One of the most arresting parts of 1984 are Winston's memories of his family. Indeed, his mother only appears in his dreams, which serve a dual purpose of humanizing Winston and filling in background information about just how England became the dystopian society it is in 1984. In Chapter Three, Winston has a dream where he pictures his mother and young sister holding each other tight as they sink on a ship, or perhaps the bottom of a well. In any case, they are somewhere beneath him in his dream, watching him:
He could not remember what had happened, but he knew in his dream that in some way the lives of his mother and his sister had been sacrificed to his own...The thing that now suddenly struck Winston was that his mother’s death, nearly thirty years ago, had been tragic and sorrowful in a way that was no longer possible.
Winston's mother, who apparently perished in Party purges along with his father and sister, represents loyalty and unconditional love. Later, Winston experiences guilt at not returning her love as he remembers her again in dreams. In any case, this very human emotion of unconditional love is no longer in evidence in Winston's world. They have been stamped out by the atmsophere of fear and suspicion fostered by Big Brother. Or at least Winston imagines that such love once existed. His dream about his mother, then, would serve as an excellent intro to an essay which emphasized dreams as a connection to a world that is far removed from the grimness of society in Oceania.