"a man with a comb and a piece of tissue paper" and "a half-apprehensive glance at the door."
I have two questions from the following excerpt from:
1.) The narrator mentioned that "In another room someone with a comb and a piece of toilet paper was trying to keep tune with the military music which was still issuing from the telescreen." This confuses me. In the beginning I thought Mr. Winston and Mrs Parsons were the only two people in Mrs Parsons' apartment. Does that "someone" live in a room inside Mrs Parsons' apartment? What is the person doing with a comb and a piece of tissue paper? I am somewhat lost here.
2.) Why was Mrs Parsons casting "a half-apprehensive glance at the door?"
Here is an excerpt from George Orwell's 1984:
’Oh, comrade,’ she began in a dreary, whining sort of voice, ’I thought I heard you come in. Do you think you could come across and have a look at our kitchen sink? It’s got blocked up and-’
It was Mrs Parsons, the wife of a neighbour on the same floor. (’Mrs’ was a word somewhat discountenanced by the Party — you were supposed to call everyone ’comrade’ — but with some women one used it instinctively.) She was a woman of about thirty, but looking much older. One had the impression that there was dust in the creases of her face. Winston followed her down the passage. These amateur repair jobs were an almost daily irritation. Victory Mansions were old flats, built in 1930 or thereabouts, and were falling to pieces. The plaster flaked constantly from ceilings and walls, the pipes burst in every hard frost, the roof leaked whenever there was snow, the heating system was usually running at half steam when it was not closed down altogether from motives of economy. Repairs, except what you could do for yourself, had to be sanctioned by remote committees which were liable to hold up even the mending of a window-pane for two years.
’Of course it’s only because Tom isn’t home,’ said Mrs Parsons vaguely.
The Parsons’ flat was bigger than Winston’s, and dingy in a different way. Everything had a battered, trampled-on look, as though the place had just been visited by some large violent animal. Games impedimenta — hockey-sticks, boxing-gloves. a burst football, a pair of sweaty shorts turned inside out — lay all over the floor, and on the table there was a litter of dirty dishes and dog- eared exercise-books. On the walls were scarlet banners of the Youth League and the Spies, and a full-sized poster of Big Brother. There was the usual boiled-cabbage smell, common to the whole building, but it was shot through by a sharper reek of sweat, which-one knew this at the first sniff, though it was hard to say how was the sweat of some person not present at the moment. In another room someone with a comb and a piece of toilet paper was trying to keep tune with the military music which was still issuing from the telescreen.
’It’s the children,’ said Mrs Parsons, casting a half-apprehensive glance at the door. ’They haven’t been out today. And of course-’
She had a habit of breaking off her sentences in the middle. The kitchen sink was full nearly to the brim with filthy greenish water which smelt worse than ever of cabbage. Winston knelt down and examined the angle-joint of the pipe. He hated using his hands, and he hated bending down, which was always liable to start him coughing. Mrs Parsons looked on helplessly.
the second question has been addressed by shortly after the excerpt. :)