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And yet to the people of only two generations ago this would not have seemed all-important, because they were not attempting to alter history. They were governed by private loyalties which they did not question. What mattered were individual relationships, and a completely helpless gesture, an embrace, a tear, a word spoken to a dying man, could have value in itself. Proles, it suddenly occurred to him, had remained in this condition. They were not loyal to a party or a country or an idea, they were loyal to one another. For the first time in his life he did not despise the proles or think of them merely as an inert force which would one day spring to life and regenerate the world. The proles had stayed human. They had not become hardened inside. They had held on to the primitive emotions which he himself had to re-learn by conscious effort. (2.7.19)
Winston realizes that the proles, like people of the past, hold dear to their hearts loyalty to persons – not a party or a country or an idea. That, he believes, is true and natural freedom.
"The one thing that matters is that we shouldn’t betray one another, although even that can’t make the slightest difference."
"Confession is not betrayal. What you say or do doesn’t matter, only feelings matter. If they could make me stop loving you – that would be the real betrayal."
She thought is over. "They can’t do that," she said finally. "It’s the one thing they can’t do. They can make you say anything – anything – but they can’t make you believe it. They can’t get inside you." (2.7.26-29, Winston and Julia)
Winston and Julia discuss betrayal, and resolve that their shared loyalty to each other shall triumph.
"You are prepared to give your lives?"
"You are prepared to commit murder?"
"To commit acts of sabotage which may cause the death of hundreds of innocent people?"
"To betray your country to foreign powers?"
"You are prepared to cheat, to forge, to blackmail, to corrupt the minds of children, to distribute habit-forming drugs, to encourage prostitution, to disseminate venereal diseases – to do anything which is likely to cause demoralization and weaken the power of the Party?"
"If, for example, it would somehow serve our interests to throw sulphuric acid in a child's face – are you prepared to do that?"
"You are prepared to lose your identity and live out the rest of your life as a waiter or a dock-worker?"
"You are prepared to commit suicide, if and when we order you to do so?"
"You are prepared, the two of you, to separate and never see one another again?"
"No!" broke in Julia. (2.8.28-45, O’Brien, Winston, and Julia)
Winston and Julia pledge selfless loyalty to the Brotherhood. While Winston seems prepared to give it all up, including his love for Julia, Julia presently is reluctant.