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Nineteen Eighty Four George Orwell ''if There Is Hope,…It Lies In The Proles'' How Much Hope Do You As A Reader Place In The Proles?

1499 words - 6 pages

Winston’s statement is vague and must be properly addressed before we can access its validity. The word ‘hope’ in itself is deliberately ambiguous as Winston fails to mention what this hope is for. Winston may be talking about hope of revolution and the overthrow of government as a ‘horse shaking flies.’ For this there is ultimately almost no hope in the proles due to the futility expressed in the novel’s ending as even our socially aware narrator succumbs to the guile of Big Brother. However, much more than this Winston may be talking about hope for the future, hope for freedom from social oppression and the dictatorial regime of the Party, hope for the end goal of this revolution. Winston writes this statement having just described the way in which the Party has manipulated sex, one of the basest human instincts according to Freud, into a joyless act and attempts to ‘eliminate the orgasm.’The freedom from this sort of tyranny is far more within the reach, and to some extent is already available, to the proles. The proles, superficially, have far more tangible freedom than the party members since they are able to indulge in their own activities during free time which party members are not permitted. The proles are less vigorously monitored by the Thought Police or party officials and in theory are allowed to live as they please. However, in theory, the party members are too allowed to live as they please though the reality is very different as will be discussed later.It is questionable whether or not Winston himself holds any hope in the proles. Whilst traversing the prole districts of London he re-states and corrects his prior quote, this time saying ‘if there was hope it lay in the proles.’ This suggests that he has come to the conclusion that there is actually no hope other than a theoretical one. The use of ‘if’ and ‘was’ shows that Winston is not so much expressing a hope but rather philosophising on abstract concepts, ‘a palpable absurdity’ which he knows are out of reach in reality. These theoretical truths are expressed as important to Winston’s psyche as he depends on them to stay sane, he writes the ‘axiom’ ‘Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.’ His hope in the proles is part of the same concept. Winston needs to make sense of his world no matter how futile it might be, he needs to cling on to the prospect of hope despite its impossibility.The way in which the proles are portrayed shows how they are able to function within the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four and kept under control despite having certain levels of freedom. At the start of chapter seven we are presented with the power of the proles to such an extent that we are even given the statistics that it contains 85% of the population of Oceania. Though Winston constantly expresses their huge potential their futility is...

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