Relatively in the middle of chapter 5 in “1984” it says:

In some ways she was far more acute than Winston, and far less susceptible to Party propaganda. Once when he happened in some connexion to mention the war against Eurasia, she startled him by saying casually that in her opinion the war was not happening. The rocket bombs which fell daily on London were probably fired by the Government of Oceania itself, ‘just to keep people frightened’. This was an idea that had literally never occurred to him.

I remember having read that Julia's presumption was likely true because “the rocket bombs only ever hit prole quarters”.

However, when deliberately looking for a passage that would imply this, I did not find anything.

Am I misremembering?

1 Answer 1


This may mean nothing more than that the only rocket bomb attacks described in the book itself as close to Winston occur when Winston goes for a walk in the prole quarters.

There was a roar that seemed to make the pavement heave; a shower of light objects pattered on to his back. When he stood up he found that he was covered with fragments of glass from the nearest window.

and while he and Julia are slipping off for a tryst, possibly in prole quarters

They were passing in silence down a side-street (Julia would never speak when they were away from the main streets) when there was a deafening roar, the earth heaved, and the air darkened, and Winston found himself lying on his side, bruised and terrified. A rocket bomb must have dropped quite near at hand.

Also, the proles have a casual term for them, as Party Members do not, which could indicate a familiarity. From the same scene:

'Steamer' was a nickname which, for some reason, the proles applied to rocket bombs. Winston promptly flung himself on his face. The proles were nearly always right when they gave you a warning of this kind. They seemed to possess some kind of instinct which told them several seconds in advance when a rocket was coming, although the rockets supposedly travelled faster than sound.

Other descriptions are far off that could have landed in prole quarters

Somewhere far away a rocket bomb exploded with a dull, reverberating roar. About twenty or thirty of them a week were falling on London at present.

The rocket bombs crashed oftener than ever, and sometimes in the far distance there were enormous explosions which no one could explain and about which there were wild rumours.

As though to harmonize with the general mood, the rocket bombs had been killing larger numbers of people than usual. One fell on a crowded film theatre in Stepney, burying several hundred victims among the ruins. The whole population of the neighbourhood turned out for a long, trailing funeral which went on for hours and was in effect an indignation meeting. Another bomb fell on a piece of waste ground which was used as a playground and several dozen children were blown to pieces

Somewhere in remote distance a rocket bomb thundered.

That is, the conclusion that the rockets land only in prole quarters has some evidence but not conclusive proof.


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