In 1984, why does Winston think of renting Mr. Charrington's room?

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scarletpimpernel's profile pic

scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Winston has several reasons for renting a room even though he already has Party-provided quarters.  First, the room has no telescreen.  As seen in previous chapters, Winston cringes from Big Brother's constant surveillance of all his doings. He imagines how peaceful the room would be where he could sit and think in private. Secondly, the room features several reminders of the past, and Winston possesses only memory snapshots of what the past was really like. The room's shabbiness and contents cause a sense of nostalgia in the novel's protagonist.  Even though he cannot remember what he thinks is the past, the room provides a pleasant feeling of the past.

kmj23's profile pic

kmj23 | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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In 1984, Winston thinks about renting the room above Mr Charrington's shop because of the difficulties that he and Julia experience in trying to have a relationship. Specifically, Winston wants to enjoy their time together and for them to behave (in public) like any other couple, as he says in Part Two, Chapter Four:

He wished that he were walking through the streets with her just as they were doing now but openly and without fear, talking of trivialities and buying odds and ends for the household. 

In addition, the idea of renting Mr Charrington's room comes to Winston because he does not want to feel as though they must only ever use their time make love:

He wished above all that they had some place where they could be alone together without feeling the obligation to make love every time they met.

These feelings arise as a result of the Party's control over the intimate lives of its members. Under the Party's rules, for example, Winston and Julia's relationship is forbidden and this forces them to meet in secret and only when they have the free time to do so. It is this control, then, which also prompts Winston to think about renting the room. 


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