poverty

All posts tagged poverty

Current events have always been a source of conflict for me since I feel there are numerous ways people are suffering around the world. Reading constantly about executions, social prejudices and political corruption forces me to believe there is relatively nothing I can do to alleviate any pain people are put through. Although dystopian societies are thought to be exaggerations of our own societies, I argue that these societies offer more than simple comparisons to our reality. In some ways, they reflect events that are either occurring or have occurred in our society. By reading Ship Breaker, Hunger Games and Red Queen, I have noticed that these societies are divided into a “superior” upper class and “inferior” lower class. Despite not having a distinct upper class which controls the political system, our society undeniably contains wide social gaps between the poor and the rich.

After reading Hunger Games, Ship Breaker and Red Queen, I realized that these authors were describing the prominent inequalities found in our society through poverty and social gaps. While the rich became richer and thrived off of the expenses the poor made, it seemed that the poor became an overwhelming majority of citizens which lived in awful conditions. In all three of these novels, main characters recognized the social gaps in their society and found ways to rebel against these social inequalities. Although such subjects may seem foreign to our own society; similar to the characters in the book, people around the world live in poverty and only a small percentage live in the upper class.

In reality, approximately a third of the world’s population survives on less than two dollars a day. People in these societies often walk several miles in order to obtain basic needs such as water and wood. Education in these developing countries is barely available, leaving children without a means to obtain primary and secondary educations. Since these people have almost no way to pay for food, they do not have the means to afford medical attention and will oftentimes die from a preventable cause, specifically curable diseases or hunger. Although many people believe that these conditions exist solely in developing countries, poverty continues to affect us all in a global scale, even the richest countries (Ambrose).

Despite being closed off to reading current events, I have come to realize that impoverished situations do not just occur in dystopian novels. In fact, people living in poverty around the world suffer more than any characters in books. People struggle to survive due to preventable diseases, starvation and exposure to harsh environmental conditions. Although dystopias recognize poverty in their societies, authors do not go anywhere near the awful conditions that people live in in reality. Reading dystopias such as The Hunger Games, Ship Breaker and Red Queen, I have come to recognize that social gaps, especially between the lower class and upper class, continue to widen and to worsen in reality.

 

Here are some websites concerning poverty in the world:

The Reality of Global Poverty- https://realtruth.org/articles/080325-001-economy.html

The Growing Poverty Problem in America’s Schools- http://money.cnn.com/2015/01/29/news/economy/poverty-schools/

Facts about Global Poverty- https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-global-poverty

 

Katniss and Peeta during the Games.

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.

The reaping in District Twelve.

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.

Works Cited

Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. NY, NY, Scholastic Press, 2008.
Feresten, Spike. “The Soup Nazi.” Seinfeld. NBC. 2 Nov. 1995. Television.