Rereading Nineteen Eighty Four – Part III Chap 2 (10)

Winston wakes from torture,  clinging  to O’Brien .  He felt that O’Brien was his protector and the pain from some other source,  not that it was O’Brien directing it.

Winston held the twisted belief O’Brien would save him from torture.

He asks; “How can I help seeing what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.”

O’Brien answers;  ‘Sometimes, Winston they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.”

The torture begins again.

Winston knew that the fingers were still there, and still four. All that mattered was somehow to stay alive until the spasm was over.

‘How many fingers, Winston?’

‘Four. I suppose there are four. I would see five if I could. I am trying to see five.’

‘Which do you wish: to persuade me that you see five, or really to see them?’

‘Really to see them.’

‘Again,’ said O’Brien.

The pain of the torture increased.   A forest of fingers seemed to be moving and Winston tried to count them, he knew only that it was impossible to count them.

The pain receded and when he opened his eyes it was to find that he was still seeing the same thing. Innumerable fingers, like moving trees, were still streaming past in either direction, crossing and recrossing. He shut his eyes again.

O’Brien asked; “How  many fingers am I holding up, Winston?’

‘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.’

‘Better,’ said O’Brien.


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