The prole woman symbolizes fertility and reproductive capacity, and represents the strong and vital lower classes. She is compared to an animal (a mare), a fruit (a rose-hip), and an overripe turnip. Winston feels a "mystical reverence" toward her. Just before the lovers are arrested, the sight of her hanging laundry in the courtyard convinces Winston that the proles are "immortal" and will someday awaken and rebel against and overthrow the Party.
The Red-Armed Prole Woman Quotes in 1984
The 1984 quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Red-Armed Prole Woman. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Signet Classics edition of 1984 published in 1961.).
Book 2, Chapter 10 Quotes
If there was hope, it lay in the proles! Without having read to the end of the book, he knew that that must be Goldstein's final message. The future belonged to the proles. And could he be sure that when their time came the world they constructed would not be just as alien to him, Winston Smith, as the world of the Party? Yes, because at the least it would be a world of sanity. Where there is equality there can be sanity. Sooner or later it would happen, strength would change into consciousness. The proles were immortal; you could not doubt it when you looked at that valiant figure in the yard. In the end their awakening would come. And until that happened, though it might be a thousand years, they would stay alive against all the odds, like birds, passing on from body to body the vitality which the Party did not share and could not kill.
The Red-Armed Prole Woman Symbol Timeline in 1984
The timeline below shows where the symbol The Red-Armed Prole Woman appears in 1984. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 2, Chapter 4
...Police. As he impatiently waits for Julia to arrive the first time, Winston watches a red-armed prole woman singing and hanging laundry in the courtyard below. Winston knows they are taking a terrible... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 9
Book 2, Chapter 10