Who are the Proles in 1984: Unraveling their Role in Orwell’s Dystopia

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The Dystopian Fear in 1984: Understanding the Role of the Proles

Fear plays a big part in the novel 1984 by George Orwell. Fear is meant to mentally and physically suppress anyone to make them submissive and cooperative to someone’s main goal, in this book being the Party. Fear is power, and power is what the Party wants, even if it means dumbing down people, aka the proles. The government in 1984 is a totalitarian government meaning the government controls everything.

Oceania’s Surveillance State: What Are Proles in 1984?

The Party’s constant surveillance not only strikes fear into the heart of many of Oceania’s residents, but it also makes sure that they are doing everything they are supposed to be doing.

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The novel greatly foreshadowed modern societies’ own government. With all of the technical advancements, especially those concerning surveillance and data collection, it makes sense to compare the two. In the novel, the Party uses telescreens which are TV sets that have cameras instilled in them. These telescreens are everywhere and can detect as well as listen to anything being said or done. In modern society, there have been cases of cell phones listening to what you are saying or social media websites gathering information to send specified apps to you.

The Mechanism of War: Control and Compliance in 1984

Another way that fear is used to control the people of Oceania is war. Oceania has been at war with both Eastasia and Eurasia. However, the Party changes its enemy frequently, and everybody just goes with the flow. While this is not exactly what the United States is dealing with, we have been in a lot of wars, mainly those residing in the Middle East. However, after each war, there has been a time period (maybe three or four years) when we were not actively in one. As time goes on, we find more things to go to war over, even if they are things such as talking about another country’s Prime Minister, aka Canada, and Justin Trudeau. This makes it seem as though we would go to war with anyone who opposes our ideals. Compare it to society now; they are both the same in the way that there is an ever-ending war.

Today we have the “War On Terror,” which was brought to light by the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center as well as the Pentagon. Many people view this “War On Terror” as a generalization of anybody in the middle east that oppose our views and automatically considers them a terrorist. Any act of war will surely strike fear into anyone because violence is scary. But when the government profits off of these wars, that’s when it becomes something else. The thought police are very common in this dystopian future. The thought police are a group of people who aim to suppress ideas that deviate from the way of thinking so that they believe to be correct.

Thought Police and the Suppression of Dissent: What Are the Proles’ Role in 1984?

In Orwell’s dystopia, the Thought Police serve to suppress any deviation from the Party’s prescribed way of thinking. This suppression is particularly harsh among the proles, who represent the potential for dissent and opposition. To further control the populace, the Party has deployed spies to infiltrate social groups and root out any dissenters, further instilling fear into society. Additionally, the Party encourages citizens, including children, to report any perceived disloyalty. This chilling level of surveillance and control can be likened to contemporary instances of curtailing freedom of speech and privacy, such as net neutrality debates and the NSA’s extensive surveillance activities.


  1. Orwell, G. (1949). 1984. London: Secker & Warburg.
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Who are the Proles in 1984: Unraveling their Role in Orwell's Dystopia. (2023, Jul 31). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/who-are-the-proles-in-1984-unraveling-their-role-in-orwells-dystopia/