In the canteen, Winston meets with one of his few
friends, Syme who works in the Research Department. He is one of an enormous team engaged in compiling the Newspeak Dictionary.
He is on the scrounge for razor blades, which are hard to come by. The Dictionary will take years to complete, but the aim is for Oldspeak to be replaced by Newspeak by 2050. By that time, not a single human being will be alive who could understand Oldspeak, except perhaps the proles (the proletariat). Syme says that proles are not human beings. They have an existence outside the Party, but are still controlled, to a lesser extent, by it. Winston is depressed by this idea that the great literary works, Shakespeare, Milton etc. will be destroyed, and will exist only in Newspeak versions.
Winston looked around the canteen and thought how ugly everyone looked, all
dressed in their blue overalls.
The tannoy system provided a constant background of noise, being a mixture
of propaganda from the Ministry of Plenty, and music.
Suddenly he saw the girl with the dark hair looking at him. He started
to feel uncomfortable.
Was she spying on him? This was not the first occasion he has spotted her and he felt a terrible pang of terror. He then obtained comfort from the thought that perhaps she was not a member of the Thought Police, but was an amateur spy. But maybe that was more dangerous. He couldn’t be sure.
Winston makes the observation that he is surrounded by
unattractive people that look drab in their uniforms. However, part of the propaganda comes in the form of advertisements in which the people are young, beautiful and desirable, in stark contradiction to the
observers. This was clearly a subject close to Orwell’s heart - the close relationship between advertising and propaganda, something he, no doubt, witnessed from Nazi Germany.
Orwell was clearly a visionary for we all know how important advertising is
in the present day.
The reader also obtains an insight into the workings of Newspeak from
Winston’s friend, Syme. Again, this is a device used by the Party to control its members. When Newspeak is finally perfected, Thought Crime will be impossible.
Referring back to the previous Chapter, we can now put an interpretation on
the term ‘unpersons’. When somebody steps out of line the Ministry of Love purges him or her, they will be deleted from history, and it will be as if they had never existed.
One can surmise that Orwell is making a comparison between Oceania and the Communist block of countries during the 1940’s and 50’s. A typical image of these Communist countries is the use of dominant female figures as illustrated by the physical education instructress used to wake Winston up in the mornings.