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Part 3, Chapter 6 Summary and Analysis

Winston sits in the corner that has become his usual seat at the Chestnut Tree Café, drinking gin and occasionally glancing up at a poster of Big Brother as he waits for the telescreen to broadcast a bulletin from the Ministry of Peace. Oceania is now and supposedly has always been at war with Eurasia, and for the first time in history, Oceania’s own territory is threatened as the Eurasian army approaches Central Africa. Winston feels momentarily excited as he thinks about the war but stops thinking about it a second later, having lately lost his ability to focus. Though he continues to drink it, Winston hates the smell of the gin. It reminds him of the rats, which he avoids naming or visualizing in his thoughts. Since his release, Winston has gained weight, and his skin has become coarse and ruddy. The staff of the café know him, and a waiter now brings him more gin, a copy of The Times, and a chessboard as usual. After listening to an announcement that the Ministry of Plenty has overfulfilled the bootlaces quota laid out in the Party’s Tenth Three-Year Plan, Winston turns to the chess problem in the newspaper. Looking up at the picture of Big Brother, he thinks to himself that in chess, “white always mates” and black never wins. To Winston this represents the “eternal, unvarying triumph of Good over Evil.” The telescreen then announces that important news will soon be broadcast. Winston has been thinking about the war off and on all day and expects the news to be bad. He picks up a white knight, visualizes the African front, and imagines a mysterious third army gaining control of Africa and cutting Oceania in two, thereby potentially bringing about the defeat of the Party—a thought that causes Winston a momentary spasm of conflicting emotions.

When these feelings pass, he traces “2 + 2 = 5” in the dust on the table, reflecting on the fact that he and Julia were wrong about the Party not being able to get inside them; O’Brien was right when he said what happened in the Ministry of Love would be forever. Something has died in Winston. Since his release, he has only met with Julia once, on a freezing day when he saw her in the park. Knowing that the Party no longer takes any interest in what he does, he followed her, though she appeared reluctant to speak with him. She seemed to have changed in some fundamental way. Julia had no reaction when Winston put his arm around her waist, and Winston felt nothing but horror when he thought of having sex with Julia. The change in her, he realized, was that her waist had grown thick and stiff and reminded him of a corpse he had once dragged from the rubble after a rocket bomb explosion. When Julia looked at him, it was with contempt. They confessed that they had betrayed each other and that when they begged for their punishments to be...

(The entire section is 765 words.)