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Explain why "If there is hope..it lies in the proles" of Orwell's 1984.

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lehgo | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 11, 2013 at 2:54 PM via iOS

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Explain why "If there is hope..it lies in the proles" of Orwell's 1984.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 11, 2013 at 10:06 PM (Answer #1)

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Winston writes that the proles are where hope lies.  It becomes evident that the Party will not destroy from within and thus there needs to be an external force that has to be an agent of change.  The Proles are envisioned as that force:

If there was hope, it MUST lie in the proles, because only there in those swarming disregarded masses, 85 per cent of the population of Oceania, could the force to destroy the Party ever be generated. The Party could not be overthrown from within. Its enemies, if it had any enemies, had no way of coming together or even of identifying one another.

For Winston, the sheer numbers of the Proles enable them to have a shot of overcoming the power of Big Brother and the Party.  Winston sees the Proles as containing the physical capacity in terms of numbers and size to overthrow the Party.  For Winston, if the Proles could be made aware to understand their own strength, change would be evident:

But the proles, if only they could somehow become conscious of their own strength. would have no need to conspire. They needed only to rise up and shake themselves like a horse shaking off flies. If they chose they could blow the Party to pieces tomorrow morning. 

It is in the Proles' capacity as an agent of change where Winston sees them as being able to represent hope.


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