Chapter 6 begins with Winston recalling events that happened years ago, to write in his diary. Although it was illegal to interact with a prostitute, Winston did so anyways. Remembering this experience also brought to mind his wife, Katharine. They had been separated for several years by this time, but they were still married, as divorce was forbidden for Party members.
He also thinks about how the Party is attempting to kill the human sex drive, as it can be one of the greatest factors in some relationships. The Party, in trying to eliminate loyalties to others than itself, tries to control the sexual desires of the People. The only reason to have sex, according to the party, was as a duty, to create more Party-following people.
The Proles (the people who were not members of the Party), Winston thought, could potentially have great power in overthrowing the Party. They had great numbers (about 85% of the total population, or so Winston thought), and they were largely unpoliced. They were seen by the Party Leaders as uneducated, uncivilized, and “natural inferiors, who must be kept in subjugation, like animals.” (page 74) In this way, they were simply allowed to do as they please, as long as they kept a sense of “primitive patriotism” and continued to work and breed.
According to the Party, the Proles had been liberated from the horrors of Capitalism (eg. the child workers in the factories of London, the Capitalists who exploited their workers, etc.) However we may know these things to be true, Winston had no way of proving it, as it could have just as easily been made up by Minitrue.
Winston decides to confirm what he had been thinking, about Capitalism and its horrors. He goes among one of the Prole neighbourhoods in London, and to a pub. He offers a drink of beer to an elderly man, and begins to ask questions about what London was really like before the Revolution, though he gets no useful answers.
Feeling let down, Winston leaves the pub and begins to wander the streets until he suddenly became aware of where he was: at the antiques shop where he bought the journal. After admiring a glass paperweight, he buys it for $4. The shopkeeper, aware of Winston’s fascination with antiques, takes him upstairs to a room in which he formerly lived with his wife.
Winston soon becomes aware of the fact that the room has no telescreen. He thinks of renting this room out for a few dollars a week, but immediately dismisses the idea, as that would be seen as even more suspicious than visiting a Prole pub and antique shop.
Upon leaving the shop, Winston sees a Party member in the otherwise empty street. Fearful that she was a spy, assigned to watch him, he walks quickly in the other direction until he reaches his flat, where he mentally prepares himself to be taken away in the night by the thought police.