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View Full Version : 1984, part 2, chapter 1: Love and hate in Oceania.



KevinBrowning
May 8th, 2004, 11:47 AM
"Part II
Chapter1
Four days after this encounter in the prole quarters, Winston ran into the girl in the corridors of the Ministry of Truth while on his way to the toilet. She had hurt her arm in some accident and while he was trying to pass without looking at her, tripped and fell, hitting the injured arm. It was evident that she was in pain and even though he believed her to be his enemy, he felt an instinctive human sympathy. He helped her up and she disappeared after thanking him briefly, but in that brief minute she had pressed a small piece of paper into his hand.
Winston was deeply agitated by this event; obviously the paper contained some sort of message, but it was almost impossible to open and read it without being observed from the telescreens. He was also not sure if she was an agent provocateur delivering a message for the thought police or someone who could be trusted. When he finally managed to get the paper opened in what he hoped was an unobserved fashion, he saw written on it the message “I Love You.”
This was momentous for Winston, who saw his chance for the kind of relationship he had only dreamt about, warm and loving. But the path was full of difficulties; even to try and speak to her in private would invite suspicion. It was after four days that he was finally able to sit at the same table as her for lunch and manage to arrange a meeting. They meet publicly in a crowd where there is less danger of being noticed than in a more secluded atmosphere and under cover of a procession of prisoners of war she manages to give Winston directions to a rendezvous. Ironically the venue they have to choose for their first meeting is a procession of war criminals on a crowded square and their first exchanges of love are made in at atmosphere pervaded by hate.
They have to exercise such extreme caution that they cannot even look directly at each other and though they are able to briefly touch each other’s hands in the crowd Winston realizes that he still does not even know the color of her eyes! Instead of looking into her eyes, Winston has to stare straight ahead and finds himself gazing directly into the miserable eyes of an aged Eurasian prisoner of war."

I hope you do not mind that I posted the summary from that site for the discussion-starter for this chapter, I was not feeling especially creative. What struck me about this chapter was to what great lengths Winston had to go to even talk to a girl in a personal way. Any thoughts, questions, comments?

WatsonGlenn
May 8th, 2004, 04:02 PM
What struck me about the encounter was the utter lack of genuine feeling on the part of Winston. This was a girl he was ready to kill a few days ago and he hated her and all women before that but now then she shows some interest in him everythign chages and he wants her.

Obviously it is not love he feels. The hypocracy of Winston is becoming more and more obvious. He comes off as more of a pedophile than a man interested in a woman.

sjjs
May 9th, 2004, 04:06 AM
But Winston was just being sensible. She was far more likely to be a spy than anything else and I think Winston was shocked to receive the note. Shocked that she loved him, shocked that she wasn't a spy.

As for being a paedophile, I think that's ridiculous. The girl's not a child and Winston is in a society where he's got to hide every feeling he can.

If he were that way inclined the small girls next door would have peaked his interest. No, he's a normal bloke living in abnormal times.

WatsonGlenn
May 9th, 2004, 06:11 AM
As for being a paedophile, I think that's ridiculous. The girl's not a child and Winston is in a society where he's got to hide every feeling he can. If he were that way inclined the small girls next door would have peaked his interest. No, he's a normal bloke living in abnormal times.

Of course he is not a paedophile but the description he gave of the girl made it seem that way.

Here is what I am talking about. "He thought of her naked, youthful body, as he had seen it in his dream... A kind of fever seized him at the thought that he might lose her, the white youthful body might slip away from him!

He is not thinking of her as an equal but rather as a body. He is clearly much older than her. Its not paedohilia but its not a relationship of equals that he is desirous of.

sjjs
May 9th, 2004, 06:31 AM
I think it's less complicated than you appear to suggst.

He's just a normal bloke who's had to keep his natural desires hidden. Along comes an attractive woman and what does he think? Sure he thinks of her as a body but then don't most normal men at the outset? This is especially the case because the idea of an intellectual or emotional relationship with a woman is even more of a taboo than a physical relationship.

When a pretty girl walks down the street don't the majority of men or all ages cast a quick glance in her direction? I'd reiterate that Winston is normal in abnormal times.

KevinBrowning
May 9th, 2004, 11:21 AM
I think it's less complicated than you appear to suggst.

He's just a normal bloke who's had to keep his natural desires hidden. Along comes an attractive woman and what does he think? Sure he thinks of her as a body but then don't most normal men at the outset? This is especially the case because the idea of an intellectual or emotional relationship with a woman is even more of a taboo than a physical relationship.

When a pretty girl walks down the street don't the majority of men or all ages cast a quick glance in her direction? I'd reiterate that Winston is normal in abnormal times.
I think he has wanted to kill her because of how totally bitter and suspicious she has always acted. But now that she has revealed that she loves him, or her impression of him, he has completely changed his view of her. He has always found her physically attractive, and now he has a chance to discover her real, or what she presents as her real, personality.

KneeLess
May 9th, 2004, 01:38 PM
Actually, if I was him, I'd be even more suspicious now.

KevinBrowning
May 9th, 2004, 04:24 PM
Actually, if I was him, I'd be even more suspicious now.
So would I, but he is so stricken with love (or lust) that he is throwing caution to the wind. And maybe even larger in his mind is the possibility that she is a member of the Brotherhood. Or the Thought Police, but that is the chance he is taking.

WatsonGlenn
May 9th, 2004, 07:30 PM
You're right but don't you think the way Orwell described the lust Winston felt was meant the give the reader the impression Winston was at the very least ungentlemanly if not a downright cad?

You are also right that Winston is unable to have an intellectual or emotional relationship with a woman. So what does that leave? Winston is clearly fixated on here youthfull body to the exclusion of all else. She on the other hand is "in love" with Winston. At least we think she is.

Winston is used to hurting people. He does it everyday though he blames it on his masters. He is fixated on his own needs. The fact that she 'loves" him is not what interests him. He takes not a moment to concern himself with the danger she is in. Its a classic unheathy relationship. Winston thinks of himself as the victim when all the while he is the vicimizer both at his job and now with this young woman that loves him.

How does Orwell want us to feel about Winston. Is he an everyman?

WatsonGlenn
May 9th, 2004, 07:31 PM
So would I, but he is so stricken with love (or lust) that he is throwing caution to the wind. And maybe even larger in his mind is the possibility that she is a member of the Brotherhood. Or the Thought Police, but that is the chance he is taking.

Do you really think what Winston feels for her is anything like LOVE?

Meng Bomin
May 9th, 2004, 09:46 PM
Do you really think what Winston feels for her is anything like LOVE?I don't think so. He probably sees this as a new opportunity for sex. His thoughts betray that he does not have nearly as much feeling for her as she, either has for him or is faking. Either she is a spy or she is somewhat desperate for him. He simply sees this as a new opportunity.