In George Orwell's novel 1984, why does Julia pick Winston to be her next lover?

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vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In George Orwell’s novel 1984, Julia chooses Winston Smith to be her next lover for a number of reasons, including the following:

  • When she first saw him, she immediately sensed that he was opposed to the Party and was thus a potential lover, since she also opposes the Party. Thus she says to Winston:

“I’m good at spotting people who don’t belong. As soon as I saw you I knew you were against them.” (p. 122, Signet edition)

  • She considers sexual relations a means of revolting against control by the Party.
  • She hates the kind of so-called purity and goodness dictated by the Party.
  • She actually enjoys sexual relations. Raw physical desire is something the Party can’t entirely control.
  • She takes pleasure in outwitting the Party, even though her opposition to it is not especially principled or intellectual.
  • She recognizes that if the Party can control or suppress sexual instincts, those emotional energies can instead by made useful to the Party for its own political purposes.
  • She recognizes that sex threatens the Party in other ways, since it robs of the Party of energies it might be able to use in its own interests. Sexual activity makes the people who engage in it briefly apathetic toward the Party.
  • She uses her sexual attractiveness to help encourage Winston in his own hidden revolt against the Party. With Julia to desire, he has something to live for. Thus her affair with him helps strengthen him and (slightly) weaken the Party.
  • She seems to enjoy taking the initiative in planning the details of their trysts.  Having the affair with Winston helps increase her own sense of power and independence.

Thus Julia chooses Winston for a variety of reasons, although she might just as easily have chosen anyone else whom she strongly suspected of disloyalty to the Party.

For evidence to support the points just listed, see Book II, Chapters 1-3 of the novel.

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