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George Orwell

Book One: Chapters II–III

Book One: Chapter I

Book One: Chapters II–III, page 2

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Summary: Chapter II

Winston opens the door fearfully, assuming that the Thought Police have arrived to arrest him for writing in the diary. However, it is only Mrs. Parsons, a neighbor in his apartment building, needing help with the plumbing while her husband is away. In Mrs. Parsons’s apartment, Winston is tormented by the fervent Parsons children, who, being Junior Spies, accuse him of thoughtcrime. The Junior Spies is an organization of children who monitor adults for disloyalty to the Party, and frequently succeed in catching them—Mrs. Parsons herself seems afraid of her zealous children. The children are very agitated because their mother won’t let them go to a public hanging of some of the Party’s political enemies in the park that evening. Back in his apartment, Winston remembers a dream in which a man’s voice—O’Brien’s, he thinks—said to him, “We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness.” Winston writes in his diary that his thoughtcrime makes him a dead man, then he hides the book.

Summary: Chapter III

Winston dreams of being with his mother on a sinking ship. He feels strangely responsible for his mother’s disappearance in a political purge almost twenty years ago. He then dreams of a place called The Golden Country, where the dark-haired girl takes off her clothes and runs toward him in an act of freedom that annihilates the whole Party. He wakes with the word “Shakespeare” on his lips, not knowing where it came from. A high-pitched whistle sounds from the telescreen, a signal that office workers must wake up. It is time for the Physical Jerks, a round of grotesque exercise.

As he exercises, Winston thinks about his childhood, which he barely remembers. Having no physical records such as photographs and documents, he thinks, makes one’s life lose its outline in one’s memory. Winston considers Oceania’s relationship to the other countries in the world, Eurasia and Eastasia. According to official history, Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia and in alliance with Eastasia, but Winston knows that the records have been changed. Winston remembers that no one had heard of Big Brother, the leader of the Party, before 1960, but stories about him now appear in histories going back to the 1930s.

As Winston has these thoughts, a voice from the telescreen suddenly calls out his name, reprimanding him for not working hard enough at the Physical Jerks. Winston breaks out into a hot sweat and tries harder to touch his toes.

Analysis: Chapters II–III

Winston’s fatalism is a central component of his character. He has been fearing the power of the Party for decades, and the guilt he feels after having committed a crime against the Party overwhelms him, rendering him absolutely certain that he will be caught and punished. Winston only occasionally allows himself to feel any hope for the future. His general pessimism not only reflects the social conditioning against which Orwell hopes to warn his readers, but also casts a general gloom on the novel’s atmosphere; it makes a dark world seem even darker.

An important aspect of the Party’s oppression of its subjects is the forced repression of sexual appetite. Initially, Winston must confine his sexual desires to the realm of fantasy, as when he dreams in Chapter II of an imaginary Golden Country in which he makes love to the dark-haired girl. Like sex in general, the dark-haired girl is treated as an unfathomable mystery in this section; she is someone whom Winston simultaneously desires and distrusts with a profound paranoia.

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by Tildinator, November 27, 2012

This is my favourite thing ever


26 out of 60 people found this helpful

This book is amazing

by LukeLay, January 28, 2013

Not really; Hamlet died at the end.


22 out of 80 people found this helpful

Winston Dies

by SkullCrusher69, February 25, 2013

*Spoiler Alert*


2 out of 7 people found this helpful

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