1984 By George Orwell Summary and Analysis Part 1: Chapter 3

Summary

This section begins with Winston Smithdreaming of the deaths of his mother and sister. Although the past is unclear in his mind, he believes that he was somehow responsible. The dream scenery changes to a place that Winston calls the "Golden Country," and he imagines the dark-haired girl there. He awakes with the word "Shakespeare" on his lips.

Winston takes his place in front of the telescreen for the Physical Jerks, a daily exercise routine for Outer Party members. During the exercise, he thinks about the past and remembers a time as a child when he and his family ran into a bunker during a bombing. He is lost in the memory as he tries to touch his toes, causing the exercise director to shout at him from the telescreen.

Analysis

In this chapter,  Orwell provides solid evidence to the reader that everything Winston thinks about his environment, as told to us through the narrator, is genuine. The telescreen is indeed watching him closely, and it is at this moment that the reader is fully aware of the reality of Winston's situation. His life and the political situation in Oceania are really as bad as they seem.

An overview of Winston's perception of the past is given here in an attempt to assist the reader in understanding Winston's world and how it came to pass. The England-Britain-London of the past, Ingsoc in Oceania parlance (or, in Oldspeak, English Socialism) is briefly addressed. The premise of English Socialism is quite different from the society that prevails in Oceania. The Golden Country that Winston dreams about symbolizes the pastoral European landscape, the beauty obviously lacking in Winston's life. Winston waking with "Shakespeare" on his lips is part British nostalgia, part foreshadowing — Julia is named for Shakespeare's Juliet, reminding the reader of another story of forbidden love.

Orwell addresses, again, the problem of fact and memory. "The past . . . had not merely been altered, it had been actually destroyed. For how could you establish even the most obvious fact when there existed no record outside your own memory." Memory and history are major themes in the novel. Winston muses that the history books claim that the Party invented airplanes (a claim actually made by the German government during World War II). Yet Winston is certain that he remembers planes before the Party's existence. Of course, he has no way to prove it.

Glossary

dace any of various small, freshwater fishes related to the carp and minnow.

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What are the Party slogans -- War Is Peace, Freedom Is Slavery, Ignorance Is Strength -- examples of?




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