In Orwell's 1984, how do the living quarters and style of the Inner Party members differ from the Outer Party members and proles?

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Michael Otis eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Society in Oceania, one of the three superstates of Orwell's dystopia, is a hierarchy of three rigid classes: At the apex is the Outer Party; corresponding to the old middle class is the Outer Party; and beneath, comprising 85 percent of the population, are the proles. Members of the Outer Party enjoy a relatively affluent standard of living. O'Brien, a representative of this class, lives in a clean suite of rooms. His apartment, where the elevators run soundlessly, is located in a kind of 'gated community' located in a generally ruinous London. He enjoys creature comforts denied to the other two classes: real coffee and sugar, and wine which he offers to the astonished Winston Smith during his visit to him. A servant, apparently of Asian origin, sees to O'Brien's needs. Like all members of the Inner Party, O'Brien has the freedom to turn off the omnipresent telescreen for short periods of time. In contrast, members of the Inner Party like Winston Smith endure an impoverished standard of living. They live in deteriorating 'Stalinesque' flats, where electricity and water service are sporadic and where the elevators rarely work. Even though Winston is a member of a middle class, his food is erzatz and substandard, and his pleasures such as synthetic gin and shoddy cigarettes, squalid. As for the proles, treated by the Party like animals, live in squalor in bombed-out tenements. Within the proletarian sections of London, vermin and disease are rampant. Although the proles are kept quiet with vast quantities of cheap beer, lurid pornography, and a national lottery, there is no question that they live lives of utter deprivation.

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1984

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