1984 Questions and Answers
by George Orwell

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Why does Winston view the affair as a political act?

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Winston views his affair with Julia as a political act because every act in 1984 is political. Totalitarianism means that the influence of the Party in every area of life is so pervasive that every word and action becomes either orthodox or unorthodox: an expression of loyalty to the Party, or a rebellion against it.

Sex may be permissible for the procreation of future Party Members (Katharine, Winston's wife, had called it "our duty to the Party"). One should not enjoy it much, however. This is because all enthusiasm and passion must be stored up for politically orthodox activities, such as the hatred of Goldstein.

Although Winston is the one who immediately thinks of the affair as a political act, it is Julia who gives the best explanation of why it is a rebellion against the Party when she expounds the connection between chastity and political orthodoxy:

When you make love you're using up energy; and afterwards you feel happy and don't give a damn for anything. They can't bear you to feel like that. They want you to be bursting with energy all the time. All this marching up and down and cheering and waving flags is simply sex gone sour. If you're happy inside yourself, why should you get excited about Big Brother and the Three-Year Plans and the Two Minutes Hate and all the rest of their bloody rot?

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