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"Under the spreading chestnut tree I sold you and you sold me: .....here lie we...
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It means several things. Start with the most basic: the song is used by the party to entertain the masses and keep them quiet. Then move up the scale to foreshadowing: the Chestnut Tree Café is a place where rebels meet. However, if you sell someone there, the meeting will be false. Winston and Julia meet like lovers under trees, but they eventually reach a place where they sell one another. The song therefore becomes ironic.
Posted by gbeatty on April 18, 2008 at 10:24 AM (Answer #1)
High School Teacher
The quote references the fact that Winston sells Julia out during the torture to save himself. That the party succeeds in breaking up Winston and Julia, who were once a couple, and both now work for the Party and spend all their energy honoring and loving Big Brother.
When Winston is taken by O'Brien and tortured, he manages to keep himself from betraying Julia, the woman he had a relationship with in the book. The goal of the torture is to break the subject's will and convert him into accepting the philosophy of Big Brother.
Winston has a tremendous fear of rats. So when the torture escalates to the use of rats, Winston begs for them to stop torturing him and torture Julia instead. Winston's spirit is broken and he returns to working for the party.
He works for the Party and often goes to the Chestnut Tree Cafe where he runs into Julia. Winston and Julia were once lovers, now when they meet it is as if they are strangers. They have both been brought back into line and use all their energy for the party.
Posted by pmiranda2857 on April 19, 2008 at 7:57 AM (Answer #2)
High School Teacher
This is taken from a nursery rhyme of the time Orwell was growing up ("The Chestnut Tree" by Glen Miller 1939), much like he took the line "oranges and lemons say the bells of St. Clements." The references to these cultural cornerstones of the time are meant to stress that in Winston's world, no one remembers the true versions anymore; they have been tainted by the "falsification of the past" so that no one can learn from history to see what the future holds.
The original lyrics are as follows: "Underneath the spreading chestnut tree/ I loved him and he loved me/ There I used to sit up on his knee/ ´Neath the spreading chestnut tree." The change of the lyrics is slight, but quite meaningful. Love is not permitted by party members. Instead, they are encouraged to turn in anyone suspect of any crime against Big Brother, thus they end up selling each other out (as Winston does later with Julia and as Rutherford, Aaronson, and Jones have done as mentioned in Part I, chp 7) thus switching the word "loved" to "sold."
The second change is in the word "lie" as we find out that Winston once held evidence to prove that the confessions of these three men were lies (Part I, chp 7) and the confessions Julia and Winston make of one another’s' actions are lies as well.
Posted by mstinson on April 22, 2008 at 10:18 AM (Answer #3)
At end of the book, Winston and Julia meet again, but refuse to rekindle their relationship due to successful brainwashing. Winston tells her "I betrayed you" and she replies the same thing back to him. Winston is shown earlier forced to face rats, his greatest fear, by O'Brien in Room 101, sparing himself only by screaming "Do it to Julia!" This last meeting between Winston and Julia implies she said something similar. The Chestnut Tree refers to the cafe that the story finishes in, where Winston finally celebrates party propaganda claiming Oceanian victory over a Eurasian military offensive. This final scene depicts that Winston has been brainwashed successfully enough to do whateverthe party tells him to do and block out his common sense and skepticisim.
Posted by happy-wheeler on September 8, 2012 at 6:09 AM (Answer #4)
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