Rereading Nineteen Eighty Four – Part III Chap 2 (9)

During the torture, O’Brien asks Winston ;  ‘Do you remember writing in your diary, “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four”?’

‘Yes,’ said Winston.

O’Brien held up his left hand, its back towards Winston, with the thumb hidden and the four fingers extended.

‘”ow many fingers am I holding up, Winston?”


‘And if the party says that it is not four but five — then how many?’


O’Brien uses the machine to shock Winston.  He watches him suffer than, lessening the pain asks again;

 ‘How many fingers, Winston?’


O’Brien again shocks Winston even harder.

‘How many fingers, Winston?’

‘Four! Four! What else can I say? Four!’

Each time Winston saw four fingers and said four fingers he was given a powerful shock.

‘How many fingers, Winston?’

‘Four! Stop it, stop it! How can you go on? Four! Four!’

‘How many fingers, Winston?’

‘Five! Five! Five!’

‘No, Winston, that is no use. You are lying. You still think there are four. How many fingers, please?’

‘Four! five! Four! Anything you like. Only stop it, stop the pain!’

—This action has often been replicated as the success of mind control.  If one recalls an Episode of Star Trek, the Next Generation, when Captain Picard was being tortured, shown four lights and told there are five, shocked each time he said four   —That was a direct reference to 1984;  to the power of mind control.


What do you think?


Written by jaylar

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