Part 2: Chapter 7 to Chapter 10

Chapter 7

While sleeping with Julia, Winston wakes up from a disturbing, highly symbolic dream about his mother that—as he lies in bed crying, recovering from the dream—triggers the memory of the circumstances under which his mother actually disappeared. He was less than 10 years old at the time, and his memory of that time is murky and uneven. His father had already disappeared, leaving his mother, Winston, and his sickly baby sister. There was great upheaval in the world: bombing, air raids, and severe food shortages. His sharpest memory of the time is of being hungry. At mealtimes he impatiently asked for more, not understanding the full situation and insensitive to the needs of his mother and sister. Mealtimes were always a source of conflict, and his mother had to guard their meager food supplies in between meals or Winston would attempt to take extra. Though he was in constant conflict with his mother over food, Winston remembers her as a woman of great dignity.

One day an extra chocolate ration is issued, and instead of going along with the fair solution of splitting the chocolate in three, Winston demands all of it. When the mother gives him three-quarters and hands the rest to the young girl, even this is not enough for Winston, who grabs his sister’s chocolate and races out the door. It is the last time Winston sees either of them. When he returns, they are gone. It is clear that they have been taken—a fate his mother appeared resigned to for some time.

Winston has ever since been burdened with a sense of responsibility for their disappearance and likely death. In his imagination he has combined his last memory of his mother—cradling the daughter protectively in her arm—with an image from the war movie he saw earlier of a Jewish refugee woman protecting her daughter even as they were about to be shot. The audience had laughed at the woman, because her efforts were futile. Winston, however, sees great dignity in his mother’s gesture, even though it may also have been futile. He...

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Essays About 1984