Discussion Topic

Comparing and Contrasting Winston and Julia in George Orwell's "1984"

Summary:

Winston and Julia in George Orwell's 1984 have contrasting motivations and approaches to rebellion. Winston is intellectual and seeks to understand and challenge the Party's control deeply, while Julia is pragmatic, rebelling through personal pleasures. Despite their differences, both characters share a common desire for personal freedom and a deep-seated hatred for the Party's oppressive regime.

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How are Winston and Julia alike and different in 1984?

Similarities

• Both Winston and Julia are rebellious towards the Party and go against the laws that govern thought and action

• They both desire each other and engage in a covert affair

Differences

• Unlike Winston, who is fearful and cautious, Julia is more free spirited, adventurous and takes risks. Winston lives his life constantly dreading the party, calculates his actions and constantly worries about being caught by the thought police and being vaporized.

• Whereas Winston is interested in the past and preoccupies himself with finding out what the party has hidden from everyone, Julia is just interested in the future. This stems from the fact that Winston is older than Julia and thus recalls what life was like before the party took over.

• Winston’s reason for rebelling is concrete and substantial; he wants to bring down the government. Contrarily, Julia has no particular reason for rebelling other than the fact that she hates big brother. Besides that, she is unconcerned about what the government does.

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How are Winston and Julia alike and different in 1984?

Julia and Winston are obviously most alike in their rebellion against the Party. They have no wish to remain slaves to Party doctrine and repression. The very fact of their having a secret love affair goes against all the Party teachings, as the Party aims to suppress such emotions as love between individuals. As Winston reflects on the first time he and Julia have sex: ‘It was a political act’.

Winston and Julia are also alike as they are both courageous and both are fully aware that in the end they will be captured by the Party and killed; they are under no illusions whatsoever on that score. It is also true, though, that they aren’t quite courageous enough to state their rebellion openly, but stage it covertly while maintaining an outward show of conformity: Julia, for instance, is involved in the Party Anti-Sex League while Winston gets on with his daily clerical work and keeps his journal containing his real thoughts quite hidden.

However, there are also notable differences between Winston and Julia – physical differences, for a start. Julia is much younger than Winston and very attractive, while Winston is verging on middle age and unimpressive in appearance. But the most important and fundamental difference between them is that Winston is intellectual while Julia is instinctual. Winston rebels against the Party because of his ideals of how society should be, while Julia rebels because the Party puts a check on her physical needs, desires and appetites. She wants to be free to express her sexuality, which the Party strictly forbids, and apparently she’s had several affairs with Party members before Winston. She also wants things like make-up and chocolates which in the world of the Party are unheard-of luxuries. Winston is not concerned with physical comforts; he prefers to spend his time reading and thinking. This essential difference between them is aptly illustrated when Julia manages to fall asleep while Winston is reading Emmanuel Goldstein’s book to her.

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How are Winston and Julia alike and different in 1984?

Winston and Julia have only two real similarities:  they both hate Big Brother and the government, and they have a mutual sexual desire.  Other than that, their personalities are almost at opposites.  Winston is concerned about large-scale social issues and is very negative and fatalistic.  Julia, however, is happy to live in the moment.  While Winston wants to join a rebellion and go on to bring down the government, Julia wants to lay low and just not get caught while enjoying sex.

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How are Winston's character and Julia's character different and how are they the same?

Winston Smith is much more interested in the inner-workings of the Party than Julia and is determined to express his individuality in some way, shape, or form. Winston is focused on finding concrete evidence that life before the Party was more enjoyable and is also curious about joining the Brotherhood. Despite his grasp on how the Party controls the population, Winston desires to know why Big Brother oppresses its population and makes living conditions in Oceania virtually unbearable. He is also sexually oppressed and wishes to have a meaningful relationship with a woman.

Julia is similar to Winston in her distaste for the authoritarian regime and affinity for being an individual. She is a political dissident and also takes extreme risks disobeying the Party. Similar to Winston, Julia is also in love and takes pleasure in carrying on her secret affair. Despite their many similarities, Julia is not interested in how the Party functions and does not desire to know many of the answers that Winston seeks. She is also less naive in some areas and has a better understanding of Big Brother's propaganda machine. For example, she doubts that Oceania is even currently engaged in a war while Winston simply accepts the apparent conflict as a fact. She is also not focused on undermining the entire regime and simply breaks the laws because she finds the experiences thrilling.

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How are Winston's character and Julia's character different and how are they the same?

Winston and Julia are both seeking freedom from the IngSoc society.  They both feel trapped and want to express their individuality.  They are both rebels, in other words.

However, while Winston's priorities are heartfelt, Julia's are not.  She is practical, more so than Winston who often asks rashly, but she does not have deep seated convictions.  She plays along with society by belonging to the Anti-Sex League, even though she doesn't believe in it.  She also betrays Winston quickly when put into danger.  Winston tries to maintain his convictions and rebellion, although his tragedy is an inability to stand up against the force of the new society.

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How did Julia and Winston meet in "1984" and where was their first tryst? What is the irony of this place? How are they similar and different?

Julia and Winston both work at the Ministry of Truth. For a long time, he desires her, but resents her because she appears to be committed to the idea of chastity as well as a mindless pawn of the Party's ideals. However, one day she falls down at the lavatory and uses the opportunity to slip Winston a note while he's helping her up. This note reads, "I love you." After that, the two arrange a trysting place.

They consummate their desire for one another in a forest outside of the city. This setting is significant because it represents a space without telescreens or the prying eye of the state. It also recalls the Garden of Eden, where man was free and innocent.

Winston and Julia resemble one another in their desire to rebel against Big Brother and the Inner Party. Neither enjoys the conformity and imposition upon their private lives Big Brother demands. However, they differ in their commitment to this rebellion. Winston is fascinated by history and politics, and seeks to hurt Big Brother as much as possible. Julia seems only interested in private subversiveness. Beyond her affair with Winston, she cares little for the ideals of the Brotherhood that Winston longs to get in contact with.

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