1984 Part 2, Chapter 2 Summary and Analysis

George Orwell

Part 2, Chapter 2 Summary and Analysis

On the first of May, Winston travels by train to the countryside to meet the girl with dark hair. Though he has managed to avoid questioning by patrols, and though there are no telescreens in the country, he is still wary of the possibility of concealed microphones or of being followed. After walking down a narrow path between bushes, he picks bluebells for the girl until she arrives and silently leads him into a small clearing in the woods. The two kiss, but Winston is nervous, intimidated by the girl’s youth and beauty. Winston learns that the girl’s name is Julia and that she found this hiding spot when she got lost on a community hike. Winston confesses that when he first saw Julia, he wanted to rape and murder her, believing her to be a pure and faithful Party member and possibly even a member of the Thought Police. This amuses Julia, who rips off the red sash she wears—the emblem of the Junior Anti-Sex League—before producing a piece of black-market chocolate. The chocolate stirs a faint, troubling memory in Winston. Julia explains that she participates with seeming enthusiasm in the League and in Party activities to avoid suspicion and that she was attracted by something in Winston’s face that told her he was against the Party. She speaks of her hatred of the Party openly and Winston is unbothered by her swearing, which Party members are not supposed to do. He puts his arm around her waist and finds it feels softer without the red sash.

The pair walk to the edge of the woods, where they look out across a field that strongly reminds Winston of the Golden Country of his dreams. When a thrush alights on a nearby tree branch, they find themselves entranced by its song. Winston wonders why the bird sings and who it sings for. The couple kiss and then return to the clearing, where Julia flings her overalls aside almost exactly like she did in Winston’s dream. Kneeling down in front of her, Winston asks Julia if she has done this before. Julia replies that she has done this scores of times, always with Outer Party members. Winston is thrilled by this knowledge of other Party members’ corruption and tells Julia that he wants everyone to be corrupt, that he hates purity, and that the more men she has slept with, the more he loves her. What excites him the most is Julia’s assertion that she loves sex in and of itself, as he believes sexual desire has the power to destroy the Party.

After they have sex, Winston watches Julia sleep. He reflects that although he feels tender toward her, pure love and lust are no longer possible because the Party has ensured that every emotion is mixed up with fear and hate. Sleeping together, he believes, was a political act.