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

At the beginning of this section, Winston is concerned about missing an evening at the community center, and Orwell mentions Winston's ulcer is throbbing. He fears showing a preference for solitude because doing so is dangerous. There is even a Newspeak word with bad connotations for that behavior: "ownlife". Winston decides to walk home, taking a route through the proletariat section of London. During his walk, the first mention of women with "brick-red forearms" (83) appears.

Just as he passes the red-armed women, a "prole" man warns him of an incoming rocket bomb. The bomb destroys a building, and when Winston investigates he finds a severed hand, which he kicks into the gutter. Winston continues and comes upon a pub where he finds three men arguing over the lottery, which is a scam run by the Party. After seeing the people in the working-class neighborhood, Winston starts to doubt their ability to rebel. Winston then comes upon the area in which he'd bought the journal, pen, and ink.

Winston spots an eighty-year-old man going into a pub and decides to talk to him about the past to find out if conditions have really improved. This is a dangerous action; he could be caught by the patrols even though no law exists forbidding his behavior. Winston plies the man for information to no avail: he is lost in the fog of his memories.

Winston leaves the pub and finds himself outside the junk shop, a place he swore he'd never return. The shopkeeper, who has white head hair but black and bushy facial hair, says he remembers Winston. In the shop, Winston discovers a piece of coral encased in glass. Winston buys the object, and the shop owner then shows him a vacant room above the shop, a room with no telescreen. Winston thinks about renting the room while they discuss a picture, fixed to the wall, of St. Clement's Dane, a church. The shop owner, who is actually an agent of the Thought Police, supplies Winston with a rhyme about the church that ends "Here comes the chopper to chop off your head" (98). Winston learns the man's name: Mr. Charrington.

As Winston leaves the shop, he sees Julia, who has been following him, and he becomes rightfully terrified. He contemplates following her and smashing her head with a rock to keep her from turning him in, but he simply returns to his apartment, where he contemplates the limits of the human body in times of stress. These thoughts lead naturally enough to thoughts of being captured by the Thought Police and how no thought criminals ever escape. The section ends with Winston thinking about "the place where there is no darkness" and looking at a coin with a picture of Big Brother on it. The Party slogans stick in his mind: "WAR IS PEACE / FREEDOM IS SLAVERY / IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH."

Share on Pinterest