Propaganda is used to control citizens. By definition, it is biased information used to persuade a group into believing a political idea. Typically, propaganda is the only source of information the people receive, so there is very little free thought. This idea is exemplified in many dystopian novels, including Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games series.
In The Hunger Games, each of the twelve districts of Panem are required, by law, to send one boy and one girl aged 12-18 to a death match. This event is known as the hunger games, and although there are twenty-four contestants, only one will comes out alive. The games were formed as a result of a rebellion started by District 13 in the Dark Days, and now the remaining twelve districts must pay the ultimate price. The ruling body, the Capitol, is not required to send any of their children to these games. However, everyone is required to watch. The sad thing is, the Capitol and many of the richer districts view the games as the ultimate form of entertainment. What the citizens of Panem do not realize is that the games are just a form of propaganda. The games are meant to show that the Capitol has complete control over the districts. Parents are unable to protect their children from the reaping, and the children are forced to kill each other to survive. President Snow and most of the citizens of the Capitol say that the games are to keep the peace among Panem, but at what cost? The Capitol is responsible for the death of innocent children and they only use the games as a way to pit the districts against each other to try and prevent another rebellion. When the friends and family of the tributes see their children being killed by someone of another district, they are unlikely to want to unify with the murderers and rise against the Capitol. Additionally, this killing game is the only access the districts have to each other. So, the only time citizens of different districts are in any sort of contact is when they are forced to kill each other or watch it happen.
Even after the games the ‘victors’ are used as propaganda for the Capitol. They become the stars of Panem, showered with gifts and promised a life filled with happiness. Katniss proved that this is not always the case. To be treated well by the Capitol, you have to play their game until your eventual death. The victors have to help maintain the order in Panem and promote the Capitol’s ideas. Those that turn against the Capitol, like Katniss, are quickly discredited and given death warrants.
Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. Scholastic Press, 2008.