Discuss the significance and nature of Winston's dreams. Deconstruct the dream wherein O'Brien claims that they "shall meet in a place where there is no darkness" (Orwell 25), and the dream in which Winston's mother and sister disappear (29). What are the underpinnings of these dreams? What deeper meanings do they hold? Why does the author devote as much time as he does to Winston's dreams?
The dream in which Winston's mother and sister disappear represents his guilt. When Winston was a young boy, he took more food from his mom and sister than he was supposed to. His mother pleaded with him to stop, but Winston took it and ran out. That was the last time Winston ever saw them. He sees them on a sinking ship about to die, and Winston believes that it was his actions that got them killed. The dream is being used to highlight his guilty feelings.
The dream in which O'Brien tells Winston that they "shall meet in a place where there is no darkness" is a hopeful line and dream for Winston. He believes it means that there is a place where the Party doesn't exist or a time when it won't exist. That will be "the light" for Winston. In reality though, the dream foreshadows Winston's time of torture with O'Brien where the lights are always on.
The reason that Orwell devotes time to these dreams is that they further develop Winston as a character. Recalling the information about his mother, the reader realizes that Winston has a volatile, rebellious side to him. The dream shows that he is not sadistic though. He harbors genuine guilt. The O'Brien dream continues to highlight Winston's desire for rebellion, especially when you remember that he had another dream with a naked woman that destroys the party. Winston hates the party, and his dreams show that emotion as well as his desire to do something about it.