What contemporary issues are explored in The Hunger Games?

The Hunger Games explores such contemporary issues as wealth inequality and mass entertainment.

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The Hunger Games, a 2008 novel written by Suzanne Collins explores contemporary issues, perhaps most notably the divide between the rich and the poor—a circumstance often referred to as wealth inequality. The contrast of living standards is described quite clearly throughout the novel. For example, Katniss tells us that the people in the poorer areas of Panem do not have enough food to eat. The poverty that Katniss experiences in her own district stands in contrast to the wealth and the luxuries Katniss later witnesses in the capitol.

Another contemporary issue explored by the novel is that of mass entertainment. One could compare the eponymous Hunger Games taking place in the novel to contemporary American society’s obsession with reality TV shows. The fictional Hunger Games entertain people who enjoy observing participants' struggling and fighting each other. Reality TV, whilst not leading to a participant’s death, still caters for the viewers’ enjoyment of witnessed suffering. After all, reality shows—for example, Big Brother—often attract a great number of viewers because of the very fact that they portray problems, arguments, and scandals. The same voyeurism that attracts the people of Panem to the Hunger Games also attracts the people of today’s society to shows like Big Brother.

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