In these last three chapters of 1984, almost all of Winston's torture is over, except for the final test in which he betrays Julia. In the final chapter of the novel, he is set free from prison. He spends most of his time in The Chestnut Cafe.
Because these last chapters are so personal and so focused on Winston, it can be hard to find general quotes that are applicable to today. However, some quotes are as follows. First, Winston, better fed and often left in his prison cell thinks:
Anything could be true. The so-called laws of Nature were nonsense.
This dangerous idea that anything can be true seems to have taken hold today among many groups in our society. This has led to the anti-vaxx movement, in which clusters of parents refuse to have their children vaccinated against dangerous illnesses based on the false premise that the vaccines are not safe.
The "anything could be true" concept has also led groups of people to deny climate change. Evidence of human-made climate change is understood as true by more than 97 percent of climate scientists, whose models have repeatedly been shown to be correct, but is nevertheless framed as a hoax by some, leading to paralysis on doing what needs to be done to save the planet. Today, too, some people have not taken the Covid-19 pandemic seriously, leading to their own deaths and threatening the safety of others.
The past was alterable. The past had never been altered.
Sometimes it seems as if certain world leaders contradict themselves from day to day. One day Covid-19 is nothing to worry about—no worse than the flu. The next day it is a serious health threat endangering many lives. The next day the fact that it was once said to be nothing to be worried about is denied—the deniers insisting they have been on top of it from the start. It goes without saying that this is a dangerous mindset. Science has a way of winning out over boosterism, willfulness, or wishful thinking.
"Under the spreading chestnut tree
I sold you and you sold me—"
These lyrics from the song Winston listens to in the Chestnut Cafe speak of betrayal. Winston has betrayed Julia, the person he most loved, to save himself. This divides him from her in a permanent way. Today, people often do the same, saving themselves at the expense of others, and as in 1984, our political system encourages this. For example, as was done to Winston, our society often puts people acting from conscience in a situation so high stakes that they betray their causes: how many environmental activists, for example, are going to risk thirty years in a maximum security prison to take action for what they believe—even if not taking action costs lives?