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Sex, Love, and Loyalty Theme Analysis

Themes and Colors
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Reality Control Theme Icon
Sex, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Class Struggle Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in 1984, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Sex, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon

As Julia observes, the Party polices sexual relationships because it realizes that the hysteria caused by sexual frustration can be harnessed into war fever and leader-worship. Because of this, when Winston and Julia make love they think of it as a political act, "a blow struck against the Party." The sadistic fantasies Winston has about Julia before they begin their affair indicate the strong link between sexual repression and violence. The red sash Julia wears and her voluptuous appearance arouses feelings of hatred and resentment that only dissipate when he learns that he can possess her physically.

Another reason that the Party restricts sexual behavior is that sexual desire competes with loyalty to the State: after Winston makes love with Julia, he realizes that it is "the force that would tear the Party to pieces." In place of heterosexual love, the Party substitutes leader-worship and patriotic feeling: thus, when Winston betrays Julia under torture, he learns to revere O'Brien and worship Big Brother.

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Sex, Love, and Loyalty Quotes in 1984

Below you will find the important quotes in 1984 related to the theme of Sex, Love, and Loyalty.
Book 2, Chapter 2 Quotes
In the old days, he thought, a man looked at a girl's body and saw that it was desirable, and that was the end of the story. But you could not have pure love or pure lust nowadays. No emotion was pure, because everything was mixed up with fear and hatred. Their embrace had been a battle, the climax a victory. It was a blow struck against the Party. It was a political act.
Related Characters: Winston Smith (speaker), Julia/The Dark-Haired Girl
Page Number: 126
Explanation and Analysis:

Winston and Julia have just had sex, and Winston reflects on his feelings of desire for Julia and how these are inflected with the fear and hatred he constantly feels as a result of living under the Party. Because the Party controls citizens' actions and even emotions, simply the private act of expressing love and desire is subversive. However, although Winston is able to overcome the sadistic, violent urges he at first feels toward Julia, the Party still plays a role in their romantic encounter; indeed, what in a free society would be an ordinary private act becomes a major political gesture with very serious ramifications. 


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Book 2, Chapter 3 Quotes
There was a direct, intimate connection between chastity and political orthodoxy. For how could the fear, the hatred, and the lunatic credulity which the Party needed in its members be kept at the right pitch, except by bottling down some powerful instinct and using it as a driving force? The sex impulse was dangerous to the Party, and the Party had turned it to account.
Related Characters: Winston Smith (speaker)
Page Number: 133
Explanation and Analysis:

Julia has explained to Winston how the Party utilizes sexual repression as a way of creating and harnessing frustrated energy that can then be directed toward the Party's own political ends. Winston agrees, and muses that if left uncontrolled, sexuality would be a direct threat to the Party. Once again, Orwell shows that characters in the world of 1984 are not able to understand their own thoughts and feelings except in relation to the Party: every act, thought, and emotion is instantly categorized as either orthodox or subversive. This passage is also significant because of its wider implications beyond the issue of totalitarianism. Although the sexual repression depicted in 1984 is extreme, Orwell's point about the ways in which sexual repression can be used to create political obedience is not necessarily limited to totalitarian regimes. 

Book 2, Chapter 4 Quotes
He turned over towards the light and lay gazing into the glass paperweight. The inexhaustibly interesting thing was not the fragment of coral but the interior of the glass itself. There was such a depth of it, and yet it was almost as transparent as air. It was as though the surface of the glass had been the arch of the sky, enclosing a tiny world with its atmosphere complete. He had the feeling that he could get inside it, and that in fact he was inside it, along with the mahogany bed and the gateleg table and the clock and the steel engraving and the paperweight itself. The paperweight was the room he was in, and the coral was Julia's life and his own, fixed in a sort of eternity at the heart of the crystal.
Related Characters: Winston Smith (speaker), Julia/The Dark-Haired Girl
Related Symbols: The Glass Paperweight
Page Number: 147
Explanation and Analysis:

Winston and Julia have secretly met in the room above Mr. Charrington's junk shop, enjoying the forbidden pleasures of black market food, spontaneous singing, and time together away from the surveillance of the Party. At the end of this scene, Winston stares at the antique glass paperweight he has bought, marveling at its beauty and complexity. Under the Party, all production has become purely functional, and thus craftsmanship no longer exists and beautiful objects are (literally) relics of the past. 

Winston's fascination with the paperweight is moving, and the level of detail in this description betrays the way in which citizens living in free societies might end up taking such small manifestations of beauty and skill for granted. Winston's desire to be inside the paperweight highlights the strength of his longing for privacy and for an internal life beyond the reach of the Party. The phrase "in fact he was inside it" also reflects Orwell's repeated challenging of the binary between external reality and our internal perspective. 

Book 2, Chapter 7 Quotes
The terrible thing that the Party had done was to persuade you that mere impulses, mere feelings, were of no account, while at the same time robbing you of all power over the material world. When once you were in the grip of the Party, what you felt or did not feel, what you did or refrained from doing, made literally no difference. Whatever happened you vanished, and neither you nor your actions were ever heard of again.
Related Characters: Winston Smith (speaker)
Page Number: 164
Explanation and Analysis:

Winston has told Julia that he has spent his entire life feeling guilty for his mother's death, an emotional revelation that was only made possible through the time he and Julia have spent alone in the rented room. Having made this confession, Winston feels resentful of the way that the Party has made his emotions insignificant, while also robbing him of any structural power within the Party itself. The statement "what you did or refrained from doing, made no difference. Whatever happened you vanished" emphasizes the fact that individual identity is completely dissolved in the world of 1984. It is impossible to have any individual autonomy, as the only possible modes of behavior––obedience or rebellion––both ultimately result in being subsumed back into the Party. 

Book 3, Chapter 6 Quotes
"Sometimes," she said, "they threaten you with something—something you can't stand up to, can't even think about. And then you say, ‘Don't do it to me, do it to somebody else, do it to so-and-so.' And perhaps you might pretend, afterwards, that it was only a trick and that you just said it to make them stop and didn't really mean it. But that isn't true. At the time when it happens you do mean it. You think there's no other way of saving yourself, and you're quite ready to save yourself that way. You want it to happen to the other person. You don't give a damn what they suffer. All you care about is yourself."
"All you care about is yourself," he echoed.
"And after that, you don't feel the same towards the other person any longer." — "No," he said, "you don't feel the same."
Related Characters: Winston Smith (speaker), Julia/The Dark-Haired Girl (speaker)
Page Number: 292
Explanation and Analysis:

Winston has run into Julia, and they have both confessed that they betrayed each other while being tortured in Room 101. Julia admits that this moment of betrayal represents a total loss of one's sense of self, reflecting Winston's earlier thoughts in the Chestnut Tree Cafe.

Even though this betrayal is induced by the worst form of torture, it is not possible for either Julia or Winston to forgive themselves. They are haunted by the memory of their own selfishness in the face of torture, a selfishness that then results in total obedience to the Party. This highlights a paradox within the consequences of torture; the moment when "all you care about is yourself" becomes the moment when you lose your sense of self forever. Orwell thus implies that what gives people a sense of personal identity is in fact the ability to care about other things (such as people and principles) more than themselves.