1984

Romance in Dystopian Literature: The Antidote to Oppression? 12th Grade

To a certain extent, Orwell harnesses Winston and Julia’s romantic relationship as the antidote to their oppression. Not only is it the ultimate transgression due to the fact they care about one another more than the state and for a brief time develop a life outside of the party, but it also allows Winston to retrieve his humanity. Additionally, the very fact the Party places so much emphasis on abolishing human affection, sexual drive and natural love indicates that love is a threat and a potential solution to fighting the oppression of totalitarian regimes. However, the authenticity of Julia’s love for Winston is made ambiguous by Orwell and this, coupled with the fact their relationship ultimately acts as a step towards their individual torture, therefore introduces doubt as to whether romantic love really is the weapon that can fight the authoritarian subjugation that Winston and Julia endure.

Winston’s transformation and character development over the course of the novel provides evidence for this interpretation of love as an antidote. For instance, prior to meeting Julia, at the end of the first chapter ,‘his face,from long habit, was probably expressionless’. Orwell, through the use of the adjective ‘expressionless’ and...

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