A universal characteristic of dystopian societies is a ruling government that will do anything to be sure that oppression and fear are instilled within its society. In other words, it is the means by which a government is able to control its people. In The Hunger Games, the Capitol utilizes myriad forms of propaganda to prove to the citizens of Panem that the games are necessary and exciting.
One example of this is the method of scoring each of the tributes following their training sessions. This is a source of entertainment for the Capitol, acting like a betting system. The citizens of each district see the number that is matched with their tributes and are swayed to be either hopeful or distraught regarding the outcome. However, common sense would tell us that they should feel some sort of sadness no matter what, seeing as children are about to fight to the death. Additionally, tributes that achieve higher scores have more people who ‘like’ them and thus more sponsors. Ultimately, the idea of Panem being swayed to root for the tribute who receives the highest score from the Capitol is a usage of propaganda.
Another example is the streaming of the games on public TV. It compares the game to a sporting event, which shies away from its gruesome reality. The game updates are televised in the same style as a news update. Claudius projects the faces of fallen tributes, shoots off a cannon to signify their deaths, and announces the rule changes in the same style a sports commentator would. Just as it is the public’s civic duty to keep up with their own news, it is Panem’s citizens’ responsibility to listen to the Capitol’s updates.
A final example of the Capitol’s propaganda is that the games are presented in such a glorified way. When being broadcasted, for example, the games are projected in an exciting way with triumphant music. Additionally, the parade of each district’s tributes builds the games up even more. Dressing the tributes up in fancy, unique attire in an attempt to intrigue Panem is yet another way that the Capitol is using propaganda.
The controlling governments of dystopian societies use propaganda to influence their citizens to think in the same way that they do. Therefore, within the society, the propaganda functions as a reinforcement to the government’s power and an aid in its regime.