1984 and All’s Well? by Tom Winnifrith

By Tom Winnifrith

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It is therefore not new. It is located in the Boston area, a part of the United States that is commonly thought of as being given to tradition. The concluding lines of Harvard's song ('Fair Harvard') would seem to confirm an interest in the past and a concern with tradition. First flower of her wilderness, star of her night, Calm rising through change and through storm. Indeed, Harvard's popular 'image' within the United States, is of a stuffy, conservative, slightly old fashioned place. But the facts are that Harvard is as subject to change, as ready to adapt its curricula to the mood of the moment, as the most recently established campus of the University of California.

So that sex which can provide love for the present and lives for the 28 1984 and All's Well? future and links with the past is anathema to such authoritarian regimes. The record of communist countries towards sex is an interesting one. In the first heady days of the Russian Revolution free love was the order of the day, and it was possible for those hostile to Communism to exploit the link between sexual and social anarchy which has been made ever since the French Revolution. The figure of the longhaired, loose-living leftie still remains as a useful bogey among the bourgeoisie, but in fact bourgeois morality soon took over in Soviet Russia, while it was in the capitalist West that sexual freedom grew.

The fat prole lady also gives Nineteen Eighty-Four a far greater sense of optimism than anything Julia can provide, and after all julia and Winston's affair is doomed from the start, as they themselves recognise. Writing in 1983 we find it difficult to believe that Orwell could have been quite so harsh about contraception or abortion if he had been alive today, since the shattering effects of the population explosion in Third World countries would surely have worried him. Even in this sphere Western thinkers exhibit a certain amount of doublethink.

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