Winston stands in the room above Mr. Charrington's shop, looking around. His paperweight is on the small desk, and the room now contains a small oil stove, a saucepan, and two pots, all supplied by Mr. Charrington. Winston rented the room from Mr. Charrington, clearly for a love affair with Julia. Rather than judging him, Mr. Charrington noted vaguely that privacy was very valuable these days. Winston hears someone singing beneath his window. He looks out and sees a large, stocky prole woman hanging baby diapers, singing, "It was only an 'opless fancy..." Apparently, this is a Party song published for the benefit of the proles, who revel in machine-generated verse.
Winston admits to himself that he has taken a great risk in renting the room, but remembers how hard it had been for he and Julia to meet. Once, she had to cancel a planned reunion because her menstrual cycle was early. At first Winston was furious, but upon recognizing the depth of their bond was calmed by a powerful wave of tenderness towards Julia. His mind wanders to their eventual arrest and what awaits them in the Ministry of Love, but Julia's entrance interrupts his dismal reverie.
Julia has brought with her many black market items, including good bread, real coffee, sugar, makeup, and perfume. When she puts on the makeup and allows Winston to see her, he is pleased. Julia reveals her plan to get a real dress and a pair of silk stockings so that - in Mr. Charrington's apartment, at least - she can be a woman rather than a Party member, and embrace her femininity. Winston and Julia make love on the large bed and sleep for a short time. When they wake, Julia sees a rat poking his head out of a corner of the room. Winston is horrified, revealing that he is more afraid of rats than anything else: "Of all the horrors in the world - a rat!" Winston remembers his recurring nightmare of standing in front of a wall of darkness, knowing that on the other side lies something dreadful.
Julia explores the room, noting the paperweight and the picture on the wall. Winston tells her of Mr. Charrington's poem, and she adds to it: "You owe me three farthings say the bells of St. Martin's / When will you pay me, say the bells of Old Bailey?" Winston is shocked, but Julia reveals that her grandfather, who lived before the war and was vaporized, used to recite it to her. Julia begins to get dressed and clean up, while Winston picks up his paperweight and imagines that his life inside this apartment is like the coral: trapped inside thick, safe, protective crystal, fixed in eternity.
It is some weeks later, and Syme has vanished. Just as Winston predicted, Syme has been vaporized. His name has been deleted from Ministry records, and people begin to behave as though they never knew him. Winston has been working long hours to prepare for Hate Week. The weather has become hot, and the population seems eager for activity: they hang banners, posters and signs, and proudly sing the Hate Song. In the lead-up to Hate Week, Winston has noticed a new, particularly large poster of a Eurasian soldier wielding a machine gun all over the city. Winston and Julia continue to meet in the apartment above Mr. Charrington's shop, dealing with its meager amenities and apparent bug problem in order to revel in their increasing happiness. Winston's ulcer has subsided, his coughing fits have disappeared, and his anger has somewhat abated. He has begun regularly chatting with Mr. Charrington about old times and the things in the shop. The apartment has become a refuge where he feels safe from the Party, able to act as a person rather than a Party member. However, Winston still understands - albeit distantly - that his fate is sealed. Such rebellion will not go unnoticed forever. Their time is precious.
Winston tells Julia of the bond he feels with O'Brien, and she understands why Winston might recognize him as sympathetic to his feelings. Julia believes deeply in the power of such relationships, but also tends to assume that most people are fundamentally against the Party, even though she doubts the existence of the Brotherhood. Although she is rebellious, Julia is somewhat naive in Winston's eyes. She believes that the Party invented the airplane, barely understands who Goldstein was, and cannot remember that Oceania was once at war with Eastasia (rather than Eurasia). The ease with which she accepts the Party's propaganda slightly disturbs Winston.
While walking through a hallway at work, Winston hears a small cough behind him. He turns and sees O'Brien, and feels that finally the day has come when he will receive a message from the Brotherhood. O'Brien begins the conversation by claiming that he knows Winston is interested in Newspeak, even vaguely referring to Syme, who was recently vaporized. O'Brien offers Winston an advance copy of the Tenth Edition of the Newspeak Dictionary and gives Winston his home address so that he can come pick up the copy. Then, as suddenly as he arrived, O'Brien is gone. Winston reflects on the interaction, believing that he is taking yet another step towards complete rebellion, and towards his own grave.
Winston and Julia are in Mr. Charrington's apartment. Winston wakes with eyes full of tears. He tells Julia that he has been dreaming of his mother. He remembers that shortly after his father disappeared, he lived with his mother and his baby sister. Times were difficult, air raids were common, and rations were small. Winston's mother was highly distraught. She performed all her household duties, but rarely spoke, and sometimes held Winston for inexplicably long periods of time. Winston was a selfish young boy who always demanded more food from his mother even though there was barely enough for them to share, and sometimes even stole from his little sister's plate. One day, Winston's mother broke apart the two-ounce chocolate ration, giving three quarters to Winston and one quarter to his little sister. Winston snatched his sister's piece and ran from the house, his mother screaming for him to come back. He never saw her again. When he returned to the apartment several hours later, his mother and sister were gone.
After Winston tells his story, Julia responds by saying that she bets he was "a beastly little swine" in those days. Winston tries to explain the point of the story, but Julia falls asleep. He thinks of a violent propaganda movie he saw in which a refugee mother in a small boat tried to protect her son from a bomb by wrapping her arm around him. He finds a similarity between her gesture and his memories of his mother. Both women cared first for their children, and only second for their Party or their country. Such personal loyalty does not exist anymore. The Party has destroyed it by removing the sex instinct and family bonds. Winston realizes that the proles maintain these loyalties, and discovers a newfound respect for them. He says aloud, "The proles are human beings. We are not human." Julia wakes, and they begin discussing their relationship and what will happen when they are arrested. They agree that the Party will never be able to force them to stop loving each other. Staying human and maintaining their love is the ultimate rebellion against the Party.
In these chapters, Winston and Julia settle into their affair. Winston takes another significant step towards his eventual arrest by renting Mr. Charrington's room. Originally he rejects the notion, understanding that to rent the apartment will definitely mean death. However, his love for Julia and their agreed-upon hatred of the Party emboldens him, and he decides to take the risk. When Julia sees the room, she is satisfied. She adds a line to the St. Clement's Dane poem, which thrills Winston. She also suggests cleaning the St. Clement's Dane picture, but never does. If she had, perhaps she and Winston would have discovered the telescreen hiding underneath and avoided arrest.
The paperweight Winston bought from Mr. Charrington earlier on takes on a larger symbolic meaning in these chapters. Just as the painting of St. Clement's Dane and its accompanying rhyme hold special meaning for Winston, so does the paperweight. One day after Julia leaves the apartment, Winston imagines he and Julia living in a world inside the paperweight, protected by the beautiful glass and removed from any sense of time or place. The paperweight, the apartment, the picture of St. Clement's Dane and its accompanying rhyme all symbolize Winston's hopes for freedom, yet are all false symbols. Each is obtained from Mr. Charrington, who is later revealed to be a member of the Thought Police. Even in what Winston believes is his path towards a greater understanding of the Party, history, reality, and the potential for rebellion, he is being manipulated by the Party. Perhaps the only real thing in his life is Julia. She came to him independently of the Party, and their love is the single act of rebellion that is not defined or controlled by the Party.
The prole woman singing outside the apartment window is another important symbol introduced in these chapters. Winston has already revealed a near-obsession with the proles and a belief that if there is hope, "it lies with the proles." As such, he takes a strong interest in the large, sturdy prole woman who sings simple yet passionate songs while hanging her laundry. In the prole woman, Winston recognizes a zest for life that Party members never enjoy. Listening to her songs and watching her work inspires Winston. She makes him believe that there is hope for humanity outside of the Party, perhaps in the next generation of proles.
In the apartment, Winston reveals his biggest fear: rats. When Julia points out one that is trying to sneak into the room through a hole in the corner, Winston is terrified. He describes a vague nightmare he has always had where a large wall prevents something horrible from reaching him. In the dream he never sees what is behind the wall, but in his mind he knows it is a horde of rats. Here again, Winston's dreams prove quite important to his waking life. Later, in the Ministry of Love, O'Brien will capitalize on this fear to break the last vestiges of Winston's independence and loyalty to Julia. Horrified at the idea of a rat cage being locked onto his face, Winston finally betrays his love.
In this section, Winston learns that his "friend" Syme has been vaporized. Syme is the first character in the novel to be vaporized, and his disappearance drives home the very real threat of arrest and death. Winston is headed down a similar path, but he cannot stop himself. Although death is inevitable, Winston forges on, again embracing his fatalistic outlook.
In this section, Winston finally meets and speaks to O'Brien, who has long been a symbol of the potential for rebellion from within the Party. The meeting is everything Winston had hoped for. O'Brien approaches him and gives him his address, an action Winston immediately recognizes as an invitation to discuss the Brotherhood. He thinks that the moment has finally come: he will join the rebellion, and his life will take on meaning. Tragically, we will later learn that Winston is wrong and that O'Brien is laying a trap.
In waking from a dream in which Winston remembers the last time he ever saw his mother, we begin to understand the suffering Winston endured as a child and the guilt he has carried over his mother and sister's deaths. Winston is deeply pained by the selfish acts of his childhood, and remembers his mother's love for his sister and for himself. Winston begins to understand that before the Party, loyalty to family came before loyalty to the Party. When Winston recognizes this sentiment in a Party propaganda film, he finds hope that somewhere in the world there are people who love each other. Such humanity, which Winston and Julia exhibit in their love, must mean that the potential exists to overthrow the Party. Once again, we see Winston and Julia's love as an act of rebellion in and of itself. They agree that the Party will never be able to destroy their love, and in that way, they are above the power of the Party. Once again, we will later learn that they are wrong in this assumption, and that the Party can indeed break their spirits and their love.