Why is the age difference between Winston and Julia significant?

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The chief importance of the age difference is that Winston remembers life in the 1950s, before the Party took over, whereas Julia does not. This has a significant impact on their outlooks.

Winston is obsessed with how the fabric of life has changed since his childhood. He ruminates that the...

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The chief importance of the age difference is that Winston remembers life in the 1950s, before the Party took over, whereas Julia does not. This has a significant impact on their outlooks.

Winston is obsessed with how the fabric of life has changed since his childhood. He ruminates that the kind of family he grew up in before his mother disappeared is not possible for a Party member anymore. He recalls love, kindness, and sacrifice in his family of origin, at least on his mother's part.

Winston is obsessed as well with the rewriting of history that the Party engages in. For instance, the Party takes credit for inventing the airplane, but Winston remembers airplanes from the time before the Party took power. He is disturbed at the corruption that is revealed through the Party's constant distortion of the truth.

Julia, having known nothing of life before the Party, has little interest in the past. She accepts the Party's corruption pragmatically and tries to make the best of the life she has been dealt. She is much savvier than Winston, for example, at finding underground supplies of items like real coffee and lipstick. It makes no difference to her when the airplane was invented: her interest is in living as well as possible in the here and now.

The two complement each other well. It is good to keep in mind, too, that while we are privy to Winston's thoughts, we only see Julia from the outside through Winston's eyes.

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So far as the plot and ideas of 1984 are concerned, the age difference between Winston and Julia is not inherently as significant as it might appear. Winston could have had an affair with a woman his own age with the same consequences. The fact that Julia is younger by about 15 years is partly a symptom of the sexist thinking of the time when Orwell wrote the book. In the 1940s and even later, the usual male-oriented view was that a woman's beauty and sensuality declined rapidly once she reached the age of 30. Julia, in Winston's mind, is a symbol of the uninhibited sexual energy (and the unleashing of his own pent-up energy) he believes can defeat the Party. Therefore, she must be "young" by the standards of the period in which Orwell himself lived.

Interestingly, when Orwell wrote 1984, he was in a relationship with Sonia Brownell, a much younger woman who was an assistant editor at the literary magazine Horizon. Orwell and Brownell were married shortly before his death from tuberculosis. The Winston-Julia affair is thus autobiographical to a certain degree.

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In 1984, there is a considerable age difference between Winston and Julia. Winston, for example, is thirty-nine years old while Julia is only twenty-six. This age difference is significant for a couple of reasons. First of all, because Julia is so much younger, she cannot remember life before the Party. When Winston talks about the Golden Country, for example, Julia has no understanding of what he means. This creates a contrast between their reasons for rebelling: Winston wants to recapture the past, before totalitarianism became the norm, while Julia simply rebels because it gets her the things she wants.

Secondly, the age difference has a rejuvenating effect on Winston. Julia's boundless energy and unquenchable sexuality energizes Winston, an aging man with a "varicose ulcer" on his leg. Arguably, it is her youthful enthusiasm which really drives their affair and, later in Part Two, drives them in to the arms of O'Brien.

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In many cases, an older person comes to see life differently through a younger person's eyes.  Young people usually do not accept the world as older people do.  Young people are often idealistic and optimistic, and want to bring about change.  Being around them can make older people want change again.

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I would say that it is important because she energizes him in a way.  Winston does have the guts to start the diary even before he meets Julia, but in a way he almost seems to have given up.  She's so much younger and so much more vital than him and so she gives him a new sense of youth and possibility.

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