Study Guide

1984 Book 1, Chapter 8

By George Orwell

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Book 1, Chapter 8

  • Winston takes a stroll through prole streets, and envies the lives of the ignorant and the free. He wanders into a pub for beer, and strikes up a conversation with an old man about life pre-Party. The old man is too incoherent to give a satisfactory answer. That's probably the beer.
  • Winston passes by the secondhand store in which he bought his diary. We meet Mr. Charrington, a 63-year-old widower who had owned the shop for about 30 years. Winston purchases a glass paperweight containing pink coral. He likes it because 1) it's useless and 2) it has a link to the past.
  • Chatting with the owner, Winston is soon led upstairs to a room in which Mr. Charrington and his deceased wife used to live, but that is now abandoned.
  • Seeing that no telescreen exists on the wall (indeed, there is only a print of St. Clement's Church hanging where a telescreen ought to be), Winston ponders the possibility of renting this room so he could be alone in private.
  • On his way home, Winston encounters a Party member in blue overalls (Party uniform), and sees that she is the brunette coworker. He takes this as confirmation that the brunette was spying on him. Frightened, he temporarily contemplates murdering her with the paperweight in his pocket.
  • He finally returns home at 10 p.m., relieved but restless. He tries to write in his diary, but has little success other than jotting down the Party slogans.

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