Download 1984 Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Part 2, Chapter 5 Summary and Analysis

At the Ministry of Truth, Syme disappears and Winston recognizes that his acquaintance has been vaporized. Meanwhile, workers at every Ministry are consumed with preparations for Hate Week. Winston works overtime altering news items to be quoted in speeches. London is plagued by sweltering heat, more rocket bombs than ever, and a series of unexplained explosions. The “Hate Song” competes for popularity with the song sung by the prole washerwoman, “It Was Only a Hopeless Fancy,” and a new poster showing a Eurasian soldier pointing a submachine gun now outnumbers posters of Big Brother. The proles are whipped into a patriotic frenzy that leads them to burn the new posters, effigies of Goldstein, and the home of an elderly couple suspected of being foreign spies.

Winston and Julia continue to meet in the rented room, which Winston thinks of as a paradise in spite of the bugs that infest the bed. He finds that his health is improving: he drinks less gin, gains weight, and finds relief from his chronic cough and varicose ulcer as well as from his former feeling that life was unbearable. The rented room has become its own tiny, inviolable world, and all that matters to Winston is knowing it exists. Winston often stops to talk with the quiet, solitary Mr. Charrington, who, like the room he rents, seems to be a relic of the past. In spite of the fact that they know their secret world cannot last forever, Winston and Julia both feel safe inside the room above the shop. They fantasize about escaping detection their whole lives, somehow managing to get married, committing suicide together, or disappearing from the Party and living as proles, but they have no intention of acting on these daydreams. They also discuss actively rebelling against the Party, but neither knows how. Julia believes that most people secretly hate the Party and trusts Winston’s intuition that O’Brien is on their side, but she doesn’t believe in Goldstein or the Brotherhood, whom she regards as inventions of the Party. She also surprises...

(The entire section is 523 words.)