Summary Pt. 1 Chp. 2
When Winston opens the door, he is relieved to see that it is not the thought police, but Mrs. Parsons, the wife of a neighbor who had come to ask for help in unblocking the kitchen sink. Mr. Parsons, Winston reflects was the kind of dull unquestioning adherent who ensured the survival of the Party even more than the thought police. Whatever the Party said was accepted with dog like obedience by Mr. Parsons and his kind.
Winston follows the woman into her flat and tries to unblock the sink. This flat, like Winston’s own is dingy and miserable, clearly indicating the appalling living conditions under the Party’s regime. While in the Parson’s flat, Winston is horrified by the behavior of their two children. Both the boy and the girl have been indoctrinated by Party organizations like The Spies and the Youth League. They play with toy weapons of war and dance around Winston calling him “Eurasian”, traitor, “thoughtcriminal” etc. Winston reflects that within a few years they would not be playing, they would be holding real weapons instead of toys and would turn in their own parents to the thought police if they displayed any signs of unorthodoxy or nonconformity. These children who turned in their own parents as traitors were regularly lauded in the newspapers, the term used to refer to them was “child-hero”.
The children are furious because their father has not been able to take them to see the “hanging”. Occurring about once a month, it was a ritual in which war prisoners were hanged as a public spectacle and was a popular entertainment among schoolchildren.
Winston manages to fix the sink and while leaving is hit on the neck with a catapult fired by the boy. He ponders on the fact that the Party training, on the one hand makes children into ungovernable savages while on the other hand it also makes them devoted, fanatical and disciplined adherents of the Party.
On the way back to his own flat, Winston sees the inscriptions announcing INGSOC or English Socialism of which Newspeak was the vocabulary. He remembers an event, which happened nearly seven years ago – an unknown voice had told him “We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness”. He had later become convinced that it was O’Brien who had spoken to him, though he had no way of confirming this.
From the telescreen in his flat there comes an announcement about a great victory in the battle with Eurasia, which as Winston correctly anticipates, is the prelude to an announcement of further food rationing. This is followed by the National Song “Oceania, ‘tis of thee” during which one was supposed to stand at attention, but which Winston does not do.
He looks at his diary, in which he has repeatedly written “Down with Big Brother” and thinks that he is already a dead man. Once he has committed thoughtcrime, the only question is how long it would take the thought police to catch up with him. But once he has resigned himself to being practically already dead, staying alive as long as possible and rebelling in however small a way become matters of immensely significant proportions.
He wanted to communicate with a different age, whether of the past or the future where men were individual or free. He wanted to carry on in some small measure, the human heritage. As a beginning of this communication, he writes in his diary addressing that unknown age “from the age of doublethink, from the age of solitude, of Big brother, of uniformity – Greetings.”