"You asked me once," said O'Brien, "what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everybody knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world."As I was reading this section of the last part of the book, I was thinking about what I was most scared of. As it turns out, Winston and I are morbidly afraid of the same thing -- rats! In fact, it doesn't have to be a rat; I'm deathly afraid of mice too! Little rodents give me the heebie-jeebies.
"...In your case," said O'Brien, "the worst thing in the world happens to be rats."
~ from 1984 by George Orwell ~
The torturous method by which Winston would be introduced to the rats would set a person's hair on edge. His head was to be placed inside of a contraption that looked like a fencer's mask and the [sewer] rats were in an attached cage separated only by a door. All O'Brien needed to do was press a switch and the door would open. The hungry rats would then attack (i.e., eat) Winston's defenseless face.
Just the thought of this turns my stomach!
However, once I climbed away from the sheer horror of this form of torture, something struck me. Supposedly, victims meet up with their greatest fear in Room 101 (e.g., drowning, being burned to death, etc.), but who wouldn't be terrified of being eaten alive by rats? I bet that someone who had domestic rats as pets and who loved the general species would be just as terrified of two sewer rats attacking their face as anyone else.
I'm not suggesting that this represents the ONLY dastardly way to kill someone slowly and painfully, but I would think that every single person on the face of the earth would be horrified at this prospect.
Wouldn't you be?
This series of posts based on George Orwell's novel, 1984, will be rather avant-garde. My focus will not be to explain Orwell's premises or what HE meant -- it is more about what his prose stirs in me, often in relation to the way I view the world today. Some of my observations may fall in line with Orwell's intent, but others will go off in a wholly different direction. To read my intro to this series, go here.