Monday, May 5, 2008

The Chestnut Tree

After Winston is released from the Ministry of Love we find him sitting in the Chestnut Tree Cafe. Earlier in the book Winston mentions how the Cafe was where thought criminals like Rutherford spent a great deal of their time. It is ironic that in the end he should end up in the same place. The Chestnut Tree Cafe is by all accounts a quite depressing place. It is the place one goes after they have been tortured, but before they have been killed. The ironic thing is that Winston is happy there, probably happier than he has ever been. He no longer has any worries, he can simply trust in Big Brother and everything will be fine. He is in many ways more free than other party members, he does not have to worry about being seen speaking to others, as he would have been before he entered the Ministry of Love. The Chestnut Tree Cafe is the place Winston first sees Julia after that disastrous day in the room above Mr. Charrington's shop. At that point there is nothing left between them. They no longer love each other, they don't really have any true emotions left to them. Winston is in the Cafe when he hears a song coming from the telescreen.

Under the spreading chestnut tree
I sold you and you sold me

It's true, Winston and Julia did sell each other, they betrayed each other to save themselves. Now Winston sits in the Chestnut Tree Cafe alone. There is something about that last scene, that is deeply affecting. The way Winston's love for Julia along with his very being has been so completely destroyed and yet he is happy. For he now has a new love the love of Big Brother and there he sits in the Chestnut Tree Cafe.