The Importance of Winston and Julie’s Romantic Relationship in George Orwell’s 1984
In Orwell’s 1984, the government is in control of everyone and everything including relationships. Our protagonist, Winston, had to hide any and all feelings he had for others. Then he met Julie and all he could feel was hatred toward her conformist ways. He imagined brutally assaulting her and leaving her for dead. That is until Julie gave Winston a note confessing her love for him. Suddenly a romantic connection linked their stories leading them to an unfortunate end. Without this romantic affiliation there would be no 1984.
Winston and Julie’s relationship wasn’t wholeheartedly love. It was based on rebellion rather than emotion. We learn this when the two sneak off to a forest out of town, far from telescreens and microphones. Julie was an experienced guide. She had done this all before and knew the exact place and time for Winston to meet her so they could have some privacy. She was an expert and Winston was her student.
Soon Winston found a place closer to home to spend time with Julie. It became a second home to them. A place they could trust and that was void of a telescreen. They could have sex, take a nap, enjoy some tea or coffee, and just be together in their little rebellion. It was perfect to them, but that was about to change.
In their rebellion, Winston and Julie joined what they thought to be the brotherhood, the organization focused on revolting against Big Brother. It was an error on their judgement. While together in their safe haven, the two began to read the brotherhood’s book. They were found out and taken away to a prison. There, Winston and Julia were separated.
Days, weeks, possibly even months pass before Winston is taken to room 101. Here he begins conforming, in other words he begins to lose his love/lust for Julie. They return Winston to his cell and while dreaming he calls out Julia’s name. This convinces the reader that he may actually love her. He’s concerned for her and that is enough to get Winston sent back to room 101.
Rather than torture with pain they used Winston’s worst fear: rats. Between fear and love, fear is much stronger. Winston denounces his love for Julia and blames everything on her. He conforms and so his rebellious ways are done. He is soon released and sees Julia again. Seeing Julia leads him to a painful realization; she must have denounced him as well. This is the moment all his love is lost. Any hope for his rebellious spirit coming back is broken. Now he only loves Big Brother.
Winston and Julie’s love was rebellion. The longer they were together the stronger their free spirits became. By losing love they both conformed to Big Brother’s standards. Broken hearts meant broken spirits. Had there been no love story in 1984 there would be no story period.
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