Blog Post 2

The main purpose for propaganda from what I have read and seen from the Hunger Games series, the Ender’s Game/Ender’s Shadow series, and real life issues is to benefit a group of people in order to control how everyone else sees them and their enemies or counterparts. The entire concept of propaganda, young adult fiction or real life, is to make one side of an argument almost glorified or at least make it seem like the sensible and rational choice for the general public while at the same time almost criminalizing the opposing point of view. This has been the case for real life topics such as historical propaganda from the Abolitionist movement to World War Two and even to issues about food and personal health today as shown below.

There are also many examples of propaganda in modern dystopian novels. In the Hunger Games, the Capitol uses propaganda to show that the entire concept of having a yearly Hunger Games is deserved and right in the first two novels, and in the last novel it switches in order to prevent people from joining the rebellion and keeping Capitol support unwavering. The main purpose for both of these propaganda series is in order to keep the Capitol strong and in a position of power and authority; however, they do differ drastically in the message they send. The use of propaganda in the first two books helps the Capitol show how much the districts depend on them and how the districts are deserving of the punishments they receive (the games themselves) while the propaganda in the last book is more centered on keeping the support for the Capitol strong and crushing all hope of a rebellion before it actually takes place and once it does to stop it by any means necessary (including hijacking Peeta’s brain which I personally think makes this a horror novel). Some examples of fan art are shown below with each one demonstrating a different stage in the books or targeting different audiences of the Capitol’s propaganda campaign.

Shifting over to the Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow series by Orson Scott Card, The IF (International Fleet) which is in charge of all military action on the future Earth uses propaganda for a multitude of purposes vastly different from the Capitol’s in the Hunger Games. While they both seek unity, the reasons for unity are at a stark contrast. In Ender’s Game the IF seeks to unify Earth’s population against the Buggers (an otherworldly threat) and to raise public opinion that the Buggers are a horrible race worthy of being wiped from the universe. The propaganda also works in order to alter the minds of the young recruits it receives that are sent to Battle School in addition to the general public. By not showing the full battle of the second formic war and its sudden conclusion, Mazer Rackham becomes a public figure, a great general the kids look up to, and a hero needed to unify the world at the time. In addition, by withholding information about the Buggers making no attempts to travel back to Earth for a third time it allows them to trick the public into supporting a preemptive strike on the Buggers’ home world. Some examples of all of these scenarios are shown below, and range from movie promos to fan art.

In conclusion, propaganda plays a key role in dystopian novels. It allows the group in power to shape the minds of their followers in order to keep everyone in check and assure that things will remain in good conditions for those who stand the most to lose or those who control the most. While propaganda may come in many different forms the goal is always to convince an audience to glorify one side of an argument and make that audience actively agree with the opinion of those in power.

Images:

https://d6u22qyv3ngwz.cloudfront.net/ad/7E2U/the-real-cost-7000-chemicals-large-10.jpg

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/86/82/99/8682990fd1123cbe762e84666c4e2a0a.jpg

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/5b/82/c2/5b82c29182b41201065ab00cfb405c39.jpg

http://www.thecapitol.pn/panem-share.jpg

https://latimesherocomplex.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/usorthem.jpg?w=400

http://img.cinemablend.com/cb/b/4/8/e/1/9/b48e19ca71ccdc5ef83fb91d3531038cb05cc24c57965b5c08e2f300739add4f.jpg

http://www.endersansible.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/bugger.jpg

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/55/80/73/5580731ca1e1c615120d7be0d08ee158.jpg

When rogue artificial intelligence Michael Talis saved the world from war he immediately assumed the burden of convincing the leaders of humanity not only to subjugate their nations to his rule, but also to offer their own beloved children as the collateral that would ensure peace (1-3). For many, this would be a difficult thing to accept, and surely the citizens of the world that empowered Talis could defeat him. Why has there been such resigned acceptance?

City goes boom. It's really not meant to be subtle.

Behold the power of propaganda. The word of Talis is known and studied by the leaders of the world, having been collected in a holy text known as the Utterances (20). His strategy is threefold. First, Talis portrays himself as the savior of the world, and mankind as short-sighted and incompetent: “. . . and of course people started shooting, because that’s what passes for problem-solving among humans. See, guys, this is why you can’t have nice things” (2). He would have us believe we are not fit to care for the earth alone. Then again, Talis is not above that timeless despotic classic, fear. When once a state dared attack a compound where his hostages were housed, Talis removed all trace of their capitol from the earth. “City goes boom . . . It’s really not meant to be subtle” (169). Indeed, Talis himself assures the people of earth that “resistance is futile” (32). This last quote is, of course, not original but is one of his many beloved movie quotes. Indeed, the third arm of rhetoric Talis employs is designed to subtly suggest a sense of humanity. His demeanor and tone are always lighthearted, jocular, reminiscent of a young boy, even when the subject matter is quite heavy. From Greta’s later experiences we know that the AI process information at startling speeds (351-352). We must therefore assume that any humor on the part of Talis is purely affected, that he disarming in more ways than one. Michael Talis, the benevolent, the omnipotent, the charmingly playful. I wouldn’t half mind giving him a chance.

Works Cited:
Bow, Erin. The Scorpion Rules. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2016, New York.
Mihan(AKA)Zed. Metro zagotovka. Wikimedia Commons, 19 Oct. 2008, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Metro_zagotovka.jpg.

In The Hunger Games (film), the premise of the games is introduced to the audience at the reaping. Almost as fake as an info commercial, the wording portrays being chosen as a sacrifice to the games as an honor. Despite its horrendous lies and fallacious façade, the Capital eats it up.

 

From the perspective of a capital resident, the video serves as a reminder of the horrible uprising of the districts and the capital’s triumph. Furthermore, the capital gains a merciful reputation to its citizens.  This makes the games appear more like reality TV show instead of public child slaughter to the capitol.

From the perspective of the districts, the video is shown every year without any sign of stopping. That within itself is dismaying as it serves as a reminded that the hunger games are not going anywhere and are here to say. The wording is demeaning to the districts and emphasize that they are going to suffer at the capital’s pleasure.

In essence, propaganda is a key to maintaining Panem’s dystopian totalitarian government. It is incredibly effective at its job of controlling the mindset, ideals, and beliefs of the masses and bending them to the capitals will. Even if the districts know they are viewing propaganda, it is still effective against them. If the written, spoken, or visual message does not get across, a subliminal message does; the districts do not like the capital and they cannot do a thing about it.

As part of the marking campaign of The Hunger Games, propaganda videos and posters were created to attract views. For example, a district 13 propaganda video was used as an ad for the movie.

In my opinion, I do not like this. When you are reading the books from Katniss’s perspective, you get a good insight about what each side is really about, so you can understand how absurd the propaganda is in the press war. If you only show the propaganda to a prospective viewer, you are skewing their mind away from the truth when they watch the movie. While skewing the mind of your audience is indeed the goal for propaganda, it should be avoided when advertising a film. An audience member should not be misled into what they are watching. It would be better to know nothing at all going into the film.

I hate to admit it, but I first watched Catching Fire before I read any of the books, or even watched the original Hunger Games. Instead, my impression of the series before watching this movie, was shaped by what I viewed in advertisements on television or in magazines, like those for Covergirl’s Catching Fire collection or Subway’s “Fiery” subs. Everything in the media made the world of The Hunger Games seem so extravagant and lavish, however upon reading the book soon after viewing the movie, I realized this initial impression of mine, cultivated by all the marketing, was completely off from the series’ reality. The dystopian society of The Hunger Games is a mixture of extreme fear, poverty, depression, and a multitude of intimidation and corruption at the hands of the Capitol. However, the ads for the movies rarely, if it all, highlighted the uglier truth in the series. The Capitol uses this same technique as it manipulates the districts. It seeks to make the situation of Panem seem a whole lot better off than it is in actuality through an extreme amount of propaganda.

It is undeniable that propaganda plays a key role in Panem and keeping the districts in so called “order”. When the mayor reads off the history of Panem on reaping day, he lists “the disasters, the droughts, the storms, the fires, the encroaching seas that swallowed up much of the land”(Collins). The Capitol seeks to maintain its control over the districts especially on reaping day, which the day itself is plenty of a reason to spark a rebellion, as two dozen children are chosen to be killed by the Capitol. Seeing the obvious reason for potential for rebellion, the Capitol uses propaganda like this to keep the districts in check. They make it clear how worse off the citizens of Panem were before the Capitol came in control. They are making an effort to convince the citizens that with the Dark Days and rebellion, the Hunger Games is obviously the only solution to maintain this “peace”, therefore there is no need to rebel. The Capitol is doing what is best for the citizens, or so it claims. When every piece of information you get about your history is distorted and manipulated, and when you have been told these same lies your entire life, it is hard to see a reason why you would ever have doubt. Even though it seems inconceivable to us today, we don’t know what it is like to not have the freedom to do our own research, form our own opinions, and not have everything we know about anything be based on severe lies. The Capitol needs propaganda like this video to keep their citizens in check and for them to see that their is no grounds for rebellion, even if their current conditions are horrible, the Capitol assures them what they have is good, or rather it could be a lot worse. 

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

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/86/82/99/8682990fd1123cbe762e84666c4e2a0a.jpg

In dystopias, many authors use propaganda in their societies to show how the citizens can be controlled. Propaganda plays a central role in keeping the ruling government or leader in power. It provides them with a way to keep the citizens in order and providing them with only the necessary information.

Suzanne Collins uses quite a lot of propaganda in the novel, The Hunger Games. One of the first occurrences is the short film shown at the beginning of the reaping. It is a speech by President Snow to remind the districts of the terrible war and the uprising, which then led to a new era which included peace. To protect the districts and to remind them that freedom has a cost, the Hunger Games are held annually. They glorify sending tributes to their deaths by stating that they are fighting for “honor, courage, and sacrifice.” The capitol also mentions that the single victor is promised riches which “serves as a reminder of our [the capitol’s] generosity and our forgiveness.”

In the film, Snow appeals to all the districts, even though they are all very different from each other. There are the poor districts such as District 12, who will relate to the beginning of the film when war and hardships are mentioned and that the Capitol provides food to the districts and without them, the poor would be even poorer. The districts where the Careers come from, will relate more to the second half of the film, when Snow mentions the fight for glory, and honor. They prepare for the games and even have volunteers to be tributes in the games.

Even though the history of Panem is described in the propaganda video, the Capitol makes sure not to provide the districts with too much information. A war is mentioned, however, the cause of the rebellion is not revealed. The Capitol picks and chooses what information to reveal to its citizens and also requires everyone to watch these broadcasted films, to ensure that everyone receives the information that they want the citizens to know and to remind them that they are in control and that the districts need the Capitol for protection and survival.

Works Cited:

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

Everyone who has read The Hunger Games can clearly see that the media and propaganda is a huge part of the story. In the text we see the media in all sorts of places. The media surrounds the entire Hunger Games and makes it something that people want to watch. The media also acts to keep the districts in line with the aggravated hype created with the Hunger Games. Media is incredibly influential in real life, and is exemplified fictionally in The Hunger Games.

One of the main examples of the influence of the media in the story that comes to my mind is the portrayal of Katniss and Peeta’s romance that is broadcasted nationwide. Peeta originally introduced his love interest as a tactic to survive in the Hunger Games, which shows how he used the media to his advantage. In turn, the media used the story of the lovers to their own advantage, to capture the nation’s attention. Everyone loves a good romance; it’s why our own nation is enamored with shows like The Bachelor. In the book it is no different, and Katniss and Peeta get all sorts of attention. Therefore, I’m sure there would’ve been advertisements and propaganda created around them which was not specifically addressed in the novel.

https://suprtickets.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/katniss-peeta.jpg/

The star-crossed lover story line came to bite the Capitol (and therefore the media) in the butt later, however, when Katniss and Peeta were the only two remaining people in the arena, and they were about to kill themselves instead of each other. This was an act of defiance against the Capitol, and was portrayed in the media to all of Panem. In this way, Katniss and Peeta unwittingly used the media to their own advantage. They used it to win the Hunger Games, and ultimately to spark the rebellion of the districts.

Image Source: https://suprtickets.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/katniss-peeta.jpg/

Dystopian novels are depicted as being the worst possible version of a society, generally characterized by an oppressive government and a huge amount of censorship. In fact, most dystopian novels, including 1984 by George Orwell and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, feature actual works of propaganda in the novels themselves. Specifically in The Hunger Games (both the novel and the movie), propaganda can be viewed as the amount of hype and promotion of the games themselves, with people in both the Capitol and the districts placing bets on who might be the winner, as well as the exposure of the games through talk-shows and overall Capitol sensations. In fact, propaganda in the work itself is even more characteristic of a dystopian society, when we see in the movie how the districts are only given access to viewing the games through a projector, wth no access to any other channel or source of news.

Propaganda when it comes to dystopias (or novels and movies in general) can be expanded to the audience outside of the book: you and I as readers and viewers. In fact, the success of most novels and films ride on an effective means of propaganda. Again, looking at The Hunger Games specifically, the books were such a huge success, that they were all turned into movies. In fact, although the book’s success was largely based off of its originality in a young adult genre, the cover art featuring the mocking jay on every book cover led to other merchandise, including mocking jay necklaces and rings. Similarly, when the first film came out, it was a huge success that bred even more popularity for the novels themselves. However, a key to its continued success was to ensure that the other films, Catching Fire, Mockingjay: Part 1, and Mockingjay: Part 2 were equally advertised to not only keep returning fans motivated to see the movies, but to encourage others to hop on the bandwagon as well. Thus, for the third and fourth movies, the creators utilized modern-day propaganda by forming posters that one could imagine were used in the novels themselves. One of them on the left, featuring a small child covered in coal with the caption, “The Capitol salutes its citizens in the mining district,” could appeal to returning fans of The Hunger Games, as well as an uninformed audience who may suddenly be intrigued by the poster itself. For myself, the use of propaganda when it came to the use of the mocking jay on posters and advertisements kept me interested in the novels, even though the mentioning of the mocking jay pin itself isn’t really the highlight of the books nor the films. However, regardless, The Hunger Games is a perfect example of how the success of a novel (and four films) can be dependent on effective use of propaganda.

 

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

What if we lived in a world where we were told what to think, who to be, and our expectations of the future? In Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games” series, this is the role that propaganda plays. Beginning with the reaping day video, which pushes the idea that each of the twelve districts are traitors to the Capitol, we, as outsiders, can see clearly the Capitol places all blame of the rebellion on the districts. This has created feelings of oppression and tension between the two. History is written by the victors, and since the Capitol emerged victorious from the district uprisings, they dictated how the entire society would view the rebellion. The history they wrote consists of the betrayal of the districts, which in turn leads to the creation of the hunger games.

The Hunger Games are in and of themselves a form of propaganda. They convey the message that the Capitol will always win. By forcing each district to sacrifice their children, who symbolize the hope and future of their families in each district, the Capitol reinforces their power.

Children of the districts live in continual fear of the Capitol. Each year, the televised blood sacrifice of children remind the districts the Capitol is in charge and their only option for survival is to do completely as they say.

Even if you do survive past the childhood terror of being sent to the games, you are expected to support the Capitol in whichever industry they have assigned to each district.

 

Another form of propaganda the Capitol uses against the Districts is Caesar Flickerman’s pre-game interview with the contestants. During this time, he gives the Capitol an air of relatibility and humor. He embodies the Capitol and all its people, so when he jokes with the contestants, cries for the contestants, and rejoices with the contestants, the Capitol claims the stance of regret and empathy towards the Districts.

Through their use of propaganda, the Capitol hopes to keep the Districts under its control. They have rewritten history in their favor; they have broken the fighting spirit out of many of the Districts by continually claiming their children for contestants in their game. The Capitol, as many dystopian societies, has used propaganda to further their own agenda and keep the citizens in check with mind games and force.

 

http://www.theverge.com/2014/6/25/5840706/the-hunger-games-mockingjay-promotion

Propaganda is commonly thought of as information used by governments to convince people to follow a certain cause such as the World Wars, the Vietnam War, government policies, or political agendas. Propaganda plays a key role in dystopian literature, books that revolve around this one fixated society where the rules are unbending and social expectations.

In the book Matched, the Society has constructed a perfect system to guarantee a long, satisfying life, provided you follow the rules. Cassia, the protagonist, has grown up with the same information, that the Society has replaced a failing and miserable way of life. Routines ensure maximum efficiency, Matches are made for ideal life partners, secure jobs provide comfort. in other words, there is order and peace. While at the recreational center, she and her friends watch a video of the history of Society and how it came to being. The video emphasized the horrors that the Society eliminated and how everything would collapse if the Society failed. Cassia described the video as “overdone” and “ludicrous”; the scenes are overdramatic with actors exaggerating death scenes. Her and her friends do not take the showing seriously; they know how fake it is, but they continue watching it since it is one of the few films available to them.

The Society may have removed diseases and hardships but also anything of the past. Only a hundred poems, a hundred songs, and a hundred painting were kept; it was reasoned that an excess of information causes chaos, thus all that was deemed unworthy was destroyed. Censorship is another form of propaganda, by limiting the public’s access to information sets up a biased atmosphere. The people have no choice but to trust what the Society tells them for they have no other resources. The Society has even deprived them of writing; everything is technology, ports, tablets, screens, and computers, devices easily monitored by the Officials. Writing is a form of communication, but it poses a threat as it is much more difficult to regulate. The secret poem Cassia’s given is easily disposed of, reducing the words to “ash and nothing.”

Controlling the means of communication and all history records allows for complete power over people; their citizens will believe any of the propaganda the Society feeds them, since all other sources of intelligence are nonexistent.

Citations

  1. Casey, Ralph D. “The Story of Propaganda”. American Historical Association. www.historians.org/about-aha-and-membership/aha-history-and-archives/gi-roundtable-series/pamphlets/what-is-propaganda/the-story-of-propaganda. Accessed 3 Feb. 2017.
  1. Condie, Ally. Matched. Penguin Group, 2010, New York.
  2. Thomas, Dylan. “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.”Literature and Society: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, Nonfiction.  Pamela J. Annas and Robert C. Rosen. 4th Ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2006.

In dystopian novels, authors use propaganda in the dystopia to show how the citizens of the nation can be controlled. The leaders use propaganda to prove that they are in control of everything that goes on. When those who are in control of a dystopia (or think they are in control) use propaganda, they want to show the populace that they are the ones who call the shots and that they are the ones who are always right.

Propaganda is prevalent throughout the novel 1984, written by George Orwell, in which “Big Brother” always watches them. In this novel, the citizens watch telescreens, which seem to be omnipresent. They are told what to think, which further proves that this novel is a dystopia because the citizens’ feeling and thoughts are controlled, taking away freedom of speech. In 1984, the citizens cannot turn the telescreens off, so the propaganda coming from the screens is always being put into the citizens’ heads. The screens are always giving new information about rebels and what happens to them to try and scare the citizens into believing the government.

Not only do the words in the propaganda tell the citizens how to think, but they also play patriotic music to make what they say seem better for the nation. Even though the information being put on the screens isn’t necessarily right for Oceania, the government makes the citizens feel like it is. Since propaganda is such a major part of 1984, the citizens have no time to plot against the government or to think for themselves. If the citizens even react weird or dissatisfied with the propaganda on the screens, they could be labeled as troublemakers and get in serious trouble. The idea that “Big Brother is watching you” inflicts fear in the citizens, and it enables the dystopian government to control the citizens through propaganda on the screens (Orwell).

 

Works Cited

Orwell, George. 1984. New American Library, 1950.