Capitol

All posts tagged Capitol

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.

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.

Works Cited:
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/b6/8f/1c/b68f1c3576f4698327e9bc1b3f681238.jpg
http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/thehungergames/images/0/0e/Cornucopia_Bloodbath.jpg/revision/latest/scale-to-width-down/240?cb=20130907233138%22%20/
http://yestotally.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Tribute-parade.jpg

The worldwide phenomena that the YA dystopian novel The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins has become in the recent years called for an enormous amount of advertisements, movie posters and all sorts of marketing to cater to the audience’s demands. Lionsgate Films, while promoting the third movie in the franchise “Mockingjay, Part 1” decided to design and release a collection of portraits depicting and representing several of Panem’s districts.

Each of the images came accompanied by a blurb about the individuals portrayed in the collection.  These portraits were published in the Capitol’s website as if they were designed and distributed all across Panem by the same Capitol with the objective of glorifying the citizens of each district and thanking them for their hard work and contributing to the community where they belong.

If these portraits have been supposedly created and designed by the Capitol it is obvious that there is always going to be an underlying message. I decided to analyze in particular the portrait associated with District 10, because I believe it has a lot to say and holds a lot of hidden meaning. I am going to refer to different objects and areas of the portraits that I labeled in the images.

The first thing I noticed when looking at the image for the first time was the smoking pipe (1). It is most certainly something placed on purpose and I believe it is a way to depict the Capitol. It is there to show their veiled presence throughout Panem. People in the districts hold no riches when compared with the Capitol and therefore the pipe would seem absurd if it were not mimicking the citizens of Panem’s capital.

Secondly, I started to notice how they turned the model into a citizen that fits into the definition of “cattle” by using a furry coat and a nose ring (2). Clearly the nose ring is an icon that is widely associated with cattle, as it is a symbol we can find in many advertisements and related products. The furry coat obviously envelops the model as if it were his second nature, its clothes, and its comfort. It can also be thought that it is the Capitol’s way to mask their belief that the people in the districts are more animal-like and savages when compared to their own.

It is also important to notice how the district’s seal (3), a cattle and two crossed butcher knives, is then contradicted by how the model is holding the lamb, as if it were its own baby or prized possession, close to his heart. Therefore we are lead to believe that citizens in District 10 value their cattle, but as the emblem shows, in the end they are as lethal as any other for “the good of Panem”.

 

Finally, I would like to talk about the text in this portrait (4). The blurb itself is already downgrading the citizen by saying “raised amongst the herd” as if he were part of the cattle of District 10. However, it is masked by thanking the citizen for its hard work and its contribution to the nation, placing importance in the recognition of “love your labor” and “make us proud”, which ultimately leads to the famous “Panem today, Panem tomorrow, Panem Forever”.

As a whole I believe these portraits created by Lionsgate Films were thoroughly thought through when being designed to align them with the Capitol’s ideology and propagandistic views that are so widely represented throughout the books and movies. These portraits have veiled meanings, thus, the truth is found between the lies.

See my vlog at https://youtu.be/s64hrqGRY6Q

Picture Sources:

“Capitol TV.” Digital image. Fandom. Wikia, n.d. Web.
http://thehungergames.wikia.com/wiki/Capitol_TV. Accessed: 30 Jan. 2017.

Ross, Gary, Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley, Elizabeth Banks, Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth,
and Suzanne Collins. The Hunger Games. United States: Alliance Film, 2012.

“The Capitol.” Digital image. Fandom. Wikia, n.d. Web.
http://thehungergames.wikia.com/wiki/The_Capitol. Accessed: 30 Jan. 2017.

Even though dystopias are commonly confused with science fiction or apocalyptic novels, it has its own deep meaning that makes it very specific. In my eyes through reading so many especially Young Adult dystopian novels, they almost always have three completely different mindsets based on the setting or problem at hand. These three views shape the level of interaction and connection between the different sides of the world, for example Panem in The Hunger Games.

There is always one side that fully supports the new created world, or rules. In The Hunger Games, the Capitol is consumed with the games and their “forgiveness” to the districts. They think that the games are a “compromise” and that they are keeping the districts happy. Their narcissistic belief overshadows the underground communications of an uprising that is discussed throughout the entire series.

                 

On the other side, there are the people who hate the rules, but learn to live with it because they believe they cannot do anything to change it. In almost every YA dystopian novel, these are the normal people living out their common lives dealing with the situation.

                 

And the third group, is the rebels. They are the ones who realize that the world is wrong and unfair and try to fight back and change it, or defy the rules completely and do whatever they want, trying to not get caught. In The Hunger Games series, this is Katniss, and eventually all of her followers as the series progresses, who try and overthrow the Capitol and President Snow. Also, in every YA dystopian novel I have ever read, these rebels are always the protagonists or main characters, because their journey is followed in the main plot line.

These three groups of people combined show the different elements of a dystopian novel. They also show how a dystopian is another person’s utopia. The Capitol people believe that their world is perfect; the hunger games solved the rebellion problem within the districts, and now everyone is happy. In their minds, the world with the revolting, and war was the dystopia, and the “new and improved” Panem is the utopia. Of course this is the exact opposite for the districts because their life has always been horrible since the natural disasters destroyed Panem and the Capitol went into power.

Images:

http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/thegamesrp/images/0/0d/City_circle_parade.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20130113203611

http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/hungergamesfrance/images/1/13/DistrictsPanem.png/revision/latest?cb=20120812235939&path-prefix=fr

http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/thehungergames/images/5/5a/D12_fence.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20120210004347

http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/thehungergames/images/e/e1/Capirgbsdd.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20120317000759

http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/thehungergames/images/0/08/Justice-Building-the-hunger-games-29038079-477-476.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20120214022824