Blog Post 2

According the Dictionary.com, propaganda is defined as “information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.” 

It’s important to note that propaganda can be both helpful and harmful. In The Hunger Games, for example, the Capitol benefits from the false information spread about the Games, while the citizens of Panem evidently suffer because of the propaganda. The Games as a whole can essentially be considered propaganda because the Capitol claims that they’re essential in order to maintain order and peace. While the Capitol believes that the Games are helping them maintain order, the Districts are being fueled by the Capitol’s lies and corruption. If the Games weren’t a thing in the first place, Katniss would never have inspired the Districts to rise against the Capitol. In The Hunger Games, the role of propaganda is supposed to be to maintain order, but as we find out later in the franchise, propaganda seems to be the root of the war.

Just a facetious ad criticizing the Capitol’s thinking.

Another book in which propaganda plays a significant role in is The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. (Great book by the the way. I definitely recommend it) The book is basically about an isolated, mysterious society which consists of only men and animals who are able to listen to each other’s thoughts. The story revolves around Todd, a 13 year-old boy who’s unsure about why there are no women in his community. His whole life, he’s been taught that aliens known as Spackle invaded his community and killed off the women with a germ called Noise (the germ that men had in order to be able to listen to each other’s thoughts). In order to avoid spoilers, I won’t say what happens exactly, but Todd makes the realization that he’s been lied to his whole life. In this book, the government utilizes propaganda as a strategy to have full control over their community.

In both books, authoritative organizations use propaganda in an attempt to enforce complete dominion over a society. Unfortunately, the propaganda isn’t very successful in neither of these books, and that’s what these authors are trying to argue: despite the hefty use of propaganda in dystopian literature, complete dominion over a society already overrun by its flaws is impossible.

Propaganda was prodigious in The Hunger Games. The capitol of Panem has used propaganda to control the country. The capitol of Panem has made false claims to get citizens on their side. The Hunger Games is a story about 12 districts all located in Panem. Each year two people are chose by the “The Capitol” to represent their district in the Hunger Games by fighting till death. President Snow used live streaming, fashion, interviews, and drama to cover up the brutal reality of what the Hunger Games actually was. The Capitol made sure every household had a television no matter their place of living and also had TVs around just in case you were not home. All of these examples were used to persuade people in the country to believe and watch the Hunger Games as if it was a positive event for Panem. It made the games look as if it were more of a competition to the world.

Katniss became very popular in the Hunger Games. The celebrity and fame of the Hunger Games that was televised to the rest of the country showed a different image of what really occured. That was President Snow’s plan, to not show everyone what the real cause of the Hunger Games. It was shown similar to a reality show in the real world today. An example of propaganda in the Hunger Games was that Katniss and Peeta were acting as lovers. This made the audience more and more interested in the games. It also gave the audience mixed emotions because it was only possible for one them to win. Another example of propaganda in the Hunger Games was how they televised the games. It made it seem as more of a sport than a war. This made the games appear interesting and fun to be a part of while the people of Panem watched.

 

http://www.latimes.com/topic/entertainment/movies/the-hunger-games-ENMV0011405-topic.html

Winchel, Beki. 7 crisis lessons from “the hunger games.” 24 Nov. 2015. Web. 7 Feb. 2017. 

: 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?”

“No.”

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!”

Work Cited:

Collins, Suzanne. Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic, 2008. Print.

 

 

 

Propaganda – ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one’s cause or to damage an opposing cause(1). However, for dystopias, propaganda is so much more. It is the very basis of the stability of the government. A government can only run as long as it can keep a revolution at bay. Most dystopias deal with this in one of two ways – either the installment of a fear so deep that no one dare raise a finger or the creation of a façade so convincing that most people are fooled into believing that they are happy.

The Hunger Games, very cleverly, uses both. The government uses the Games as a ‘reminder’ for the Districts, of the consequences of revolution, while implementing them in a way that has the citizens of the Capitol convinced that they’re doing a big favor to the tributes.

Let’s see how this absolutely brilliant piece of propaganda is executed.

To begin with, the careful choosing of words that tell the history of Panem at the Reaping. It sounds as if Panem acts in the best interests of ‘all’ its citizens. Yet, the veiled threat mentioning the punishment doesn’t escape the people in the districts.

“The result was Panem, a shining Capitol ringed by thirteen districts, which brought peace and prosperity to its citizens.”(2)

“…as our yearly reminder that the Dark Days must never be repeated, it gave us the Hunger Games.”(2)

Next, acting, right before the Games, as if the tributes aren’t going to be killed in the Arena and what’s more, making an extravagant show of it. Each tribute is assigned a designer to make them look flawless, first in the parade, and then during the interviews, each time convincing the Capitol audience of their ‘generosity’ while having a hearty laugh at the tributes who know better than anyone that all this is just temporary. Here, there runs also a deeper propaganda, wherein the people in the Capitol have been brought up in a way such that they can only form superficial bonds. While Ceaser makes a great show of letting the audience know the tributes, their upbringing helps them easily brush off the death of these people who they supposedly grew attached to!

And lastly, making the victors look flawless for the winner’s interview. All this gives the Games a sense of alternative reality and makes them look way less gruesome as the victors sit in front of the Capitol, as good and healthy as ever.

All in all, the Capitol does a great job of playing this game of veils and deception. However, this game is dangerous and lies on a precarious balance – as can be seen when it comes crashing down, all because of a girl’s decision to eat a few berries with a friend!

Works Cited

  1. “Definition Of PROPAGANDA”. Merriam-webster.com. N. p., 2017. Web. 7 Feb. 2017.

  2.  Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. NY, NY, Scholastic Press, 2008.

 

Propaganda serves as a method by the government to control the flow of information to its people. It is so prevalent in dystopian societies because such governments are entirely dependent upon their complete control of their citizens. By managing the flow of information, they can shape people’s views and opinions favorably for that government.

In Ender’s Game, Propaganda is the tool of  the International Fleet, a far-reaching government instituted with cooperation from all countries for one purpose: The Protection of Mankind. Eighty years ago, the people of earth were caught off-guard against a dangerous foe, now known as the “Formics” or Buggers due to their exoskeletal appearance. The Formics were an advanced alien race, and even though Earth managed to defeat them, humans now live in fear that one day the Formics will return. Before, the Earth was on the verge of a Third World War but suddenly they all had one rallying cry that every human could share. “Never Again.”

 


 

In the Hunger Games, President Snow says “The only thing stronger than fear is hope.” Like the Capitol, The International Fleet knows this too well. As long as there is a greater enemy, the Formics, then the earth is one nation and the International Fleet is in total control. The Propaganda posters loudly declare that the Formics are their one true Enemy and they must be defeated at all costs while fostering hope that some “hero” will end the threat. Any sympathy for the Formics is crushed. They are the enemy.

It’s somewhat important to recall that the last time the Formics attacked was 80 years ago. But the International Fleet has had 80 years to convince people that they’re coming back. It’s that one unifying thread that keeps them together, the survival of humanity.

Most often, Propaganda is viewed as the tool of the weak and a largely negative thing. In most cases, it usually is. However, the International Fleet had one purpose: to keep mankind alive against a dangerous threat. Who was to know that this thread was also itself. The Formic Wars were the only thing that kept the world together. The external threat forces a pause on Earth politics so that Human Kind could survive. And when the Formics were ultimately slaughtered by Ender, the world fell back into war, proving that they needed a reason to look over their should so they had no time to look upon their neighbors. It’s not to say that propaganda is positive, only that bias is a necessary thing to hold together a Nation.

 

Citations:

Ender’s Game Trailer. www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=19&v=0MOqoRSWHCs.

Card, Orson Scott, and Alan Smithee. Enders Game. Boekerij, 2013.

Card, Orson Scott., and John Harris. Ender in Exile.  Tor, 2008.

“Los Angeles Times.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, herocomplex.latimes.com/movies/enders-game-new-propaganda-posters-appeal-to-honor-fear/#/0.

In 2008, Disney came out with a new movie based on a futuristic and dystopian world where humans utterly destroyed the earth and left robots to clean up the mess that they left behind as they made a long voyage through space. Yet, audiences weren’t necessarily interested in the dystopian aspect of it. They instead became entranced with the main character; a lovable little robot who was the namesake of the movie, Wall-E. This happened because the film and the advertisements for the film emphasized the relationships between the characters. It made the destroyed world become more of a backdrop for the drama of the love story between Wall-E and Eve. Although there are still important elements of the plot that revolve around dystopian themes, such as the fight to bring plants and the spaceship full of humans back to Earth, the advertisements for the animated film really emphasized the characters and not much else.

In this movie poster, there is a clear focus on the relationship between the two robots due to the fact that they are in the center of the poster and are illuminated by both the moon in the background and the streetlight. The robots are surprisingly expressive and exude personality through their body language; in the adoring gaze of Wall-E and the scrunched up giggly face of Eve. This makes them more appealing to audiences and makes the audience want to get to know them better. The dystopian theme literally fades into the background of the poster. The desolate and grungy landscape, the spaceship in the upper left, and the hovering robot make it evident that this movie takes place in the future, but there is really no other distinct information. Overall, whoever sees this movie poster would walk away thinking not about the setting, but about the adorable characters.

In this advertisement on the side of a building, it is really stripped down to the essential element of the movie, Wall-E himself. Yet, it is still an effective advertisement. This image brings Wall-E’s personality to the foreground and creates interest through his body language. The way that Wall-E holds his hands and has the little tilt to his head and the expressiveness of his little robot eyes make him seem like a person, not a robot. Despite the fact that it gives absolutely no more information or context for the movie, it doesn’t matter. It still communicates exactly what it needs to, the character of Wall-E himself.

Even in this movie trailer, the surrounding circumstances of the movie are not well explained at all, it instead develops Wall-E as a character. Showing his daily activities and how he reacts to different things in his everyday life. It establishes his intensely curious personality and lovable, quirky sense of humor. It gives the audience a character to latch onto and something to care about. Making the audience care is essential, because it establishes a relationship with the character and makes them want to watch the movie.

This approach to advertising the movie is a stark contrast to the advertisements for The Hunger Games that we examined in class, where the ads were from the point of view of the Capitol and were ineffective in really grabbing the attention of the audience. By eschewing the point of view of the dominant group, the corporation Buy-n-Large, Pixar relates more directly to the audience with character appeals.

In the vast majority of dystopias, propaganda plays a vital role in scaring and influencing the citizens of the society. Typically, in these societies, an overbearing government uses propaganda as a conduit to instill it’s (the government’s) own ideas or views into the minds of the citizens. In the novel 1984, propaganda is utilized heavily to console and “brainwash” the citizens into believing what the government wants them to believe. One medium of propaganda used throughout the book is the use of slogans such as “Big Brother is Watching You”, “War is Peace”, etc. While they may appear as just words, these slogans are extremely powerful in that they (the slogans) scare and console the citizens into listening and getting behind the government, regardless of if the people want to or not. Propaganda isn’t only an aspect of a dystopia, but rather it is one of the defining features that makes a dystopia, a dystopia (Wilkinson). Propaganda is the tool of the government that makes the government so powerful and likewise, can make the conditions of the society appear as dystopian.

In our reading of The Hunger Games, it’s apparent that propaganda is a big part of how the government controls and influences the 12 districts of Panem. One example of this is how The Capitol builds up all of the tributes before putting them into the arena. The Capitol parades them around and makes them into desirable people that the watching citizens can support when the tributes are eventually sent to fight each other. Instead of portraying the games as they are (a bloodbath of teenagers set forth by government order), the government portrays the games as a sport put on for the entertainment of the people. Even when the Mayor of District 12 was conducting the reaping, he says “It is both a time for repentance and a time for thanks (Collins 19).” The government is entirely aware of the severity of the games but they use the games as a tool to keep the citizens at bay. The entire process of the games (the reaping, the parade, the interviews) are as a whole propaganda. The government of Panem needed something to scare the citizens, and the annual Hunger Games is tool for doing this.

 

Works Cited

Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games, New York, Scholastic Press, 2008, Page 19.

Wilkinson, Alison. “Slogans, Propaganda and Mind-Control in 1984.” 30 April, 2014. Prezi Presentation.

One of the most impactful and ever-present pieces of propaganda used during The Hunger Games is the Treaty of Treason video that is shown during the reaping (in this post, I’ll be referring to the version from the movie and the visuals that are portrayed along with it):

Not only is this video issued by the Capitol in an attempt to justify the Hunger Games, but it is also a way of making the citizens of Panem feel as though the Hunger Games’ existence is their fault. In my opinion, the message and its delivery are masterfully crafted; it idolizes the Capitol (“Thirteen districts rebelled against the country that fed them, loved them, protected them…”), showing what the country suffered without explaining what terrible things the Capitol responded to the rebellion with, one example being the complete obliteration of District 13. The video makes it seem as though the districts destroyed each other, stating, “Brother turned on brother until nothing remained.” The Capitol then goes on to blame the districts for their current situation without defining the Capitol as the villain by using collective words such as “we” in, “We swore as a nation we would never know this treason again…” and uses the passive to avoid fault, such as in, “… and so it was decreed…” when discussing the founding of the Hunger Games.

Propaganda is defined as, “The spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person.” In this instance, the Capitol is picking and choosing words out of Panem’s history in order to make the districts look like the problem and instill a trust in the Capitol’s actions. However, this does not stop the children from District 12 from appearing stressed and upset at their potential death sentence. The Hunger Games have been accepted as a part of life after so many years since its founding, and though the people in the higher-numbered districts have realized its severity, those in the Career districts are able to take pride in the video and accept that the reward of “our generosity and our forgiveness [in the form of fame and riches]” is worth the risk of death. Does this mean that this warped explanation of history has taken its toll in changing the outlook of those districts on the Capitol, or are the people in those districts indifferent to the games because those that don’t want to participate will never have to due to the high amount of volunteers? Does this allow them to take advantage of the tesserae system by placing names in the jar that will never get picked? This specific propaganda film within The Hunger Games is one of the great ways in which disparities between districts and their attitudes towards the Games may have been formed, and has acted as a manipulative way for the Capitol to save face on the events that occurred in Panem’s history.

Works Cited:

Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. NY, NY, Scholastic Press, 2008.
“Propaganda.” Merriam-Webster.com, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/propaganda.
The Hunger Games. Directed by Gary Ross, Lionsgate Films, 2012.

Throughout YA literature, the author utilizes media and/or propaganda a source of gaining favor or support for a specific movement or ruling body. In such dystopian literature, people are in a society that is ruled or lead by an organization that might not have the total support of the people, but through the use of propaganda/media they keep the people blind, inline, or submissive using the messages they spread. By doing this, they retain control of the people through means such as inspiring hope, inspiring fear, or some other tactic of keeping the society in order or the people in line with their rule.

The Hunger Games exhibited these defining characteristics of dystopias as well. For example, when the Capitol displays the video at the District 12 reaping, it illustrated their use of propaganda. The video illustrates the message that the capitol’s regime is there to provide peace and security for the districts in exchange for their resources. They completely ignore the how they oppress the people and keep some of the districts in awful conditions. They also use propaganda to spread fear about how the previous time was filled with war and despair and that their rule prevents this.

The Capitol then justifies how the Hunger Games is a way to end all war and despair by each district offering up two tributes to fight to the death as a symbol of sacrifice for the greater good. If someone was to tell this idea to a person, they would think this it is completely crazy. Though through the use of propaganda and media, they illustrate how this idea is the only way of survival/peace.

Also, in the Mockingjay part 1, District 13 uses the symbol of the Mockingjay as a way to gain support for the revolution against the capital. They appeal to the emotions of the occupants of the other districts by illustrating the death, despair, and struggles of the people. This source of propaganda also gains their movement support but instead of trying to do it with submission, they gain support through inspiring people to be active and fight back. This illustrates both spectrums of how propaganda and the media are used to promote support for a group/movement.

Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. NY, Scholastic Press, 2008.

Ross, Gary, et al, director. The Hunger Games. United States: Alliance Film, 2012.

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.

 

Works Cited:

Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. Scholastic Press, 2008.