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Free Study Guide-1984 by George Orwell-Free Online Booknotes Summary
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CHAPTER 5

Summary

In this chapter Winston discovers that his friend Syme has suddenly disappeared, probably 'vaporised' by the Party as Winston has earlier predicted. Further, Winston discusses the workings of the Party with Julia. Though she is uninterested in the political views of the Party, she believes that if she follows all their small rules, she can easily break a bigger one from time to time. This is why she always puts on a show of participating in all the cultural activities of the Party. It is also why she believes she can break the rules of sexual misconduct.

Unlike Winston, Julia is not disturbed about the Party's deliberate alteration and falsification of history and other facts. She accepts much of the propaganda, and even believes that Oceania has invented airplanes and has always been at war with Eurasia. In her practicality, her only concern is her immediate, personal freedom. Winston, on the other hand, is concerned about abstract ideas and dreams about a future that has freedom restored for everyone.

Notes

Syme's sudden disappearance is not unexpected. It only confirms Winston's fears that any one who deviates from the set standard of behavior expected by the Ingsoc will soon cease to exist.

In fact, the response or lack of any response from Syme's co- workers reveal that he no longer exists in their memories either.


Winston's discussions with Julia give the reader an insight into how they feel different about the Party. Julia is far more realistic and clear about the motives behind the intellectual suppression. Perhaps it is because Julia is apathetic to the political views of the party that she is also able to cope with and survive better than Winston can in the new society. For Julia, Party rules and restrictions are cumbersome only if they affect her personally. For Winston, the inner workings of Ingsoc are a threat not only to him but also to future generations.

It is important to note that at this point in the novel, Julia and Winston, although rebelling against the sexual restrictions imposed by the Party, are really ordinary people, satisfying ordinary needs. The more time they spend together, the more they act like a typical husband and wife; she handles the practical domestic matters, while Winston ponders weightier issues related to the Party. The main desire is simply to be left alone to live out their lives as they choose. In Oceania, however, that will never happen.

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