: How does media and/or propaganda function in dystopias? Choose one of the following:
- Analyze a specific example of media or propaganda within one of the texts we have read (or your own). You might choose to create an accompanying visual or embed existing materials, fan art, or adaptations of the text that you found via Twitter or other Internet sources.
“Everything is brand new, I will be the first and only tribute to use this Launch Room. The arenas are historic sites, preserved after the Games. Popular destinations for Capitol residents to visit, to vacation. Go for a month, rewatch the Games, tour the catacombs, visit the sites where the deaths took place. You can even take part in reenactments.
They say the food is excellent” (Collins 144-145).
This quote is just astounding. There is so much wrong with the society of Panem, but outside of the actual Hunger Games, this to me is the most egregious aspect of the Capitol. Not only do they mark children for death and treat is as a reality show, but they continue to exploit these children’s deaths after they have been brutally murdered. Capitol citizens visit and revel in the exact spots where someone’s child died before their very eyes. And although the mention of the catacombs is never fleshed out or explained, I imagine that you can view the bodies of the dead tributes. Dead children. It’s just really so terrible.
This is another propaganda tool by the Capitol to desensitize their citizens to the Hunger Games and to turn it into more of an anticipated pageant event than sanctioned child murder. The obvious connection to the real world would be Disney World. Disney World brings the magic of the Disney movies we see on screen to our real life, as Disney makes the parks so true to the stories the tales they tell. The Hunger Games arenas are the real thing, so the Capitol visitors are able to bring the “fun” of the Hunger Games into their lives and enjoy it even more.
While it may seem like an innocuous and comic statement, Katniss’s comment about the food being excellent is just as relevant as her comments about the arena theme parks. These theme parks are so popular and unassuming to the Capitol citizens that they are able to comment on the food enough that even the starving residents of District 12 know about it. But most poignant is the fact that anyone is able to eat at all after seeing the place where children were butchered and then presumably seeing their mutilated bodies. Tell me you would be able to eat after seeing the bloody corpse of a twelve-year-old. I couldn’t.
Ultimately, propaganda serves the purpose of promoting the policies of the government and endearing them to the citizens. The Capitol are masters of propaganda, as it has only taken them three generations to completely ingratiate the citizens of the Capitol city (and some of the Districts) to the Hunger Games. This Disney-esque arena theme parks bring the Hunger Games from your television to your life. The Hunger Games are not just a pageant, they are real life, and they are something the Capitol citizens can therefore relate to.
My totally accurate imaginings of Capitol citizens visiting the parks:
“Hey, look! That’s where that grandmother sacrificed her life to save the life of her adoptive grandson after she won this already. So cool, can you take a picture?”
“Oh my god, remember how many tributes died at the Cornucopia that year? It was so awesome? And remember when that District 7 girl got totally cut down? So brutal! Awesome! Remember her?”
“This girl, remember? Her death was so cool, look at her!”
“Oh, yeah I remember her. She was so sweet in the interviews, I really liked her. Just too bad she died. Now let’s go see where that little girl died. What was her name? Oh yeah, Rue!”
Collins, Suzanne. Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic, 2008. Print.