“Hope Lies in the Proles”: Tell-tale Notes of Warning in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four


  • Ipsita Mallick Research Scholar, Ravenshaw University, Cuttack, Odisha, India


Proles, Totalitarianism, Mass Surveillance, State Control, Mutability Of Past, Dystopia.


An exaggeration of the political climate of the day, the futuristic Nineteen Eighty-Four manifests an abundance of Orwell’s genius of framing a political world of rare excellence, and gives the impression of being written to frighten people into a distasteful recognition of the dangers of the present and future. In it, Orwell exemplifies a world where man’s identity is not only lost but laboriously erased to cripple his sense of individuality, and implicitly directs us to the realization that under such paralysing conditions, the only promise of hope lies not in the hands of the power holders and their pawns, but in the everyman, the working-class citizen or the prole- who by their design and partly his own, continues to live unconscious of such oppression and willingly cooperates with his oppressor.  The impetus to work on the topic, ‘The Hope is in the Proles: Tell-tale Notes of Warning in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four’ came from an arresting realization of the ugly truth captured in the pages of the novel that explores themes of totalitarianism, penetrative state control, mass surveillance, mutability of the past, role of language in sustaining a people, man’s degradation to a mere automaton and the potential power of the working class.

The purpose of this research is to: first, substantiate the hope that Orwell as well as his protagonist Winston claims, lies in the proles, and second, highlight the alarm-raising notes of warning that layer the writing. By analyzing the details of Winston’s journey and his fall in principles, the aim is to cast a look at the dystopia as Orwell’s attempt to chronicle a future the writer didn’t want the world to see come true.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...


Primary Source:
Orwell, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four. Secker & Warburg, 1949.
Secondary Sources:
Arendt, Hannah. The Origins Of Totalitarianism. Schocken Books, 1951.
Green, John. “George Orwell’s 1984, Part 2: Crash Course Literature 402.” Youtube, uploaded by CrashCourse, November 22, 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBYqV2sK918
McCrum, Robert. “1984: The Masterpiece That Killed George Orwell.”The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 9 May 2009, www.theguardian.com/books/2009/may/10/1984-george-orwell.
Menand, Louis. “’1984’ At Seventy: Why we still read Orwell’s book of Prophecy.” The New Yorker, Condè Nast, 8 June 2019,www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/1984-at-seventy-why-we-still-read-orwells-book-of-prophecy.
Meyers, Jefferey. A Reader’s Guide To George Orwell. Thames & Hudson, 1975.
Orwell, George. Homage To Catalonia.Secker & Warburg, 1938.
---. Animal Farm. Translated by Ivan Cherniatynskyl, Prometheus, 1947.
---. The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell, edited by Sonia Orwell and Ian Angus, Secker & Warburg, 1968 (4:378)
Sen, Sumanti. “Big Brother Is Watching! Stark Similarities Between George Orwell’s ‘1984’ & Modi’s 2020 India.” The Logical Indian, Hocalwire, 27 Feb. 2020,
“Spanish Civil War Breaks Out.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 9 Feb. 2010, www.history.com/this-day-in-history/spanish-civil-war-breaks-out.
Thorp, Malcolm R. “The Dynamics of Terror in Orwell’s ‘1984.’” Brigham Young University Studies, Vol. 24, No. 1, 1984, pp. 3- 17. JSTOR,
Zehr, David Morgan. “Orwell And The Proles: Revolutionary Or Middle Class Voyeur?” The Centennial Review, vol. 27, No. 1, 1983, pp. 30-40. JSTOR,




How to Cite

Mallick, I. (2020). “Hope Lies in the Proles”: Tell-tale Notes of Warning in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four. SMART MOVES JOURNAL IJELLH, 8(7), 192–211. Retrieved from https://ijellh.com/OJS/index.php/OJS/article/view/10675