Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Game has been the talk of the town. We unfold the political arena of the same. Let’s trace the history of the Mockingjay.
Suzanne Collins’s trilogy is a post-apocalyptic, political dystopia set years after systems have collapsed. Only an authoritative regime seems to exist. The geographical spaces have transcended into districts. One of the incessant oppressive practises is the execution of Hunger Games wherein human lives are reduced to “tributes”. One such tribute is Katniss Everdeen who, along with Peeta Mellark, unknowingly brings about an uprising.
The political arena of The Hunger Games has been crafted by Collins in an intricate manner. The dystopia seems to be a reminder, or a wake-up call! One can’t bat an eyelid over the severe brutalities of the games. Akin to Orwellian writing, dark hues of a dystopian future, authoritarianism and vulnerability are the key motifs. The parallels between 1984, Animal Farm, Radhika Apte starrer Ghoul, all furnish some post-apocalyptic times that are gut-wrenching.
The Hunger Games, as cynical as it sounds, are a mere way for the residents of Panem to celebrate. However, their recreation comes at the cost of innocent young lives who lose their humanity in the advent of the brutalities of the games. Young and innocent souls, under the same oppressive regime, become pawns of the Capitol. Panem prances in glory, laughs at the follies of the games, but at the expense of the districts.
Although putting forth a dark side, Collins also manifests humanity through characters like Rue and Cinna who bring about home and compassion through nooks and crannies, rendering hope to readers.
Mark Fisher, through his work- Precarious Dystopias: The Hunger Games, In time, and Never let me go reiterates–
“The struggle to break out of the arena entails the throwing off of this imposed dog-eat-dog Hobbesianism, the reinvention of solidarity. Could it be that Collins’s novels are not only in tune with our actually existing but disintegrating neoliberal dystopia but also with the world that will replace it?”
Fisher’s question, seemingly rhetoric, is the elephant in the room, that cannot be slipped under the carpet. A bead of perspiration is likely to roll down your forehead as you ponder.
Panem and its all-powerful leader, President Snow reminds us of Orwell’s 1984 set in Oceania with its leader, Big Brother. The Capitol is a land of prosperity and luxury while the rest of Panem is divided into 12 districts that have assigned roles and each play a part in supporting the Capitol. Something we learn later in the series is the existence of a District 13 that was presumed to be eradicated by the Capitol had been in hiding underground, preparing for a revolution against the Capitol. District 13 later plays an important role in the overthrowing of the Capitol led by President Alma Coin. It is expected that President Coin would set things right by ending the atrocities by the Capitol. However, in a shocking move, Coin suggests that the Hunger Games be continued and the children of the residents of the Capitol be made to participate as tributes to the revolution and the years of suppression.
One can draw parallels between Presidents Snow and Coin. Both are leaders who ruled with an iron fist, whether it is Snow’s suppression of the districts or Coin and the military lifestyle of District 13. Both were would stop at nothing as seen by Coin allegedly ordering a bomb strike on children at the peak of the revolution that swayed people to believe it was ordered by Snow and made them lose any trust or sympathy for him. With a new prequel set to launch this month, there seems to be more to learn about Panem before the revolution and the early life of President Snow. The decision to continue the Hunger Games rather ending those draconian practices only goes to confirm that Coin eventually turned into what she was set to destroy in a way that reminds us of the conclusion of Animal Farm.
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Tashi Dorjay Sherpa