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Book 1 | Chapter 2

Course Hero's video study guide provides in-depth summary and analysis of Book 1 | Chapter 2 of George Orwell's novel 1984.

1984 | Book 1, Chapter 2 | Summary

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Summary

It is Mrs. Parsons at the door, not the ever-vigilant Thought Police. The building is dingy and falling apart; she asks Winston to fix her plumbing. As Winston works the Parsons children menace Winston, shouting that he is a traitor and brandishing a toy gun.

Winston reflects that children are horrible. Many denounce their own parents to the Thought Police. He remembers a dream he had years ago in which O'Brien said, "We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness," and the memory causes him to feel a connection—good or bad, he doesn't know.

A newsflash announces a success against the Eurasian army and, as the patriotic song "Oceania, 'Tis for Thee" resounds from the telescreen, bombs explode in the distance. As Winston listens a flapping poster in the street causes the word Ingsoc (English socialism) to alternately appear and vanish. Returning to his diary, Winston wonders for whom he is writing, the past or future. He knows he will die for his rebellion (writing is rebellion), so to stay alive as long as he can, he washes the ink off his hands.

Analysis

While Winston remembers a time when London was a very different place, the Parsons children have no memory of a time when originality of thought or the questioning of authority was tolerated. Orwell seems to be saying that, whenever control instead of creativity is encouraged, blind obedience follows.

When Winston writes, "Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime IS death," he knows he'll be vaporized. Winston realizes that the Party controls reality. He seeks to control his own reality by recording his thoughts.

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