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Old Apr 5 2005, 03:21 AM   #1
Kath
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Default Drudges!

They're the mentally retarded, the downright lazy, the tragically unfortunate and occasionally, the heiress in disguise.

How fluid is the role of Drudgery in Pern? What does it involve?
Can "drudgework" be defined as one part of a worker's job - gardening 4 days a week, and janitorial drudgework the rest, perhaps? Just the least favourable jobs being done because they need doing? Or rather, the jobs requiring little skill, competence or supervision, only to be trusted to those who can't be trusted themselves to do anything more complex?


Social mobility in Pern: How easy is it to become a drudge if you began life as a holder/crafter?

Once you've got sucked in to Drudge work, how restricted are your future options?
Is upwards mobility possible at all, or do you have to leave it to the next generation?

Do Apathetic Drudges breed only other drudges, or is the Hold education system succesful in providing opportunities to all?

What sort of social exclusion do drudges live with? Food, entertainment, self esteem and access to knowledge are all going to be of lower quality for the drudges, aren't they?


Would Drudges want a revolution?
Could they be bothered to do anything about it if they did?!
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Old Apr 5 2005, 07:04 AM   #2
Larry Lea O-G
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Default Re: Drudges!

I think it is a mixed bag like poor pesants of dark ages Europe.
Some were described as retards who even had to have supervision bathing.
Some were likely born very poor and had no ambition to move up, if they cood.
Some with wit I belive could seek a craft and apply themselves.
Some seem to be no more than slaves of the Lord Holder.
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Old Apr 5 2005, 07:30 AM   #3
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Default Re: Drudges!

The subject of drudges has always bothered me. I know that pern is a fudal society and I have noticed two different models of hold life for the common people.

1, The life at Ruatha for Lessa, and life at Nabol for Piemur. I will call this type the evil system.

2, The life at Halfcircle for Menoly, and a life of general people in the wyers or any holds such as Fort and the crafts. I will call this the good system.


The difference between the two I believe is that in the former you are considered a slave and bound to the hold. Much as the surfs were in russia at the begining of the 19th century. In the latter system you are free to move out and start you own holding, start your own life. I think under the good system life is what you make it. In the evil system life you have no choices you live and die by the command of the lord holder.

My personal belief is that the majority of common people on pern live in small family holdings such as Halfcircle. Remember that the entire population of Pern is about six million and that is less then the population of New York or London. Imagine the population of new York spead across an area the size of Eurasia their is still lots of room on the northern continent. It is only till you get to the bigger holds that you have drudges. With the good system the drudges may take pride in their work and look after the hold happily as sortof a craft. In the evil system they may have no chioce this may be where the mentally challenged people end up.


So in the end I think that if you are lazy, mentally challenged, or just a slacker who shows no skill or ambition then you end up as a drudge. Remember that on Pern life at times is hand to mouth so If you do not take responsiblity for your life others will put you to work if you want to eat.
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Old Apr 5 2005, 07:35 AM   #4
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Default Re: Drudges!

Anne has compared drudges to the sort of people who work at McDonald's all their lives without advancing beyond entry-level jobs. Too stupid or just plain lazy to do anything worthwhile, they end up as drudges. That sort of thinking tends to perpetuate itself, so although a drudge's child is not automatically assigned the role, he or she could easily drift there.

Lessa was a special case, she did it to protect herself as the last remaining member of the Ruathan bloodline. Camo seems to have been loved by Silvina and tolerated by the rest of the Harper Hall, and he did the sort of tasks his intelligence and build suited him for.
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Old Apr 5 2005, 09:47 AM   #5
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Default Re: Drudges!

As with Camo, I think that with Silvina probably wanted to keep him near so she found tasks that he could perform and trained the other staff to work with him.

As far as drudges are concerned I'd like to believe that the option is always there to move out of the drudgery work if a person wanted to. I'd hate to think that drudges were no more then "slaves." I can see it becoming a way of life though if people weren't motivated but I'd like to believe that if they have kids the kids have the option to move out of the drudge line of work and move into something else... including becoming a dragonrider.
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Old Apr 5 2005, 02:21 PM   #6
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Default Re: Drudges!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kater
As with Camo, I think that with Silvina probably wanted to keep him near so she found tasks that he could perform and trained the other staff to work with him.

As far as drudges are concerned I'd like to believe that the option is always there to move out of the drudgery work if a person wanted to. I'd hate to think that drudges were no more then "slaves." I can see it becoming a way of life though if people weren't motivated but I'd like to believe that if they have kids the kids have the option to move out of the drudge line of work and move into something else... including becoming a dragonrider.
Which is why Dragon's and thier Riders search, and Harpers watch~ to put these kids where they will be best suited, not only for themselves but for the greater good~
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Old Apr 5 2005, 04:33 PM   #7
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Default Re: Drudges!

Since, ideally, all children are supposed to take lessons from the Harper, the Harper would probably notice who are the exceptionally bright children and help them along the way.

In the minor holds like Half Circle Seahold, there is too much work to be done for everyone not to do their work. Even the children gather food and mend nets; all the men are out fishing; the women are cooking, cleaning, sewing. The "old aunties" seem to be relegated to the kitchen, where Mavi has the final word.

The major holds seem to consist of a main hold surrounded by small cotholds of one or two families, who work the fields around their cot. The main hold is large enough that there is more maintenance work required.
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Old Apr 8 2005, 10:16 AM   #8
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Default Re: Drudges!

it seems like drudges are just the say groundscrew. i think that searched but not impressed youngsters from the holds who wasnt to stay in the weyr would become drudges. i think lessa was especially grubby to detract attention.
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Old Aug 16 2016, 04:16 PM   #9
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Default Re: Drudges!

Drudges is simply the name adopted for the household staff who were engaged in the usual repetitive chores of running a large house. They were the cleaning staff, laundry staff, movers, and porters.

The name probably came about during First Fall, when the children (remember that there were only 6000 adults in a population of 20 000) were assigned these chores. Someone probably said that 'the drudgery has to be done' and the kids began to call the work 'drudge work'. This slowly became the name of the people doing it.

Think of Upstairs Downstairs or (for you youngsters) Downton Abbey. While the cast was large, there were also a lot of extras who appeared as house staff doing the cleaning, etc. I can recall one episode where a woman who had been house staff came back. When her identity was revealed, and the fact that she worked there for three years without the family ever talking to her, Lady Mary remarked that it did not reflect well on the family.

Drudges get ignored by family, ordered about by the personal servants, and generally fade into the background.

Less kept her hair covering her face and her clothing unkempt as a disguise. She fit in with the others because there was no uniform. Even if there was a uniform, drudges would be dirtier than other staff due to the type of work they do.
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Old Aug 16 2016, 05:29 PM   #10
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Default Re: Drudges!

There were also gangs/teams of children who job was to keep the green away from the Hold Proper, pulling down moss, and other stuff, away from Fort Hold, Robinton POV in Dragonquest
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Old Aug 16 2016, 05:37 PM   #11
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Default Re: Drudges!

I tend to think of the drudges as the servant class and unskilled laborers. Not the highest-ranking staff, but certainly not slaves either! Lessa's time at Ruatha and Nabol's rule under Meron are likely meant to represent an abuse of the system, not the norm, as a demonstration of the Holders' villainy. For that matter, what exactly is the difference between drudges and, say, the weyrfolk working in the lower caverns?

However, there is far too much "drudge work" to be done in a city-sized Hold or Weyr to be left to only "lazy" or "stupid" people. I find that explanation simplistic, classist, and frankly, a little offensive. I think Pern would realistically be less idealistic and meritocratic than Anne tried to make it. Pern's Craft and Weyr systems would make upward social mobility a distinct possibility, but if they're not the top of the class or lucky enough to Impress a dragon, the children of poor parents are probably out of luck.
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Old Aug 19 2016, 03:38 PM   #12
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Default Re: Drudges!

Anne's own take on drudges:

Quote:
REGARDING DRUDGES

"The 'drudges' are not simple. They are people--and you have met them in your life, particularly in cities--who do not care to use any initiative and better their conditions. But they most definitely want to have shelter during Threadfall and are willing to do the less appealing tasks for that shelter, food, and a place to sleep. They constitute a very small portion of the population. Don't be a bleedy heart--it's their choice. Ciao, Anne"

--from The Kitchen Table on Anne McCaffrey's home page, 17-Sep-2000
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Old Aug 19 2016, 04:31 PM   #13
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Default Re: Drudges!

Kit: The lower Caverns weyrfolk are different, because, although they are doing exactly the same tasks, the Lower Cavern folk are doing it in the weyr! /snark

Curious: For every grand castle or manor house, there is someone who runs a 'honey wagon'.
Someone who performs enough work to get food and shelter and rough clothes may be happy with his life outside of work.
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Old Feb 9 2017, 03:34 PM   #14
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Default Re: Drudges!

(Just trying to get a bit more activity on my favourite site.)
-----------------
Clearly, during a Pass being a drudge on any terms is better than being holdless. Todd McCaffrey's novels have shown us what holdlessness could be like, especially for criminals and their innocent family members.

During an Interval, though, I wonder how a discontented drudge would manage outside of an established hold. With 200 Threadfree turns ahead, one might consider simply locating a cave and gradually making it comfortable, foraging for food and fuel --- something like Menolly in her cave days.

But would there be some official process where one or several drudges could apply for a piece of unused land, build a cottage, and start farming? I assume competition for existing empty cot-holds would be high.

How long did the original Charter rule continue, where children of an existing landholder could claim a holding of their own (unless they were dragonriders, of course)? I think it was still valid at the start of the Second Pass, but did it apply only to holders' children?

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Old Feb 9 2017, 04:59 PM   #15
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Default Re: Drudges!

I think there would be promotion among the staff of a bigger hold, though whether it is on merit or inheritance would probably depend on which hold. If a drudge showed initiative and was good at their job older staff do need replacement eventually. But that's a whole different question - are the older drudges etc. the "old aunties" or are those the extended family of the Holders?
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Old Mar 4 2017, 01:38 PM   #16
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Default Re: Drudges!

Quote:
Originally Posted by vyon View Post
I think there would be promotion among the staff of a bigger hold, though whether it is on merit or inheritance would probably depend on which hold. If a drudge showed initiative and was good at their job older staff do need replacement eventually. But that's a whole different question - are the older drudges etc. the "old aunties" or are those the extended family of the Holders?
I think the "old aunties" and "old uncles" would be all hold-members who are too old to do their regular work, but still able to help out around the hold. Some are even highly respected because of their craft knowledge, like the Weaving Aunt at Nerilka's Fort Hold, who knew all the brocade patterns that were the pride of the Hold (and probably a major trade item). And Menolly's Old Uncle was consulted when the tides were unusually high in case he remembered a similar situation.

In a well-run hold, everyone would be housed, fed and clothed according to their status in the community. Drudges who worked hard would be favoured over those who didn't pull their weight, and would have a chance to rise up the hierarchy.
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Old Mar 7 2017, 03:02 PM   #17
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Default Re: Drudges!

Going back to the earliest postings, The mobility within a hold depended on the hold management. Nabol under Meron and Ruatha under Fax were prime examples of how drudges were in effect slave labor. I seem to recall Jayge and the Lilcamps also being afforded drudge status, or similar, at the beginning of Present Pass. But except for those there seemed to be little mention of actual drudges. Half-Circle had an all hands work at everything needed attitude. The Harper Hall did indeed have Camo as a drudge, but the rest of the kitchen staff were not mentioned as drudges. I think the closest mention of a drudge in later books was in All the Weyrs, The girl at the gather, who was later taken on at Ruatha. For the most part it after dragonflight, and Dragondrums, it seemed all hands worked at all tasks, rider, holder, or craftsman. not much left to unskilled labor.
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