To Orwell Today,
I love your site and how incredibly in depth it is.
I just finished reading 1984 and I've considered almost all of the perceivable realities posed by it (probably not, but anyway), but one thing is left unanswered to me. Could Winston and Julia be brother and sister? When meeting her, Winston divulges that he is 39 and later discovers Julia is 26. During his flashbacks with his mother, he speculates that he could have been anywhere from 10 to 12, and that his baby sister couldn't be much older than one year. Given that the math somewhat syncs up, could it be that Julia is in fact Winston's sister? Have you ever considered this yourself, or am I completely alone on this?
Thank you for reading and keep up your studies; you're clearly a scholar worthy of a tip of the hat from Orwell himself, truly.
Most sincerely yours,
Thank you for your kind words about Orwell Today and I'm so glad you're enjoying it.
Regarding the concept that Winston and Julia are brother and sister I must say that the idea never occurred to me and I've never heard anyone else mention it and so you ARE alone in thinking that.
I think Orwell wanted us to arrive at the conclusion that Winston's little sister died due to weakness from lack of nutrition and from the harshness of living in the orphan camps. She was barely clinging to life when he last saw her, that day he grabbed her share of the piece of chocolate. Regarding Winston's mother I think Orwell intended us to imagine that she could still be alive and empathize with him in his subconscious searching for her - even to the point where he wonders if the drunken lady in his cell could be her. Maybe that's where you got the idea.
Actually, the consensus about Julia is that she is based on Orwell's second wife, Sonia who was fifteen years younger than him, ie he married her when he was 46 and she was 31. The conversation Winston has with Julia in the clearing where they have their first rendezvous is autobiographical:
"...You are young, fresh and healthy...You are ten or fifteen years younger than I am...I'm thirty-nine years old...I've got varicose veins. I've got five false teeth..."
This is the type of thing Orwell was known to have said to Sonia when proposing marriage to her. She was a voluptuous beauty who worked as an editorial assisstant for a literary magazine ("the girl from the Fiction department") and he was a physical wreck ravaged by tuberculosis and the writing of "1984".
The more books and articles a person reads by and about Orwell the more understanding one garners about his life and the easier it becomes to recognize the real people behind the characters in his novels. Orwell actually doesn't write fiction. His books are all thinly disguised autobiographies and it is actually fun discovering who he is talking about.
All the best,
4.Old World Destruction and 38.Cellars and 26.Julia & Rebellion and SONIA'S FLAT & ORWELL'S HOSPITAL and WHAT WAS ORWELL'S SONIA LIKE
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