In what ways are Winston and Julia alike? In what ways are they different?
Julia and Winston are obviously most alike in their rebellion against the Party. They have no wish to remain slaves to Party doctrine and repression. The very fact of their having a secret love affair goes against all the Party teachings, as the Party aims to suppress such emotions as love between individuals. As Winston reflects on the first time he and Julia have sex: ‘It was a political act’.
Winston and Julia are also alike as they are both courageous and both are fully aware that in the end they will be captured by the Party and killed; they are under no illusions whatsoever on that score. It is also true, though, that they aren’t quite courageous enough to state their rebellion openly, but stage it covertly while maintaining an outward show of conformity: Julia, for instance, is involved in the Party Anti-Sex League while Winston gets on with his daily clerical work and keeps his journal containing his real thoughts quite hidden.
However, there are also notable differences between Winston and Julia – physical differences, for a start. Julia is much younger than Winston and very attractive, while Winston is verging on middle age and unimpressive in appearance. But the most important and fundamental difference between them is that Winston is intellectual while Julia is instinctual. Winston rebels against the Party because of his ideals of how society should be, while Julia rebels because the Party puts a check on her physical needs, desires and appetites. She wants to be free to express her sexuality, which the Party strictly forbids, and apparently she’s had several affairs with Party members before Winston. She also wants things like make-up and chocolates which in the world of the Party are unheard-of luxuries. Winston is not concerned with physical comforts; he prefers to spend his time reading and thinking. This essential difference between them is aptly illustrated when Julia manages to fall asleep while Winston is reading Emmanuel Goldstein’s book to her.
• Both Winston and Julia are rebellious towards the Party and go against the laws that govern thought and action
• They both desire each other and engage in a covert affair
• Unlike Winston, who is fearful and cautious, Julia is more free spirited, adventurous and takes risks. Winston lives his life constantly dreading the party, calculates his actions and constantly worries about being caught by the thought police and being vaporized.
• Whereas Winston is interested in the past and preoccupies himself with finding out what the party has hidden from everyone, Julia is just interested in the future. This stems from the fact that Winston is older than Julia and thus recalls what life was like before the party took over.
• Winston’s reason for rebelling is concrete and substantial; he wants to bring down the government. Contrarily, Julia has no particular reason for rebelling other than the fact that she hates big brother. Besides that, she is unconcerned about what the government does.
Winston and Julia have only two real similarities: they both hate Big Brother and the government, and they have a mutual sexual desire. Other than that, their personalities are almost at opposites. Winston is concerned about large-scale social issues and is very negative and fatalistic. Julia, however, is happy to live in the moment. While Winston wants to join a rebellion and go on to bring down the government, Julia wants to lay low and just not get caught while enjoying sex.