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Winston recalls his mother as caring and strong in her own way. She attempts to keep her children alive while the world crumbles around her. Winston's mother was loyal to family, caring, loving...All these qualities have since been replaced with a hollow allegiance to the Party. Traditional human emotions have ceased to exist. The Party has twisted them to an obscene collection of hate and allegiance.
Your last question...Winston tries to hold on to his vague childhood memories. Although they are painful, they are at least real. Winston had felt something as opposed to merely feeling numb and dead in his present situation.