Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark, Gale Hawthorne, and the other protagonists of TheHunger Games trilogy embody Marxist ideals, even if they may not do so with conscious knowledge of Marxist theory, since Hunger Games exists in a fictional universe. It would be interesting to look at a few elements from ...
Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark, Gale Hawthorne, and the other protagonists of The Hunger Games trilogy embody Marxist ideals, even if they may not do so with conscious knowledge of Marxist theory, since Hunger Games exists in a fictional universe. It would be interesting to look at a few elements from Suzanne Collins’ trilogy to explore its similarities with a Marxist worldview.
Firstly, the Capitol and the 12 districts are stark opposites of each other, representing respectively the wealthy bourgeoisie and the exploited proletariat Karl Marx and Friedrich Engles mention in The Communist Manifesto. In Marxist worldview, the proletariat are the producers of goods, while the elite are the consumers of those goods. Similarly, in The Hunger Games, the Capitol exploits District 12 for coal, District 11 for agriculture, and so on.
Secondly, is the use of spectacle or entertainment to control the proletariat. What religion represents in Marxist ideology, spectacle stands for in The Hunger Games: an “opium for the people.” According to Marx, conventional religion is a product of a capitalistic social system. Under this system, religion becomes a means for distracting people from their material reality and wretched conditions. Thus, religion helps maintain the status quo. In the world of The Hunger Games, the Capitol similarly uses the spectacle of the Games to keep people scared and entertained, and thus deflects any hope for chance or transformation.
Finally, these words from The Communist Manifesto can be used to explain the emergence of Katniss as the mockingjay and the eventual rebellion which brings down President Snow and the Capitol.
What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own gravediggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.
In The Hunger Games, its oppressive policies as well as its use of spectacle as a means of control turn upon the Capitol ultimately, destroying the hegemony of the bourgeoisie. The televization of the Games, meant to turn the proletariat’s powerlessness into entertainment, itself helps in building the legend of the mockingjay and gives the rebels a rallying point. Thus, the bourgeois are their own “gravediggers.” The logical end of an extremely capitalistic system such as in world of The Hunger Games is the proletariat or districts rising to overthrow the elite, sometimes with violence. However, Collins treats Marx’s idealization of the revolution with some skepticism. Alma Coin, the leader of the rebels, is herself shown to be ultimately corrupt, which mirrors real-world concerns about totalitarian leaders appropriating Marxist ideology. Thus, The Hunger Games largely partakes of the Marxist worldview, but with a healthy seasoning of cynicism.