He(Winston Smith) was growing fatter and stronger every day, if it was proper to speak of days.

This sentence is in Orwell's 1984 and I don't understand the meaning of the phrase "if it was proper to speak of days".

Could you tell me the meaning of that? Thank you.

  • 2
    The author doesn't believe it was proper to use "every day" because Smith lost his sense of time. He was disoriented. May 18, 2021 at 10:36
  • 2
    I think this is on topic, but note that there is also Literature for questions of interpretation and understanding of literature (as distinct from learning English)
    – James K
    May 18, 2021 at 20:14

1 Answer 1


Winston Smith is, at that time in the story, in a prison cell with no window and thus is not aware of the passage of night and day. By writing 'if it was proper to speak of days' (it says 'days' in my copy), Eric Blair/'George Orwell' emphasises the disorientation Smith is feeling because he is not sure exactly how much time is passing, or when one day ends and another begins. The very next paragraph in the book makes this clear.

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