A method of escape from the harshness of the real world
is through sleep, and therefore, dreams.
This chapter opens with Winston dreaming of his mother. He had another dream involving the girl with the dark hair. She is coming towards him across a field and she tears off her clothes and flings them aside disdainfully, but what strikes Winston is not the eroticism, but the gesture of throwing her clothes aside, which was one of freedom. It was as if she was casting aside Big Brother, the Party and the Thought Police.
An earsplitting whistle suddenly awakens Winston from the telescreen.
It was time to get up and do his physical exercises before going to work.
Winston really wasn’t up to this exercise, but the domineering instructress on the telescreen encouraged him. Whilst doing the physical exercises, Winston, still perhaps half asleep, tried to remember back to his early childhood. He could not remember a time when his country was not at war. He can vaguely remember an atomic bomb falling on Colchester, and how they emerged from a tube station to a world of desolation.
He wondered if his memories were sound, bearing in mind one of the Party
slogans which says ‘Who controls the past, controls the future. Who controls the present, controls the past.’
Suddenly the instructress was screaming “Smith, 6079. Smith, W.!
Yes you! Bend lower please.
You can do better than that.” Winston broke out in a hot sweat. The instructress was saying that Party members must remember our boys in the front line, and the least we can do is keep fit.
The reader should take careful note of the Party slogan
regarding the manipulation of the past. Can Winston be sure that his childhood memories are accurate? He is clearly depressed by the awful, impersonal society in which he lives. This situation has
arisen through fear. He has generated his own fear by keeping a diary, and he now has something to hide from the Thought Police in addition to his own private feelings.