What does Collins sugest about the role of wealth and material comforts in The Hunger Games?
Wealth leads to immorality in The Hunger Games. Those with material comforts are out of teach with reality.
In The Hunger Games, the heroes are the poor people and the villains are the rich. People like the protagonist Katniss live hand to mouth, and they are the virtuous ones. The people of the capitol, on the other hand, are badly out of touch and behave immorally.
The people in the capitol are described are wearing funny clothes and doing nothing all day. Fashion and trends are more important to them. They eat well, and Katniss wonders at it.
Days of hunting and gathering for this one meal and even then it would be a poor substitute for the capital version. (p. 65)
The people in the poorest districts are starving, and send everything they have of value to the capitol. The people in the capitol do not contribute much to Panem. Their comforts leave them cold and harsh, and they seem to have no sympathy for the children who die or their families, or the starving districts.
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Wealth leads to very questionable morality and a detachment from reality. In the novel we are presented with the 12 Districts, the districts closest to the Capital are the ones that are more corrupt, catering to the Capital's demands. The outerlying districts are poverty stricken and more focused on survival. Perhaps the fact that reality is so harsh makes the outer districts more kind and forgiving, because they understand the struggles we endure simply to survive, to eat, to function from day to day, and to take care of their families.
The Capital is filled with self-indulgent, lazy, and shallow people, who sparkle and glitter and who's whims are met at every turn. The citizens of the Capital want for nothing, and on top of that they are entertained by the Games. They are disconnected from the gruesome violence of sending these children to their deaths, they just want a good show.
The premise of the games is reminiscent of the Ancient Romans and their gladiators, games which pit athletes against themselves and each other in games to the death, which were escalated to fight to the death extremes by the likes of Caligula and later Nero. President Snow puts on a show for his shallow Capital citizens, but without his private army, if the outerlying districts were to truly rebel in a fight for survival, the citizens of the Capital with their lack of depth and skills would be at a very distinctive disadvantage.