In "1984" why does Winston rent the room above Mr. Charrington's shop, even though he knows it's dangerous?Chapter 4, Book 2

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Think of it this way:  Imagine having lived Winston's life.  It was completely and totally miserable.  He grew up starving, lost his mother and sister and blamed himself for it, worked a thankless job doing immoral truth-shifting for an oppressive and cruel government, had a thankless marriage to a cold woman who did not love him or enjoy intimacy, and had nothing to look forward to each day.  Then, in comes Julia, who feels the same hatred for the Party that he does, that enlivens him, loves him, enjoys being close to him, and injects him with new life and vigor.  All of a sudden, there is something worth living for--a person worth living for, and a cause (rebelling against the Party) worth living for.  For the first time in his life, Winston feels alive, and looks forward to getting up each morning.

Now, if you look at it that way, renting the room allowed Winston to have joy in his life.  It allowed him to actually feel like life was worth living.  Julia, used to rebelling against the Party and taking risks, was right there with him.  It WAS a huge risk, but they didn't care.  They were going to probably die anyway, someday, caught for thoughcrime or some other minor transgression, so why not live life to its fullest while they could?  They had this chance to have a bit of brightness in a very bleak world--that is almost impossible to resist, even if it is risky.  It's hard to begrudge them that little piece of heaven, a haven from their repressed and miserable lives.  I hope that those thoughts help a bit; good luck!

kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

According to Part Two, Chapter Four, Winston rents the room above Mr. Charrington's shop for the "purpose of a love affair." Remember that it is very difficult for Winston and Julia to meet up. Given the number of telescreens and hidden microphones,  for instance, it is almost impossible for Winston and Julia to be together in a public place. To make it even worse, it is against Party rules for members to have a love affair. Party members are allowed to get married, provided that they have prior approval from a special committee.

As Winston comments in this chapter, "privacy is a valuable thing." In order for him and Julia to continue their relationship, it must be kept secret. The safest option, therefore, is to rent this room in the Prole district where the Party has no influence. In addition, Mr. Charrington is happy to take the few dollars in rent, making this an ideal scenario for all parties.