The Hunger Games as Dystopian Literature

Last week we talked about ‘The Hunger Games’ as an example of  dystopian literature. Dystopian fiction tends to take place in a futuristic world damaged beyond repair by overconsumption, war, or environmental destruction. Using the pretense of creating a Utopian society, governments strip basic human rights from its citizens and create a harsh existence filled with violence, poverty, and despair. In many dystopian books and films, storylines explore how people survive under hopeless conditions and fight against totalitarian regimes. Themes such as freedom, love, power, control and trust run throughout dystopian literature reminding readers of life’s meaning in situations where outside forces seek to take our fundamental humanity from us. Hollywood Crush had a go at dissecting this very popular genre and here’s what they had to say about ‘The Hunger Games’:

Evil Empire: The Capitol rules the country of Panem, which was once North America and is divided into 13 districts. (Well, now 12.)

Main Form of Oppression: Once upon a time, the districts rebelled against the Capitol and lost. To remind the citizens never to try again, the Capitol holds an annual, televised sort of uber-“Survivor,” played by two teenagers from each district, chosen via lottery. The last kid alive wins. As for the other citizens, they’re oppressed by starvation, poverty and having to watch their children fight to the death, while the Capitol residents live in high-tech luxury.

Girl Rebel: Katniss, her family’s sole breadwinner since her father died in a mining accident, steps up to be District 12’s female Hunger Games tribute when her 12-year-old sister gets picked. Good thing her dad taught her how to use a bow and arrow.

Boy Rebel: Gale, Katniss’ hunting partner back home, who shares her fierceness and focus on keeping his family alive. (The two of them are so darn focused, they never even talk about how they’re obvs meant for each other.)

Law-abiding Object of Affection: Peeta, the baker’s son and District 12 male tribute who has harboured a crush on Katniss since they were kids. Or, maybe he just made that up for the viewers at home?

How They Fight Against the Man: Though everyone in the arena is her competitor, hardass Katniss finds herself taking care of two tributes, District 11’s Rue and Peeta.

Metaphor for the Real World: Reality TV is the obvious evil force at work here, with public relations reps coming in a close second.

Who Should Read This: Anyone—boys, girls, grown men and women—who suspects they have an inner action hero; who likes to fix things rather than sit around complaining; who doesn’t want a sappy love story getting in the way of some good, bloody fighting; who doesn’t mind a non-sappy love story popping in once in a while as long as it’s the girl who gets to kick butt and save the day most of the time; who would rather be on “The Amazing Race” or “Survivor” than at home watching “Real World: Las Vegas.”

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