I have to write an essay describing the place and role of each of the three classes of people in Oceania and elaborate on why and how the government of Oceania wishes to foster inequality among its citizens. Any ideas? Thanks!!
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The inequality maintains Oceanian society as it is.
Thank you so much this is very helpful!!
The pyramidical structure of the Oceanian world is, like everything else in this book, a deliberate illusion.
Goldstein's book (which, as O'Brien openly admits, was written by a number of 'Inner Party'-members including himself) is again part of that illusion; Goldstein himself is basically the focus for feelings of hate, while BB himself is the only possible focus for love in a world were any other form of love becomes an impossibilty.
"The Book" is primarily aimed at the members of the 'Outer Party', and is in itself part of the mechanism which keeps the existing status quo intact.
It contains a mixture of truths, half-truths and un-truths.
At the beginning of chapter one of that book, Goldstein explains the origins of Orwell's world, and the fact that the three powers in it are engaged in perpetual warfare.
He then explains that these wars basically are just one continuous war which is in reality unwinnable, since the three powers are perfectly balanced.
Not even any combination of two could overcome the third.
This statement is false.
At the beginning of the novel, during the 'Two Minutes Hate', there is a curious statement.
While Winston joins in with the crowd howling abuse at the hate-figure of Goldstein on the Telescreen, there is a sentence which runs:
"He was an object of hatered more constant than either Eurasia or
Eastasia, since when Oceania was at war with one of these powers,
it was generally at peace with the other".
This statement is not part of Goldstein's book, it does not originate from the 'Inner Party', and it is not part of any dialogue.
It's a narrative- with Orwell himself being the narrator. This can be safely assumed to be anything BUT a continuity-gaff.
It's there for a purpose.
"...It is generally at peace with the other" means that of the three possible configurations, only two can ever really occur.
Any configuration by which Eurasia would be allied with Eastasia, fighting Oceania together, is automatically excluded.
That means that Oceania only ever has to face one opponent at any given time, while each of the others must face two opponents whenever Oceania is allied to the other.
Whenever one of those others has to face two opponents, they will endure an increased amount of damage.
When the configuration changes, they will still face one opponent- but the burden is shared with Oceania. Thus they can recover from the increased damage previously incurred.
Since Oceania is not ever forced to fight two opponents at the same time, they are not forced to use any resources to make up for that increased amount of damage-
which automatically means they will accumulate surplus.
If one would assume that Oceania would be patient enough to wait, then several cycles would result in sufficient reserves to defeat an already weakened opponent, and defeat the second one right afterwards.
Assuming that then other two states would be actual, independent and sovereign nations, they would sooner or later form an alliance with each other- but that possibility is excluded by Orwell himself.
This leaves only one conclusion:
Eurasia and Eastasia are NOT independent, sovereign states.
They are part of another structure:
The true nature of this structure is not openly visible to the characters in the book, and only accessible to the reader with some difficulties.
If Oceania continously accumulates surplus which, by rights, should not even exist- then where does this surplus go ?
Why do the members of the 'Inner Party' find it neccessary to maintain an act of 'Doublethink' which is nonsensical- namely the idea of 'Knowing that the war is unwinnable but brainwashing themselves into believing that it is winnable'- when apparently it IS winnable all the time ?
Someone appears to set the chesspieces back into their starting positions whenever 'Checkmate' becomes possible.
So- yes. The war IS unwinnable. But not because the other two nations are too powerful and balanced.
There IS no balance.
The pyramid is an illusion- as I said.
If it would exist in the presumed form, then it would be a four-sided pyramid.
Seen from the side, that's what it looks like. But it isn't.
It's a three-sided pyramid- as are the other two.
Together, their bases form an equilateral triangle.
On top of these three pyramids, there is a fourth pyramid.
While the three pyramids at the bottom have layers, the upper one does not.
It's in fact a gigantic Pyramidion:
The true capstone of this structure.
B-B takes the place of the Pyramidion in Oceania's pyramid- but he is merely a symbol, no more.
This society consists only of a lower class made up of the citizenry of the three nations, and a ruling class made up of a collective of which no one within this society is even aware.
Thus while the illusionary upper class in Oceania maintains an illusionary status quo by keeping an illusionary lower class ignorant and an illusionary middle class under strict control, they are in fact all part of one gigantic lower class who can never count on any middle class to promise them a class-less society:
No one can ever develope any desire to wrench control from the true rulers, because no one is even consciously aware that they exist.
Thus they become pseudo-immortal; firstly because they form their own "immortal collective", and secondly because they remain invisible.
That fourth pyramid is were the surplus goes...
And it is the reason for the general poverty. Even the supposed members of the ruling 'Inner Party' have difficulties securing certain things- but they are provided with the illusion that they are better off.
In reality, they are mere 'Prols'- and they don't even realise it. While the illusionary 'Prols' fight over cooking-pots and buy supposedly illegal porn provided by 'Pornsec', the illusionary middle class are still semi-starving and are provided with the equivalent of what they consider to be 'illegal porn' in the shape of Goldstein's book- by the 'Inner Party' who in turn have their very own means of titillation by way of room one-o-one.
There is no inequality between the classes in this society. Just illusion upon illusion upon illusion...