How did Winston view women before he met Julia and how did she change his view?

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rrteacher's profile pic

rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Before meeting Julia, Winston strongly disliked women, because in his mind, they tended to be the most enthusiastic Party members:

He disliked nearly all women, and especially the young and pretty ones. It was always the women, and above all the young ones, who were the most bigoted adherents of the Party, the swallowers of slogans, the amateur spies and nosers-out of unorthodoxy.

Winston does fantasize about women, but his fantasies, more than one of which is described in detail in 1984, tend to be hostile and violent. Women seem to represent to him everything that is wrong about the Party, none of which, of course, he can express publicly. In the opening scene of the book, for example, he finds himself projecting the hate he is supposed to feel for Goldstein during the Two Minutes' Hate to a girl sitting behind him. When he gets to know Julia, however, he discovers that she is different. If anything, her rebelliousness makes him a bit uncomfortable. After all, it is Julia, not Winston, who initiates their love affair. 

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kmj23's profile pic

kmj23 | (Level 2) Educator

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Winston's attitude toward women is made clear in the opening chapter of 1984. According to the text:

He disliked nearly all women, and especially the young and pretty ones.

The reason for this negative view of women derives from his belief that they are the most zealous "adherents of the Party." In his mind, women are the ones who are most likely to act as spies for the Party, to detect and report thoughtcrimes, and to accept the Party's slogans. As such, he feels a sense of "uneasiness" whenever he is near the girl with the dark hair (Julia).

This attitude begins to change in Part Two, Chapter One, when Julia gives Winston a secret message in which she claims to love him. Initially, Winston is "stunned" but still worried that she might be a spy trying to catch him out. When the pair finally meet in Chapter Two, Winston realizes that Julia's emotions are genuine and that her support for the Party is a façade. This changes his view of women because he understands that some women are as rebellious as he.

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