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Smith in Love - Essay Example

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Human beings as individuals have no validity. Feelings and emotions are forbidden. The notion of 'love' is laughable: it undermines the State's power.
Winston Smith and Julia know this. They do not accept it, however, but pursue a forbidden relationship; they deny submitting to the State by submitting to each other. In doing so they create a form of love that is traditional. Paradoxically, Orwell then introduces a form of love that is "turned away from what is right, good and proper: wicked"1 in Winston's and Julia's ultimate submission to Big Brother and the State. These two events reveal that Orwell understands human behavior as well as he does totalitarian regimes and that, consequently, his love story is intentionally both traditional and perverse.
Subject to constant monitoring, Thought Police and spies observing one's every move and overhearing one's utterances, the possibility of a traditional love affair in Oceania seems unlikely or - more accurately - impossible. The image of couples strolling arm in arm through what was once Hyde Park cannot be imagined, and it is certainly not imagined by Winston Smith and Julia. But they try in their way and succeed - for a time.
Orwell's introduction of Julia is anything but traditional: "Winston had disliked her from the very first moment of seeing her." (p12) In fact, Orwell goes on to reveal that his protagonist "disliked nearly all women, and especially the young and pretty ones." It is an oddly blunt statement which becomes intriguing, especially when the girl appears to Winston in a dream with sensual connotations.(29) The puzzle becomes more complex, even suspicious, when she passes Winston outside the junk shop: "She looked him straight in the face . . ." (85) Orwell's intentions become apparent - we think we understand - at their meeting in the Ministry when the girl passes a slip of paper into Winston's hand. We suspect, like Winston, that she may be "an agent of the Thought Police . . ." (90) But in a masterful stroke of storytelling, Orwell stands Winston's assumptions - and ours - on their head, because the message Julia passed to him reads, "I love you." Events that had evolved with sinister implications lead, almost amusingly, to a traditional resolution: a love note.
Winston's reaction is significant because in it we perceive traditional human behavior; he wants to cease being a depressed rat in a maze and have contact with others. As Orwell writes, "At the sight of the words I love you the desire to stay alive had welled up in him . . ." (91) Aware that earlier he had "contemplated smashing her skull in," (91) Winston is now rejuvenated by the prospect of her youth and beauty, her sexuality - and his. This initial response suggests lust rather than a mature relationship. But the deepening relationship between Julia and Winston as they struggle to establish their humanity/individuality pushes against the totalitarian society in which they must live and becomes, in a sense, traditional.
Julia's motivations for and expectations of the relationship are not Winston's but her initial feelings mature from mere sexual interest: "With Julia, everything came back to her own sexuality." (110) Such an observation ...Show more
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In romantic literature and poetry the concept of love as the submission of oneself to another is well-known. Perhaps the greatest of all love poets wrote: "Such is my love, to thee I so belong,/ That for thy right myself will bear all wrong." Shakespeare's feelings in Sonnet 88 have been echoed by countless authors when they wrote about love.
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