Tom Henthorne’s article, “Dystopia with a Difference,” describes a dystopian society as “essentially political, exploring particular social issues by setting up a horrific alternative world in which those issues figure largely,” (108). By this definition, The Hunger Games supports this idea through themes of power, warfare, sacrifice, media, and propaganda. All three books in the trilogy offer a dystopian fiction for readers to absorb and learn from.
During Dr. Carpenter’s lecture, she described dystopias in a very similar way. In a simpler sense, she said, “dystopias are attempted utopias gone horribly wrong.” Throughout The Hunger Games trilogy, a main conflict involves the Capitol and its ridiculous conspiracies about ruling Panem. The Dark Days were frequently mentioned and how Panem was established to keep peace. After the fall of District 13, political unrest amongst the 12 other Districts was more apparent than ever. Because of the revolt by District 13, the Capitol created The Hunger Games to keep the Districts in line, which resulted in more opposition than they expected.
Dr. Carpenter’s second point stated “dystopian societies value stability above all else.” This hinders everyone’s right to freedom and individuality. This was apparent through the characterization of Katniss and how she struggled throughout the entire first half of the trilogy. She was conflicted with finding herself while remaining cooperative with the boundaries of the Capitol. In addition, the Capitol values The Hunger Games over the welfare of its people. The games cause destruction, stress, and 12 districts on edge.
One of the biggest similarities between The Hunger Games and dystopian societies that Dr. Carpenter discussed is that “dystopian societies serve the interest of a particular group.” Immediately I think of the people of the Capitol and their entitlement. They are all materialistic, inconsiderate, and totalitarian. They are not open-minded and cannot see that the games are not worth being harmful to prove a point. The Capitol only sees the games as an establishment of authority and revenge for the attempted revolt from District 13. It seems that Panem only has two social classes: the Capitol and the civilians from the Districts. This allows the Capitol to enhance their superiority above all else.
All of the aspects of Dr. Carpenter’s lecture directly relate to The Hunger Games.
Each aspect of war, sacrifice, love, power, and propaganda fulfill the qualities a dystopia contains. Suzanne Collins created a trilogy of pure entertainment but with a dystopian society all the same.
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Article Source: "Dystopia With a Difference" by Tom Henthorne