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Free Study Guide-1984 by George Orwell-Free Online Booknotes Summary
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CHAPTER 6

Summary

In this final chapter, Winston is released from the Ministry of Love because, according to the Party, he is healed of all his madness. The irony is that he has proven his sanity by renouncing himself. He has totally succumbed to Big Brother and the Party.

After he is set 'free', Winston knows that he will be killed by the Thought Police very soon. To keep himself occupied, he spends most of his time at the Chestnut Tree Café. He happens to meet Julia, who has drastically changed. Her beautiful face is marred by a long scar, which she tries to hide with her hair. They have a brief conversation and quickly part. After she leaves, Winston realizes that he still loves Julia.

When news of Oceania's victory over Africa is announced on the telescreen, the crowd cheers and celebrates. In the midst of the noise and confusion, Winston is struck by a thought bullet. He dies looking at a poster of Big Brother, for whom Winston now feels a deep love and reverence.


Notes

In this chapter Orwell uses a stream of consciousness technique with a definite purpose. As Winston sits in the café, reflecting on his meeting with Julia, he is brought back to reality with a song of betrayal being played on the telescreen : "Under the Chestnut Tree, I sold you and you sold me....."

The chapter ends on a very sad and bitter note, filled with pathos and irony. The Party has "freed" Winston, for it feels he has been totally rehabilitated and stripped of all human emotions. In this chapter, however, he reveals, in spite of the torture and brainwashing, that he still loves Julia, human feelings that Big Brother cannot tolerate. As a result, the Party can no longer tolerate Winston and kills him with a thought bullet. It was the inevitable outcome for this sensitive and intellectual misfit.

It is important to realize the time frame that has passed in the novel. He met Julia about one year before his death, and their relationship lasted about four months. The remainder of the year, Winston spent in prison in the Ministry of Love.

Note: Others may interpret the events in the final chapter as a dream in which Winston comes to peace with Big Brother and finally learns to love Big Brother. In that interpretation, Winston does not literally die and the ending is a dream. The bullet is imaginary. That said, your interpretation may differ. In reading the original text, it is not specifically clear.

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