Did You Actually Pay Attention When Reading the Hunger Games?
By Elisabeth Wong
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Literature is often used as a way to determine the state of society. 1984, Doctor Zhivago, Memoir of a Geisha are all fictional books that reflect how society was, is, or could become if we are not aware of our surroundings, history, and potential future.
We praise curtain literature for what it demonstrates and considers others to be mere entertainment. Nothing more and nothing less. I think this view is rather pretentious and also shows that humans are so wired to follow authority that if it is deemed to be entertainment, we treat it as nothing more than that.
I once talked about this with a friend, and she dismissed my claims without giving it a second chance, so now that a mutual friend of mine and Emma’s introduced me to this website, I thought that maybe I could lay this theory out to you.
The Hunger Games franchise is an overdramatic version of 2020’s America. I know it’s crazy but let me explain.
In The Hunger Games, you have essentially two different societies. The Capital where the elites live, and they do no wrong, and then The Districts where the ordinary people live. That is precisely how the United States is set up. Our political and economic elites. The AOCs, Mitch McConnells, Joe Bidens, Jeff Bezos of the world are essentially untouchable because they have the power and are locked away in their status. The second we make them a little bit uncomfortable, like what happened on January 6th or lockdown protest, they lash back out on people. Look at what occurred with Cuomo this week. He was found guilty of sexually harassing women, and nothing is happening to him right now. He was not forced to resign, there is no mass protest, nothing. The media is barely talking about it. Our political and economic are protected, and in the eyes of many, they do no wrong because we aren’t allowed to say that they did wrong because if we do, we are blacklisted—the difference between the elites and the ordinary.
The Capital and the Districts.
Another point is that we have become so tribal with one another. In the games, your District is your ally, and others are your enemy. The 74th Hunger Games in the first book is the perfect example. Peeta and Katniss were not overly fond of one another before the start of the games, but Haymitch tells them to have each other’s backs. Same in the 75th. Why is that? Peeta or Katniss could turn on the other easily. Katniss could have killed Peeta easily when she found him injured, and at that point in the book, she showed no feelings of romantic attraction to him. There is a sense that you have to be loyal to your district, and if you win the games, you win for the District, not for your own life. Same if you lose, it’s not that you lost your life. It’s that you lost glory for your District.
The Districts are supposed to be your whole life, your whole personality, and your only meaning. When they dress the tributes for the parade, they don’t dress them to be individual to themselves. They are supposed to be dressed like their District Identity, which only determined where they were from. Nothing else about them. Katniss had even mentioned in the first book how District 12’s tributes were always dressed the same. It didn’t matter that every year two new and very different people were in the parade; they were always treated the same and seen as the same: a number and a district.
There is no individual identity. You have a group identity, which is all you are allowed to have.
The biggest thing that reflects modern-day America is that we blame modern people for the problems that occurred in the past. The Hunger Games go on for 75 years because of the rebels’ sins that happened generations ago. The kids that compete in the Hunger Games and many of their relatives during the first and second book weren’t even alive for the rebellion and yet have to pay the price for their sins.
This cycle was about to repeat itself in the third book when they were voting that the Capital’s kids have to compete in future Hunger Games, even though those kids weren’t involved in Snow or the Game Makers cruel punishment. In the future, those children wouldn’t have even been alive. In the book, generations of people who had nothing to do with the event in question are being punished.
We see that now in America. People who have nothing to do with the events that occurred in the past are being blamed, ridiculed, and punished for it.
We should have paid more attention to those books. We are watching this happen in society.
We need to stop writing off books as entertainment. They are lessons. Lessons that we continue to fail.