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.