Dystopian Traits of The Hunger Games and Their Affects

by Özge Sapmaz

Hunger Games Books Cover
(Illustration by sanjota)

  The Hunger Games, written by Suzanne Collins, is a popular trilogy that impresses people with its dystopian elements and the hope it gives to the people to break free from dystopia. The author tells the story of a dystopic country called Panem that is controlled by a very harsh government.

  Panem is divided into twelve districts and every district is responsible for producing something. Most of the productions go directly to Capitol (government centre). The community is so poor and starving but they do not have any other choice than to produce for Capitol or they also cannot protest against the government because penalties are very high. Every year government plans a game called the games; everyone shows their skills at the training arena. When it is Katniss’ turn, no one notices her, and she shoots an arrow near Seneca Crane’s (game-maker of that year’s Hunger Games) head and a dialogue takes place between Seneca Crane and President Snow (president of the Panem ). President Snow warns Seneca Crane that Katniss may give hope to people because she acts against the Capitol and do not get a punishment. According to the President Snow; hope is the only thing stronger than fear. A little hope is effective. A lot of hope is dangerous. Spark is fine, as long as it is contained. (The Hunger Games 49:48 – 50:50) Later The seventy-fourth Hunger Games begins. Throughout the game, Katniss and Peeta could not kill anyone, stayed to the end, and decided to eat night lock together which are extremely poisonous berries, because they cannot kill each other. Seneca Crane had to change the only one winner rule and Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark win the games.  At the end of the first book The Hunger Games and chooses a woman and man from all districts to kill each other and win the games. After the games, the winner starts to live in Victor’s Village in his/her district and gets very rich but only one person can win the games. The seventy-fourth games were different than the previous ones because there were two winners. From district twelve Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark were chosen. Before, President Snow’s guardians lock Seneca Crane into a room and give him a bowl of night lock, poisoned berries, to kill himself. It can be seen the government has complete control of society. The people do not have freedoms like independence, speech, protest against the government etc. because of the horrific punishments like death sentence, whipping etc. The trilogy draws attention to itself with the confident and brave protagonist of the books Katniss Everdeen and her behaviours that give people the hope of rebelling against the government without fear. She also shows that living in a utopia is possible if everyone is courageous.

  The second book starts with President Snow’s visit to Katniss’ house at Victors’ Village. President Snow says he did not like what Katniss did in the last Hunger Games except playing like fell in love with Peeta. According to the president, some people in the districts also did not like her behaviour about eating poisonous berries with Peeta and viewed this as an act of defiance to the Capitol. At the end of the conversation, President Snow wants Katniss to convince him about Peeta and her relationship and threatens her with her loved ones if she cannot be successful. Later the Victory Tour for Katniss and Peeta starts. They tour twelve districts and see there are rebellions in some districts. In the end, Katniss could not convince the president. Later it was decided that the male and female tributes of The 75th Hunger Games will be chosen from the winners of previous games as a reminder that even the strongest cannot overcome the power of The Capitol which means Katniss Everdeen will have to go for the second time because she is the only woman that won the games from her district but for males, there was two option; Peeta Mellark and Haymitch Abernathy. Haymitch was chosen but Peeta volunteered. Including the tributes from other districts, no one was happy about the decision of The Capitol and they did everything to stop the games and Peeta even said that Katniss is pregnant although she was not, but the government did not cancel the games anyway. When the Hunger Games started Katniss and Peeta first allied Finnick Odair and Mags from District four, later Johanna, Wiress and Beetee joined them. They all make a plan that can kill the tributes left. Katniss was taken by a plane after the plan fails and an explosion happens. In the plane, Katniss learns that the games were the start of the revolution and she was chosen as a Mockingjay. She was fainted by Haymitch because she did not like the idea of her as a Mockingjay and kept asking for Peeta. The second book ends when Katniss wakes up at the thirteenth District which is a place no one knew before. Katniss Everdeen keeps giving hope of a better life, a revolution to people involuntarily. She is actually a very simple girl but nicknames like The Girl on Fire make her uncomfortable, I think. Even if she is a very emotional girl, she can do anything when it comes to the people she cares about.

  In the third and last book, Katniss agrees to be the Mockingjay, but provided that Peeta will be saved. President Coin, president of the thirteenth District, accepts this and they start to film promos to make sure everyone sees Katniss as a face of the rebellion. Promos helped rebellion to be more successful, but President Snow learned where the thirteenth District is and attacked. After this, a rescue operation for Peeta started and ended successfully but there was a problem. Peeta was hijacked which means he was tortured and turned to a weapon to kill Katniss. Meanwhile, Katniss visits districts and tries to convince them. Later she goes to The Capitol secretly and joins soldiers. They were spotted by President Snow’s soldiers, but they have managed to escape. When they were walking to the President’s palace, an explosion happened, and the fight was over. Katniss was chosen to kill President Snow but instead, she has killed President Coin. She was set free and returned home, District twelve. Peeta’s recovery was hard but he made it, and, in the end, he and Katniss got married and had two children. After what she has done in the 74th and 75th Hunger Games, Katniss was the right choice for a rebellion’s face. Even if she was heartbroken and shocked about Peeta, she stayed strong and kept doing her duties.

  All in all, The Hunger Games trilogy shows that even in the darkest times there is always a light. That light gives us hope when we are most needed and helps us to survive and change things for the better. When things come to a war and rebellion, everyone needs someone like Katniss who can bring people together and make them even stronger in my opinion.

Works Cited

Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games Trilogy. Scholastic, 2014.

Alkan, Ceren. HOPE and REVOLUTION in a CRITICAL DYSTOPIA: THE HUNGER GAMES. , 2015. Research.sabanciuniv.edu. 2020. [online] Available at;<http://research.sabanciuniv.edu/34752/1/CerenAlkan_10085820.pdf&gt; [Accessed 7 December 2020].

The Hunger Games. Directed by Gary Ross, Lionsgate, 2012. Netflix.

sanjota. “Hunger Games Books Cover.” Deviantart.com, DeviantArt, 27 Mar. 2013, http://www.deviantart.com/sanjota/art/Hunger-Games-Books-Cover-361857630. Accessed 4 Feb. 2021.

One thought on “Dystopian Traits of The Hunger Games and Their Affects

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  1. Thank you for your contribution, Özge! I’ve never read or watched Hunger Games, and I’ve heard comments about the trilogy but thanks to you I’ve learned more. I’m a big LOTR fan, so I know that there is always light at the end of the tunnel 😉

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