In George Orwell's novel 1984, why does the narrator Winston Smith write "if there is hope, it lies in with the proles"?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In George Orwell's novelĀ 1984, the protagonist Winston Smith exists at the bottom rung of an upper or ruling class called "the Party" of a dystopian society modeled, in part, on the communist Soviet Union of Orwell's day. The narrator himself works at the Ministry of Truth, designed as a bureau responsible for thought control by means of total control of the media, including revision of the past to support a version of history justifying the present totalitarian rule of Big Brother and the Party.

Orthodoxy is enforced within the Party by the Thought Police, who monitor members' actions, speech, and even facial expressions by means of ubiquitous video cameras. They also view any sexual or sensual pleasure or form of romantic love as subversive. Orwell articulates a Freudian notion of sexual repression as he makes his narrator observe:

There was a direct, intimate connection between chastity and political orthodoxy. For how could the fear, the hatred, and the lunatic credulity which the Party needed in its members be kept at the right pitch except by bottling down some powerful instinct and using it as a driving force?

By contrast with the members of the Party, who are the equivalent of middle class professionals and government bureaucrats, the proles live in extreme poverty, working long hours at menial jobs. They are allowed sexual freedom and not observed by the Thought Police, because the Party thinks that their poverty, ignorance, and powerlessness make them no threat. Smith, however, thinks that since members of the Party are so completely controlled and observed, and as a reaction become so cautious and fearful, that any social change will originate in the proles, who are accustomed to a greater measure of freedom, not sexually repressed, and less intensively indoctrinated.

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