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In the world of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, Oceania is split into three "classes": the Inner Party, the Outer Party and the proles. The Inner Party regulates Ingsoc and the Thought Police, and keeps all Outer Party members under close supervision, while the proles live in relatively benign conditions.
The Inner Party represents the oligarchical political class in Oceania, and has its membership restricted to 6 million individuals (about 2% of the population). Inner Party members enjoy a quality of life that is much better than that of the Outer Party members and the proles. The telescreens in their homes can ostensibly be turned off (for up to 30 minutes at a time); however, this revelation may have been a method of deception utilised against Winston and Julia, as conversations they had after O'Brien turned off his telescreen were later played back to them anyway. This suggests only the audio and vision circuits can be turned off, while the inbuilt cameras and microphones continue to function.
Inner Party members also have access to spacious living quarters, personal servants, private motor vehicles, and high quality food, drink and consumer goods in contrast to the low quality gin, synthetic coffee and improperly manufactured cigarettes consumed by the Outer Party and the Proles. Inner party members have access to wine, as well as real coffee, tea, sugar, milk and well-made cigarettes. Inner party neighbourhoods are kept clean and presentable, compared to Outer Party and Prole neighbourhoods.
Inner Party members are always identifiable by their black overalls. Members are selected at a young age according to a battery of tests, racial origin and family heritage are of no importance in selecting members of the Inner Party. Goldstein's book states that a child born to Inner Party parents is not born into the Inner Party and that all racial groups in Oceania, including "jews, negroes and South Americans of pure Indian blood" are represented in the ranks of the Inner Party.
No Outer Party member or Prole may venture into Inner Party neighbourhoods without a prior appointment with an Inner Party member.
In the novel, O'Brien is the only character Winston meets who is a member of the Inner Party.
Goldstein's book explains the rationale behind the class divisions in Oceania.
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