1984 by George Orwell Part Two Summary

Part Two, Chapter One Summary

One morning, Winston sees the dark-haired girl in the hallway, and he notices that her arm is injured, probably from an apparatus in the Fiction Department. As she nears him, she stumbles, and although Winston loathes her, he sympathizes and helps her to her feet. As she gets up, she passes a note to Winston, who begins to surmise about the good or bad contents of the message. He opens it and is stunned to see that it reads: “I love you.” The sight of the words inspires him to stay alive and to avoid risks, and Winston now tries to get her alone in order to arrange a meeting, although this is a difficult task. Finally, at the canteen about a week later, he gets a chance to speak with her and they arrange to meet in the crowd at Victory Square.

That night, Winston makes his way to the Square and immerses himself in the crowd to avoid suspicion by speaking with her. She tells him to take Sunday afternoon off work and follow a detailed set of instructions to a secret meeting place. The crowd has gathered to watch foreigners being paraded and humiliated for them, and while Winston and the girl are in the midst of the mob, they sneak a chance to hold hands. He wants to look into her eyes, but he cannot, so he finds himself staring into the sad eyes of one of the prisoners.

Part Two, Chapter Two Summary

That Sunday, Winston follows the detailed directions, worried that perhaps a hidden microphone or agent would locate him. When the girl arrives, she leads him to a clearing which is a good location, since the surrounding trees are too sparse to hide a mike. Once they get a chance to talk, Winston wonders why she is attracted to him, since he is old (about 39 years old), has a wife, and has a varicose ulcer. She says that her name is Julia, and that she does not care about Winston’s appearance at all. She laughs when Winston reveals his previous dislike of her, saying that she puts on a good show of Party loyalty because that is what is expected of her. She offers him a delightful piece of chocolate which she has gotten off the black market, and Winston loves the taste. They try to make love, but Winston is unused to the action and declines. The two then go on a walk, and they soon spot a thrush (a type of bird) land nearby, and Julia’s closeness as they observe the bird stimulates him. They head back to the clearing and make love, and Winston is delighted to discover that Julia loves sex, unlike his wife. Winston loves that Julia is promiscuous, since the Party frowns on such behavior, and he wakes up after the love-making, content that their consummation has struck a blow against the rigid Party structure.

Part Two, Chapter Three Summary

When Julia wakes, she suggests that they return to the same spot since it is usually safe to use a secret place twice, although they would have to wait a month or so. She then gives Winston explicit instructions on how to get back to the city, and the two part separately to avoid being seen together. They do not return to the clearing, however, and instead, their next encounter is in the belfry of a ruined church. Beyond that, their opportunities to speak are also limited since they avoid conversation whenever the possibility that someone is observing them exists. This entails starting and interrupting a conversation at broken intervals, which Julia deems “talking in installments.” One day they are walking side by side when a bomb explodes, and Winston thinks Julia is dead and smothers her in kisses, but fortunately, she is fine. Sometimes they approach the rendezvous site and pass by each other entirely, if there is the slightest possibility that they might be discovered.

Julia describes her disguised Party loyalty as great camouflage, believing that if she follows the big rules, she can get by with breaking several of the small ones. In the belfry, they tell each other more of themselves: Winston relaying the history of his marriage and his disgust with his wife, and Julia telling about her unhappiness living with all women and her ample sexual appetite in contrast to Party ideals. She criticizes the Party for taking away the desire for sex, saying that after making love, a person is happy and does not care about anything, which is exactly what the Party wants to avoid. Winston remembers once when he and Katharine had been hiking in Kent, when they were accidentally separated from the rest of their group. He had reveled in the moment, believing that they were the only two people on the world, but Katharine did not share in his fascination and only reluctantly joined him at the edge of the cliff to see a bunch of flowers Winston spotted below. Julia interrupts his memory by asking if he had been tempted to push her over the edge. Winston says he did not, preferring to do the positive over the negative even though he knows they are all doomed (“We are the dead.”). Julia does not accept his negativity and tells him not to think as if they were going to die soon. She tells him to stop thinking about dying and starts to plan their next meeting.

Part Two, Chapter Four Summary

Winston is in Mr. Charrington’s upstairs room waiting for Julia, after agreeing to rent it for the love affair. Mr. Charrington respects Winston’s reasons, even though he knows it is for a love affair, and tells Winston about the two different entries to the house. Winston is very agitated as he waits, thinking it sheer folly that he and Julia are actually being so explicit in their affair. Outside the house, he hears a woman singing as she does the laundry, and Winston recognizes the song as a versificator, a song-making Party machine which does not need human intervention. The songs are generated for the amusement of the proles, and Winston is astonished that the woman’s voice is giving life to the dreadful song.

Winston and Julia have been unable to see each other as regularly as they would have liked, since they have become busier in preparation for Hate Week. Winston, by now, is entirely smitten with Julia and longs for her greatly. When he suggested Mr. Charrington’s room, Julia is reluctant to agree but finally does. Winston is surprised at how readily he expects death, just as readily as “99 precedes 100.”

Just then, Julia arrives with a bulging parcel, from which she removes real sugar, real coffee, real tea, and real bread and jam, and real milk – items given only to Inner Party members. Winston is astonished, but even more so when Julia surprises him by putting on make-up and perfume! Everything in the room is illegal, but Julia goes even further to say that she will procure stockings and a dress so that in that room, she will be a woman and not just a comrade. They throw their clothes off readily and make love.

When they awake, Julia notes a rat scurry across the room, which greatly startles and unnerves Winston. Julia recalls how rats have boomed all over London and some even attack children, and Winston is sickened. Julia notices his pale expression and soothes him, promising to cover up the hole and clean up the room. She also notices the piece of glass that Winston had initially bought earlier as well as the picture of St. Clement’s Dane. Winston repeats the rhyme which Mr. Charrington had taught him, and to his surprise, Julia speaks the next few lines of the verse! Her grandfather had taught it to her and while she does not remember it clearly, she knows the last line goes “.here comes a chopper to chop off your head.” Winston is amazed at the “two halves of the countersign” as if he and Julia are meant for each other. Winston looks at the lump of glass and takes it as a symbol of his relationship with Julia. They are the coral inside the glass, fixed in one moment in time.

Part Two, Chapter Five Summary

Syme has disappeared, likely at the hands of the Thought Police, and soon, he is forgotten entirely. Hate Week is underway, and everywhere is bustling with activity. The “Hate Song” is bellowed by the people, and pictures of the Eurasian soldier enemy are plastered all over the city. There are angry demonstrations, some burning Emmanuel Goldstein in effigy and others looting several shops. Several bombs fall, killing many proles. Despite the commotion of the time, Winston and Julia appear lost in each other’s company in Mr. Charrington’s room.

The relationship has done well for Winston, who is in much better health. He converses slightly with Mr. Charrington on his visits, learning more nursery rhymes and stories about the various knick-knacks sold in the store. Yet, Julia and Winston know their relationship is short-lived, and they are doomed to be found. They talk about the possibility of committing suicide together, or even getting married and living in hiding among the proles, but they both know that none of this can happen. They even talk about actively joining the rebellion against the Party, but Julia does not believe that there is a widespread secret organization dedicated to the cause. Julia believes the Party is invincible, that secretly everyone hates the Party but that it will always exist. Party propaganda is everywhere, and according to her, the Party, and not the Enemy, is probably dropping the bombs on the proles, to keep them in fear!

Nonetheless, Winston is disturbed that Julia believes the Party discovered airplanes, since their actual discovery had pre-dated the Party. Even when Winston convinces her of their original discovery, Julia is nonchalant, saying, “Who cares?” Even when he tries to explain to her about all the falsification he commits on behalf of the Party, which wipes away any trance of their real history, she is unperturbed. Who cares about the future, the next generation, the legacy they leave? Julia says she only cares of them, right now. Winston is saddened, calling her a rebel only from the waist down, since she rebels against the Party’s stance on sexuality but not against any of the more important limitations it places on the people. Winston sees in Julia how easy it is to be submissive to the Party, since she does not really understand the full scope of what the Party is doing.

Part Two, Chapter Six Summary

Winston has an encounter with O’Brien which he takes as a special message. O’Brien tells him that he should look at a version of the tenth edition to improve his newspeak, and since Winston does not have access to one, O’Brien offers to give him an advance copy. This would involve coming to O’Brien’s house to pick up the book, and O’Brien gives Winston his address. This is extremely significant to Winston, since he now knows O’Brien’s address and he takes it as a sign that O’Brien is making the first move to get Winston involved in the rebellion against the Party. After all, O’Brien makes a reference to Syme (“a friend of yours [whose] name has slipped my memory for the moment”), who is now a nonperson and not supposed to be mentioned at all. Winston is excited at the possibilities, but he has a sinking feeling that he is walking into his own grave.

Part Two, Chapter Seven Summary

Winston has a nightmare where he remembers his childhood and awakes and tells Julia that he is responsible for killing her. His father had disappeared and his mother was quietly struggling with him and his baby sister. His sister had been sick, and his mother would silently nurse and comfort her. He remembers their small home, but more vividly, he remembers his incessant hunger. At every meal, he would be selfish and snatch as much food as possible, even at the sake of his family. If his mother was not guarding the pantry between meals, he would steal whenever he could.

One day, there was a chocolate ration and Winston demanded the entire piece allocated for his family. His mother tried to convince him to take only his share, but Winston does not hear her. When she gives the majority of the chocolate to him, he is still not satisfied, and instead snatches his sister’s piece from her and runs away. He never sees his mother again, because after he returns home, she and his sister have disappeared. He recounts his dream again where his mother and sister are sinking as he can only watch above them, and knows that they died so that he could live. Julia does not really understand what Winston is saying, and she continues to sleep.

Winston thinks about the emotions that are no longer present in the Party environment, and he envies the proles for their ability to love and show love. He tells Julia that they are not human, only the proles are. But Julia reassures him that even if they are caught, the Party cannot change who they are inside. Winston hears this with a little more hope, believing so long as he continues to believe that he is human, he has beaten the Party.

Part Two, Chapter Eight Summary

Julia and Winston take the risk and meet O’Brien together. They are let in by O’Brien’s servant, and Winston is slightly disappointed to see that O’Brien is not really happy that they have come. Winston even believes that he might have made a mistake since all he had to go on was a look in O’Brien’s eyes from so long ago, and he feels a momentary twinge of embarrassment that he could have been wrong. However, O’Brien gets up and makes his way across to them, and to Winston and Julia’s surprise, he turns off the telescreen! O’Brien tells them that only Inner Party members have this privilege but even so, anything longer than thirty minutes arouses suspicion.

Julia and Winston confess to being enemies of the Party and ask what they can do to assist the cause, and O’Brien begins to tell them the information they have waited so long for after offering them some wine, which is also a privilege of the Inner Party. The Brotherhood actually exists, as an organization working against the Party, but the structure is so invisible that at any one time, the two of them will only know a handful of people in cahoots with them. This is a protective measure as well, since they will inevitably be caught by the Party, and if they do not know anything, they cannot reveal anything. The Brotherhood therefore cannot ever be destroyed, since the idea on which it is founded is indestructible and since there is no structure to destroy. O’Brien asks how far Winston and Julia are willing to go, and they assent to many acts except parting from each other – they would commit any other acts of atrocity on behalf of the Brotherhood, but they are unwilling to part and never see each other again. O’Brien is glad to know this information, since he needs to know their limitations.

O’Brien further warns them that they will be operating with no sense of reward. They will receive orders and will have to carry them out without knowing why; everything will be in the dark. Any change in the world, if it does happen, will not happen in their lifetime. They make a toast to the past before they leave. Julia leaves first, with a tablet to mask the smell of the wine, and O’Brien makes specific arrangements with Winston to deliver to him a copy of Emmanuel Goldstein’s infamous book. When Winston rises to leave, O’Brien repeats the line that Winston hears in his dream, “[We shall meet again] in the place where there is no darkness.” Winston then asks O’Brien if he knows the end of the nursery rhyme which Mr. Charrington started him out on, and to his surprise, O’Brien finishes it for him! Winston then leaves, with O’Brien returning to his work, as if everything is normal.

Part Two, Chapter Nine Summary

Winston is very tired. The Party has just changed its war stance, and now Eastasia is the enemy, and not Eurasia. Winston, therefore, has to busy himself with rectifying history so that the Party’s change does not appear as a change at all, and that in the historical records, the enemy had always been the same. Winston is amazed that the change is announced during Hate Week, but that the people so readily switch their emotional rage to the new enemy without realizing that any big change has occurred! Now, for all they knew, Oceania had always been in war against Eastasia, when Winston knew that only days ago, the enemy had been Eurasia!

By now, Emmanuel Goldstein’s book was in Winston’s possession, for only six days, so he takes it to Mr. Charrington’s room to start reading it. The title is “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism” and Winston reads the first paragraph of Chapter 1, which starts off by saying that all societies are divided into three section, the High, the Middle, and the Low, but that their goals are always irreconcilable. Winston stops reading temporarily, fearful that he might get caught, but then he flips to Chapter 3 and continues reading.

The chapter summarizes the history and ideology of the Party, including that the three superstates which exist in the world right now (Oceania, Eastasia, and Eurasia) have always been at war with each other, since it was impossible for any one superstate to conquer any other. The three states have their own valuable materials, but above all, they exploit their cheap labor, keeping the poor enslaved unnecessarily for false productivity. Warfare utilizes new technologies but not for an increase in the standard of living, and the world is in many ways more primitive today than it was fifty years ago. There could be no increase of wealth because it threatened a hierarchical society, which needed to be grounded in poverty and ignorance. War, therefore, is the most effective means of keeping a society at bay, both physically and psychologically. Even though some Inner Party members know that much of the war reports are false, they are the truest believers in Oceania and the war, which they must believe Oceania will win someday. Oceania is dedicated to winning this war, even though there can never be an ultimate victor. The three superstates are all the same, working with each other to keep their masses in ignorance of the enemy while manipulating them to continue with the war effort. Each state still remains within its own boundaries, no other state ever threatens to invade them, even though it is sometimes very easy to do so. The only explanation is that the states want to continue this ruse of war, since it pacifies their masses into uniting against the war effort. An external war, therefore, gives them internal peace, and this is the root of the Party slogan “War is Peace.”

Winston stops reading, disappointed since he knows all this already; he has learned nothing new. Julia arrives and asks Winston to read it aloud to her, explaining it along the way. Winston starts with Chapter 1.

The chapter summarizes relationships between the different classes in society, which rotate as if in a cycle, but always ensuring that there is a high, middle, and low strata. In Oceania, there is no individual property, because the Party owns everything collectively. But there are difficulties in keeping the society stratified, and the Party can fall for four reasons: 1) it is conquered from outside, 2) there is rebellion internally, 3) a strong Middle group is allowed to rise, or 4) it loses confidence in itself. The structure of Oceania is very predictable: Inner Party, Outer Party, and the proles, but admission into each branch is not necessarily hereditary. The chapter lists the expectations of a good Party member, and why it is necessary to alter the past to keep the present in control. There must be no standards of comparison, so Party members need to be cut off from history. This is an example of “doublethink” where there are two contradictory beliefs that a mind believes in. This is possible because a Party member must know that the new truth is for their own good, while the old truth is something that it is necessary to eradicate, so they must both believe in and reject the idea of two pasts.

Winston pauses to see if Julia is still awake, and she is not. He falls asleep next to her, still unsatisfied with the book because it does not explain why the world is this way, only how it came to be this way. He still does not know the ultimate secret.

Part Two, Chapter Ten Summary

When Winston awakes, he feels as if he has slept for a long time, although the clock tells him he has only slept for a short while. He hears the same woman singing the song outside the house, and as he looks at her, despite her fat and aged appearance from having worked so hard all these years, Winston feels that she is beautiful. Winston thinks back to his initial thought that if there is hope, it lies in the proles, and he is comforted after watching the woman outside. He thinks sadly to their own inhumanity, that this woman sings, that birds sing, yet they do not sing, the Party does not sing, and Winston says aloud, “We are the dead.” Julia repeats him, and surprisingly, a third voice echoes, saying “You are the dead.” Winston and Julia are mortified to find out that behind the picture of St. Clement’s Dane is a telescreen which has kept track of all their actions in the room! The voice mimics their emotions, and also tells them the last line of the nursery rhyme. Men burst in and tackle Winston and Julia, throwing them onto the floor before arresting them. Winston hears sadly the shattering of glass, as the coral glass falls to the floor. Winston vaguely recognizes the voice over the telescreen, but he is only able to place it when Mr. Charrington, though his appearance is altered, enters and Winston realizes that he is a real member of the Thought Police and the voice that spoke to them through the telescreen.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *