Compare three themes in Night and in Catching Fire.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Government control is one of the dominant themes in both Night and Catching Fire.  Collins creates a government that is despotic and tyrannical.  President Snow operates without any checks or limitations to his power.  The government that demands that the Hunger Games are played out is representative of its tyranny.  In much the same way, Wiesel presents a Nazi government that has no institutional checks to its control.  The horror that is brought out in the Holocaust has no limitations because government control is unchecked.  In both settings, government control over individuals is unlimited and profound, constituting the very reason why people in both works suffer under an unresponsive and uncaring government.

Both Night and Catching Fire depict a world of cruelty.  The 74th Hunger Games was an exercise in cruelty. The success in the Hunger Games lies in ensuring that people watch at the suffering of the contestants. President Snow makes it a point to tell Katniss that he was not happy with how she undermined the last Hunger Games. Essentially, cruelty and suffering becomes the reason why people watch the Hunger Games. The establishment of the 75th Hunger Games in Catching Fire is another way in which the cruelty is evident. The only accepted outcome will be the death of its participants in the most agonizing way possible.  In the Holocaust, Wiesel displays a world where cruelty and suffering are evident in all aspects of existence. Eliezer's degradation as well as the others around him is rooted in exerting cruelty on another human being. The Holocaust itself embodies the theme of cruelty and the individual events that Eliezer details with events such as Moshe the Beadle, Madame Schachter, Idek the Kapo, the small boy whose neck was too small for the noose, or Rabbi Eliahu's son abandoning his father.

Another theme that both works share is the theme of survival.  Peeta and Katniss study previous games in order to enhance their chance of survival.  Each of them wants to survive.  Katniss is clear about her desire to want Peeta to survive, who in turn wants Katniss to survive.  Eliezer's narrative is defined by what he must do to survive.  Survival becomes his primary motivation.  In both works, survival is carved out through inhumane conditions and the most horrific of realities.

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