Literature Study Guides1984Book 2 Chapter 5 Summary

1984 | Study Guide

George Orwell

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Book 2 | Chapter 5

Course Hero's video study guide provides in-depth summary and analysis of Book 2 | Chapter 5 of George Orwell's novel 1984.

1984 | Book 2, Chapter 5 | Summary

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Summary

Winston figured that Syme would disappear one day, and he has. His name has been removed from lists, and he has therefore become an unperson. People work overtime in preparation for Hate Week and are drawn into a patriotic frenzy. Rocket bombs kill hundreds, leading to demonstrations against Goldstein. Julia wonders if it's the Party dropping the bombs just to keep the people frightened.

Winston and Julia meet several times in June in their room. Sometimes Winston believes the Brotherhood exists and considers active rebellion. Julia, however, finds the idea absurd. She agrees that O'Brien may be with the Brotherhood, but to her the only sensible thing to do is engage in secret disobedience, as they are in the room.

Analysis

Winston's anxiety about the revision of history increases, even though it's his job. Julia doesn't care, because in her mind, it's all lies anyway, one bloody war after another. But Winston is frustrated that he can't prove history is being rewritten. To be unable to trust one's own memories would cause insanity, and it's hard to imagine how anyone in Big Brother's world would stay sane. Even Winston's sanity seems at stake.

Julia becomes a metaphor for those in any society who don't understand the ramifications of being "asleep." It's so much easier for Big Brother to take over and maintain control if people step aside from the political process, just give in, and accept oppression by ceasing to care. Orwell's novel is a cautionary tale, telling readers to stay alert, ask questions, think critically, and sort out objective facts for themselves.

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