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Thread: The Proles were the fortunate ones.

  1. #1
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    The Proles were the fortunate ones.

    Is it me or were the proles the lucky ones? Forget members of the party, they had a few 'luxuries' more than the proles but at what cost? Their freedom was compromised completely, they were slaves to Big Brother and they were under constant scrutiny by the telescreens, the thought police and even their fellow party members. The proles however got to live their lives as they wished, they were allowed all their possesions of the past( The paperweight, the painting) without the risk of being tourtured, they could have sexual relations freely, they had no telescreens watching or restricting them, and they didn't have to watch their backs all the time.Even in the prison the guards treated them with considerably more respect than they did the party members.
    They had a better life than anyone. Why were they thoughtt of as inferior and (by Winston's standards) unintelligent?

  2. #2
    you make a good point there, perhaps thats what orwell was trying to poiny out, is that maybe in the end, all of these foolish ideals dont really matter; who really cares who the higher ups are fighting; ok lives are lost with the occasional bomb or so, but the losing of loves is natural, normal; people must move on to whatever lies beyond. SO the ideals dont matter, its just living your damn life and trying to be happy with what you get; everyone dies in the end. THe proles had it best alright. They got a lifetime of ignorance; what more could you want?

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    I definitely have to agree with Mia and Kren. I tried to think about some of the larger meaning, or how Orwell might have considered them. I'm probably reaching to far on this, but it was a fun five-minute thought-process. Haaaa. So, here it goes:

    Even our society estimates success by calculating a person's wealth and / or accomplishments. The Proles didn't have any wealth, or any real goals in life, at all. They lived in the slums where there was crime, filth and ignorance. Nothing to learn. Nothing to teach. Nothing to earn. Nothing to preach. But, they did, more or less, as they chose. The inner and outer party members aspired to higher positions and involvement in the party and were given a constant, steady dose of information (superfluous, though it was) about Big Brother and the Party. They belonged to their society. The Proles, well, as Carson McCullers would say: "they were members of nothing."

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    Metaphors!

    This entire book is a metaphor for what was happening in fascist Europe during World War II as well as a prediction of the fate of modern society (based on the historical cycle of the rise and fall of empires). Obviously, a lot of what Orwell included in 1984 is indeed coming to fruition in modern "free" countries.

    The proles represent the lower class and lower middle class people of today's world. There is a much greater population of the world today that is oppressed and impoverished than there are of the few power elite. Much like in 1984, if the modern day "proles" would realize their position of power due to simple numbers then they could organize and revolt.

    Likewise, Orwell also points out the conundrum that if that were to happen, the proles would eventually gain power and then create a power structure that would almost certainly evolve into an authoritarian state much like the one they fought against. The current situation in the U.S. echoes this sentiment perfectly.

    We started as a group of freedom fighting rebels raging against the authoritarian opression of King George. The colonists eventually established a free society based on natural rights and (limited) equality. We have now reached a point where power has naturally become too concentrated in the hands of the wealthy who want nothing more than to continue growing their power while the poor minorities waste themselves on drugs, violence and alcohol. If those at the lower end of the socio-economic scale take themselves out, the power elite can concentrate on simply guarding and strengthening their power.

    It's all simply a metaphor for the convoluted, contradictory, and oft repeated cylce of rebellion and authority.
    Last edited by ernieh3; 09-13-2005 at 06:15 PM.

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    It's not a metaphor if it is literally mentioned, clear as day, in the book.

    You've strayed from the point somewhat;the point was that power does not make one happy. The party is so strict on power and regimented society that they've lost their freedom. They are so wrapped up in maintaining this postion and keeping the world (themselves included) in a state of poverty, while the proles are pretty much left to themselves, to do as they please and actually live their lives away from the watchful eyes of Big Brother.

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    Actually, it is a metaphor. While he makes brief mention of the failure of Stalin in the U.S.S.R and Hitler in Germany, the rest of the story is metaphorical in relation to the power structure that was implemented by British Imperialism even though Britain considered themselves as fair and just rulers.

    Additionally, spend a couple of years in an inner city ghetto or a poor Hispanic farming community and tell me if the "modern day proles" are free just because they can sell drugs and destroy their community from the inside out. I know for a fact that the majority of people in those communities do not envy their own situation and certainly do not feel fortunate to be where they are.

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    You seem to be confused between modern day society and society in the book. When did I ever mention 'modern day' proles? Or that anyone is 'free just because they can sell drugs and destroy their community'. In the book I think you'll find it's not the proles who are destroying the community.

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    You are missing the point. Re-read my first post if you care for clarification.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ernieh3
    You are missing the point. Re-read my first post if you care for clarification.
    What, that you state the obvious fact that they are some parallels between modern society and the world of 1984? That's a given. But is so extreme that we have our thoughts and every move being monitored? No.

    What's power? To me it's the freedom the think as I like and do as I please. The members of the party may not be living in squalor ( though it's not far off) but they are less protected than the proles and they have minimal control over their own fate. If I were living in the world as it is in the book, I would rather live my life as a prole having even five minutes of happiness than a lifetime of misery.

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    Our current situation is not as extreme as the society in the book but it is quickly headed in that direction. The network is in place to track everybody's evry move with the use of cell phones, gps, internet and e-mail monitoring, cable and satellite television monitoring, credit card purchases and rewards programs, satellite radio, the debate over national Id cards, RFID's beginning to permeate the marketplace, chipping children to protect them against kidnapping etc. These tools are sold to us as modern conveniences but could easily be turned against an unwitting public.

    My argument has never been about who has it better in the book. I was trying to expand it to our modern society in hopes that people understand what can be avoided so future generations do not have to choose between the two evils of impoverished proles and enslaved party members.

  11. #11
    I wrote a similar post and I agree completely. the proles were indeed the fortunate ones, I only wish they were not treated so unfairly!

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