[personal profile] wingedbeast
It's not until now that we're going to get a sense of the character of the woman for whom Winston has, when he's thought of her at all, had a series of strong emotions. That has unfortunate elements.

I've taken opposition to the notion that Winston is the closest to whole of all the characters in 1984, but there is a way of looking at that as true. Winston, after a fashion, is the only character in this book. Everybody else is the roles they play. And, I can't tell the extent to which that is intended.

Is this an unfortunate trope of simplistic storytelling or is this an examination of the ways we become, to each other, mere roles dictated by the society around us?

I don't know. And my readiness to give Orwell the benefit of the doubt is tested by some of what we've seen so far.

For now, we see Winston and this woman, still only known as the dark-haired girl, can only manage to have a hidden conversation by, eventually, finding a way to manage to having, just by coincidence, sat down near each other and not looking at each other.

'What time do you leave work?'
'Eighteen-thirty.'
'Where can we meet?'
'Victory Square, near the monument.'
'It's full of telescreens.'
'It doesn't matter if there's a crowd.'
'Any signal?'
'No. Don't come up to me until you see me among a lot of people. And don't look at me. Just keep somewhere near me.'
'What time?'
'Nineteen hours.'
'All right.'


It's quick and it shows us something about this woman that Winston doesn't seem to have noticed in his drive for romantic and/or sexual intimacy. She's done this before. She's honed some skill. She is the more capable and experienced rebel, between the two.

On the one hand, this is Winston coming face-to-face with the reality that other people have internal lives, too. I don't think he's noticed this. At most, he's noticed this with regards to the woman who's name he still doesn't know and has yet to think to ask.

On the other hand, there's the motive behind this particular rebellion. The note read "I love you." It didn't read "Come Join The Re-Revolution". It didn't read "Help us, Winston, we need you." It read "I love you."

So, while she's still a rebel and she's a more capable rebel than Winston, she's still Winston's kind of rebel. His rebellion is of the pseudo-intellectual variety, seeking to be smarter than the Party just for the sake of the personal satisfaction. Hers is of a different variety, but seemingly no less based on just things for herself for her own satisfaction.

In away, they're made for each other.

In another way, they're High School teenagers and it's a strict, private High School. Seriously, this whole thing can easily be rewritten as a religious boarding school, with Teachers, staff, certain students singled out for positions of honor, and a general student body that is, despite claims of strict discipline, left to their own devices for the most part. It would all make just as much sense.

The rest of this chapter (I'm sorry for summarizing, but it takes this pattern) is the above hushed conversation, taken place over lunch and under the guise of two people silently eating coincidentally within ear-shot of each other and a repetition. The next meeting involves Winston making his way through the crowd of people to the point where he can talk to her with a bit more freedom, due to the crowd covering their voices from the telescreens. In this meeting, Winston takes yet more direction on when and where to have their next meeting.

Seeing this in terms of two teenagers in an overbearing High School drives home how immature both participants are. It also drives home how small this act of rebellion is. And, though this is turning out to be a small bit, I think it's saved by the point that viewing Winston and this woman as teenagers also shows how emotionally vulnerable they are.

Neither one has had contact with the other. In fact, neither one has the necessary information about each other to have an emotional attachment to a person. By necessity, they're both objectifying each other because they don't have a choice. They need some emotional attachment and that's what's left.

So, I'll leave with the last paragraph of the chapter. They're about to part, but the crowd is pressing them together. As they are pressed together, a line of trucks is on the street, in front of them, transporting prisoners of war, garnering curiosity from most.

It could not have been ten seconds, and yet it seemed a long time that their hands were clasped together. He had time to learn every detail of her hand. He explored the long fingers, the shapely nails, the work-hardened palm with its row of callouses, the smooth flesh under the wrist. Merely feeling it he would have known it by sight. In the same instant it occurred to him that he did not know what colour the girl's eyes were. They were probably brown, but people with dark hair sometimes had blue eyes. To turn his head and look at her would have been inconceivable folly. With hands locked together, invisible among the press of bodies, they stared steadily in front of them, and instead of the eyes of the girl, the eyes of the aged prisoner gazed mournfullly at Winston out of nests of hair.

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