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Barron's Booknotes-1984 by George Orwell-Free Book Notes
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SECTION VII

Winston wakes from another dream. This one does not so much foreshadow future events as trigger a memory. His dream takes place inside the paperweight, which Orwell gave us as an emblem for the past. In the dream he discovers that the arm gesture made by the refugee mother in the newsreel is one his mother made.

Until this moment, he tells Julia, he had believed that he caused his mother's death.

He recalls a childhood spent hiding out in Underground stations during air raids. His father was already gone and the city was a shambles. His mother is dead at heart. They are hungry all the time. He remembers badgering his mother for food; he takes food from her and his baby sister because hunger is the strongest thing he feels. In one last guilty act he steals chocolate from both of them, and runs away.

He tells Julia he never saw them again. She mumbles, "All children are swine," and drifts off to sleep. Winston remembers his mother protecting his baby sister, and thinks: "The terrible thing that the Party had done was to persuade you that mere impulses, mere feelings, were of no account...." He admires his mother for making the protective gesture in spite of the fact that she knows her family is doomed.

The proles, he thinks, still harbor such emotions. They are human, whereas Party members have their emotions suppressed. "We are not human," he says.

Julia is awake now, and they agree that the best and safest thing would be to separate and never come here again. Yet they both seem to belong to a past in which emotions mattered, and they know they can't and won't separate.


They talk about the loneliness of capture. Julia points out that yes, they will confess, but nothing can make her stop loving him. Winston hopes he will feel the same way. "They can't get inside you," he says. "If you can feel that staying human is worth while, even when it can't have any result whatever, you've beaten them." Orwell will show us the irony of these brave speeches in Part Three.

Just when human commitment seems possible, Orwell propels his brave couple into a rash gesture that leaves us crying out, Be careful!

This is, essentially, the couple's last chance to proceed cautiously, their last opportunity to change course, flee or seek out another hiding place. What do they do instead? They throw caution to the wind and take a fatal step forward.

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