In 1984, what is the incident of "the chocolate bar" that Winston stole as a boy? What is the Newspeak dictionary?

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The incident of the chocolate bar happens in Part 2, Chapter 7.  In this incident that Winston remembers from his childhood, he takes his little sister's chocolate.  The family had just gotten their chocolate ration.  Winston took his little sister's chocolate and ran away.  This was the last time that he ever saw his mother or sister because when he got back they had been taken away.

Newspeak is the language that the Party is imposing on everyone.  Once it is fully in place, the Party will control the people even more because it will control language.

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teachersage | (Level 2) Educator

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Winston has a dream of the last time he saw his mother, which triggers a real memory. In this memory, he is with his mother and younger sister and is always hungry. Because of his hunger, he is steals bits of foods from his sister's plate, pilfers food if his mother doesn't guard it, and makes incessant demands for more food. One day, due to rationing, his mother gets a bar of chocolate. Though it should be split three ways, his mother gives in to Winston's demands for it and splits it so that he gets three-quarters of it and his sister one-quarter. Even so, Winston grabs the extra piece of chocolate from his sister's hand and runs off. After he has eaten the chocolate and gotten hungry, he comes home, feeling a bit guilty, but his mother and sister have disappeared. He never sees them again and wonders about what may have happened to them.

The story illustrates Winston's status as an ordinary person: he is not a saint. It also illustrates what hunger, deprivation and the fight for survival can do to a person. It connects to Newspeak, because it is just the sort of series of memories and thoughts that Newspeak is designed to eradicate. Newspeak, represented by the Newspeak dictionary that Syme discusses with Winston, means to reduce the language to the bare minimum number of words needed for people to communicate. By reducing the number of words in the language and making them as simple as possible, the regime hopes to eliminate as much thought as possible. This way, the Inner Party can control people more fully. Ideally, in Newspeak, Winston would be unable to retrieve even the relatively simple memories that lead him to think about the past and to dwell on issues of guilt, possibility and need. 


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