Throughout the novel Winston imagines meeting O’Brien in “the place where there is no darkness.” The words first come to him in a dream, and he ponders them for the rest of the novel. Eventually, Winston does meet O’Brien in the place where there is no darkness; instead of being the paradise Winston imagined, it is merely a prison cell in which the light is never turned off. The idea of “the place where there is no darkness” symbolizes Winston’s approach to the future: possibly because of his intense fatalism (he believes that he is doomed no matter what he does), he unwisely allows himself to trust O’Brien, even though inwardly he senses that O’Brien might be a Party operative.
And of course, at the center of the tale, there is a search for somebody called “Death” which, naturally, does not find the person “Death”, but death itself. It is a successful – but ultimately unsuccessful – search. All that is left over at the center of the Tales is the bushels of gold, sitting under a tree unclaimed. The root of the tale, as its moral similarly suggests about the root of evil, is money: and money was, to a medieval reader, known to be a spiritual "death". Notably, moreover, in the tale, both “gold” and “death” shift from metaphor to reality and back again; a neat reminder of the ability of the Tales to evade our grasp, raising difficult questions without ever answering them.