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A futuristic novel with disturbing implications for contemporary times, 1984 depicts government control at its worst.
In Chapter 2, Winston, who has begun writing in a diary, returns from the propaganda session known as the Two Minute Hate as he contemplates the complete control that the state wields upon people. Winston feels lost and buys a diary in order to record his thoughts, hoping that someday they may be read.
- As he returns from the compulsory Two Minute Hate session, Winston opens the door with a start because he has left his diary open. Startled, he sees his neighbor Mrs. Parsons in the doorway; she asks him to come fix her clogged drain.
- When he enters the Parson apartment, Winston sees banners of the "Youth League and the Spies, and a full-size poster of Big Brother" (p.27); Parsons is "a completely unquestioning devoted drudge on whom the Thought Police depend" (28). And, he comes to the community center every evening as such a devotee.
- While Winston unclogs the Parsons' drain, he notices how battered everything looks; it is as though some "violent animal" has visited. But, it is the Parsons children who are so violent, rushing at Winston and accusing him of being a "Thought Criminal" (29). When he glances at the boy, Winston notes "a calculating ferocity in the boy's eye" (29).
- Finished with the drain, Winston makes his departure, but notices the fright in Mrs. Parsons's face, who is terrorized by her children: "[her]eyes flitted nervously from Winston to the children and back again" (30). For, children are instructed to turn in their parents if they say or do anything against the laws. He notes that it is normal for anyone over thirty years old to fear their children, called a "child hero" if parents are denounced to the Thought Police.
- Once back in his apartment, Winston picks up his pen, but begins to think about O'Brien again, whom he saw watching him during the Two Minute Hate. Unable to decide if O'Brien is friend or foe, Winston recalls a dream from several years ago in which he walked into a "pitch-dark room"; there, someone said to him, "We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness" (32). Winston cannot recall whether he had seen O'Brien before or after this dream, but the voice in it was clearly O'Brien's.
- Yet, Winston felt that there was "a link of understanding" (32) between O'Brien and him. And, he feels that he and O'Brien will meet in the place of "no darkness."
- On the telescreen, Winston hears that the Eurasians have been killed. Perhaps to compensate for the chocolate rationing that is to occur the song "Oceania, 'tis for thee'" and the people are supposed to stand at attention toward the screen (33).
- Below in the street, a wind blows a poster back and forward with the word INGSOC appears, then is quickly gone.
The sacred principles of Ingsoc. Newspeak, doublethink, the mutability of the past. He felt as though he were wandering in the forests of the sea bottom, lost in a monstrous world where he himself was the monster (34).
- Winston feels terribly alone.
The past was dead, the future was unimaginable. What certainty had he that a single human creature now living was on his side? (34)
- Winston wonders if the Party will not last forever. As though it were an answer, the slogans of the Party return to Winston:
WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH (34)
- Winston ponders how one is always watched--"no escape" (34). Then, he contemplates that no one will read his diary, anyway, since the Thought Police will destroy it.
He was a lonely ghost uttering a truth that nobody would ever hear. But so long as he uttered it, in some obscure way the continuity was not broken. It was not by making yourself heard but by staying sane that you carried on the human heritage (34).
- Winston returns to the table; dipping his pen into the ink. He writes to the future:
To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free when men are different from one another and do not live alone--to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone...from the age of Big Brother....greetings! (35)
Please note that the page numbers are from the ebook that is listed in the Sources.
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