1984

by: George Orwell

Julia

I LOVE YOU.

These are Julia’s first words to Winston, written on a scrap paper and passed to him in the hall. The words represent a total reversal of Julia’s character in both Winston’s mind and the readers’. Until this moment Winston has suspected her to be a member of the Thought Police and has even fantasized about raping and killing her.

I was a troop-leader in the Spies. I do voluntary work three evenings a week for the Junior Anti-Sex League. Hours and hours I’ve spent pasting their bloody rot all over London. I always carry one end of a banner in the processions. I always look cheerful and I never shirk anything. Always yell with the crowd, that’s what I say. It’s the only way to be safe.

Julia is explaining to Winston how she maintains her disguise of Party respectability. This disguise initially led Winston to hate and distrust Julia, but she uses the disguise to survive while breaking the Party’s rules. Julia’s secret identity is a reversal of O’Brien and Mr. Charrington, characters who maintain disguises of sympathy toward those who defy the Party while working as Thought Police.

It was something in your face. I thought I’d take a chance. I’m good at spotting people who don’t belong. As soon as I saw you I knew you were against THEM.

Julia is telling Winston why she gave him the note, and more broadly why she loves him. It’s worth noting that she never speaks of concepts like sexual or romantic attraction. Rather, Julia’s belief that Winston is against the Party makes her want to be with him.

When you make love you’re using up energy; and afterwards you feel happy and don’t give a damn for anything. They can’t bear you to feel like that. They want you to be bursting with energy all the time. All this marching up and down and cheering and waving flags is simply sex gone sour.

Julia is explaining to Winston why the Party is so eager to control the act of sex. Before meeting Julia, Winston believed that the Party simply wanted to deny people pleasure and connection, but Julia, because of her greater experience with sex as an act of resistance, understands the Party’s true motives.

And do you know what I’m going to do next? I’m going to get hold of a real woman’s frock from somewhere and wear it instead of these bloody trousers. I’ll wear silk stockings and high-heeled shoes! In this room I’m going to be a woman, not a Party comrade.

Julia and Winston are in their apartment together, and Julia has just put on makeup and perfume, both of which are forbidden by the Party. Julia is becoming excited by her ability to control her physical appearance and identity within the limited confines of the space that she and Winston believe is safe from observation. Unknown to both of them, they’re being observed by the Thought Police during this time as well.

I’m quite ready to take risks, but only for something worth while, not for bits of old newspaper.

In this short line Julia reveals the difference between the kinds of resistance that matter to Winston and to Julia. For Winston, the old bit of newspaper that he once saw proving that the Party lies about history was crucially important. Julia is no less willing to risk death than Winston, but for her the benefits must be practical and immediate, not philosophical or intellectual.

If they could make me stop loving you—that would be the real betrayal. They can’t do that…They can make you say anything—anything—but they can’t make you believe it. They can’t get inside you.

Julia and Winston are talking about what might happen to them once the Thought Police have arrested them. Julia believes, and Winston agrees, the Thought Police cannot change who you are inside. In Book Three, both learn that the Thought Police can change who a person is, and that, in fact, changing a person’s inner life is central to how the Thought Police handle criminals.