Bernard and Equality had different ideas than the rest of their society. Both were remarkably different. Both were almost destroyed. In Anthem, Equality was assigned to the job of a street sweeper, and then when the government found out that he was hiding in tunnels, working on electricity, he was damned out of the town. He was too much of a danger, he could not stay. He was too determined into helping his society that it made him different, and different is bad. In Brave New World, Bernard was different too, he did not believe that "everyone owned everyone" and that everybody is happy all the time. He wanted to be alone all the time, he was far too independent for a communist place. So he was threatened to be sent to Iceland, where he would no longer represent a danger to the population.
Later on in the book, however, we learn that the islands, like Iceland, are not some place terrible after all. On page 207 we learn that they are places filled with Individuals, filled with people who have different ideas. (Bernard was obviously unaware of that because he begged not to be sent.) This is just like the Uncharted Forest in Anthem. it may seem terrible at first, but it actually a place where people can be free, individuals. They both symbolize freedom because the people who go there are able to do whatever they like, to have thoughts of individualism, and to disobey rules if they like. Equality has been able to truly find himself in that forest. He discovered the individual in him and he discovered the word I. We do not know what happens to Bernard, but I am sure that if he ever gets sent to an island, he will be able to live freely and openly.
Ever since John learned that he and his mother could go back to London, he kept saying "Brave new world, O brave new world" (page 216). My guess is that this is the reason why the book is called like that. John was so excited to leave this damned place where he would constantly get bullied and have a new, fresh start. He had heard so much about London and how wonderful it is from his mother, he was so happy that he might be able to go there. Of course, that was before he learned about all the bad things in this "brave new world".
The communism, the movies where the audience could feel everything, the polygamy, the soma (presumably drugs or alcohol)... all of it was too much for poor John to take. He wouldn't take the soma, said that it took away people's freedom. He even threw boxes of it out the window. Said it was to free the people. Of course that got him caught.
The title "Brave New World" is actually very ironic. This world isn't brave at all, it is cowardly! Just take a look at Lenina, who is afraid of thunder, and who leeches in disgust when she was at the reserve! Everything is done in this society so that one never feels scared, or sad, or angry, but instead always joyful and happy and so on... But by protecting all these people from these dreaded feelings, it makes them more weak and vulnerable to them. If they ever have to coop with them later on, they won't know how, and it will kill them. It isn't a brave world, far from it. It is a world where people don't have to be brave because everything is done for them.
Very early in the book, when Bernard asked for a permit to go to the Indian reserve, he was told a story. Thomas, the Director, told him that he went to take a walk in the woods with "the girl he had at the time". They slept, but when he woke up, he no longer saw the girl. He looked all over the place, called for a search, but she had simply disappeared. When Bernard is in the reserve, he meets a young boy, John. But John isn't an ordinary "Indian". He is white (and he has been bullied because of it). He tells the story about his mother, Linda, who got lost when she was hiking with a man named Tomakin. The natives have found her, and she lived with them in the reserve. But there was a problem: she was pregnant! With Tomakin's son! So she never had the courage to ask to go back to London because she had a child, which she could not get aborted, and having a child in London is extremely bad.
It does not take Einstein to figure out that Tomakin is Thomas. Later John and Linda are brought back into London, where Linda meets Tomakin and reveals to everyone that he is the father of her son in an assembly. No need to say that Thomas was fired!
It was nice of the author to include this little mystery inside the book. Not only did it add a twist to the story, but it also made up the story. The rest of the book is mostly about John who tries to coop with the society, he tries to be alone, an individual in a communist society. It was very hard for him, especially with his dying mother, but in the end... he almost succeeded. The ending was very confusing. John was going to be sent to an island where he could be an individual, but he was refused. For some reason he lives in a lighthouse, and he turned crazy. He turned into a monster who's only goal is to kill and to make people suffer. The book ends with some people from a helicopter coming down in the lighthouse to get the "savage" and bring him to some place...
Here is one word that I simply do not understand: Ford. What is this word (and I am not talking about the car)? Why is it used in the book. "Our Fordship". What does it mean? It is really confusing. Somehow it seems to be the equivalent of God, however this society does not know about God or religion. It also seems like it is a swear word; when Bernard is upset he would often repeat "Ford, Ford, Ford," so I don't know... What does it mean?
"Indians", "creatures", "savages", these are all stereotypical names the Aboriginal people have been called. The "civilized" people would just point and stare at the "animals" and call them "uncivilized" and "dirty" and "disgusting". They (the "civilized"), have been raised in a world where people always look young and clean and sterilized, so of course it may seem odd to hem to see people living in a different lifestyle, but it isn't a reason to point and stare. "How can they live like this?" (Lenina, page 99). Well simply because that is the result of thousands of years of native culture and lifestyles that simply has not been lost. They don't know anything else, and that doesn't bother them. In fact, I think that it is better for them to live like this. Why? Because it permits them to make one with God and nature. They have so many values that have been lost today... This makes them more wise than all the other "civilized people".
There is an old man and a woman breast feeding her child. These key characteristics of life are alien to Lenina and Bernard, and they find it disgusting, or surprising. They would stare in astonishment at the old man, because they have never seen one before, and Lenina would leech at the sight of breast feeding while Bernard would find it very interesting. All that because they simply have never seen it before, they were never exposed to it.
I had asked myself why the "civilized" would treat the natives so poorly. I think that is because they are not familiar with this concept. When the first explorers came to North America, they too would treat the natives like savages because this lifestyle was unknown to them. They would consider them as animals, and treat them like savages. THEY WERE NOT CONSIDERED AS PEOPLE! But really, it was the explorers who were inhuman, because instead of trying to earn this new culture, they tried to destroy it. They would assimilate the "Indians" because they wanted to kill the Indian culture.
Lenina and Bernard have lived their whole lives under slogans and cleanness, so when they arrived to the reserve they had the same reaction as the explorers; they would treat the "creature" like creatures, animals, savages. True, they did not try to assimilate them, but they would dehumanize them.
there's just one thing I don't understand... There are Native Reserves, but people visit them like tourism sites. The Aboriginals are treated (and called) like savages. On page 95 the tour guide says that "they're perfectly tamed; savages won't do you any harm". THEY TREAT THEM LIKE ANIMALS, AS THOUGH THEY ARE NOT HUMAN! I THOUGHT THIS WAS A CIVILIZED, MORE ADVANCED FUTURE, WHY ISN'T IT MORE MATURE THAN THIS?!?!? How grey, how boring of a future, if native people are still treated like animals, used for tourist attractions. Such a dark future awaits us... hopes for a bright one are dead. in the reserves, the "savages" give birth, instead of going through surrogacy. And that is not well seen for a society entirely born from surrogacy. Why, oh why, would so many people just dehumanize other HUMAN BEINGS like that???
Just like in Anthem, there is no individualism in Brave New World. This is done by different measure. In Brave New World, people have no individualism because they cannot chose what caste they are in, they are born into it. Furthermore, each caste is given it's own colour, so an Alpha cannot be distinguished from all the other Alphas, a Beta cannot be distinguished from all the other Betas and so on. They also have no individual thoughts, just like in 1984 their brains are filled with slogans. For example: "A gram is always better than a damn" (page 80), or "Everybody's happy nowdays" (page 81). Since their early childhood and even before that, their thoughts have been destroyed, brainwashed. An illusion of utopia has been created so that everyone believes that they are happy. They have no individual opinion, their only opinion is that they are happy.
In Anthem, the citizens have no individuality either, but for different reasons. They cannot decide for them selves. They can't have preferences for certain things over others, they don't decide where they live, what job they have or where they work, what they eat, and even with who they make love, when, and where! That is all decided by the government. Anything that would make one more unique, more of an individual, anything that makes them stand out, is considered as evil, like the fact that Equality is taller than his brothers. Speaking of equality, did you notice how strange his name is? In Anthem everyone has weird names like "Equality", "Fraternity", "Union", or "Liberty". This is done so that an illusion of utopia is created, just like in "Brave New World". By having names such names (which ARE ironic), the citizens think that their life is happy, so they do not wish to revolt. But the ultimate killing of individualism in this novella is that everyone speaks in plural. There is no "I", only "we", just like Equality said at the very beginning of the book: "We are one in all and all in one. There are no men but only the great WE, one, indivisible and forever."
But both Bernard and Equality are different from the rest. Both have not been brainwashed. Both know what it means to be an individual. Equality has succeeded in becoming an individual, of escaping his communist society and of discovering the word "I". Will Bernard succeed? He certainly loves being alone, rather that in crowds, like Lenina likes. He had asked her if she would like to be alone with him and talk. She did not understand what he liked in being just the two of them and talking and walking. Bernard also seems to be the only one to understand that "owning everyone else" is just like owning meat. He said so himself: "like meat, like so much meat" (page 47), so I hope he gets to defeat the government and the world controllers.
Surprisingly enough, Brave New World and 1984 are very different, but they do share some similarities.
The books have a lot more in common than just the fact that they take place in London. Both societies allow no freedom. In 1984 the citizens are watched all the time while in Brave New World the citizens are brainwashed all the time, but the result is no freedom for both. In 1984 the people have no privacy because they are constantly under surveillance, and anything they say or do can be reported. They have no freedom of expression, any thoughts they have can get them into big trouble. Winston had "original thoughts" and that got him caught. He thought that he was free because he had the freedom of saying that the sum of two and two is four even if the Party had brainwashed everyone else into thinking that it is five. He was caught and re-educated into thinking that if the Party said that the sum of two and two is five, then it IS five. This freedom of expression and opinion was taken away. Since the people in Brave New World are also brainwashed, no further explanation is necessary to say that they have no freedom of opinion or expression. Their only opinions or expressions are false, made up, created by years of brainwashing and slogans.
When it comes down to differences, though, the books reach extremes. For example, it is very badly seen to have sex in 1984. There are anti-sex leagues EVERYWHERE. The Party wants to kill the animal sex instinct. The only time when sex is allowed is when the couple needs to have children, which is encouraged. Some, like Winston's wife, call it "our duty to the Party". However, if no child is produced, the couple is encouraged to part. But in Brave New World, sex is exposed, promoted, even, to children at a very young age. It is considered abnormal for a kid not to take part in sexual games. There is even a period of time, "recess", where kids can run around, naked, and take part in sexual games. Teenagers are surprised to learn that in the past, children did not have sexual games, and that even at their age it was badly seen to have sex. POLYGAMY is even encouraged! If two people are in a relationship, it is not called 'dating", but rather "owning". "Everyone owns everyone" is one of the slogans. But, sex or no sex, there is no love. In 1984, there is sex only to make babies. Of course, there is SOME love, like the love of the parents for their children (the Party encourages the parents to love and take care of their children), but there is almost no love between partners, like with Winston and his wife. In Brave New World there is no love either, not even love for children, as people do not have children. There is only sex and sexual pleasure between people. I think this (the fact that there is no love in these societies) is done so that there is absolutely no rebellion. It may sound a bit stupid just like that, but think about it like this: when two people love each other, like really love each other, they are ready to do anything for their loved one, and that includes going against society rules. The more rules are broken for loved ones, the more this can lead to a rebellion. And a rebellion can throw off the government. So... the bast way to avoid a rebellion is... to avoid love.
While they like their colours, the castes have no individualism. They have been brainwashed into liking their colours, and finding the other caste colours disgusting, so t is not their true opinion, but rather a made up opinion they were forced to adopt. The colour system takes away their individualism because there is no way for, let's say, a Gamma to be distinguished from all the other Gammas, because they all wear green. Wanna wear orange one day? Well you can't, you're a Gamma, Gammas wear green. They have to be apart of a specific category of people, but they don't chose in which category they are in, they are born into that category. They don't have a choice.
There is something called "Bureaux of Propaganda" in this book. However, I am not entirely sure as to what it does. My question is: what is it exactly, and are the different castes aware that such a thing exists?
Since everyone is born without a mother or father, no one knows what a "home" is. On page 31, a man named Mustapa Mond asked the boys (the ones on a tour around the center) if they knew what a home is, or was, as they do not exist anymore. The boys did not know. He also told them to think about what "living with a family" was, but of course they couldn't imagine it. The rest of the chapter is mostly a series of small flashbacks from a very distant past which shows what a family was. But the chapter doesn't show the happy memories and the good times, it only shows the poverty, the misery, the screaming and the yelling. This is done in order to show the boys, and by the same occasion the readers, why it was almost impossible and extremely hard to live in a family. It is sad that the happy moments in a family are not shown, but I guess that is just done in order to convince the boys that life is better now, that now everyone is happy, instead of being miserable in a family.
In this book people aren't really... people. They are embryos in little containers, and the stronger ones get more fluids that'll make them intelligent and cunning while those who aren't are oxygen deprived and get injected with alcohol, so that when they become grown people they'll be machine workers. Alphas become directors (AKA world controllers, but shhhh) while Epilsons become sewage workers. They'll be too stupid to revolt so they'll just keep on doing their job. And they like doing their job too. Why? Because they're brainwashed. In fact, everyone form every caste (Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas, and Epilsons) is brainwashed. In their sleep, their is a voice that talks to them. This voice tells them how good it is to be in their caste, that they are the luckiest, that they should be very grateful, that the other colours are ugly. What I mean by that is that every caste has a different colour they need to wear: Alphas are in grey, Betas are in mulberry, Gammas are in green, Deltas in khaki and Epilsons in black. Ths brainwashing trick works very well too, because Lenina said herself that she is glad to be a Beta.
Another example of the results of the brainwashing would be when Lenina said: "I am free. Free to have the most wonderful time. Everybody is free nowdays" (page 81). Bernard, who is somehow not brainwashed, tries to explain to Lenina that she is not free, because the government has created this image of utopia, which isn't real. He told her that while they were near a thunderstorm. Bernard thought it was pretty cool, but Lenina was brainwashed into hating them, into preferring happy, nice skies, so she would cringe and plead him to get out of here.
But having the same sentences repeated over and over again during your sleep is not the only way to be brainwashed in this story, oh no. Delta babies are taught to hate books and flowers by associating them with loud noises, fire, and electrical shocks. (pages 17 to 18, as seen below). When the babies see flowers and books, instead of feeling the need of fresh air and get outside and read a good book, they'll cringe and cry. Instead of perusing knowledge and want to learn, they'll hide from books, knowing that they hurt.
This book was written before 1984, even before World War Two! It's language and vocabulary as well as the literary techniques are very different as to what us students are used to today. For example, the end of chapter three is just a series of sentences that do not match, the point of view goes from one character to the next at every two phrases. THERE ARE TOO MANY THINGS GOING ON AT ONCE! It is extremely dizzying.
There are many little flashbacks that I supposed they should explain certain things in the book, but it just makes the reading more confusing. For example, to explain that experiments to teach children during their sleep were abandoned, a flashback of a small boy, Tommy, in inserted. In these five paragraphs, the readers learns that Tommy was exposed to a tape recording about the Nile river during his sleep. The next morning, he was able to recite word for word the tape recording, but if he was asked "what is the longest river in Africa," he would cry and say that he didn't know. The conclusion of this experiment was that "you can't learn a science unless you know what it's all about" (page 22). This flashback would have probably worked really good in the text if it was inserted properly, but it wasn't. It was just, you know, there. The texts has no consistency.
I really liked this book! Part one was basically the description of Winston's everyday life, which was kind of boring and plain. Part two, however, shows how Winston went through their tiny revolution against the Party. Part three was how Winston went through the Ministry of Love, how O'Brian taught him to believe lies, and told him that he was insane and delusional, and forced him to betray Julia. This book has really got to me, it has a strong message. This is a very short blog post, but I don't have much to say. At first I thought that it was a boring book because of the first part, which is the longest. There were a lot of confusing parts, the language and vocabulary were also extremely confusing. But the second and third part (the vocabulary was also confusing in these parts) were very exciting! There was a lot of action going on, and it was like some sort of mystery that was needed to be solved. In the end, Winston and Julia failed, but it was still a good read. I found that the climax of the book was when the lovers got caught, Mr. Charrington was revealed to be an agent of the secret police, and O'Brian was also revealed to be a bad guy too. I was very intrigued in what was room 101, and I was also surprised to see that Parsons was caught. There were multiple twists and turns! Room 101... was not what I'd thought it be. Actually I thought that the room where Winston was electrocuted by O'Brian was room 101, and even after I discovered that it wasn't I found it more scary than Room 101, even if it contains "the worst thing ever". Of course, "the worst thing ever" for me is not rats, but I wonder how I would react if I would be placed in this room. The book ends in a cliff hanger... Julia said to Winston that she had betrayed him... she too has wished that "the worst thing ever" happened to him... but what IS her "worst thing ever"? This question is left unanswered and it REALLY ANNOYS ME!
I have finally discovered what Room 101 is! It contains "the worst thing". "The worst thing" is different for everyone, since everyone is different, everyone has different fears The worst possible thing for Winston is rats.
After the session he had with O'Brian, after he looked at himself in the mirror, he was sent to another cell, where he was fed, did exercises, and grew stronger. Then one day he screamed for Julia. He had not betrayed her, he still loved her. When he was tortured in the other room and when he was held prisoner in the first cell, he did not really think of Julia because he was in pain. But then he had a hallucination of her, and he was sent to Room 101.
There was a mask, an in the mask there was a cage filled with rats. What would happen is that the mask would be placed on Winston's head, the cage would be opened and the rats would devour Winston's face. But in the last possible moment, he screamed that he wanted it to happen to Julia instead of him, that he didn't care what would happen to her, he simply wanted the mask off his head. He screamed it over and over again, and it worked. The goal of Room 101 is not merely to punish one or put him in pain, it is to force one to truly betray those he cares about, to turn one into a selfish monster. When Winston shouted out that he wanted Julia to go through this, not him, he had betrayed her. He turned into an entirely different person, one who believes everything the Party says, one who is subjected to being controlled and overpowered. His childhood memories are false, invented. All that matters is the Party.
Winston and Julia have only met once after they were set free. Julia has a scar on her face and she said that she had betrayed Winston. Winston said that he had betrayed her. They had stopped loving each other because they were forced to, they had to for their own selfish survival.
At the end of the book, we once again hear the song about the chestnut tree. This song is now much more symbolic. The two people, lovers, have betrayed each other, and now they are incapable of loving each other. Their souls are dead. The final line of the book; "He loved Big Brother", shows that Winston's soul is dead because he has now become like the citizens of Oceania; soulless, powerless, inhuman.
So Winston had been wrong about O'Brian too. He had thought that he was on their side, and that he was nice. He had thought that he was in the Brotherhood, and that he was for Goldstein. But nope. He probably works for the Ministry of Love, he tried to put Winston in a rehab, to cure him from his insanity. He is for Big Brother, and every word he says about curing and Big brother, he believes. He took part of writing the book, Goldstein's book.
Also, I think that he is the one who came in Winston dreams. Winston might have perceived his messages as hope, because he would be safe, and there would be no darkness. But what O'Brian had probably meant by that is that they would often be in a place where there is literally no darkness, like in the cell, and that O'Brian will take care of Winston... by "curing" him of his "craziness".
When O'Brian had asked Winston why the Party seeks power, he had answered that it was ruling for the people's own good, because they were incapable of ruling themselves. WRONG! The Party does not care about other people's good, they are only interested in power, and power only.
He said that there was nothing before mankind. That if mankind would come to an end, there would be nothing. That fossils and dinosaur bones are pure invention. That stars are only bits of fire not far away. That the Earth is at the centre of the universe, with the sun an the stars revolving around it. That Oceania is the world.
To make a point, O'Brian made Winston strip down. He told him to look at himself in the mirror.Winston saw himself, but it was not him. It was a monster. He had lost twenty five kilograms, he had started to grow bald, his hair was falling. he had eleven teeth left, and they were loose too, O'Brian easily plucked one out of his mouth. His skin was grey, and he had red wounds. His bones jagged out in his skin. He looked terrifying. O'Brian told Winston that if he was mankind, he was the last one of his race, and that he was slowly rotting and decomposing.
"What is in Room 101?" (page 272)
That question has thrown me off guard, because I thought Winston was already in Room 101. After the session of shocks, There was some kind of explosion, and Winston was forced to look into O'Brian's eyes. There O'Brian told him that Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia, that the document about the three men had been an invention of Winston, and that when he lifted up four fingers, there were five. Winston agreed to everything he had said, and he believed it too. Winston was told that he would no longer be capable of loving or friendship or happiness, and that this would always stay with him, and he will become like the rest of the citizens. He was also told that he did not exist, but that Big Brother exists, and that he will never die. O'Brian had let Winston ask him a few questions, like what had happened to Julia, and whether or not the Brotherhood existed. He had also asked "What is in Room 101", to which O'Brain replied: "You know what is in Room 101, Winston. Everyone knows what is in Room 101". (page 173)
So if this is not Room 101... What could be in it? What could be worse than this?
Room 101 is a terrible room. The victim, or "insane" person, is strapped onto a bed, incapable of moving. A person would ask questions to the strapped person, and if he/she answers incorrectly, he/she is sent an electric shock. The voltage is higher every time. The person asking questions knows when his "patient" is lying, or doesn't believe what he/she says. So he/she is shocked. That shocking routine continues until the "patient" gives a right answer. Then he/she gets a needle to release the pain. When Winston gets it, he feels a lot of warmth in his body, and he feels love for O'Brian, even if he is the one shocking Winston.
Now, you may be wondering what type of monster does this, but wait 'till you hear the perfectly reasonable speech that justifies everything (note the sarcasm).
"Shall I tell you why we have brought you here? to cure you! to make you sane! will you understand, winston, that no one whom we bring to this place ever leaves our hands uncured? we are not interested in those stupid crimes that you have COMMITTED. The party is not interested in the overt act: the thought is all we care about. we do not merely destroy our enemies, we change them." (page 265)
Now everything makes a lot more sense. On the back cover of the book, it said that their is Room 101 for those with "original" thoughts. "Original" is just a nicer way of saying "crazy", or "insane". The Party thinks that those who commit thoughtcrime are victims of hallucination and delusions, and that they must be cured. In Winston's case, he was said to be hallucinating that Oceania was at war with Eurasia, while it was always at war with Eastasia. O'Brian also showed Winston a photograph that said that three men were not responsible for the crimes they had been accused of. He said the photograph never existed.
O'Brian says that he is curing Winston because he had never decided to take his thoughts into his own hands and cure himself.
The two men also have a short discussion about one of the Party's slogans. "Who controls the present controls the past"... O'Brian asks Winston if the past is a place where people can live, where it is filled with concrete objects that can be touched... It isn't. Winston says that the past only exists in records and in memory. The Party controls all the records, we know that. After all, wasn't every record rewritten and rewritten until it no longer makes sense. But memories? "But how can yo stop people from remembering things? How can you control memory? You have not controlled mine!" (Winston, page 261). "On the contrary you have not controlled it. That is why we have brought you here" (O'Brian, page 261). Because Winston did not control his own thoughts and memories, he was brought to Room 101 so that someone else can do the job.
But possibly the most frighting event was when O'Brian told Winston about a line he has written in his diary: "Freedom is the freedom to say that 2 + 2 = 4". This line may not seem like much, but it is very symbolic. For almost every citizen in Oceania, if the Party says that 2 + 2 = 5, then 2 + 2 = 5. No one will question it, everyone will believe it. Of course that is absurd, but it is just a symbol of all the lies the Party have told... all the lies that have been unquestioned and believed. But then again, the Party is perfectly capable of making people believe that the sum of two and two is five. O'Brian then held up four fingers to Winston and asked him how many. He answered four. Now, if the Party said that 2 + 2 = 5, how many fingers are there? Still four, eh? That's what Winston said, and he got shocked. Every time he was asked the question, he would answer four, and he would get shocked. Then he screamed five, but O'Brian knew that he didn't believe it, so Winston was shocked again. This continued until Winston no longer saw four fingers, but rather a bunch of them criss crossing, impossible to count. So he shouted "I don't know. I don't know. You will kill me if you do that again. Four, five, six-in all honesty, I don't know." (page 264) That was when the shocks ceased. That answer seemed to please O'Brian. Because after all, "ignorance is strength"...
Winston is constantly beaten with various weapons until he confesses every imaginable lie.
As long as he doesn't believe it, he wins... that's what I used to think. He said that everything he confessed was true in some way or another. Also, I used to think that the real betrayal would be that Winston would stop loving Julia, and that it was simply impossible of happening. During his time in the cell, he had almost forgotten about Julia, thinking of her but not feeling love for her. Is this what Room 101 does? Is this EVEN Room 101? I don't know... It's very confusing.
I don't think it is, because on the very next page, a guard says "Room 101" and Winston starts confessing everything all over again. Still confusing by the way. There is one thing that is pretty clear though: Winston heard a voice, the same voice that said that they will meet in the place where there is no darkness. It may not be O'Brian's voice though. This time the voice told him that he has watched over Winston for 7 years, that he "will save him and make him perfect"...
Perhaps this is Room 101:
O'Brian can send electrical shocks to Winston. He seems to be able to tell what Winston is thinking, and also when he is telling lies... What kind of torture is this???
If I could scream, I would. If I could swear, I would. Some people have been taken to Room 101... And the look on their faces, well... Their skin takes shades of white and green, their faces look terrified...
A man kindly tried to give a piece of bread to another starving man, which caused a lot of uproar from the telescreens. Officers came in, smashed the kind man and said that the starving man would be sent to Room 101. The man's reaction? Well it wasn't pretty. I can't even describe it... It was like he was howling into my own ears...
I just don't understand how a man could be ready to do anything not to be sent in a room. He would be ready to get shot, to die, to starve, to betray anyone, to be hanged, to confess truths and lies, to be sentenced. He doesn't care what would happened to those he would betray. But the worse of all, he would be ready to betray his wife and three kids, who aren't even six, he would be ready to watch them die in front of his own eyes, knowing that they are dying because of him. All of it if that would mean that he wouldn't have to go back to Room 101. He would sacrifice his family to save his life.. that reminds me of Winston who starved his mother and sister so that he would survive. And he didn't seem to care that they disappeared.
But what horrors lie behind the doors of Room 101? What could be so cruel, what could turn any man into such a monster?
Right from the beginning of part 3, Winston is being held in a tiny cell with about 10 or 15 other prisoners. Some are Party members, other are just common bandits and criminals. Th first person who talks to him is an old lady of about 60 years old named Smith, who says that she may be his mother. That is not impossible, because she is about the right age and physique, but I don't think that she is his mother. His mother does not seem like the type of people to get drunk and vomit all over the place... And after all, Smith is a pretty common name.
At first when O'Brian told Winston that they would "meet in the place where there is no darkness", I thought he meant a place of light, a place of safety, a place of knowledge. A wise place. A place far away from the pain. Perhaps heaven. But not in the Ministry of Love, where Winston thinks he is currently held. There are no windows in the cell, but Winston knows that the lights are never turned off, which makes it a place without darkness. Winston thinks that O'Brian was referring to this place... was he though? It would make a lot of sense, as O'Brian had warned Winston that he would be caught, that they would all end up being caught.
A poet is also a prisoner. Ampleforth is his name. Winston talked to him, and he learned that the poet made the crime of not finding a word that rhymed with "rod", other than "God". Apparently there are only 12 words that can rhyme with "rod", but the poet could not find any. He had to keep "God", and he was arrested. Shortly after he was sent to room 101. Room 101 is a mysterious room Winston had heard about. "Overheard" should be the correct term actually. Yes, Winston had overheard a conversation between a couple of female Party members where they talked about Room 101. On the back cover of this book, it says that "for those with original thoughts, they have invented Room 101" so I have a feeling we are about to find out.
Another interesting fact: Parsons, whom Winston was sure would never disappear, was arrested. And for what? Thoughtcrime. He, commit a thoughtcrime? I think not! I'm pretty sure it's his kids who sold him out... He is so nervous... Oh! Guess it wasn't his children who sold him out... it was the telescreen... he talked in his sleep. He said "Down with Big Brother". WHAT?! Did he read Winston's diary or something?!?!?! Impossible... he doesn't seem like the type. Poor kid is afraid of being shot... prefers working in a labour camp... thinks that the Party can't arrest innocent people. He says that he'll say thank you to the court for saving him before he'd gotten too far. Damn.... maybe Winston was wrong about Parsons too! Never mind, it was not the telescreen (I'm writing this as I am reading because I don't want to forget anything). It was his own daughter, who listened through the keyhole. He's proud of her. Okay? Whatever you say, bro. Anyways, Parsons was also removed.
Update: O'Brian was also caught, and also sent to Winston's cell. Not so undefeatable, eh? Of course, he would have been caught sooner or later.