In George Orwell’s classic novel “1984” we are introduced to two complimentary characters, Winston and Julia. The two strike up a love affair which is against the regime in which they live in which favors puritanical style relationships that are only necessary for procreating. Winston and Julia share their dislike for “Big Brother” and often engage in free thought and conversation which could have them imprisoned and ultimately killed. Within their shared interests there are two different angles and attitudes that each character has. For the scope of this paper I will examine how Winston and Julia differ in their feelings about history, show some differences in morality, and highlight a few of their ethical differences.
Winston and Julia are both effected differently by the party in terms of their feelings about history. We begin to see differences in how Winston calls upon faded early memories of how things used to be and carefully analyzes the current state of affairs. This in contrast with Julia’s nonchalant attitude towards the party. She is prepared to go through the motions and be an actor in public without much thought and live her private life. “He wondered vaguely how many others like her there might be in the younger generation people who had grown up in the world of Revolution, knowing nothing else, accepting the party as something unalterable” in this particular thought space Winston begins to reveal the differences between him and Julia in the book (Orwell 166).
He is able to call on better times, although they are faded memories, and analyze that something is very wrong with the world and slowly formulating the gusto needed to join the underground movement that opposes “Big Brother”. Julia on the other hand had never known another world and instead makes her life more tolerable with silent rebellions and purchases on the black market (like that of chocolate in one their earliest encounters) (Orwell 153). She appears comfortable with the life she has become accustomed to and only goes along with Winston’s ideas to join the movement against Big Brother (probably out of love and adopting his interests).
There are some slight differences in the moral character of Winston and Julia in spite of their many shared attitudes towards the party. It does not appear that Winston is happy to live a life of forced celibacy but he has become accustomed to living without sex and only visits prostitutes every few years under compulsion. Julia, on the other hand, has very freely given herself to men, including party members, “hundreds of times” (Orwell 157).
Ethically Winston and Julia are also a bit different. Winston rarely went against the grain and lived pretty much within the lines of the regime until he started writing his journal and the few instances he visited prostitutes. Julia on the other hand has made a lifestyle of getting around the rules and finding secret ways to hiding spots for sex, making purchases on the black market, and being out in the street meeting with lovers.
“Although Winston and Julia both rebel against the party they are completely different in their reasoning, inspiration, and motives” (Katifer, 2008) Winston and Julia share so much in common throughout their encounters but their differences are subtle yet are able to be detected with examination. Some would even say that there are differences in the motives of their affair; Julia wanting to break the rules and Winston happily obliging her for her youth and beauty (Aslan, 2013). The differences are highlighted in their differing responses to Big Brother due to their understandings of history as they’ve experienced it, some differences in moral restrain and conformity, as well as in practices of ethics. They both share a strong dislike for Big Brother and the differences that each embodies capture the essence of every type of reader who might be dissatisfied with their current government.