The institution of relations in Oceania is one of the most dangerous enemies of totalitarian power, which recognizes the unification of people only around the state and the Leader. Winston Smith is the protagonist of the work, whose life changed drastically after a chance encounter with Julia, which was a happy moment and a fateful circumstance at the same time. Julia is the true embodiment of forbidden non-conformism, hatred of the hierarchical order and the desire to break through the boundaries. Their relationship is complicated; the lovers are forced to hide their feelings from society because the cruel payback for the manifestation of sincere feelings is imminent.
In the context of dystopia, however, Romeo and Juliet’s love of Oceania is inherently doomed, for it is – in essence – not a story of love, but a story of escape into it. Whereas for Julia, the possibility of being with the man she adores is both a goal and a way of existence, for Winston, it is a dream of freedom, which remains an illusion. George Orwell used many literary devices to describe betrayal, the attempt to destroy the existing order, and the complexity of lovers’ relationships who could not resist the state system.
The writer uses the allegory of ‘Big Brother,’ which represents the state and its security organs, which watch over every member of society. Winston and Julia had no chance of a relationship because love is a punishable emotion that can destroy the system. Equally important is the use of symbols, such as ‘Room 101,’ a torture chamber located in the Ministry of Love. The party tries to subjugate the prisoners through it, using their greatest fears and phobias as punishment. The piece says: ‘The thing in Room 101 is the worst in the world…’ Julia and Winston have also been there (Orwell, 1949). The characters are possessed by a mixed feeling of euphoria and doom when they are arrested on a date, sent to the Ministry of Love, and separated there.
Smith finds himself in O’Brien’s office, which ‘helps’ him permanently ‘cured’ of his own will. He was about to attach a special mask to Winston’s head and open the cage door that contained the rats. However, Smith fails and betrays his beloved Julia at the last moment, begging O’Brien to impose this punishment on her, not him (Orwell, 1949). Smith emerges from the Ministry of Love transformed; he no longer felt anything for Julia, who also betrayed him. Instead, the party and ‘Big Brother’ seem to be the only right reference points, whose love is already indestructible.
The author uses symbols that are relics of the past and depict the complex relationship between the main characters. Such symbols are the paperweight, the older man in the bar, and St. Clement’s Church in the novel. Winston tries to find such things and buy them in order to reconnect with the past. It is essential that this literary device was particularly evident when the thought police came to arrest Winston and Julia. This can be seen in the lines, ‘Someone had picked up the glass paperweight from the table and smashed it to pieces on the hearthstone. The fragment of coral, a tiny crinkle of pink like a sugar rosebud from a cake, rolled across the mat. How small, thought Winston, how small it always was!’ (Orwell, 1949). When the glass paperweight shatters into the ground, it symbolizes that the heroes’ chances of reclaiming the past are also broken, and their relationship is in danger.
At the same time, it can be observed in this fragment that when the paperweight breaks, a small coral can be viewed on it. One can draw a parallel between the little unprotected coral and Julia and Winston’s relationship, which is also open to Big Brother. These techniques further emphasize that the political regime and their prohibition on creating a relationship is one of the main reasons for the complicated connection between the main characters.
At the same time, Orwell uses metaphors to represent the feeling of the head characters. In Winston and Julia’s relationship, the room where they had their meetings was significant. It allowed them to isolate themselves from the outside world and be in a public place because the room was on the top floor of the cafe. The author writes: ‘The room was a world, a pocket of the past where extinct animals could walk. Mr. Charrington, thought Winston, was another extinct animal’ (Orwell, 1949). It is significant to note that metaphorically it unites the rooms with the whole world belongs only to the heroes. Staying in this room reinforced the couple’s illicit relationship. Along with this, the room does infuse the characters’ relationship negatively because O’Brien and Mr. Charrington were agents of the Thought Police. Thus, even at first glance, such a pleasant place for Julia and Winston does symbolize the doom of their relationship.
Thus, the author utilizes literary elements in the novel to emphasize the existing complexities in the main characters’ relationships throughout the story. It is significant to mention that the novel contains many symbols, metaphors, and allegories; they allow the reader to analyze the future development of events. Thus, if one evaluates the artistic symbols presented, it is possible to better understand the complicated relationship of the heroes.
Orwell, G. (1949). Nineteen Eighty-Four. Secker & Warburg.