Winston finds himself in the cells in the Ministry of Love awaiting his sentence and punishment. He has no idea as to how long he has been there, he only knows he has not eaten for a very long time. There were two types of prisoners in the temporary cells he had been put in earlier – ordinary criminals and political prisoners like himself. The guards actually treated the ordinary criminals quite leniently, it was the party prisoners who were terrorized and isolated. Occasionally there were references to Room 101 which seemed to terrify the victims. After being moved to his present cell, Winston sees both Ampleforth and Parsons being brought in for thoughtcrimes. Ampleforth was arrested because he had retained the forbidden word “God” in a Kipling poem he was rewriting, Parsons had been denounced by his own daughter for shouting “Down with Big Brother” in his sleep. Winston thinks fleetingly of Julia, wonders if she is suffering more than he is, but he can only really concentrate on his own predicament.
He sees other prisoners being beaten up in front of him, one man is especially severely struck for offering a piece of bread to another prisoner, a thin man who was clearly dying of starvation. The guards come to take the thin man to the dreaded Room101 and Winston witnesses a terrifying breakdown. The man begs to be killed, offers to sign and confess to anything, to denounce his wife and children, screams that it is the other prisoner who tried to offer him food who should be punished – anything to avoid being taken to Room 101. It is of no avail and he is dragged off.
Winston’s one hope now is O’Brien. He knows that the Brotherhood will not rescue him, but they might smuggle in a razor blade and help him to commit suicide. Then he sees O’Brien walk into the cell and for a moment thinks he too has been arrested. Then as O’Brien steps aside and motions to the guard to strike him, Winston realizes with blinding clearness that he had been duped all along.