Chapter three begins with Winston dreaming of his mother. His mother was a “tall statuesque woman” who had disappeared when Winston was ten or eleven years old. His father was similar to his mother, he was also hard to remember. Winston remembered that he’d always worn neat dark clothes, glasses, and was thin.
Winston’s parents were killed in the first great purge during the 1950s. His younger sister was a baby when he last saw or remembered her. In the memory, like dream, he knew that his sister and mother had been sacrificed for his life. His mother had died around thirty years ago, where at the time he could perceive tragedy and sorrow that was no longer possible. “Tragedy, he perceived, belonged to the ancient time, to a time when there were still privacy, love, and friendship, and when members of a family stood by one another without needing to know the reason.” His mother had died when he was young and selfish. His dream shifted to a “rabbit-bitten” field in the summer evening he named the Golden Country. He questioned whether or not he had seen it before since it recurred in his dreams so often. The girl with the dark hair he had seen before was there. His dream was disrupted by the whistling on the telescreen.
The Physical Jerks were going to begin soon, where the people of Oceania participated in a routine exercise. Before Winston could start the activity he was doubled over on the ground due to a coughing fit, making it nearly impossible to breathe. Winston recovered in time for the instructor of The Physical Jerks to call him to attention. Winston thought of his childhood and what had happened before the rise of Big Brother but didn’t have much luck. He couldn’t remember a time when Oceania wasn’t at war. Winston remembered when an air raid attacked his city, forcing his family and city into the Tube station under the city. The war Oceania fought in 1984 was against Eurasia, with an alliance with Eastasia. He could not remember anything vividly past four years ago, “who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” His train of thought was ended when the instructor of the Physical Jerks yelled at them to “stand easy.” As he relaxed, he was consumed by his thoughts on doublethink. Doublethink was “to know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it…” His thoughts on doublethink were disrupted by the instructress. Winston halfheartedly continued the exercises he despised. “Smith!’” screamed the shrewish voice from the telescreen. ‘6079 Smith W.! Yes, YOU! Bend lower, please! You can do better than that. You’re not trying. Lower, please! THAT’S better, comrade. Now stand at ease, the whole squad, and watch me.” Winston broke a sweat as he strained to stretch. The instructress congratulated Winston as he gracelessly did as she asked.