1984 Section One, Part VIII Analysis (pp. 81-104)
by George Orwell

This section begins with Winston feeling repressed because he's expected to partake in activities at the community center. It is because of these feeling that his varicose ulcer acts up. Another symbol is introduced in this section: the red-armed "prole" women. These people, and later one person in particular, represent the hope the "proles" can overcome the Party and will one day do so.

Winston's walk through the working-class neighborhood is full of important events. First, he witnesses a rocket bomb attack and finds a severed hand, which he kicks into the gutter. Winston will later realize this callous action is a result of his dehumanization, which is the goal of the Party. By juxtaposing the rocket bomb attack with the heated discussion about the lottery, Orwell demonstrates how misdirected the "proles" are; they are more concerned with a fake lottery than with bombs raining down in their neighborhood.

Winston's encounter with the old man at the pub shows the abstract nature of the past. Though the man is in his eighties, he cannot piece together an accurate picture of the past any more than Winston can. This scene underscores why the Party is able to manipulate the past so effectively.

This section also shows the shop where Winston bought the diary. What he doesn't yet know is that Mr. Charrington is an agent of the Thought Police in disguise (that's why his head hair is white but his facial hair is black and bushy.) Orwell returns to the subject of the past, even associating it with the coral paperweight and the picture of the church. The picture of the church, because it conceals a telescreen, could also be read as a symbol of the Party's ability to control the past.

Notice Orwell's word choice when first describing the room Winston will rent. He uses the word "slatternly" (96) to describe the armchair, which is appropriate as this is the room where Winston will engage in sexual activity. This kind of word choice will become pronounced later in the novel while describing this room. During the discussion of churches, Mr. Charrington recites a rhyme to Winston. This is a bit of foreshadowing, perhaps even dramatic irony, because Mr. Charrington will say, "Here comes the chopper to chop off your head," when Winston is captured.

Winston's thoughts about the body are important because it is by physical torture that his mind will be changed, despite his strong convictions. It is interesting Winston knows from the moment he commits "thoughtcrime" that he will be captured, tortured, and killed. And he's right, too. He proceeds, however, because he's going to receive the same punishment whether he follows his impulses or not; just buying the diary in the first place is enough reason for him to be executed.

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