1984 Section One, Part V Summary (pp. 48-63)
by George Orwell

This section introduces Syme, Newspeak aficionado and acquaintance of Winston. Winston is careful not to call him "friend". In their opening conversation, Winston lies to Syme about whether he has razor blades. Their conversation then moves on to the topic of the recent hangings. As they sit down to eat, they here a man talking in what Orwell describes in the appendix as "duckspeak", a thoughtless connection of orthodox words rapidly spewed out. This serves as an introduction to a discussion of Newspeak between Winston and Syme. Though Syme is committed to Big Brother and Newspeak, Winston has the premonition he will be "vaporized" because he is too intelligent.

The two are joined by Tom Parsons, Winston's neighbor. Parsons exhibits pride about the behavior of his children—behavior that will later condemn him. He even goes on to brag about how his daughter recently turned someone in to the Party because he was wearing funny shoes and so must be a foreign spy.

An announcement on the telescreen announces the chocolate ration has been raised to 20 grams a week, though the day before it was announced the ration had actually been lowered to 20 grams a week. Wilson looks around and wonders if he the only one possessing the memory of that. While the telescreen issues stats about how much the quality of life has increased, Winston observes the reality of the worn and filthy canteen. In his mind, Winston likens the men who proliferate in the Ministries to beetles—an image that appears again later in the novel. Winston ponders over who will be "vaporized" and who won't.

Julia, who Winston only knows as "the girl with dark hair", catches his eye and instantly looks away. Winston experiences momentary terror and wonders why she is looking at him. He worries an unconscious expression of how he really feels, known as "facecrime", may have given him away. The scene ends with Parsons discussing the "ear trumpets" his children received for listening at keyholes.

Share on Pinterest