After briefly writing about The Hunger Games on a previous post, I'd like to open up another discussion on the series. What I find about the series as a whole both in the books and the movie adaptations is the many similarities between the series and modern society. A lot of these similarities come from the way the characters dress to the games themselves.
One similarity can be found with regards to the Olympics. While I do enjoy watching the Olympics every year, one can't help but see that the Olympics are a lot like The Hunger Games. You can see this in the beginning of the Olympics with the Opening Ceremony. The Opening Ceremony is a lot like when Katniss and the rest of the tributes in the games have to doll up and dress to impress the citizens of Panem in order to receive items for survival during the games. Both involve each group in the competitions to walk across a stage so that everyone can see who all is competing. This allows each group to cheer on their own favorites and see who else has a chance of winning in these games.
In the Olympics and the games, each of the competitors also has a chance to practice honing in on their skills in order to survive further in the competition. This allows other competitors the chance to see their competition before the games even begin. In The Hunger Games, this allowed the players to choose possible people to team up with for their continued survival. However, these practices also allowed rivals a chance to get a glimpse at their competition’s greatest strength and strategize how to kill them when the games began.
Each team, both in the Olympics and the games, also has their own mentor. In the Olympics, this person was their coach who is usually there with them during practice and who gives them advice about how to better improve. In the games however, each District was assigned a mentor who lived in the same District and had competed in the games themselves. This person was there to instruct them on how to survive in the games against their competitors.
Both competitions are also aired on television around the world so everyone can see each team compete. This allows the audience to get a glimpse of their favorites in order to decide who they want to cheer on. They also show in both games the best moments from each in order to have their audience continue watching.
While the Olympics is not quite as ruthless as The Hunger Games, you can definitely see some similarities between the two that make watching the Olympics an even more interesting event.
Celebrities and Their Portrayal in Media
In our world today, the media highly talks about celebrities and their everyday lives. You see it on television shows, in magazines and newspapers everywhere you go. You hear about them more than you do every day people because they are considered important for our society to talk about. You hear every latest detail of their personal lives, as if it’s the most important news in the world. In The Hunger Games, the contestants receive this type of treatment when they begin to compete. They become celebrities and every detail of their lives is open to scrutiny. Katniss especially deals with this treatment the most when she decides to take her sister Prim's place in the games.
Her decision to compete in her sister's place starts her on her path to becoming the Mockingjay we know and love. But it's also the start of her celebrity status during the games. Much like in our society, after Katniss volunteers to be a tribute, all of the citizens of Panem want to know who she is. So the media in Panem dig into her personal life, trying to learn more about her. This is when Peeta and their mentor Haymitch start strategizing a plan to make Katniss look more sympathetic so that she has a better chance at winning in the games by making Peeta and Katniss out to be a couple. I feel like this is very familiar territory with regards to the media because our media is quite fascinated with celebrity couples too. This can be seen in our world today with reality television shows like The Bachelor and that celebrity couples are portrayed in the media just as much as celebrities by themselves. Whenever two celebrities start dating, the media immediately begins talking about every facet of their relationship. Through the first two books and films in the series, Peeta and Katniss use this to their advantage in order to survive. In Catching Fire, they go so far as to dress Katniss up in a wedding dress and have her talk about getting married and having a child.
During the games, the District tributes are the celebrities and everything they do during the games is televised for everyone to see. It's considered newsworthy and is just as important to the citizens of Panem as the celebrities we hear about and see in our world's society today.
The 2016 Presidential Election
Leadership is an important role in every society. The ones in charge are the ones who have the power because they are the ones who can write the laws that govern our land. Here in the United States however, things are about to change. In 2016, we are going to be voting for our next President to continue governing our country where Obama left off. In The Hunger Games, the leader of Panem is President Snow. He’s the one responsible for keeping the games alive, making sure each District knows he’s the one with all the power. But he's not the only political leader in the series. In Mockingjay, Katniss discovers that District 13 still exists. District 13 also has a leader, named President Coin who wants to take over all the Districts as President and kill Snow. So like our society, Panem is also going through a presidential shift of their own.
In a lot of ways, the revolution Panem experiences in the series is a lot like this year's Presidential Election. You can see this by comparing Snow's reign to Trump and Coin's leadership to Clinton or vice versa, depending on your political views and which political leader you want to see as our next President. Personally, I'm not a fan of either candidate or these leaders in the series so I can make an argument for both comparisons. You can also see this in Mockingjay too with regards to the way Coin uses Katniss to inspire the Districts to rebel against Snow. I think the way Katniss inspired people to stand up to the Capitol via the video footage they took represented her as an endorser for Coin to become the next President of Panem. I saw it as Coin's way of using Katniss to get the people of Panem not only to turn against Snow, but to decide to elect her once Snow was gone. It reminded me a lot of the ad campaigns the nominees in the Presidential Election use to convince people to vote for them.
While the role of President is still up for grabs in the election, it's pretty plan to those who've seen Mockingjay how very similar these two leaders are to the candidates in this year's Presidential Election.
The Hunger Games series as a whole has a lot of similarities with our society in the world today. I feel like I've barely scratched the surface with this discussion, but am quite curious as to your thoughts on this topic. What similarities do you see between the series and the society you live in?
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