Part 2, Chapter 6 Summary

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While walking down a Ministry corridor near the spot where Julia gave him the note, Winston is approached by O’Brien, who compliments him on his use of Newspeak in his articles for the Times. O’Brien says his opinion of Winston’s writing was shared by a friend of Winston’s, an expert whose name he cannot remember. Winston recognizes this clear reference to Syme, who, as an unperson, should never be mentioned, as a deliberate act of thoughtcrime meant to make himself and Winston accomplices. Pausing in the middle of the corridor, O’Brien then observes that Winston used two words in one of his articles that have recently become obsolete. He invites Winston to his apartment to borrow his advance copy of the tenth edition of the Newspeak dictionary, saying he thinks Winston will be particularly interested in the newly reduced number of verbs. In full view of the telescreen, O’Brien writes his address on a scrap of paper and gives it to Winston before continuing on his way. Winston quickly memorizes the address before dropping it down the memory hole a few hours later. He is certain that O’Brien invited him to borrow the dictionary as a pretext for letting him know O’Brien’s address if Winston should ever want to talk to him, as there are no longer any address books or other directories. What is also clear to Winston is that he has finally received a message from the underground rebellion he has always dreamed of, a message he feels he has been waiting for his whole life. The visit to O’Brien, whenever he makes it, will be the next step in a process that began with Winston’s first unorthodox thoughts, continued when he began his diary, and will end with his torture in the Ministry of Love. Although Winston accepts this fate as inevitable, he is frightened by the chilling sense of stepping into his own grave—a sensation that begins while he talks to O’Brien.

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