George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four as reproduced by Twitter

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were
striking thirteen. Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his
breast in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly
through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly
enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along
with him.

The hallway smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats. At
one end of it a coloured poster, too large for indoor display,
had been tacked to the wall. It depicted simply an enormous
face, more than a metre wide: the face of a man of about
forty-five, with a heavy black moustache and ruggedly handsome
features. Winston made for the stairs. It was no use trying the
lift. Even at the best of times it was seldom working, and at
present the electric current was cut off during daylight hours.
It was part of the economy drive in preparation for Hate Week.
The flat was seven flights up, and Winston, who was thirty-nine
and had a varicose ulcer above his right ankle, went slowly,
resting several times on the way. On each landing, opposite the
lift-shaft, the poster with the enormous face gazed from the
wall. It was one of those pictures which are so contrived that
the eyes follow you about when you move. BIG BROTHER IS
WATCHING YOU, the caption beneath it ran.

Inside the flat a fruity voice was reading out a list of
figures which had something to do with the production of
pig-iron. The voice came from an oblong metal plaque like a
dulled mirror which formed part of the surface of the
right-hand wall. Winston turned a switch and the voice sank
somewhat, though the words were still distinguishable. The
instrument (the telescreen, it was called) could be dimmed, but
there was no way of shutting it off completely. He moved over
to the window: a smallish, frail figure, the meagreness of his
body merely emphasized by the blue overalls which were the
uniform of the party. His hair was very fair, his face
naturally sanguine, his skin roughened by coarse soap and blunt
razor blades and the cold of the winter that had just ended.

Outside, even through the shut window-pane, the world
looked cold. Down in the street little eddies of wind were
whirling dust and torn paper into spirals, and though the sun
was shining and the sky a harsh blue, there seemed to be no
colour in anything, except the posters that were plastered
everywhere. The black-moustachio'd face gazed down from every
commanding corner. There was one on the house-front immediately
opposite. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption said, while
the dark eyes looked deep into Winston's own. Down at
streetlevel another poster, torn at one corner, flapped
fitfully in the wind, alternately covering and uncovering the
single word INGSOC. In the far distance a helicopter skimmed
down between the roofs, hovered for an instant like a
bluebottle, and darted away again with a curving flight. It was
the police patrol, snooping into people's windows. The patrols
did not matter, however. Only the Thought Police mattered.

Behind Winston's back the voice from the telescreen was
still babbling away about pig-iron and the overfulfilment of
the Ninth Three-Year Plan. The telescreen received and
transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above
the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it,
moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision
which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as
heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were
being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what
system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire
was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched
everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your
wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live did live, from
habit that became instinct in the assumption that every
sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every
movement scrutinized.

Winston kept his back turned to the telescreen. It was
safer, though, as he well knew, even a back can be revealing. A
kilometre away the Ministry of Truth, his place of work,
towered vast and white above the grimy landscape. This, he
thought with a sort of vague distaste this was London, chief
city of Airstrip One, itself the third most populous of the
provinces of Oceania. He tried to squeeze out some childhood
memory that should tell him whether London had always been
quite like this. Were there always these vistas of rotting
nineteenth-century houses, their sides shored up with baulks of
timber, their windows patched with cardboard and their roofs
with corrugated iron, their crazy garden walls sagging in all
directions? And the bombed sites where the plaster dust swirled
in the air and the willow-herb straggled over the heaps of
rubble; and the places where the bombs had cleared a larger
patch and there had sprung up sordid colonies of wooden
dwellings like chicken-houses? But it was no use, he could not
remember: nothing remained of his childhood except a series of
bright-lit tableaux occurring against no background and mostly
unintelligible.

The Ministry of Truth Minitrue, in Newspeak* was
startlingly different from any other object in sight. It was an
enormous pyramidal structure of glittering white concrete,
soaring up, terrace after terrace, 300 metres into the air.
From where Winston stood it was just possible to read, picked
out on its white face in elegant lettering, the three slogans
of the Party:

WAR IS PEACE

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

The Ministry of Truth contained, it was said, three
thousand rooms above ground level, and corresponding
ramifications below. Scattered about London there were just
three other buildings of similar appearance and size. So
completely did they dwarf the surrounding architecture that
from the roof of Victory Mansions you could see all four of
them simultaneously. They were the homes of the four Ministries
between which the entire apparatus of government was divided.
The Ministry of Truth, which concerned itself with news,
entertainment, education, and the fine arts. The Ministry of
Peace, which concerned itself with war. The Ministry of Love,
which maintained law and order. And the Ministry of Plenty,
which was responsible for economic affairs. Their names, in
Newspeak: Minitrue, Minipax, Miniluv, and Miniplenty.

The Ministry of Love was the really frightening one. There
were no windows in it at all. Winston had never been inside the
Ministry of Love, nor within half a kilometre of it. It was a
place impossible to enter except on official business, and then
only by penetrating through a maze of barbed-wire
entanglements, steel doors, and hidden machine-gun nests. Even
the streets leading up to its outer barriers were roamed by
gorilla-faced guards in black uniforms, armed with jointed
truncheons.

Winston turned round abruptly. He had set his features
into the expression of quiet optimism which it was advisable to
wear when facing the telescreen. He crossed the room into the
tiny kitchen. By leaving the Ministry at this time of day he
had sacrificed his lunch in the canteen, and he was aware that
there was no food in the kitchen except a hunk of dark-coloured
bread which had got to be saved for tomorrow's breakfast. He
took down from the shelf a bottle of colourless liquid with a
plain white label marked VICTORY GIN. It gave off a sickly,
oily smell, as of Chinese rice-spirit. Winston poured out nearly
a teacupful, nerved himself for a shock, and gulped it down
like a dose of medicine.

Instantly his face turned scarlet and the water ran out of
his eyes. The stuff was like nitric acid, and moreover, in
swallowing it one had the sensation of being hit on the back of
the head with a rubber club. The next moment, however, the
burning in his belly died down and the world began to look more
cheerful. He took a cigarette from a crumpled packet marked
VICTORY CIGARETTES and incautiously held it upright, whereupon
the tobacco fell out on to the floor. With the next he was more
successful. He went back to the living-room and sat down at a
small table that stood to the left of the telescreen. From the
table drawer he took out a penholder, a bottle of ink, and a
thick, quarto-sized blank book with a red back and a marbled
cover.

For some reason the telescreen in the living-room was in
an unusual position. Instead of being placed, as was normal, in
the end wall, where it could command the whole room, it was in
the longer wall, opposite the window. To one side of it there
was a shallow alcove in which Winston was now sitting, and
which, when the flats were built, had probably been intended to
hold bookshelves. By sitting in the alcove, and keeping well
back, Winston was able to remain outside the range of the
telescreen, so far as sight went. He could be heard, of course,
but so long as he stayed in his present position he could not
be seen. It was partly the unusual geography of the room that
had suggested to him the thing that he was now about to do.

But it had also been suggested by the book that he had
just taken out of the drawer. It was a peculiarly beautiful
book. Its smooth creamy paper, a little yellowed by age, was of
a kind that had not been manufactured for at least forty years
past. He could guess, however, that the book was much older
than that. He had seen it lying in the window of a frowsy
little junk-shop in a slummy quarter of the town (just what
quarter he did not now remember) and had been stricken
immediately by an overwhelming desire to possess it. Party
members were supposed not to go into ordinary shops ('dealing
on the free market', it was called), but the rule was not
strictly kept, because there were various things, such as
shoelaces and razor blades, which it was impossible to get hold
of in any other way. He had given a quick glance up and down
the street and then had slipped inside and bought the book for
two dollars fifty. At the time he was not conscious of wanting
it for any particular purpose. He had carried it guiltily home
in his briefcase. Even with nothing written in it, it was a
compromising possession.

The thing that he was about to do was to open a diary.
This was not illegal (nothing was illegal, since there were no
longer any laws), but if detected it was reasonably certain
that it would be punished by death, or at least by twenty-five
years in a forced-labour camp. Winston fitted a nib into the
penholder and sucked it to get the grease off. The pen was an
archaic instrument, seldom used even for signatures, and he had
procured one, furtively and with some difficulty, simply
because of a feeling that the beautiful creamy paper deserved
to be written on with a real nib instead of being scratched
with an ink-pencil. Actually he was not used to writing by
hand. Apart from very short notes, it was usual to dictate
everything into the speak-write which was of course impossible
for his present purpose. He dipped the pen into the ink and
then faltered for just a second. A tremor had gone through his
bowels. To mark the paper was the decisive act. In small clumsy
letters he wrote:

April 4th, 1984.

He sat back. A sense of complete helplessness had
descended upon him. To begin with, he did not know with any
certainty that this was 1984. It must be round about that date,
since he was fairly sure that his age was thirty-nine, and he
believed that he had been born in 1944 or 1945; but it was
never possible nowadays to pin down any date within a year or
two.

For whom, it suddenly occurred to him to wonder, was he
writing this diary? For the future, for the unborn. His mind
hovered for a moment round the doubtful date on the page, and
then fetched up with a bump against the Newspeak word
doublethink. For the first time the magnitude of what he
had undertaken came home to him. How could you communicate with
the future? It was of its nature impossible. Either the future
would resemble the present, in which case it would not listen
to him: or it would be different from it, and his predicament
would be meaningless.

For some time he sat gazing stupidly at the paper. The
telescreen had changed over to strident military music. It was
curious that he seemed not merely to have lost the power of
expressing himself, but even to have forgotten what it was that
he had originally intended to say. For weeks past he had been
making ready for this moment, and it had never crossed his mind
that anything would be needed except courage. The actual
writing would be easy. All he had to do was to transfer to
paper the interminable restless monologue that had been running
inside his head, literally for years. At this moment, however,
even the monologue had dried up. Moreover his varicose ulcer
had begun itching unbearably. He dared not scratch it, because
if he did so it always became inflamed. The seconds were
ticking by. He was conscious of nothing except the blankness of
the page in front of him, the itching of the skin above his
ankle, the blaring of the music, and a slight booziness caused
by the gin.

Suddenly he began writing in sheer panic, only imperfectly
aware of what he was setting down. His small but childish
handwriting straggled up and down the page, shedding first its
capital letters and finally even its full stops:

April 4th, 1984. Last night to the flicks. All war
films. One very good one of a ship full of refugees being
bombed somewhere in the Mediterranean. Audience much amused by
shots of a great huge fat man trying to swim away with a
helicopter after him, first you saw him wallowing along in the
water like a porpoise, then you saw him through the helicopters
gunsights, then he was full of holes and the sea round him
turned pink and he sank as suddenly as though the holes had let
in the water, audience shouting with laughter when he sank.
then you saw a lifeboat full of children with a helicopter
hovering over it. there was a middle-aged woman might have been
a jewess sitting up in the bow with a little boy about three
years old in her arms. little boy screaming with fright and
hiding his head between her breasts as if he was trying to
burrow right into her and the woman putting her arms round him
and comforting him although she was blue with fright herself,
all the time covering him up as much as possible as if she
thought her arms could keep the bullets off him. then the
helicopter planted a 20 kilo bomb in among them terrific flash
and the boat went all to matchwood. then there was a wonderful
shot of a child's arm going up up up right up into the air a
helicopter with a camera in its nose must have followed it up
and there was a lot of applause from the party seats but a
woman down in the prole part of the house suddenly started
kicking up a fuss and shouting they didnt oughter of showed it
not in front of kids they didnt it aint right not in front of
kids it aint until the police turned her turned her out i dont
suppose anything happened to her nobody cares what the proles
say typical prole reaction they never

Winston stopped writing, partly because he was suffering
from cramp. He did not know what had made him pour out this
stream of rubbish. But the curious thing was that while he was
doing so a totally different memory had clarified itself in his
mind, to the point where he almost felt equal to writing it
down. It was, he now realized, because of this other incident
that he had suddenly decided to come home and begin the diary
today.

It had happened that morning at the Ministry, if anything
so nebulous could be said to happen.

It was nearly eleven hundred, and in the Records
Department, where Winston worked, they were dragging the chairs
out of the cubicles and grouping them in the centre of the hall
opposite the big telescreen, in preparation for the Two Minutes
Hate. Winston was just taking his place in one of the middle
rows when two people whom he knew by sight, but had never
spoken to, came unexpectedly into the room. One of them was a
girl whom he often passed in the corridors. He did not know her
name, but he knew that she worked in the Fiction Department.
Presumably since he had sometimes seen her with oily hands
and carrying a spanner she had some mechanical job on one of
the novel-writing machines. She was a bold-looking girl, of
about twenty-seven, with thick hair, a freckled face, and
swift, athletic movements. A narrow scarlet sash, emblem of the
Junior Anti-Sex League, was wound several times round the waist
of her overalls, just tightly enough to bring out the
shapeliness of her hips. Winston had disliked her from the very
first moment of seeing her. He knew the reason. It was because
of the atmosphere of hockey-fields and cold baths and community
hikes and general clean-mindedness which she managed to carry
about with her. He disliked nearly all women, and especially
the young and pretty ones. It was always the women, and above
all the young ones, who were the most bigoted adherents of the
Party, the swallowers of slogans, the amateur spies and
nosers-out of unorthodoxy. But this particular girl gave him
the impression of being more dangerous than most. Once when
they passed in the corridor she gave him a quick sidelong
glance which seemed to pierce right into him and for a moment
had filled him with black terror. The idea had even crossed his
mind that she might be an agent of the Thought Police. That, it
was true, was very unlikely. Still, he continued to feel a
peculiar uneasiness, which had fear mixed up in it as well as
hostility, whenever she was anywhere near him.

The other person was a man named O'Brien, a member of the
Inner Party and holder of some post so important and remote
that Winston had only a dim idea of its nature. A momentary
hush passed over the group of people round the chairs as they
saw the black overalls of an Inner Party member approaching.
O'Brien was a large, burly man with a thick neck and a coarse,
humorous, brutal face. In spite of his formidable appearance he
had a certain charm of manner. He had a trick of resettling his
spectacles on his nose which was curiously disarming in some
indefinable way, curiously civilized. It was a gesture which,
if anyone had still thought in such terms, might have recalled
an eighteenth-century nobleman offering his snuffbox. Winston
had seen O'Brien perhaps a dozen times in almost as many years.
He felt deeply drawn to him, and not solely because he was
intrigued by the contrast between O'Brien's urbane manner and
his prize-fighter's physique. Much more it was because of a
secretly held belief or perhaps not even a belief, merely a
hope that O'Brien's political orthodoxy was not perfect.
Something in his face suggested it irresistibly. And again,
perhaps it was not even unorthodoxy that was written in his
face, but simply intelligence. But at any rate he had the
appearance of being a person that you could talk to if somehow
you could cheat the telescreen and get him alone. Winston had
never made the smallest effort to verify this guess: indeed,
there was no way of doing so. At this moment O'Brien glanced at
his wrist-watch, saw that it was nearly eleven hundred, and
evidently decided to stay in the Records Department until the
Two Minutes Hate was over. He took a chair in the same row as
Winston, a couple of places away. A small, sandy-haired woman
who worked in the next cubicle to Winston was between them. The
girl with dark hair was sitting immediately behind.

The next moment a hideous, grinding speech, as of some
monstrous machine running without oil, burst from the big
telescreen at the end of the room. It was a noise that set
one's teeth on edge and bristled the hair at the back of one's
neck. The Hate had started.

As usual, the face of Emmanuel Goldstein, the Enemy of the
People, had flashed on to the screen. There were hisses here
and there among the audience. The little sandy-haired woman
gave a squeak of mingled fear and disgust. Goldstein was the
renegade and backslider who once, long ago (how long ago,
nobody quite remembered), had been one of the leading figures
of the Party, almost on a level with Big Brother himself, and
then had engaged in counter-revolutionary activities, had been
condemned to death, and had mysteriously escaped and
disappeared. The programmes of the Two Minutes Hate varied from
day to day, but there was none in which Goldstein was not the
principal figure. He was the primal traitor, the earliest
defiler of the Party's purity. All subsequent crimes against
the Party, all treacheries, acts of sabotage, heresies,
deviations, sprang directly out of his teaching. Somewhere or
other he was still alive and hatching his conspiracies: perhaps
somewhere beyond the sea, under the protection of his foreign
paymasters, perhaps even so it was occasionally rumoured
in some hiding-place in Oceania itself.

Winston's diaphragm was constricted. He could never see
the face of Goldstein without a painful mixture of emotions. It
was a lean Jewish face, with a great fuzzy aureole of white
hair and a small goatee beard a clever face, and yet somehow
inherently despicable, with a kind of senile silliness in the
long thin nose, near the end of which a pair of spectacles was
perched. It resembled the face of a sheep, and the voice, too,
had a sheep-like quality. Goldstein was delivering his usual
venomous attack upon the doctrines of the Party an attack so
exaggerated and perverse that a child should have been able to
see through it, and yet just plausible enough to fill one with
an alarmed feeling that other people, less level-headed than
oneself, might be taken in by it. He was abusing Big Brother,
he was denouncing the dictatorship of the Party, he was
demanding the immediate conclusion of peace with Eurasia, he
was advocating freedom of speech, freedom of the Press, freedom
of assembly, freedom of thought, he was crying hysterically
that the revolution had been betrayed and all this in rapid
polysyllabic speech which was a sort of parody of the habitual
style of the orators of the Party, and even contained Newspeak
words: more Newspeak words, indeed, than any Party member would
normally use in real life. And all the while, lest one should
be in any doubt as to the reality which Goldstein's specious
claptrap covered, behind his head on the telescreen there
marched the endless columns of the Eurasian army row after
row of solid-looking men with expressionless Asiatic faces, who
swam up to the surface of the screen and vanished, to be
replaced by others exactly similar. The dull rhythmic tramp of
the soldiers' boots formed the background to Goldstein's
bleating voice.

Before the Hate had proceeded for thirty seconds,
uncontrollable exclamations of rage were breaking out from half
the people in the room. The self-satisfied sheep-like face on
the screen, and the terrifying power of the Eurasian army
behind it, were too much to be borne: besides, the sight or
even the thought of Goldstein produced fear and anger
automatically. He was an object of hatred more constant than
either Eurasia or Eastasia, since when Oceania was at war with
one of these Powers it was generally at peace with the other.
But what was strange was that although Goldstein was hated and
despised by everybody, although every day and a thousand times
a day, on platforms, on the telescreen, in newspapers, in
books, his theories were refuted, smashed, ridiculed, held up
to the general gaze for the pitiful rubbish that they were in
spite of all this, his influence never seemed to grow less.
Always there were fresh dupes waiting to be seduced by him. A
day never passed when spies and saboteurs acting under his
directions were not unmasked by the Thought Police. He was the
commander of a vast shadowy army, an underground network of
conspirators dedicated to the overthrow of the State. The
Brotherhood, its name was supposed to be. There were also
whispered stories of a terrible book, a compendium of all the
heresies, of which Goldstein was the author and which
circulated clandestinely here and there. It was a book without
a title. People referred to it, if at all, simply as the
book. But one knew of such things only through vague
rumours. Neither the Brotherhood nor the book was a
subject that any ordinary Party member would mention if there
was a way of avoiding it.

In its second minute the Hate rose to a frenzy. People
were leaping up and down in their places and shouting at the
tops of their voices in an effort to drown the maddening
bleating voice that came from the screen. The little sandy-haired
woman had turned bright pink, and her mouth was opening
and shutting like that of a landed fish. Even O'Brien's heavy
face was flushed. He was sitting very straight in his chair,
his powerful chest swelling and quivering as though he were
standing up to the assault of a wave. The dark-haired girl
behind Winston had begun crying out 'Swine! Swine! Swine!' and
suddenly she picked up a heavy Newspeak dictionary and flung it
at the screen. It struck Goldstein's nose and bounced off; the
voice continued inexorably. In a lucid moment Winston found
that he was shouting with the others and kicking his heel
violently against the rung of his chair. The horrible thing
about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act
a part, but, on the contrary, that it was impossible to avoid
joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretence was always
unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a
desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a
sledge-hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people
like an electric current, turning one even against one's will
into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that one
felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be
switched from one object to another like the flame of a
blowlamp. Thus, at one moment Winston's hatred was not turned
against Goldstein at all, but, on the contrary, against Big
Brother, the Party, and the Thought Police; and at such moments
his heart went out to the lonely, derided heretic on the
screen, sole guardian of truth and sanity in a world of lies.
And yet the very next instant he was at one with the people
about him, and all that was said of Goldstein seemed to him to
be true. At those moments his secret loathing of Big Brother
changed into adoration, and Big Brother seemed to tower up, an
invincible, fearless protector, standing like a rock against
the hordes of Asia, and Goldstein, in spite of his isolation,
his helplessness, and the doubt that hung about his very
existence, seemed like some sinister enchanter, capable by the
mere power of his voice of wrecking the structure of
civilization.

It was even possible, at moments, to switch one's hatred
this way or that by a voluntary act. Suddenly, by the sort of
violent effort with which one wrenches one's head away from the
pillow in a nightmare, Winston succeeded in transferring his
hatred from the face on the screen to the dark-haired girl
behind him. Vivid, beautiful hallucinations flashed through his
mind. He would flog her to death with a rubber truncheon. He
would tie her naked to a stake and shoot her full of arrows
like Saint Sebastian. He would ravish her and cut her throat at
the moment of climax. Better than before, moreover, he realized
why it was that he hated her. He hated her because she was
young and pretty and sexless, because he wanted to go to bed
with her and would never do so, because round her sweet supple
waist, which seemed to ask you to encircle it with your arm,
there was only the odious scarlet sash, aggressive symbol of
chastity.

The Hate rose to its climax. The voice of Goldstein had
become an actual sheep's bleat, and for an instant the face
changed into that of a sheep. Then the sheep-face melted into
the figure of a Eurasian soldier who seemed to be advancing,
huge and terrible, his sub-machine gun roaring, and seeming to
spring out of the surface of the screen, so that some of the
people in the front row actually flinched backwards in their
seats. But in the same moment, drawing a deep sigh of relief
from everybody, the hostile figure melted into the face of Big
Brother, black-haired, black-moustachio'd, full of power and
mysterious calm, and so vast that it almost filled up the
screen. Nobody heard what Big Brother was saying. It was merely
a few words of encouragement, the sort of words that are
uttered in the din of battle, not distinguishable individually
but restoring confidence by the fact of being spoken. Then the
face of Big Brother faded away again, and instead the three
slogans of the Party stood out in bold capitals:

WAR IS PEACE

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

But the face of Big Brother seemed to persist for several
seconds on the screen, as though the impact that it had made on
everyone's eyeballs was too vivid to wear off immediately. The
little sandy-haired woman had flung herself forward over the
back of the chair in front of her. With a tremulous murmur that
sounded like 'My Saviour!' she extended her arms towards the
screen. Then she buried her face in her hands. It was apparent
that she was uttering a prayer.

At this moment the entire group of people broke into a
deep, slow, rhythmical chant of 'B-B! ... B-B!' over and
over again, very slowly, with a long pause between the first
'B' and the second-a heavy, murmurous sound, somehow curiously
savage, in the background of which one seemed to hear the stamp
of naked feet and the throbbing of tom-toms. For perhaps as
much as thirty seconds they kept it up. It was a refrain that
was often heard in moments of overwhelming emotion. Partly it
was a sort of hymn to the wisdom and majesty of Big Brother,
but still more it was an act of self-hypnosis, a deliberate
drowning of consciousness by means of rhythmic noise. Winston's
entrails seemed to grow cold. In the Two Minutes Hate he could
not help sharing in the general delirium, but this sub-human
chanting of 'B-B! ... B-B!' always filled him with horror.
Of course he chanted with the rest: it was impossible to do
otherwise. To dissemble your feelings, to control your face, to
do what everyone else was doing, was an instinctive reaction.
But there was a space of a couple of seconds during which the
expression of his eyes might conceivably have betrayed him. And
it was exactly at this moment that the significant thing
happened if, indeed, it did happen.

Momentarily he caught O'Brien's eye. O'Brien had stood up.
He had taken off his spectacles and was in the act of
resettling them on his nose with his characteristic gesture.
But there was a fraction of a second when their eyes met, and
for as long as it took to happen Winston knew yes, he
knew! that O'Brien was thinking the same thing as
himself. An unmistakable message had passed. It was as though
their two minds had opened and the thoughts were flowing from
one into the other through their eyes. 'I am with you,' O'Brien
seemed to be saying to him. 'I know precisely what you are
feeling. I know all about your contempt, your hatred, your
disgust. But don't worry, I am on your side!' And then the
flash of intelligence was gone, and O'Brien's face was as
inscrutable as everybody else's.

That was all, and he was already uncertain whether it had
happened. Such incidents never had any sequel. All that they
did was to keep alive in him the belief, or hope, that others
besides himself were the enemies of the Party. Perhaps the
rumours of vast underground conspiracies were true after all
perhaps the Brotherhood really existed! It was impossible, in
spite of the endless arrests and confessions and executions, to
be sure that the Brotherhood was not simply a myth. Some days
he believed in it, some days not. There was no evidence, only
fleeting glimpses that might mean anything or nothing: snatches
of overheard conversation, faint scribbles on lavatory walls
once, even, when two strangers met, a small movement of the
hand which had looked as though it might be a signal of
recognition. It was all guesswork: very likely he had imagined
everything. He had gone back to his cubicle without looking at
O'Brien again. The idea of following up their momentary contact
hardly crossed his mind. It would have been inconceivably
dangerous even if he had known how to set about doing it. For a
second, two seconds, they had exchanged an equivocal glance,
and that was the end of the story. But even that was a
memorable event, in the locked loneliness in which one had to
live.

Winston roused himself and sat up straighter. He let out a
belch. The gin was rising from his stomach.

His eyes re-focused on the page. He discovered that while
he sat helplessly musing he had also been writing, as though by
automatic action. And it was no longer the same cramped,
awkward handwriting as before. His pen had slid voluptuously
over the smooth paper, printing in large neat capitals

DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER

DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER

DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER

DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER

DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER

over and over again, filling half a page.

He could not help feeling a twinge of panic. It was
absurd, since the writing of those particular words was not
more dangerous than the initial act of opening the diary, but
for a moment he was tempted to tear out the spoiled pages and
abandon the enterprise altogether.

He did not do so, however, because he knew that it was
useless. Whether he wrote DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER, or whether he
refrained from writing it, made no difference. Whether he went
on with the diary, or whether he did not go on with it, made no
difference. The Thought Police would get him just the same. He
had committed would still have committed, even if he had
never set pen to paper the essential crime that contained
all others in itself. Thoughtcrime, they called it.
Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed for ever.
You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but
sooner or later they were bound to get you.

It was always at night the arrests invariably happened
at night. The sudden jerk out of sleep, the rough hand shaking
your shoulder, the lights glaring in your eyes, the ring of
hard faces round the bed. In the vast majority of cases there
was no trial, no report of the arrest. People simply
disappeared, always during the night. Your name was removed
from the registers, every record of everything you had ever
done was wiped out, your one-time existence was denied and then
forgotten. You were abolished, annihilated: vaporized
was the usual word.

For a moment he was seized by a kind of hysteria. He began
writing in a hurried untidy scrawl:

theyll shoot me i don't care theyll shoot me in the
back of the neck i dont care down with big brother they always
shoot you in the back of the neck i dont care down with big
brother

He sat back in his chair, slightly ashamed of himself, and
laid down the pen. The next moment he started violently. There
was a knocking at the door.

Already! He sat as still as a mouse, in the futile hope
that whoever it was might go away after a single attempt. But
no, the knocking was repeated. The worst thing of all would be
to delay. His heart was thumping like a drum, but his face,
from long habit, was probably expressionless. He got up and
moved heavily towards the door.

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