Hunger Games

All posts tagged Hunger Games

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.

 

Works Cited

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.

Propaganda is used to control citizens. By definition, it is biased information used to persuade a group into believing a political idea. Typically, propaganda is the only source of information the people receive, so there is very little free thought. This idea is exemplified in many dystopian novels, including Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games series.

In The Hunger Games, each of the twelve districts of Panem are required, by law, to send one boy and one girl aged 12-18 to a death match. This event is known as the hunger games, and although there are twenty-four contestants, only one will comes out alive. The games were formed as a result of a rebellion started by District 13 in the Dark Days, and now the remaining twelve districts must pay the ultimate price. The ruling body, the Capitol, is not required to send any of their children to these games. However, everyone is required to watch. The sad thing is, the Capitol and many of the richer districts view the games as the ultimate form of entertainment. What the citizens of Panem do not realize is that the games are just a form of propaganda. The games are meant to show that the Capitol has complete control over the districts. Parents are unable to protect their children from the reaping, and the children are forced to kill each other to survive. President Snow and most of the citizens of the Capitol say that the games are to keep the peace among Panem, but at what cost? The Capitol is responsible for the death of innocent children and they only use the games as a way to pit the districts against each other to try and prevent another rebellion. When the friends and family of the tributes see their children being killed by someone of another district, they are unlikely to want to unify with the murderers and rise against the Capitol. Additionally, this killing game is the only access the districts have to each other. So, the only time citizens of different districts are in any sort of contact is when they are forced to kill each other or watch it happen.

Even after the games the ‘victors’ are used as propaganda for the Capitol. They become the stars of Panem, showered with gifts and promised a life filled with happiness. Katniss proved that this is not always the case. To be treated well by the Capitol, you have to play their game until your eventual death. The victors have to help maintain the order in Panem and promote the Capitol’s ideas. Those that turn against the Capitol, like Katniss, are quickly discredited and given death warrants.

 

Works Cited:

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

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:

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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.

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.

Last week, we discussed dysptopias in detail – various definitions, comparing dystopian novels to other genres, and their usage in Young Adult literature. One topic that was explored in various posts was the idea that one individual’s dystopia could be another’s utopia. 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.”(1) In the same sense, we’ve seen how propaganda has been used to promote the false ideals of a selective utopia to those who bear the brunt of the dystopian aspects.

One of the best examples of such propaganda is presented during the Reaping in the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. The scene starts by describing the selection of a “courageous young man and woman for the honor of representing” the District in the Hunger Games. Right from the start, the speech attempts to influence the districts towards the idea that participating in the Games is a prestigious role, that results in wealth and glory. Even the name of the event could be considered an attempt to disguise its gruesome reality as a show of power by the Capitol. They take the children of the districts and force them to fight to the death for entertainment, and there isn’t anything the people can do to stop it. Obviously, this feeble attempt at propaganda has little success among the districts, however it is supplied with a second message by showing the people the ruins of District 13 year after year. This has the effect of reminding the people that the Games were a direct result of the Districts defying the Capitols power during the so-called “Dark Days”. We only see the video played in District 12, however when viewed on a larger scale, it actually could be considered a very clever work of propaganda. For the Districts, it reminds the people of the power of the government, as well as the consequences of defied the established order. On the other hand, for the brainwashed individuals of the Capitol, who have grown up knowing only the glory of the Games and the Capitol, it functions as a tool to convince them that they were in a time of peace and prosperity, as opposed to the Dark Days, which is portrayed as a direct result of the ungracious districts rebelling against the faultless Capitol. We can see how the meaning and implications of the video is different depending on whether it’s viewed by a struggling, fearful citizen of the districts or a pampered member of the Capitol who lives in comfort and prosperity.

The marketing campaigns for The Hunger Games movie actually presents a shockingly similar view to the propaganda in the film itself. Making use of electronic communication more commonly used by the younger generation that made up their target audience, the producers primarily advertised on social media as a cheap, but effectual method of reaching the public. However, due to worries about marketing a battlefield for children as a young adult movie, they carefully didn’t release any footage of the actual Games, as well as avoided any mention of the concept of children killing other children, directing the advertisements towards the fact that “only one wins”. (2) It’s amazing to think that propaganda so similar that is so obvious in the movie, can go unnoticed by the general populace.

Works Cited:
1. “Propaganda.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/propaganda
2. “How ‘Hunger Games’ Built Up Must-See Fever”, The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/19/business/media/how-hunger-games-built-up-must-see-fever.html
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3PJ3Du_zDc
Image: http://wp.outbrain.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/content-marketing-hunger-games-movie.png

 Christian Matthews

The way propaganda is used through media in The Hunger Games is pivotal in the story development and also showing why Panem is a dystopian rather than utopia. Propaganda has been used as a tool for the government to convince people to follow their orders. A primary example was when Effie came to advertise the Hunger Games to potential players she showed on a big screen a false version of how the hunger games were, but once players started being chosen to compete in it, it turned into punishment because of the districts rebelling against the Capitol and so there can be “peace” in the Capitol. It impacts the plot because they started to forcefully choose innocent people to compete in the game like the young girl Rue. Rue impacts the plot tremendously because she isn’t fighting for what the other districts are fighting for, she is fighting for survival and to get out of the hunger games. Another important part of the story that doesn’t get the recognition for propaganda is when the Capitol would go live on the news periodically, so every District could hear. This I found efficient data because the Districts don’t know what going on “outside” of the Hunger Games bounds, they have no choice but to believe what the Capitol speaks about. Overall, The Capitol uses these propagandas to provide the districts with information that they want to provide only.

 

In The Hunger Games, the games are a major factor in keeping the districts in check. To justify them each year, the mayor of District 12 describes the history of Panem and the uprising, or, in the case of the movie, they play a video dubbed by President Snow. In this video, the Capitol uses very specific wording and imagery to craft their narrative to the people.

The first message the Capitol wants to convey is pretty simple: the uprising was bad. The video starts off with Snow saying “War, terrible war. Widows, orphans, a motherless child” while showing images of an atomic bomb going off and of a mother crying. Snow is merely listing these terrible things, but by doing so he is setting the mood for his next words: “The uprising…”. This is done intentionally to reinforce in the minds of the people that the uprising was a bad thing, and to discourage them from trying to rise up again. Later he continues to reinforce this idea by describing the uprising as treason, and the people as traitors. He never mentions the reasons that the uprising happened, just that it was bad and the people were traitors. This way the people are left in the dark on the purpose of the uprising and have no reason to sympathize with them.

The second things the Capitol does in the video is justify the Hunger Games to the people. Snow begins his description of the games by saying that “freedom has a cost.” In this sense, he is implying that the ending of the uprising was a positive thing, because it resulted in freedom, and that the games are justified as a trade off for this positive thing. He then goes on to say that the games are actually about “honor, courage, and sacrifice” and not just a bloodbath intended to remind the districts that they have no power. The most powerful line in my opinion is when Snow says the games are necessary to “safeguard our future”. Again, he is stressing the importance of the games and how they are necessary for their society to remain at peace.

The most important aspect of any propaganda is how successful it is in convincing its audience. In the case of this video, the people of District 12 are certainly not convinced. They see their children go off to the games each year to die and feel like they are powerless against the Capitol. The games don’t seem justified to them, just cruel. Therefore I don’t believe this video was good propaganda because it was not successful in its purpose.

Dystopian novels tend to be political where there is a tyrannical political force that is control of every aspect of society, while a smaller political faction might try to overthrow the tyranny. Since there is this political tension, propaganda floods dystopias to try to persuade the general population to hav3e a specific mindset. I would like to take a look at the propaganda seen in the film Mockingjay Part 1.

Propaganda is the main idea of this film is to create propaganda to gain support for a revolution. As the film opened Katniss was asked by President Coin to be the star in propaganda films, but she denies the offer. However, after seeing her home district destroyed by the capital, Katniss becomes the face of the rebellion against the capital in a series of propaganda films. However, we also see the capital shots their own set of propaganda, and the methods of the two are vastly different.

In District 13, Katniss can’t naturally perform the scripted propaganda, so she is actually sent on the field where she witnesses a bombing of a hospital. She then creates a wonderful speech where she talks about the tyrannical nature of the capital using the bombed hospital victims as martyrs. She finishes the propo with the line “if we burn, then you burn with us”. This final line shows the seriousness of the rebellion, and that even if the capital destroys District 13, that the rest of the districts will see the true evil, and the capital will be overthrown no matter what they do.

On the other hand, the capital is using propaganda in a different aspect. Since the capital has Peeta, they use him in a series of interviews as a propaganda tool where he is constantly calling for a seize fire in the rebellion. Since the capital knows that they are weak with some of the districts already rebelling, they use this propaganda to try and create peace; in addition, Peeta tries to appeal directly to Katniss to have her stop the rebellion since he knows that she has some power in District 13. However, it is assumed that Peeta is forced to say the things he does by the capital which makes the capitals propaganda less genuine.

As a result, there is a propaganda war within the actual war. The importance of the propaganda is that if the rebellion or the capital can use the propaganda to get citizens of Panem on their side then the winner of the propaganda war will have the numbers, and even though numbers don’t win wars they certainly do help.

Propaganda plays a big role in many dystopian novels and movies. Wherever there’s an authoritarian government or any kind of oppressive system, both of which are commonly seen in this genre, there’s an exchange of biased information between whoever’s in charge and those who are being controlled. However, throughout Suzanne Collins’ Mockingjay, this trading of persuasive campaigns comes from not one direction, but two: from the Capitol, who already has control, and the rebels, those who represent the people of the districts and are trying to take power. The differences in the type and style of propaganda that we see from either side give us a look into the goals of either side and to whom they’re trying to appeal.

Capitol propaganda is always very slick, clean, and designed to be visually pleasant. It often makes use of negative space, and the color white is common throughout. This gives the impression that they’ve got everything under control, and dissuades the idea of chaos. A government that’s got everything handled is one that’s easier for people to look up to, and it makes the idea of a rebellion seem out of place. They also never forget to remind the districts of the power differences between them, always showing certain districts as “better” than others.

Rebel propaganda, however, is most successful when it’s less clean, but more emotional and real. The leaders in 13 quickly realize that scripted and sculpted messages are the least formidable type for their cause. They’re trying to elicit a powerful reaction from the districts and show the capitol that they’re strong and aware of their corruption. They don’t have the means to produce widely broadcasted media, therefore they need to make a point with whatever time they get, however little it may be. This means they often show direct proof of the corruption and malice of the capitol, and take advantages of the symbols of the rebellion, such as Katniss, to help get their message across.

Works Cited

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http://www.firstshowing.net/2014/the-capitol-honors-the-districts-in-mockingjay-propaganda-posters/