Part 1, Chapter 2 Summary

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Winston is relieved to find not the Thought Police but his neighbor, Mrs. Parsons, outside his door, asking him to take a look at her blocked-up kitchen sink. In the Parsons’ messy apartment, Winston reluctantly fixes the disgusting sink while Mrs. Parsons assures him that if her husband, Tom, were home, he would have fixed it right away. Tom Parsons works with Winston at the Ministry, and Winston describes him as a stupid, unquestioningly enthusiastic man who is a leading member of the Sports Committee and faithful participant at the Community Center. The young Parsons children then appear, dressed in the uniforms of a children’s organization called the Spies. They menace Winston with a toy gun, calling him a traitor, a thought-criminal, and a Eurasian spy. Winston finds this disturbing, but Mrs. Parsons blames her children’s behavior on their disappointment at not being allowed to go and watch the hanging of a group of Eurasian prisoners of war in the park that evening. As Winston is leaving, he feels a sudden jolt of pain—the Parsons boy has shot him in the back of the neck with a catapult. Winston notes the look of terror on Mrs. Parsons’s face as she drags her son, who calls Winston “Goldstein,” back inside. Winston reflects that most people are afraid of their children nowadays, as organizations like the Spies teach kids to be so enthusiastically loyal to the Party that they report their own parents to the Thought Police.

Winston returns to his diary and, while trying to think of what to write, remembers a dream he had seven years ago. He was walking through a dark room when he heard O’Brien’s voice say, “We will meet in the place where there is no darkness.” Though he doesn’t know if O’Brien is a friend or enemy, Winston believes there is a connection between them and that the words from his dream will come true. His thoughts are interrupted by a newsflash on the telescreen announcing Oceania’s defeat of Eurasia in South India, a victory that “may well bring the war within measurable distance of its end.” This news is followed by the announcement of a reduction in the chocolate ration. Winston, hidden from the screen, declines to rise for the national anthem. Outside, a rocket bomb explodes somewhere in the city, and the poster reading “INGSOC” continues to flap in the wind. Faced with the ever-present, all-seeing eyes of Big Brother and the indestructibility of the Ministry of Truth, Winston contemplates his own isolation and the futility of his diary, which will likely only be read by the Thought Police. Although he knows that in committing thoughtcrime he has already condemned himself to death, Winston decides that as long as his diary helps him stay sane, writing it is not a futile act but rather a way of carrying on the “human heritage.” He scrubs the ink from his fingers and places a grain of dust on the cover of his diary so that he will know if it has been moved, then returns to work.

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Part 1, Chapter 1 Summary


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