The Hunger Games is an exciting and informative young adult story that is written by Suzanne Collins, a novelist and American television writer. The initial publishing of the book (hardcover) was done in 2008 by Scholastic Press. The story is written from the perspective of Katniss Everdeen who is sixteen years old and resides within a post-apocalyptic North American version in the county of Panem (Collins, 2008). Each year, the Capitol, which is an extremely advanced metropolis, organizes The Hunger Games, which is an event involving the random selection of twenty four teenagers (twelve girls and twelve boys) between the ages of 12 and 18 from the oppressed twelve districts neighboring the Capitol. The chosen teenagers compete in a bloody fight-until-death battle till the final person is left (Collins, 2008). The event is broadcasted live on national television as a form of entertainment for the citizens of Capitol; an indication of the ultimate power of the Capitol’s totalitarian government.
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Through the novel, the author brings to focus several key issues such as politics, identity, power, poverty, oppression and celebrity among others, which touch not only on the risks of a dictatorial government, but also, the perils of residing in a culture that is celebrity-obsessed and reality shows form part of everyday entertainment (Collins, 2008). Katniss Everdeen is the protagonist in the story. She is an experienced hunter from District 12 who is very good with bows and arrows. Peeta Mellark is another character from District 12, who is soft-spoken young man who is obsessed with Katniss, and is talented in decorating cakes (Collins, 2008). Peeta and Katniss display a romantic relationship on camera in order to gain sponsors and win over the viewers who are watching at home. Even though playing camera lovers proves an efficient and powerful strategy for gaining the people’s confidence and support, it is not easy to tell what is real and what is fake. This paper focuses on one major theme in the The Hunger Games: Power.
The theme of power is evident throughout the novel. The authoritarian Capital government holds a majority of the wealth of the county of Panem, and consequently, it holds the power to control all persons in every district across Panem (Collins, 2008). The annual event, The Hunger Games,is a crucial demonstration of the power that the Capitol government has over the people, considering that the event was designed as a warning to the population against rebellion. It is vital to mention that in the event, the residents of Panem are turned into nothing more than pawns within a complex game of either life or death (Collins, 2008).
Because the last surviving teenage contestant becomes the winner of the game, there is a lot of violence and killing as every person fight to become the winner. Contestants are compelled to murder one teen from the districts where they come from, and several others from other districts (Collins, 2008). This game is a symbol of the Capitol’s totalitarian power i.e. the Capitol government is against any person who join forces to challenge it or rebel against it, and that is why it punishes them through killing them. In my opinion, rebellion does not justify the murdering of innocent teenagers. To prevent any possibilities among civilians to join forces to resist the government, Capitol came up with the event to increase division and fighting amongst citizens. The fact that the event is aired live on national television further reinforces the hatred amongst people from the various districts who murder each other.
It is vital to mention the ways in which the people oppose the power exhibited by the Capitol. Even though these people have no money compared to that of the Capitol, they have other means of fighting back. For example, the instance when residents of District 12 salute Katniss, or when Katniss wraps the dead body of Rue in flowers (Collins, 2008). These are symbolic gestures that call attention to the reality that there are real human characters in the story who are fed up with the ill treatment of the government and are gradually becoming defiant. In general, The Hunger Games is an interesting and eye-opening book that I would not hesitate to recommend to persons with an interest in the American history.
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