What is the significance of the countryside setting where Winston and Julia meet for the first time?

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The setting is one that Winston has seen before in a recurring dream. He calls it "the Golden Country," and in the dream a woman appears, flings off her clothes, and makes love to him, just as Julia does in reality. To Winston, the Golden Country is a kind of...

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The setting is one that Winston has seen before in a recurring dream. He calls it "the Golden Country," and in the dream a woman appears, flings off her clothes, and makes love to him, just as Julia does in reality. To Winston, the Golden Country is a kind of Eden, an unspoiled place that represents the world as he imagines it was before the reign of the Party. Both the woman in the dream and Julia are emblematic of the uninhibited sexuality Winston believes has the power to defeat the Party.

Orwell's use of this setting is also part of a tradition in literature of contrasting rural purity with urban corruption and ugliness. It's interesting that in his earlier novel Keep the Aspidistra Flying Orwell shows a similar tryst in the countryside outside of London between his protagonists Gordon and Rosemary. This takes place in the 1930s, during the Depression, but is thematically similar to the episode in 1984. In each case, a couple flees the city's harsh reality—in the 1930s, a reality dominated by poverty and the apparent collapse of the capitalist system, and in the futuristic world of 1984, one submerged in a totalitarian dystopia.

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Winston's dream of meeting a beautiful woman in what he calls the "Golden Country" foreshadows what happens when he meets Julia. They, too, rendezvous out in the countryside. They start an affair in which Julia shows her defiance against the sexual mores of the Party, just as the woman in the dream did by stripping off her clothes.

Winston envisions the country setting where he and Julia first connect as a place outside the surveillance state that exists within London. Julia also thinks of it as a place of freedom. It is where their sexual desires can be fulfilled in peace, away from prying eyes.

Of course, both Julia and Winston later learn that this an illusion: the country setting is wired and bugged, and all they are doing takes place under the intrusive eyes of the Thought Police. Nevertheless, both of them lean into the illusion of safety and privacy the country provides to start their affair.

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Throughout the novel, Winston has a recurring dream of standing in an open pasture in the country, away from the dirty, smug city streets of Oceania. He calls this fantasy setting the Golden Country and has an overwhelming sense of joy in being close to nature. In the Golden Country, there is a quiet stream, scattered molehills, and swaying elm trees. Winston also dreams about a girl with dark hair who throws her Party uniform off before embracing him. Later on in the story, Winston and Julia travel to a remote pasture in the country, which resembles the landscape of Winston's dreams. It is in this pastoral location that Winston and Julia begin their affair. Their consummation is significant because it is a strike against the Party, and Winston views it as a political act. The Golden Country is also Winston's interpretation of how the world should look. Winston intrinsically believes in independence, privacy, and the opportunity to enjoy the natural environment. When Winston meets with Julia in the Golden Country, it is the epitome of his ideal life and solidifies his stance against the Party.

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I think that the main significance of the setting where they meet for the first time is that it corresponds perfectly to the setting that Winston has a recurrent dream about.  He tends to dream about this place that he thinks of as the "Golden Country."  (We see this in Part 1, Chapter 3.)

In this dream, he sees a young woman take off her clothes and beckon to him.  He is taken by how free and graceful she looks and sort of envies her this freedom.  When Winston meets Julia there, he is essentially having this dream come true.  With Julia in the Golden Country, he will try to become free.

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