Election Day is November 3rd! Make sure your voice is heard

Book Two: Chapters IV–VI

Summary Book Two: Chapters IV–VI

The second detail involves the prole woman singing outside the window. Winston has already thought and written in his diary that any hope for the future must come from the proles. The virile prole woman singing outside the window becomes a symbol of the hoped-for future to Winston; he imagines her bearing the children who will one day overthrow the Party.

The third factor is Winston’s fear of rats. When he sees a rat in the room in Chapter IV, he shudders in terror. His worst nightmare involves rats in a vague, mysterious way he cannot quite explain. This is another foreshadow: when O’Brien tortures Winston in the Ministry of Love at the end of the novel, he will use a cage of rats to break Winston’s spirit. The fact that Winston’s fear of rats comes from a nightmare that he cannot explain is another important instance of the motif of dreams. Once again, Winston’s dream represents an incomprehensible link to a past that is beyond his memory.

The fourth detail is the recurrence of the St. Clement’s Church song. The mysterious reference the song makes continues to pique Winston’s interest in the past, and its last line (“Here comes the chopper to chop off your head”) continues to obliquely foreshadow his unhappy ending. A more pragmatic interest makes the song relevant in this section: Julia offers to clean the St. Clement’s Church picture in Chapter IV; had she done so, the lovers would have discovered the telescreen hidden behind it.

The most important part of this section is Winston’s meeting with O’Brien, which Winston considers to be the most important event of his life. The meeting is brief, but it establishes O’Brien as an enigmatic and powerful figure. At this point we cannot tell whether he is trustworthy or treacherous, whether he is truly on Winston’s side or simply wants to trap him for the Party. In the end, Winston will discover the answer to that question in the place where there is no darkness.