1984

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1984 Book 2, Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
After a month, Winston decides to rent the room above Mr. Charrington's junk shop as a place in which to secretly meet Julia. Mr. Charrington discreetly reassures Winston that he will not betray their secret to the Police. As he impatiently waits for Julia to arrive the first time, Winston watches a red-armed prole woman singing and hanging laundry in the courtyard below. Winston knows they are taking a terrible risk, and he involuntarily thinks of the torture rooms at the Ministry of Love.
Winston realizes that in renting the room he is taking a definitive step. He is making his relationship with Julia "official," a thing that occurs in a real space. He knows such an action is something the Party will torture them for should it find out, but for love is willing to do it anyway. The prole woman is here connected to this human–animal–need for love and sex.
Themes
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Sex, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Class Struggle Theme Icon
Julia arrives with coffee, tea, bread, milk, sugar, and jam that she's bought on the black market. They listen to the prole woman singing a popular song, and Winston realizes he has never heard a member of the Party singing alone and spontaneously. Julia applies makeup and perfume, and Winston is overwhelmed by passion for her, though he recognizes the perfume as the scent worn by the prostitute.
Julia and Winston are building a domestic world, and yet the prostitute perfume signals that all is not right here. The prole woman's singing symbolizes the freedom and vitality of the proles to Winston, something that he believes could, if harnessed, lead them to revolt..
Themes
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Sex, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Class Struggle Theme Icon
They fall asleep in the double bed. When they wake, there is a rat in the room. Winston is terrified of rats, but Julia throws her shoe at it and then stops up the hole with a piece of cloth.
The rat further indicates that there new "home" is not secure.
Themes
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Sex, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Class Struggle Theme Icon
Afterward, as they look at the picture of the church on the wall, Winston speaks the first line of the nursery rhyme he learned. Julia, to his surprise, provides the next two lines. She says that she will take the picture down and clean behind it another day. As they ready to leave the room, Winston gazes into the glass paperweight, imagining that it is the room they are in, and that the coral inside is his life and Julia's, fixed in eternity.
In their private space, Winston and Julia begin to reveal their secrets, their past, to each other. This is the stuff relationships are built on, but something they would never feel free to share if they felt they were being watched by the Party. Winston's wish that this moment could continue forever indicates his understanding that it cannot.
Themes
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Sex, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
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