Compare and contrast Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games with Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own, and Alice Walker's In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens.

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You already got a more thorough answer which compares and contrasts Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games and Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own, so I will concentrate my efforts on the other two works.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood has a lot in common with The Hunger Games. Both are set in a dystopian future in which things have deteriorated and the people are oppressed by the new world order. In Games, the Capitol has all the power and wealth while the other districts have nothing; specifically, District 12 represents the abject poverty which can happen in such a world, and we know that the same thing can happen to other districts.

In Tale the men have all the power and the women are relegated to bearing and raising children and being wives. Of course the concept reaches much further than this, and this kind of oppression is possible for other groups who are not strong enough to stand up to those in control.

In both works, the hopelessness and despair which permeate the people and their societies is mitigated with some sense of hope at the end. In Games, Katniss wins the Games and brings some home to her struggling home district; in the epilogue for Tale, we learn that Offred managed to escape and the historians who are meeting seem to indicate that change was not only possible but in fact happened.

The main characters in In Search of our Mothers' Gardens by Alice Walker are women who are oppressed, much like the women in Tale and all the citizens of District 12 in Games. Walker says of these women:

In the still heat of the post-Reconstruction South, this is how they [black women] seemed...: exquisite butterflies trapped in an evil honey, toiling away their lives in an era, a century, that did not acknowledge them, except at "the mule of the world."

These women are perceived as having no intelligence or creativity, yet they persevered and managed to hand down their creativity from generation to generation. This is similar to the experience of Katniss who, in the midst of poverty and despair, manages to help her family survive because of the skills her father passed on to her. Again there is hope in both Games and Gardens, as the best of these women does manage to continue through future generations.

Obviously all three of these works feature women protagonists, and all of them have a rather life-and-death conflict which the protagonists must face.

Of course these works are also quite different. They are set in different times and places, and the exact struggles they must face are not literally the same. The primary oppressor in each of these stories is distinctly different both in who they are and how they oppress their victims. The oppressor/antagonist in Games is the Capitol and it takes the form of economic oppression. In Tale the oppressor/antagonist is the government and it takes the form of religious oppression. In Gardens, the oppressor is a white-centered society and the oppression is both physical and social.

Another point of contrast is race, as only Gardens has protagonists who are black, and they are real women in history as opposed to the fictional characters in both of the other two works. 

It is obvious that each of these works recounts the stories of characters who are oppressed but manage to rise above their circumstances, even in the face of the worst kinds of adversity. The women in Tale fight for their independence; the women in Gardens fight to be remembered; and Katniss in Games fights for her own survival.