1984 Section One, Part III Summary (pp. 29-37)
This section opens with Winston dreaming of his mother and infant sister sinking into darkness. He is sure he is the reason they are sinking into darkness. While thinking about the dream, Winston realizes tragedy is possible in the present because key facets of humanity like privacy, friendship, and love have been strategically eliminated by the Party. His dream shifts to a pastoral setting where Julia is running toward him and tearing off her clothes in a manner that seems "to annihilate a whole culture, a whole system of thought" (31). Winston awakes saying the word "Shakespeare" (31).
Winston is awakened by the telescreen, and he immediately starts coughing violently. While Winston tries to recover, a woman on the telescreen orders the "thirty to forty group" (31) of which Winston is a part to begin exercising. Winston tries to recall the past stirred up by his dream, but can only remember sheltering from bombs in a subway, listening to an old man repeat himself. Winston continues to piece together his memory with difficulty.
Still exercising, Winston contemplates the act of "doublethink", which is a way of controlling reality: "that was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed" (35). His thoughts return to trying to remember the past. Suddenly the woman on the telescreen calls Winston out by name and number, telling him to touch his toes. Winston succeeds for the first time in years in touching his toes.