Winston finds himself in a cell, a square room with white walls, lights that never went out, and a telescreen on each wall. He assumes that it is within the Ministry of Love, as that is the logical place for such a thing, but he has no definite clue. Many other prisoners are gradually brought in and out of his cell, in quick succession, but they all sit rigidly on the narrow wooden bench which lines the room.
Throughout the time in which he is at the Ministry (which might have been weeks or months, perhaps longer; Winston had no way of knowing), he is kicked, beaten, and left alone to recuperate for a few hours, before the guards come back to repeat the process.
After a while of this, O’Brian, whom he thought had been a member of the Brotherhood, who is revealed to be an spy for the thought police and an interrogator for the Ministry of Truth, begins to have sessions with Winston. O’Brian places Winston on a table, where he is bound for several hours at a time. He asks many questions about the nature of the world itself, and persuades Winston that the Party is the embodiment of humanity itself. The Party creates, controls, and can terminate all that was formerly considered part of human nature.
At first, Winston is reluctant to accept this worldview (as it contradicted all of his closest beliefs), but after an uncountable number of sessions, Winston gradually succumbs to this philosophy. He becomes goodthinkful, as the Newspeak word describes it, but remains emotionally unchanged. He still hates Big Brother and the Party, but his brain prevents him from thinking against them.
He is placed in Room 101, which is notorious in the prison for its brutal techniques of torture. Winston had previously asked O’Brian what was in Room 101, but all he had in reply was, “You already know.”
Winston is bound to a chair, and a mask is placed on him. It was a wire cage, and at the end was a sealed chamber (opened by a lever on the outside), containing 3 rats. Rats, as Winston’s primal fear, terrify him, as well as being able to tear through flesh with their teeth. This last fact was calmly explained, by O’Brian as the mask is placed on his face.
The last scene in the novel leaves the reader with the image of Winston, a drunkard with very little work, sitting, released from the prison, in a café, drinking Victory Gin.
He is goodthinkful, and he is loyal to and loving towards Big Brother. He remembers what he thought before being “cured of his insanity” in the Ministry of Love, but has convinced himself that they are fallacies, constructed in his mind in an incomprehensible hate for the Party.
Winston is reminded blissfully of this, as he daydreams of being back in the Ministry of Love, walking in the corridors, when he feels a bullet enter the back of his head, but he is not alarmed. He had been expecting this ever since he was caught, in the room over Mr. Charrington’s shop.
He feels at peace as he loses consciousness, because he knows that he will have died loving and adoring Big Brother, and that the battle with himself was won.