Differences Between Julia’s and Winston’s Characters in Their Attitude Towards the Party in “1984” by George Orwell
Throughout Nineteen Eighty-Four, Winston Smith undergoes a variety of changes, ranging from developments in thought to the evolution of action and purpose. Orwell’s efforts in developing Winston’s identity are mainly due to Julia’s character and personality. Julia acts as a juxtaposing character to Winston, emphasizing the contrast between their purpose behind their thoughts, feelings, and actions. Julia is an enforcing action upon Winston’s identity development, further making a recognition to Winston’s rebellious thoughts and actions.
In the beginning, Winston still has rebellious thoughts but is too worried and conscious about either party officials or thought police to act upon them. However, he is still up for taking risks, despite his worries. He travels to the proles district and goes inside of a second-hand store (Orwell, George). Winston ends up finding a diary, where he begins to record his thoughts and feelings about the party, and memories from the past. Even though written records are forbidden amongst the party, Winston continues to write his diary, “for the future, for the unborn.” He aims to reach out to a society that will no longer be as he is, providing hope and information for a better life. While Winston is at the second-hand store in the proles distract, he sees Julia, as if she were following him. This raises Winston’s suspicions, causing him to think that she is apart of the thought police. Initially, Winston is concerned about Julia and wants to be as far away as possible from her. Winston states, “It was as though some huge force were pressing down upon you – something that penetrated inside your skull, battering against your brain, frightening you out of your beliefs, persuading you, almost, to deny the evidence of your senses,” in order to emphasize his intimidation of the party and his fear that there is no reality outside of the party that allows for individual thoughts and feelings and the ultimate goal of reaching selfhood (Orwell, George).
Julia is a rebellious, adventurous woman. Julia is not concerned about what the government does or plans to do, and she hates its leader. Julia has no interest in the past. She only cares about the future because she is young and has no recollection of what it was like before the party took over. Julia rebels because she feels good about it and gets a thrill. Although at the beginning she is in favor of the Junior Anti-Sex League, the Two Minutes Hate and Community center, she then starts to despise them and wants to join the rebellion. Although Julia seems loyal to the party, she has been pretending for all her life to be so. Initially, Winston used to believe that Julia was a member of the thought police because she appeared as devoted to the party until she passed him the note. The gesture of her passing Winston the note shows her to be is spontaneous. Winston also is rebellious.
Nevertheless, he is much more fearful and doesn’t take extreme risks. He always fears and tries to calculate the consequences of his actions. For instance, when Ms. Parsons knocked on his door asking for help with a plumbing issue, Winston was worried that the thought police were outside his apartment (Orwell, George). Winston also considered about killing Julia because he was paranoid that she was watching over him. Winston is older than Julia and is interested in the past because he remembers what it was like before the party took over. That is a reason he struggles to overthrow the government for. He has memories of the past and peoples inventions and achievements that are now claimed by the government. He is interested in what the party is withholding from people and wants to expose it. Winston keeps a diary where he reveals his contempt for the party. Winston believes in peace and freedom, individual emotions, decency and values of a civilized society.
Julia and Winston are similar in many ways. Both are rebellious and adventurous to some degree. They have the same objective of taking down the government. Both express archaic values of love, care and they are interested in human interaction. When they first met, they liked each other physically however neither showed any signs of fear. Later Julia opened up and so did Winston. They met a few times and eventually were able to establish an emotional connection which is against the party policies. Julia and Winston are both trying to become members of the anti-Party brotherhood.
With the development of the plot, the reader begins to notice more differences in Julia’s and Winston’s characters. For instance, the initial difference in personalities between the two approved itself at the moment when Julia left a note to Winston asking for an appointment. Julia’s outgoing and action-oriented personality becoming evident immediately (Orwell, George). This contrasts heavily with a constant fear of the party and anxious thoughts of Winston. As their relationship becomes physical, we see slight changes in their feelings towards each other. Julia begins to show more emotional devotion, with signs of affection and more physical demands (“From 1984 To One-Dimensional Man: Critical Reflections On Orwell And Marcuse By Douglas Kellner”). Winston, on the other hand, unintentionally uses Julia as intensification for the opposition against the party, with a little caring for the physical and emotional side. This becomes evident when Winston is talking and reading the Goldstein book on rebellion and Julia ends up falling asleep (Orwell, George). The reader watches their thoughts and feelings for one another developing. Though, Winston uses their relationship in more of an act of rebellion and opposition for the party, “seeking truth and sanity” within this totalitarian government (Orwell, George). What they believe in is the same however the reasons for believing in those things are different. Julia rebels because it satisfies her, Winston rebels because he has a precise objective of invoking corruption and taking down the government, he firmly believes in what he does. Winston appears as a negative character because he doesn’t believe things will change, whereas Julia seems more neutral because she gives no thought to what she does.
From all stated above, it is evident that Orwell uses Julia’s character to place the reality of Winston’s character in the way of his identity developing into stronger opposition and rebellion to the party and the Big Brother. While Julia acts as an exasperating agent for Winston’s development of selfhood and individuality, she represents slightly different goals and purpose behind her actions. The significance between these two characters is further brought about in the end because they both act in rebellion and end up getting caught. In the midst of brainwashing torture, they end up betraying one another, something they both said they wouldn’t do. This shows the enormous power and ultimate authority the party has over the population, and the effectiveness of their totalitarian society.
Orwell, George. 1984. 2011.
“From 1984 To One-Dimensional Man: Critical Reflections On Orwell And Marcuse By Douglas Kellner.” Pages.Gseis.Ucla.Edu, 2017, https://pages.gseis.ucla.edu/faculty/kellner/Illumina%20Folder/kell13.htm.