One of the earliest signs of propaganda seen in The Hunger Games is when the mayor of District 12 stands up during the drawing of the tributes. He tells the story of the uprising, referred to as “The Dark Days,” and explains how the Capitol brought “peace and prosperity” thereafter. In the movie, this explanation is accompanied with a video, seen here:
The Capitol designs this propaganda intelligently, giving it a dual purpose. Not only does it serve to limit the chance of an uprising through brainwashing, it gives the Capitol a justification for The Hunger Games, an important action considering the distaste the games could generate otherwise. Within the propaganda not only lies the bending of information, the Capitol bakes in complete falsehoods as well. When describing the outcome of the war, Mayor Undersee states “Twelve [districts] were defeated, the thirteenth obliterated.” This is revealed to be untrue, in fact the thirteenth lived on in continued resistance unbeknownst to those outside the Capitol. The reason that these lies could be spread is due to the lack of true information. There’s no one capable of refuting their claims, making the propaganda ever so powerful.
The marketing related to The Hunger Games can be separated into two distinct categories. The first is of the Capitol, showing an idealized, white society; purity manifested into a perfect world. The second shows the districts as equivalents of noble savages with traits related to their respective jobs.
This two-pronged approach satisfies all viewers of The Hunger Games, whether they look highly upon the Capitol as a goal for the future of humanity, or the more natural human and focus on individualism for those supporting the Districts. This sort of equal treatment for both the Capitol and the Districts allowed me to give equal respect for both, as well as giving me the opportunity to look upon District 13 more critically. No one side is perfect, but the flaws of the Districts are more subtle. Without these pieces of propaganda that I would have simply never recognized them. Put simply, it shifts the motif of the book from just rebellion to a choice of idealized society. It is up to the viewer to decide which is better.