George Orwell's 1984.

Essay by bekkybHigh School, 11th gradeA+, February 2008

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"The Proletarians of Oceania, with their passive acceptance of their lot in life, are happier than those who, like Winston, try to rebel."George Orwell demonstrates in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four how, under extreme circumstances, ignorance can lead to greater happiness. He demonstrates this with his contrasting descriptions of the protagonist, Winston, and the Proletarians. In the novel, the key to the happiness of the proles seems to lie in several factors, including a mindless acceptance of their lot in life, and their vast freedoms from Party rule and scrutiny- liberties which Winston does not possess.

The story is instigated by Winston’s desperate search for knowledge, his inability to just take life as it comes. His desire to make sense of the world, past and present, is what causes him to commit his first outward act of thoughtcrime. His need for human companionship leads him to embark on a clandestine relationship with fellow Party-member Julia; his yearning for an intellectual equal with whom he can converse freely encourages him to approach O’Brien.

As he engages in these actions, Winston is all the while aware that they will eventually end in his demise; and yet, he feels the need to persist with them. Unlike the Proletarians, Winston is aware of the inhumanities and lies caused by Big Brother, and is thus dissatisfied with life, and the society in which he lives.

It is the Proletarians, with their simple-mindedness and unquestioning natures, who are able to submit to the rule of Big Brother and the Party, mostly without complaint. Although they live in relentless poverty, “the larger evils invariably [escape] their attention,” with the result that they are able to passively accept things like longer working hours and shorter rations; bombs dropping regularly from the sky, despite the promises and reassurances of...