Explore Winston’s attempts to hold on to the past. Tell why his conversation with the old man only increases his frustrations.
What does the upstairs room at Charrington’s shop mean to Winston?
Winston attempts to hold on to the past because it is both vague (the memories of his mother and younger sibling in the hole) and fascinating. His conversations with the old man only increase his frustrations because the man doesn't remember everything and only fragments of songs, etc. These fragments haunt Winston as there is really no place to go find the answers, so he remains with only partial knowledge.
The upstairs room means everything to Winston and Julia. It's a place where they can be themselves to do whatever they wish...sing, read, write, play house, have uninhibited sex, and just be regular, non-Party members. Imagine what freedom that must be for people who have been subjected to such complete and utter scrutiny for their entire existence. The paperweight is bought since it represents the past, but it also is symbolic of Winston and Julia's relationship. It is a coral piece--red and fragile, representing their love--encompassed in clear glass. They are in love and think they are safe, but they are really loving in a fishbowl with every move being watched. It is only a matter of time before their perfect love is shattered by the world in which they live...just like the paperweight itself.