- Can you explain what Winston means by comparing old folks not being able to remember the past to an ant only being able to see small objects?
When Winston meets the old man in the pub, his primary objective is to find out what life was like before the revolution and the great purges. AKA, the times before Big Brother rose to power. He asks the old man many questions, but to Winston's annoyance, the old man never really gives him a straight answer to most of his questions. Instead, the man just rambles on and on while going off on tangents. Winston mentions how the old man is full of details about the past, but does not remember the larger picture of it. He is unable to compare today's world to his youth. For this reason, he is like the ant who can only see small objects because he only remembers small details, but can not see the larger objects. In this case, the larger objects would be the freedoms he probably had as a kid. Yes the capitalists wore top hats, and pushed him off the pavement once at the boat race night, but he still had the freedom of speech and thought probably. The old man unfortunately can no longer remember such overarching details of the politics, economy, and mood of the time because it has been so long and Big Brother has corrupted the past so much through rectifying media.
- Of all the things in Charrington’s shop, why do you suppose Winston buys the paper weight? Do you think he got it for a deal?
Winston explains that his attraction for the paper weight stems from being from an age that was quite different than the time period he currently lives in. Earlier, Winston is interviewing the old man at the pub and trying to extract information from him regarding what Oceania was like before the revolution. Winston has an affinity for the past and what lies hidden in it because he believes that people had a lot more freedom. The paperweight could be a subtle object that he keeps at home reminding him to keep digging for the truth. It also could serve its purpose as a companion to his diary that he has been writing in.
As far as a deal, I believe Winston overpaid for the object judging by the reaction of Mr. Charrington. Possibly, Mr. Charrington anchored his price higher because he saw how much Winston was attracted to it. His description of the coral embedded in the object might not even be true. It could have been Charrington trying to upsell Winston on it by drawing attention to its uniqueness, possible age, and beauty. In other words, Mr. Charrington is ultimately a salesman, and seeing a Party member come into his shop who probably has money, he might have tried to get a few extra bucks out of Winston.
- What are the similarities and differences you can discern from where Winston lives to where the proles live?
Even though Winston is a party member and lives in a Victory Mansion, I really do not think there is much of a difference between where the proles live and where he lives. With a name like "Victory Mansion", you would think Winston lives in a fancy place, but it is far from that. He mentions before how the lift up to his room did not work in chapter one, the place smelled bad, and on top of that, there is a telescreen in his room as well as probably everyone else's.
Where the proles live, it was seemingly much the same. Instead of the victory mansions, there were small two-story houses. People filled the streets. There was even a terrible smell when he first walks inside the bomb. One thing that sounds like it happens a lot to the proles is that they are bombed way more frequently than where Winston lives. The proles actually have come to be able to predict when one is about to hit. Winston does not seem to have experienced these nearly as much, although when he finds the severed hand, he is not really disgusted by it, suggesting he has seen this sort of thing before.
One of the biggest differences where the proles live is the lack of Big Brother posters and no telescreens. I think this is what attracts Winston to want to possibly rent the room out of Charrington's shop. He wants to have a place he can escape too, away from the eyes of the Party.
- Do you really think the girl from the fiction department is following Winston?
This is my Hot Take of the day....NO!
I honestly believe the girl from the fiction department is looking for the same thing as Winston, Freedom and escape from Party life. When they spot each other, the girl takes off away from Winston, just as he takes off in the opposite direction of her. If she were really spying on him, don't you think she would run after him or the thought police would be quickly called to tail him? She wanted to explore her ownlife and did not even know that Winston was in that same area.
Hopefully we find out more information on this girl in Chapter two...I want to make another prediction...she is secretly attracted to Winston but is afraid to reveal it!