1984 by George Orwell

Section One, Part VII Summary (pp. 69-81)

This section, like the last, begins with Winston writing; he writes, "If there is hope it lies in the proles" (69). Winston goes on to think about how Party members could never meet in large enough numbers to form a resistance or even identify one another without being killed. The working class, however, which made up eighty-five percent of Oceania, could simply "rise up and shake themselves like a horse shaking off flies" (69). Winston remembers seeing "prole" women fighting over saucepans so violently he'd thought a riot was afoot. He reflects they cannot rebel without becoming conscious, and can't become conscious without rebelling.

Winston continues to consider the nature of the working class: they are completely occupied by heavy physical labor, beer, gambling, and petty squabbles. The Thought Police move among them spreading rumors and marking down and eliminating anyone possibly dangerous to the Party. Winston realizes the "proles" are unlikely to revolt, and the thought starts his varicose ulcer itching. He then reads a passage from a book of propaganda directed at children that names the evil deeds of capitalists, against whom the Party had revolted. Winston thinks there is no way to know that the propaganda wasn’t true except by the "mute protest in your bones" and "the instinctive feeling that the conditions you lived in were intolerable and that at some other time they must have been different" (73). Winston considers how much the propaganda of the Party differs from reality, and the thought again starts his ulcer itching.

Distraught, Winston thinks back to the one time he'd held evidence of the falsification of the past by the Party. Winston describes briefly how the Party came to be and how, during that time, three fellow revolutionaries were arrested by Big Brother: Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford. They disappeared and then emerged to confess to numerous crimes before being reinstated to the Party. Winston even saw them meeting at the Chestnut Tree Café, listening to a song. After seeing this, Winston received a dated photograph in the course of his work that showed three men at a Party function on the same date they had confessed to being on enemy soil. This photograph was proof their confessions had been forced lies.

Winston considers the long-term reasons why the Party would alter the past and cannot fathom them, writing as much in his journal. He goes on to ponder the very nature of reality. Winston comes to the conclusion he is writing the diary for O'Brien. He tries to hold on to his beliefs by affirming the physical world has immutable laws and that "two plus two make four" (81).