How do you know that the The Hunger Games series takes place in a dystopian society?

The Hunger Games is an example of dystopian literature because it is set in a society characterized by oppression, unfavorable conditions, and complete governmental control. The citizens of Panem live in poverty and are spied on and manipulated by the Capitol.

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Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games depicts and juxtaposes elements of both utopian and dystopian societies.

A utopian society is one in which conditions are (close to) perfect. The Capitol of Panem exemplifies a utopian society. The citizens of the Capitol enjoy wealthy, luxurious lifestyles. Their lives and surroundings are practically perfect.

Contrariwise, the rest of Panem exemplifies a dystopian society. Dystopian fiction often depicts an imagined society in which individual freedoms are suppressed; people live under unfavorable conditions; and governments are corrupt, abusive, and totalitarian.

Examples of these elements of dystopian fiction are evident in The Hunger Games. President Snow and the Capitol have complete control over the denizens of Panem. Many of the inhabitants of the districts live in poverty and under strict government surveillance and control. The government uses a variety of devices and tactics to spy on and oppress the people of Panem. The citizens are not able to freely voice their opinions with impunity.

The children in each of the districts are required to enter their names to be drawn during the Reaping. If chosen, these children are forced to participate in a brutal competition to the death known as the Hunger Games. The people of the Capitol view this barbaric competition as a form of entertainment, and the government uses it to manipulate and control the public. All of these factors combine to dipict life—at least life outside the Capitol—as that of a dystopian society.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
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