Winston understood pretty well that Julia, in many aspects, held the opposite view to himself, regarding the party and their overall life situation -- her way of rebelling was way different than his, and she felt no need to sacrifice her life in an attempt to do some miniscule damage to the party or the morale of its followers; it wasn't as important or as exciting an idea for her as it was for Winston.

For example, Julia wasn't interested at all in learning the actual historical "truths" behind several "facts" that the party had stated -- the fact that the party began stating at some point that they invented the airplane; the fact that Eurasia's enemy changed several years ago, without the party ever acknowledging it, etc.

Moreover, one of the most important moments in Winston's life, whose actual daily job was rewriting the "past", was the fact that he -- at one point in time -- held a Times article, which absolutely contradicted the current "version" of the past -- after the fact.
When he decided to speak about that to Julia, she showed literally no interest -- it wasn't as dramatic or interesting to her.

Her life philosophy stated that there was no actual problem in "playing the game" -- full on -- while, in secret, doing the things she wanted to do, even when they absolutely contradicted the party's philosophy and rules of conduct. Living this way was actually, in secret, exciting for her.
That was her way of rebelling and she explained that point thoroughly to Winston -- she didn't mind at all continuing to live like that.

She didn't want to join any actual "resistance" group, her life had plenty of meaning -- according to her, she was pretty happy with her life situation.

So, my question is -- why, knowing all that, did Winston decide to take Julia with him to this extremely dangerous, unlikely-to-succeed meeting?
For a moment, he didn't have an illusion that this meeting was "light", it was extremely serious. A once-in-a-lifetime event actually.

  • Why was taking Julia with him even an option?
  • Why, when they were asked the so-very-extreme questions by O'Brien, did they both answer "yes" to all but one? Maybe Winston was in some kind of trance, but Julia... I just can't understand her actions and answers in this meeting and the events preceding it.

This made no sense to me.

1 Answer 1


If anything, Julia is the greater subversive of the two. She goads Winston into taking ever greater risks and downplays the seeming importance of what he's done so far. The critical junction comes in his conversation with her about the newspaper. She clearly recognises that just having a mouldy piece of paper with some print on it isn't going to change anything of note. While he's happy inciting small acts of rebellion, and even goes so far as to suggest that they shouldn't meet any more, she wants to be an actual freedom fighter and tear the party down in her lifetime.

'It was no good, because I threw it away a few minutes later. But if the same thing happened today, I should keep it.'

'Well, I wouldn't!' said Julia. 'I'm quite ready to take risks, but only for something worth while, not for bits of old newspaper. What could you have done with it even if you had kept it?'

She appears to have basically invited herself along to his meeting with O'Brien. It's possible that without her moral support Winston would have chickened out of going in the first place.

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