Dystopian novels are often trying to teach a lesson. Young adult dystopian novels are teaching lessons about dating and love. The millennial generation has an unromantic attitude with high expectations, and specific dystopian books such as The Hunger Games, The Giver, and Matched present situations that act as warnings.
My presentation will discuss the main sources of evidence for the research essay. In The Hunger Games, love is manipulated as a source of entertainment and a form of political propaganda. The Giver concerns a society with a lack of feelings, and such a society is the opposite of human nature. Emotions are what makes us human, and removingfeelings essentially reduces us to empty shells. In Matched and The Giver, the Matching Ceremony and the Matching of Spouses are identical processes that select ideal life partners for the citizens, which accurately reflects the formulas used by dating sites.
The attitudes towards romance in the dystopian novels often are a part of a bigger picture, and they reflect certain values the authors feel are important. Suzanne Collins, the author of The Hunger Games, is highlighting the manipulation of love as entertainment and propaganda. It is important for readers to acknowledge the importance of the ability to recognize the difference between fake and authentic portrayals of romance. The author of Matched, Ally Condie, and the author of The Giver, Lois Lowry, are both emphasizing how ideal life partners are not truly perfect, and how a life without emotion is not one worth living.
The topic of romance in dystopias is important, since today’s society tends to emphasize on social lives and relationships. The social construct of a society can greatly impact lives, and dating is an important part of our social lives. In the context of dystopia, romance and dating can greatly shape the way a society is set up.
The constant theme of propaganda within dystopian novels highlights the importance for democracies to have freedom of speech and access to reliable media. The lack thereof within dystopian novels such as The Hunger Games prove just how horrific the alternative is. Since the citizens have no reliable source of information within the districts, the capitol can manipulate the citizens to believe whatever benefits their agenda. In the first novel, there is nobody there to disprove the Capitol’s propaganda, and thus they seem impregnable, unfaltering in their absolute control. This can be seen through their ridiculous reaping video, where they assert themselves as magnanimous leaders who have saved the citizens from the horrible war from before.
However, this can also be observed through their advertisements, which are hauntingly similar to the advertisements we might see in the mall today.
These advertisements help establish the citizens of the capitol to be other worldly. In comparison to the dirt and threadbare clothes of the districts, Caesar Flickerman and Seneca Crane seem to literally come from another world. This helps instill the idea that any attempt at a revolution is futile, because the capitol and its citizens are so far removed from the districts such as 11 and 12 that they are practically untouchable.
In later books, such as Mockingjay, the indestructible wall that is the capitols propaganda begins to show cracks. Namely, the rebels of district 13 begin propaganda reels of their own.
Because the capitol had previously declared 13 to be decimated as a warning to others who might be inclined to revolt, the sudden appearance of district 13 shows that the capitols control has its limits. However, it is important not to be fooled by 13, while their television advertisements are not lies, they are propaganda as well. Propaganda is any sort of information or media used to sway audiences to one point of view or opinion. District 13 is no better than the capitol in trying to manipulate their audience’s understanding of the war. Whether it be through assertion of power seen in this video:
Or a passionate message as seen in this video:
Everything District 13, as well as the capitol, publishes is meticulously planned with the intention of swaying people to their side of the war.
I am hoping, immediately, a person reading the title of the blog is able to envision the Seinfeld episode where the Soup Nazi came from. If not, that is okay because it is not key to understanding the rest of the blog post. Now, Seinfeld and the Soup Nazi have nothing to do with dystopia and YA dystopian literature, but propaganda and media have everything to do with dystopian literature. The reason I bring up the Soup Nazi is to paint the picture seen in The Hunger Games when Peeta is sent the soup by the sponsors. Peeta is badly wounded and Katniss is able to feed him the soup that possibly saved his life. With Katniss and Peeta being in love, the two steal the hearts of the audience, and in particular, the Capitol. Sponsors begin helping the two by sending them resources in their time of need as Haymitch, their beloved mentor, elevates their status. This is an example of propaganda being used to further a cause and help Peeta in his time of need. Through the use of media, all of the country is able watch the Capitol help Mr. and Mrs. Peeta Mellark.
When looking further at the media and propaganda in The Hunger Games, the first moment we see propaganda negatively appear is during the reaping. The reaping is a large “movie” set where the Capitol picks one male and female tribute to play in the Games; the scene is set with lights, microphones and screens, which is something only dreamed of in District 12, as it is one of the poorest Districts in all of Panem. Those involved in the reaping must dress in their finest clothing and even bathe, something not done regularly by the Katniss Everdeen. With the Capitol and all of the country viewing the poorest District with nice clothing and a nice “movie” set, the thought of the despair and horrific conditions experienced by District 12 is unthinkable. No one can see the real-life conditions of the people living in District 12. The Capitol uses the propaganda to make the District appear richer than it truly is; this is what keeps the plague of poverty in District 12.
Overall, the conclusion can be made that propaganda and the use of media is a way to positively and negatively affect a cause or campaign. Katniss and Peeta knew how to play the game and win the hearts of the sponsors in the Capitol. Also, the Capitol was smart in their decision to make the Districts appear better than they really were. In the end, propaganda and media was able to persuade viewers and audiences of something that was not entirely true.
While reading The Hunger Games, it’s hard not to notice how much propaganda is used by the Capitol. The Capitol uses its many methods of propaganda to keep its citizens in place and unaware of its inner-workings. One of the methods that stands out the most to me within the novel is the “history of Panem” speech given at the reaping in the very first chapter of the novel. The speech makes the Capitol seem so much more glorious and gracious than it really is. I imagine that when the speech is given in Districts like 2 and 3, citizens applaud the capitol for its accomplishments in putting the rebellion down; however, when the speech is delivered to District 12, the people know how full of crap the Capitol is.
Nonetheless, The Capitol is effective in its use of propaganda; it convinces the districts to put forth their best “tributes” to fight in “The Games”. In the film adaptation of The Hunger Games, the producers decided to incorporate this “history of Panem” in a video instead of through a speech. While watching the movie, I found the video extremely effective in making it seem that the people in The Capitol are the good guys as opposed to the bad guys that they truly are. I also imagine that the video in the movie is very similar to how the speech is delivered in the book. While it is an unfortunate reality for those who live in the Districts of Panem, The Capitol has its citizens convinced that “The Games” are not only the best way to keep peace, but also a great mode of entertainment for them. In fact, they have been so effective with their advertising and promotions for “The Games” that it lasted 74 years before any legitimate rebellious activity occurred. Ultimately, while The Capitol was effective with “The Games” for a long time, but as President Snow said himself, “The only thing stronger than fear is hope”, and Katniss becomes that beacon of hope for Panem.