1984 Questions and Answers
by George Orwell

1984 book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What is Winston's dream about his mother and how does it make him feel?

Expert Answers info

Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write10,232 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

In chapter 3, Winston has a dream about his mother, who is staring directly up at him from some mysterious, vague subterranean place that resembles a well. Winston recalls looking at his mother, who is holding his younger sister in her arms in the saloon of a sinking ship. In his dream, Winston watches helplessly as his mother and sister sink to their deaths. While he is watching them sink, Winston mentions that he experiences an overwhelming feeling that their lives were in some way sacrificed so that he could survive. Winston also recalls the look on his mother’s face as she sinks to the bottom of the sea. Winston’s mother shows no signs of reproach and stoically sinks out of sight. Winston is struck by the emotion he feels watching his mother and sister die. He feels that his mother’s death was tragic and sorrowful in a way that is no longer possible in the modern world. Winston feels emotionally disturbed and is heartbroken because his mother sacrificed her life for him, and he was too young and selfish to return her love. Winston poignantly realizes that the emotions and circumstances surrounding his mother’s tragic death would not be possible in modern-day Oceania, because the concepts of integrity, love, loyalty, and bravery no longer exist.

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

luannw eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2004

write1,060 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and Math

Winston dreams about his last vision of his mother.  He remembers how the spirit of life seemed to go out of her when his father disappeared when Winston was just a young boy.  Life was difficult and food was scarce.  When a chocolate ration is given to the family, Winston wants more than his share and finally snatches the portion Winston's mother gave to Winston's little sister.  Winston ran from the apartment as his mother called for him to come back and give the chocolate to his sister.  When he looked back, he saw his mother put her arm protectively and comfortingly around his sister.  That was the last glimpse he had of either his mother or his sister who were both gone when he came back to the apartment.  Winston remembers another dream he had of his mother where she was in a sinking ship looking up at Winston with the same look in her eyes as she had when Winston fled their home with his sister's chocolate.  Winston has been filled with guilt ever since that day and the protective gesture, so seldom seen in Winston's current life, haunts him.

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

parama9000 | Student

He feels guilty for sharing a selfish last moment with them for him. He took more from the chocolate ration to his family for himself, leaving none for his sister and that was the last time he seemed to have seen them.