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Old Nov 17 2010, 07:51 PM   #1
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Unhappy Drudges

one thing that has always bothered me with the Pern books is something no one seems to talk about, so here goes....why, on a planet begun by people with such high standards and ideals, is there a class of people that are essentially treated as slaves? the drudges are usually portrayed as mentally deficient, stupid or similar derogatory ways. this has always bothered me....my oldest would be considered a drudge there. why are they not called servants, or kitchen help,or something less demeaning? im sure that not all who work with their hands, outside of the Crafts, in the halls, are impaired in any way, that they are just as 'normal' as anyone else. is it that you are a holder, rider, crafter, or a drudge?

why would they be treating people so badly, just because they are not as intelligent? what do they do to the physically disabled?

(goes and hides from the rocks some people are bound to throw at us..)
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Old Nov 17 2010, 11:18 PM   #2
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I think the way the drudges were treated would depend on the character of the Lord Holder, steward or headwoman. Fax and Chalkin were bad masters; Lytol and Manora were good ones.

Someone has to be at the bottom of the totem-pole, and such people would be the ones who weren't fit for a better job. The Oxford English Dictionary defines 'drudge' as 'servile worker, slave, hack', and the verb means 'to work slavishly at distasteful work'. Websters Dictionary refers to drudgery as 'menial tasks', and 'hard, monotonous toil'.

If drudges got on with the job and pulled their weight, they'd probably get paid something over and above their keep (food/clothes/shelter). If they goofed off or stole things whenever they weren't being watched, they might get beaten or thrown out of the Hold. And in times of poor harvests, everyone would think themselves lucky if they got their fair share of the available food, clothes and shelter.

Of course, if they worked for someone like Chalkin, they might as well have been slaves.
---
And BTW, even DragonsDawn referred to 'joats', or Jacks-of-all-trades (the saying continues: 'Master of none') --- who probably had some basic skills but no real technological ability. Probably every stakehold had a few joats hanging around to do the grunt-work, and as the general level of technology decreased, so did the type of work they would be qualified to do. Probably they were just younger people who hadn't chosen an actual craft before the first Threadfall and spent the next couple of decades doing whatever they were asked to do. The best would graduate to more responsible jobs, the rest just go with the flow.

Eriflor.

Last edited by Eriflor; Nov 17 2010 at 11:42 PM. Reason: Missed something re original settlers.
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Old Nov 18 2010, 01:25 AM   #3
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I just had a twig of an bit here, Fort's Lord Holder, would let his folks go to the Gather after their work was done, Piemur tried to use that to get out of Nabol when he got in helping to get a stuck wheel on an in-order when he was their in Dragonsdrum, didn't work for him.

My father in a way was a joat, they calll him a 'hey you man' while working in a lumber yard, when he was younger, also there was a Johnny Green who was a joat, who help get the power/computer up in Dragonsdawn/Chronicles of Pern: Dolphins' Bell
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Old Nov 18 2010, 02:28 AM   #4
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Default Re: Drudges

Some become drudges by circumstance too, Lessa springs to mind so it's not all the type of people you're thinking of, Lady Deerskin. You bring to mind ... Camo who, although is not always with it mentally, was very well looked after by the Harper Hall and even though Menolly and Piemur shrugged their shoulders at him sometimes, they also made sure he was okay like at the gather, Piemur managed to get bubblies for the 3 of them and helped cleaned him up before they sent him back so depending on circumstances, the drudge's life can be exceeding good or as Eriflor stated, bad management by the likes of Fax etc can make their life a misery.
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Old Nov 18 2010, 06:08 AM   #5
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Language moves on. 'Drudge' might not have the connotations on Pern that it has here. Originally they needed some short name for the indentured workers.

Alternatives could have been 'serf' or 'villein' or even 'cottar'. RAF slang used the word 'erk' for such beings.
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Old Nov 19 2010, 03:28 AM   #6
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"Erk"? ^o_0^ That word sounds like the noise someone makes when the driver hits the brakes and the passenger is thrown against the seat belt.
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Old Nov 19 2010, 02:02 PM   #7
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@ Multi-facets:

Quote:
Erk: a WWII Royal Airforce aircraft maintenance worker.
Possibly derived from a mispronounciation of the word "aircraft "(erkraft) or maybe even "electrician "(erktrician) as spoken by those working class types from London.

The term was originally used by RAF officers, who were poking fun at the lower orders, but ended up being adopted by the objects of their mockery as a self description of their jobs.
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Old Nov 20 2010, 05:34 AM   #8
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I'd rather be called an erk than a drudge
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Old Nov 23 2010, 02:27 PM   #9
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Default Re: Drudges

Well, in most circumstances, the SEVERELY disabled probably just die. If you have a baby born with significant birth defects in a society like Pern's, even if you wanted it to live, good luck with that in the absence of advanced medicine. And I doubt they would expend too much care trying to make sure an infant/child that's severely mentally disabled, ie can't even really function as a drudge, makes it through infancy and early childhood (which is where most fatalities are going to occur in pre-industrial civilizations. The low average ages in these societies are not so much because people die young, though they do generally die young-er than is considered "normal" by modern Western society, than because lots of infants and small children get wiped out by accidents, diseases, problems associated birth, etc.)

As for drudges, someone's got to do the nasty stuff, and people with high intelligence and ambition and ability to back it up aren't going to for long. If they're not drudges in a Hold or Hall, their only other real options are farm laborer, or possibly the most menial level of construction--heavy-lifting, low-skill jobs. Someone has to do them. And low skill is never as highly paid as high-skill, because there are pretty much always more low-skill, non-specified labor available than high-skill specialized. The resource that is scarce is more valuable and costs more.
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Old Nov 23 2010, 10:27 PM   #10
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Default Re: Drudges

I'm not going to throw rocks at you.

But I am going to-gasp- agree with Anareth.
Quote:
Well, in most circumstances, the SEVERELY disabled probably just die. If you have a baby born with significant birth defects in a society like Pern's, even if you wanted it to live, good luck with that in the absence of advanced medicine. And I doubt they would expend too much care trying to make sure an infant/child that's severely mentally disabled, ie can't even really function as a drudge, makes it through infancy and early childhood (which is where most fatalities are going to occur in pre-industrial civilizations. The low average ages in these societies are not so much because people die young, though they do generally die young-er than is considered "normal" by modern Western society, than because lots of infants and small children get wiped out by accidents, diseases, problems associated birth, etc.)
Look at the rather frightening history of people with any sort of disability on this planet."Mercy killings", anyone? Abandonment, persecution, isolation, and, yes, even attempted extermination are all in our past. I know this sounds harsh and I'm sorry, but, honestly, being treated differently (worse) because of a disability was the least of folk's problems. Try not being "treated" at all. Or being killed.

Fortunately, the past is the past.

I think the difference between drudges being "slaves" or simply "kitchen help" depended completely on the attitude of whomever's in charge (Lord Holder, Weyrwoman, Headwoman, Master Craftsman. . .) and the type of working environment they foster. For example, in many of the early books that Weyrs have a more open and accepting environment than many Holds. During pre-AIVAS times on Pern, I also think that the way people with severe disabilities are treated is a function of rank. Behold Camo, who probably got preferential treatment because he was the Masterharper's son. "Course then there is Masterhealer Oldive, whose skills made him what he is.
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Old Nov 24 2010, 12:54 AM   #11
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Default Re: Drudges

Well, they do have different type of worker, one who are general or working with different parts of the hold/hall/Weyr,

I can think of two more Master Wansor and Readis and the dolphins of Pern.
--
Nuella who helped to understand watch-whers, I'm thinking more of how she helped with understanding the conection between them and their handlers, I think the early books show us how before they lost it, showing they can do more seeing bad areas, exploring and mapping out the places like Fort Hold, DD CoP. ore moving

Getting kinda tired here so I'm going to stop while a head.
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Old Nov 24 2010, 03:37 PM   #12
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It's not a question of being cruel. It's a question of "what can you do for them"? As far as we can see the Pernese don't have antibiotics, let alone life support, neonatal intensive care, etc. You don't have to "exterminate" a premature baby with poor lung function on Pern. They're just going to die fast and there's nothing to be done about it. Someone paralyzed from the neck down? If they get an infection from a bedsore, they're dead. They stop breathing, they're dead (no artificial respirators.) Pre-modern societies weren't being cruel, they were just being realistic. You can't assign modern medical morality to societies that don't have advanced medicine. There are a lots of us alive today who probably wouldn't have lived to see adulthood if we were on Pern.
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Old Nov 29 2010, 11:36 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anareth View Post
It's not a question of being cruel. It's a question of "what can you do for them"? As far as we can see the Pernese don't have antibiotics, let alone life support, neonatal intensive care, etc. You don't have to "exterminate" a premature baby with poor lung function on Pern. They're just going to die fast and there's nothing to be done about it. Someone paralyzed from the neck down? If they get an infection from a bedsore, they're dead. They stop breathing, they're dead (no artificial respirators.) Pre-modern societies weren't being cruel, they were just being realistic. You can't assign modern medical morality to societies that don't have advanced medicine. There are a lots of us alive today who probably wouldn't have lived to see adulthood if we were on Pern.
For that matter, there are lots of people alive today who would have died even 50 years ago - our medicine has advanced that much, that fast.
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Old Nov 29 2010, 07:11 PM   #14
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Default Re: Drudges

good answers, really. i guess it just hits a sore spot for me, because both i and our oldest son are autistic, and our other three kids are either on the spectrum, or otherwise affected by it. our oldest will never be able to have a decent job, or even enjoy being out around coworkers or strangers; despite a high IQ and college degree, i never was able to get a job and hold it because of my own disabilities, including PTSD...and the jobs would all be considered 'drudge-type'-cooking at McDs, housekeeper at several hotels. only one job was really me- teaching preschool at KinderCare. the way that workers at hotels and fast food places were treated in the 1980s was not good, and gives me a bit of an idea of how it was for drudges. and i feel sorry for them, that nothing could be done for them.
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Old Nov 30 2010, 02:34 PM   #15
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Well, better that then to isolate them completely from society. This way they can at least be around people and have a feeling they're doing something that matters.
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Old Dec 4 2010, 09:59 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golden Talisath View Post
Well, better that then to isolate them completely from society. This way they can at least be around people and have a feeling there doing something that matters.
Yes, that is true.
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Old Apr 15 2011, 03:53 AM   #17
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Green Re: Drudges

Like the OP I've a problem with this but I think it's the word 'drudge' that sticks in my throat. Would have been better I think with 'labourer' 'cleaner' 'janitor'

Quote:
Erk: a WWII Royal Airforce aircraft maintenance worker.
Possibly derived from a mispronounciation of the word "aircraft "(erkraft) or maybe even "electrician "(erktrician) as spoken by those working class types from London
as one of those working class types from London I've never heard any-one pronounce electrician as 'erktrician'
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Old Apr 15 2011, 07:55 AM   #18
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About drudges...I would have to say they tend to run the mill in all types of mental states from Cammo to people with no mental aliments. Some drudges also did a lot of heavy lifting and were probably well built physically from being human burden beasts like in Moreta when the healers were moving supplies from Fort to Ruatha. As others have pointed out somebody needs to be the bottom of the social totem pole. (I am not saying that people with mental impairments are the bottom) I also do think some chose to be drudges maybe due to lack of skilled abilities in a craft. I always wondered what happened to those who did not master a craft at the apprentice level. I do remember a spot in the Harper Hall series where Piemur's voice changed and he was worried about being sent home if he did not find a way to be useful at the Harper Hall to stay on. It is possible that he would have ended up as a drudge at his hold if he could not master the beast trade of his fathers. Also, some might chose to be a drudge out of pride from the other alternative of being a holdless folk. Being holdless for most seemed to be a bad stigma...I guess like being a homeless folk on Earth and some of the stereotyping with that status. Also there are many people in our society that choose to work lower status jobs by choice due to education, physical ability and a wide variety of other conditions and are very successful in life.
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Old Apr 15 2011, 10:41 PM   #19
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Depending on how they were to do so, think of the 'traders' that are out and about with 'goods', and keep an open 'ear' out for news, they would bring in stuff for the holds and halls that were not able to make it to the 'big gathers. 'Like how the 'big traders' didn't go to Bita for the 'sharp dealing with then Lord Holder' from Dragonseye/Red Star Rising.

Before Thread came, sometime they would 'trade' work for staying over in winter in Renegades of Pern, but after they lost most of there 'train' they were end up 'drudges' for the next five turns till they could get back 'on the road', One of the Readis's namesake the bloodkin didn't like the idea, and left, becoming 'holdless'. But depend on how well the local holder would treat them, after the ambush, they were 'treated much better'

My mother did do a lot of cleaning, and working in the kitchen, when we needed the money, and my father was lay off for you can't work in the winter, you could say he was a carter of 'sand and stone' localy and you can't move that when its rock hard, he was a 'carter' of many things long time gone, before he had to retire from it.

Also after I found my own place to live, he and mother were talking about her going to school, and they would be a team, but her early death stoped that idea
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Old Apr 15 2011, 10:44 PM   #20
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Pern wouldn't work without Drudges, Imagine your own world without..Say Garbagemen, Or Grave diggers. There are too many unpleasant Jobs that need done, Everyone can't be the Harpers, Riders, and Craftmasters. They perform a much needed task, and while not living in luxury, it's better that being out in Thread Fall!
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Old Apr 15 2011, 10:53 PM   #21
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Pern wouldn't work without Drudges, Imagine your own world without..Say Garbagemen, Or Grave diggers. There are too many unpleasant Jobs that need done, Everyone can't be the Harpers, Riders, and Craftmasters. They perform a much needed task, and while not living in luxury, it's better that being out in Thread Fall!
How true, just like the one who aid 'cleaning the stable', helping around the were every they are.
Cleaning the ashes, and 'laying the new fire', bring in fuel for the fires"

Keeping things clean, aid the cooks, carying stuff up/down from storage area.

Depend on the time and place, they had 'working behind the other', having a place to sleep, food to eat, and clothes for the job they were doing.

when I know what I want to say/post/write and get stuck.
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Old Apr 16 2011, 10:32 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon Fan View Post
Pern wouldn't work without Drudges, Imagine your own world without..Say Garbagemen, Or Grave diggers. There are too many unpleasant Jobs that need done, Everyone can't be the Harpers, Riders, and Craftmasters. They perform a much needed task, and while not living in luxury, it's better that being out in Thread Fall!
I think most people's hangup is drudges, by and large, are born to their station and never advance. (Almost never.) Not a lot of people are born and it's already decided their highest ambition could be as the subject of an episode of "Dirty Jobs."
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Old Apr 16 2011, 10:32 AM   #23
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Quote:
"erktrician"
True: they'd probably pronounce it "elerktrician".
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Old Apr 16 2011, 02:12 PM   #24
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True: they'd probably pronounce it "elerktrician".
I still can't tell how to say it

You know I just had something cross my mind here, a question, more than informaton. I recall Rill 'comment' that some from the hold staff could do a better job then her, 'doing make work' in the time of need.
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Old Apr 16 2011, 07:18 PM   #25
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It doesn't matter what society you have, there are always going to be 'Bottom Rung' workers - the guys working at the Coalface, so to speak, or swinging an idiot stick. I think that how they are treated would, as others pointed out, depend on the person(s) higher up the chain.
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Old Apr 22 2011, 08:31 PM   #26
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Default Re: Drudges

Pern developed into what was essentially a feudal class society so far as the Lord Holders. They had 'dominion' if you like over their tenant farmers/serfs (cot holders) and the drudges were merely serfs without cots, so they lived in the hold (or the cot of a 'higher' cot holder) and did the menial work.

I do agree it is a very derogatory term but the drudges themselves probably did not think of it that way, In such a feudal society only the higher classes would get education, and one way to keep the servants servile is not to let them have expectations above their class, i.e. by keeping them uninformed.

But there are examples through the books of bright children of all levels being recognised and given opportunities to advance.
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Old Apr 26 2011, 08:38 PM   #27
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Default Re: Drudges

Hence ******** like Chalkin and Fax
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