There is a similar situation in 1984 with Winston’s own memory of an encounter with a prostitute. The very fact that Winston is including this in his diary is a risky thing, if it were to be found it would expose the immoral memories and thoughts that he has. However most importantly this memory is an insight into Winston’s character and the extreme measures he is willing to take to defy Big Brother, it shows the vulgarity that sex has and reinforces the attitude of Big Brother’s society.
The prostitute appears at first to Winston to be a woman of beauty, ‘She had a young face, painted very thick. It was really the paint that appealed to me, the whiteness of it, like a mask, and the bright red lips.’ However when Winston sees the woman in the harsh reality of the street light he is able to see that ‘…she was quite an old woman, fifty years old at least.’ Winston’s attraction to the woman’s made-up face could show his shallow nature, only look at the surface and not the substance beneath, much like his belief in the beginning that Big Brother is something to fight against his ideas a very shallow and purely based upon his hatred for Big Brother.Order now
However when he is guided to the reality of the situation he is able to see the true form and appreciate Big Brother in a valid way. Winston’s attraction could also show the desperate measures he regularly takes to make a stand against Big Brother, this is just one of the many ways Winston tries to undermine Big Brother in his own radical way, another such example is his relationship with Julia. Winston like Lenina uses sex as a weapon against the society that he lives in, whereas Lenina is rebelling against her conditioning by not be so sexual promiscuous, Winston uses sex to fight his corner and rebel against Big Brother’s condemnation of all things sex and lust related.
The character of the Savage called John is the only character who seems to openly renounce the ideals and appearance that the Fordian society takes on, but eventually even John is broken down by the extreme nature of the society. John comes from the Savage Reservation considered the lowest of the low class rankings in the whole of civilisation, because of this naturally people’s reactions to him are one of intrigue and interest. John has not been subject to the conditioning of Fordian society and so when he is taken back to the World State he is appalled by the obvious sexual promiscuity of the society he is visiting; he believes in the long and forgotten values of love and romance and cannot believe what he sees.
The effect this has upon Lenina is sizeable, she is already somewhat flawed in her beliefs and the arrival of John into her live must have an impact upon her. Her initial impression of John fits right in to what she has been conditioned to think, ‘Lenina was smiling at him; such a nice-looking boy, she was thinking, and a really beautiful body.’ In fact Lenina continues with this line of belief for the majority of the novel, thoughts of staying with one single man pushed firmly to the back of her mind. John’s reaction to Lenina is also note worthy, from the beginning when he meets her, John struggles with the battle between wanting Lenina and not wanting her, ‘He looked down at her for a moment, pale, pained, and desiring and ashamed of his desire.
He was not worthy, not…Hastily he looked away…’ John is continually fighting this new and unfamiliar urge to enter into something with Lenina; however the twist is that John wants a relationship, a deep and loving relationship, something that although Lenina appears to have tendencies towards this kind of relationship, he is unable to find. This is a demonstration by Huxley of how far reaching the conditioning and brainwashing in the Fordian society is, it is showing that despite the flaws all things concentrate down to the same ideals and beliefs-this demonstrated with Lenina and her infatuation with John.
John’s returning obsession with Lenina and the on-going battle between his heart and mind are his eventual downfall, he continues to have sexual day dreams about Lenina even when he has escaped into the countryside, ‘And suddenly the thought of Lenina was a real presence, naked and tangible…her arms around his neck, the lifting of her breasts, her mouth!’ John’s constant battle is slowly driving him wild and causes him to execute the one thing that he once thought he firmly believed not to do-sleep with Lenina after a wild and passionate soma-induced, crazed exhibition. John’s character is an important one when looking at how a totalitarian state effects someone not use to living in one, the demise of his character shows us that when introduced no one is left unaltered, but perhaps most importantly we are shown how sex and sexuality has such a strong and unyielding grip upon human kind, that it is conceivably not possible for anyone to reject the base instinct of sex.