‘By itself,’ O’Brien said, ‘pain is not always enough. There are occasions when a human being will stand out against pain, even to the point of death. But for everyone there is something unendurable — something that cannot be contemplated.”
“For you, (rats) are unendurable. They are a form of pressure that you cannot withstand, even if you wished to. You will do what is required of you.”
‘But what is it, what is it? How can I do it if I don’t know what it is?’
O’Brien picked up the cage and brought it across to the nearer table. He set it down carefully on the baize cloth.
Winston could hear the blood singing in his ears. He had the feeling of sitting in utter loneliness…in the middle of a great empty plain, Yet the cage with the rats was not two metres away from him.
They were enormous rats. They were at the age when a rat’s muzzle grows blunt and fierce and his fur brown instead of grey.