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.
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.