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!
“Definition Of PROPAGANDA”. Merriam-webster.com. N. p., 2017. Web. 7 Feb. 2017.
Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. NY, NY, Scholastic Press, 2008.