1984 Part 2, Chapter 3 Summary and Analysis

George Orwell

Part 2, Chapter 3 Summary and Analysis

Julia wakes up and assumes a businesslike demeanor as she explains to Winston how to get home by a different route than the one he came by. Winston finds it natural to let Julia take charge of the practical details of their trysts, and throughout that month the two of them meet fleetingly in crowded evening streets. The constant presence of patrols and telescreens means the couple can only exchange a few words and don’t dare kiss, except for one occasion when a rocket bomb explodes nearby and Winston thinks for a moment that Julia has been killed. Their busy schedules also make it difficult to meet, but Julia nevertheless convinces Winston to spend one night a week doing munition work in order to appear more like a loyal Party member.

The next time the two are able to make love, they meet in a ruined church tower in an abandoned part of the countryside where an atomic bomb once fell. Winston learns that Julia is twenty-six, hates living in a hostel with thirty other women, and enjoys her work on the novel-writing machines in the Fiction Department, although she doesn’t read books. She has only heard of the days before the Revolution from a grandfather who disappeared when she was a child. She was chosen to work in Pornosec for a year due to her seemingly spotless character (including her leadership in the Spies, the Youth League, and the Junior Anti-Sex League), and she had her first love affair at sixteen. Though Julia hates the Party, she regards it as an unalterable fact of life and has no interest or belief in any kind of organized rebellion; she simply aims to break the rules and enjoy herself without being noticed. She and Winston don’t consider getting married, as their marriage would never be approved (given that they are obviously attracted to one another) even if Winston wasn’t still technically married.

Winston tells Julia about his relationship with Katharine, and Julia explains to Winston her belief that the Party represses people’s sexual instincts in order to channel that repressed energy into a hysterical enthusiasm for the Party’s own agenda. Similarly, familial instincts are distorted so that while parents are still fond of their children, children are encouraged to surveil and report their parents. Winston has no doubt that Katharine would have denounced him to the Thought Police if she had realized he harbored unorthodox opinions. He tells Julia about a time a few months after his marriage when he and Katharine got lost on a community hike and he considered pushing her into a quarry. Julia says she would have done it, but Winston realizes that killing Katharine wouldn’t have accomplished anything. Though Julia knows she will one day be caught and executed, on another level she still believes she can achieve an individual victory over the Party by living in a secret world of her own. She has not accepted as Winston has that happiness is not possible in the Party’s world and that the only victory they can hope for will come long after their deaths. “We are the dead,” he tells her, but Julia disagrees, pointing out that they are alive and enjoying themselves now. She then turns to the practical business of arranging their next meeting.

(The entire section is 558 words.)