Book Notes Part 1, Chapters 5-8 Notes from 1984

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1984 Part 1, Chapters 5-8

Around midday, Winston goes to the canteen for lunch and sees Syme, a co-worker from the Research Department. Syme asks if Winston has any razor blades, a commodity currently hard to find, and Winston lies, saying he doesn't. They get their lunches and Victory Gin to help them stomach the bad food. They discuss Newspeak, Syme's specialty. Mr. Parsons joins them and asks Winston for a subscription to Hate Week. Parsons is the treasurer in charge of decorating Victory Mansions. Winston spots the dark-haired girl (Julia) at the next table, looking at him. He wonders again if she is a Thought Police spy.

Topic Tracking: Reality Control 3
Topic Tracking: Newspeak 5
Topic Tracking: Surveillance 4

At home, Winston writes in his diary about a prostitute that he once picked up. Visiting prostitutes, called proles, is dangerous but not a life threatening crime. The Party prefers prostitution to real sexual relationships.

"Sexual intercourse was to be looked on as a slightly disgusting minor operation, like having an enema." Part 1, Chapter 6, pg. 69

The Party views marriage as a vehicle for producing children to serve the Party. Erotic desire is rebellion. Organizations like the Junior Anti-Sex League are encouraged.

Topic Tracking: Proletariat 2
Topic Tracking: Surveillance 5

Winston thinks about his wife, Katharine. He does not know where she is now. They were together for about fifteen months, almost eleven years ago. She married him in order to have a child, "our duty to the Party," but hated sex and left him when they were unable to have a baby.

Another diary entry:

"If there is hope, wrote Winston, it lies in the proles." Part 1, Chapter 7, pg. 72

Winston believes that only among the proles is there enough force to destroy the Party. They make up about 85 percent of the population and the Party doesn't really pay any attention to them. But the only thing he has ever seen a group of proles get upset over is a shortage of tin saucepans.

"Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious." Part 1, Chapter 7, pg. 74

Topic Tracking: Proletariat 3
Topic Tracking: Surveillance 6

Winston copies some passages from a child's history textbook he has borrowed from Mrs. Parsons. It is filled with propaganda on the evils of capitalism and the horrible conditions before the Revolution that put the Party in power. He reflects on the Party's claim to have improved everything, but there is a big difference between the world the Party describes,

"a nation of warriors and fanatics, marching forward in perfect unity, all thinking the same thoughts and shouting the same slogans, perpetually working, fighting, triumphing, persecuting - three hundred million people all with the same face" Part 1, Chapter 7, pg. 77

and the world in which Winston resides, where buildings are falling apart and there are shortages of everything.

Topic Tracking: Reality Control 4

Winston is becoming increasingly afraid and frustrated; there is no way to know the truth, everything he knows is only what the Party wants him to know. He remembers the one time in his life when he had physical proof the Party had lied. In a batch of documents that landed on his desk, he found a photograph of three Party leaders, Jones, Aaronson and Rutherford, who were later exposed as traitors. The photograph showed them at a Party conference in New York, at a time when they had confessed to being on Eurasian soil, thus betraying their country. Winston was too afraid to keep the photograph and he dropped it down the memory hole to the furnace.

Topic Tracking: Reality Control 5
Topic Tracking: Surveillance 7

Winston begins to ponder the reasons behind the Party's mind control. Big Brother, if he wanted to, could make two and two equal five. At times, Winston feels alone in his thoughts, bordering on the insane. He again wonders why he writes in the diary, his prose becoming a letter to O'Brien. As if speaking to O'Brien, he writes:

"Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows." Part 1, Chapter 7, pg. 84

On another day after work, Winston, rather than going to the Community Center as usually directed by the Party, impulsively decides to take a walk in the slums.

Topic Tracking: Surveillance 8
Topic Tracking: Newspeak 6
Topic Tracking: Proletariat 4

As Winston walks, a rocket bomb lands in the street, destroying a group of houses. In the wreckage, Winston notices a bloody, severed human hand, the skin colored white with plaster dust. Winston kicks the appendage into a gutter.

Topic Tracking: Proletariat 5

Later he notices an old man of about eighty walking down the street. Realizing he is one of the few human beings alive that can tell him the truth about the past before the Party, Winston follows the old man into a prole pub, (an unwise thing for a Party member to do). He buys the man a beer, the only alcoholic beverage proles are allowed to drink, and attempts to question him about the past. Unfortunately the old man's memory is "a rubbish-heap of details" and he can't seem to remember anything useful.

Winston walks out of the pub and wanders near the junk-shop where he bought the book for his diary. It is very risky for him to have returned to this area, and he goes inside the shop so that he will be less obvious. He meets the owner, Mr. Charrington, and buys a glass paperweight. Mr. Charrington shows him a cozy, old-fashioned room above the shop, and Winston reacts with emotion:

"It seemed to him that he knew exactly what it felt like to sit in a room like this, in an armchair beside an open fire with your feet in the fender and a kettle on the hob: utterly alone, utterly secure, with nobody watching you, no voice pursuing you, no sound except the singing of the kettle and the friendly ticking of the clock." Part 1, Chapter 8, pg. 100

In the room is an engraving of St. Clement's Dane. It reminds Mr. Charrington of an old rhyme which he repeats, and which sticks in Winston's mind:

"Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St Clement's, You owe me three farthings, say the bells of St Martin's" Part 1, Chapter 8, pg. 103

On his way out of the shop and home, Winston sees the dark-haired girl. She runs away when he spots her. He cannot come up with a possible explanation for her being here, other than to spy on him. Winston is struck by an acute sense of terror.

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