1984 Questions and Answers
by George Orwell

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What is the significance of the song the woman in the courtyard sings while Winston waits for Julia?

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In Part Two, Chapter Four, of 1984, Winston listens to a prole woman singing a song in the courtyard below his room in Mr Charrington's shop. While this song appears to have no relevance on the novel, it is, in fact, significant for two reasons.

First of all, the dialect of the song has some importance. It is composed in English and makes a refreshing change to Newspeak, the official language of Oceania. Newspeak is designed to make thoughtcrime an impossibility because it restricts people's ability to think negative thoughts about the party. In contrast, English remains expressive and emotive, even if the song has been composed by a "versificator" and does not technically make any sense. The...

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