All posts tagged propaganda

The themes of my independent reading book, Red Queen, are centralized around the idea of how the ruling class maintains their power and control over the lower class in their (dystopian) society. There is a strong correlation to The Hunger Games in how the Capital maintains control over the twelve districts. In Red Queen, the Silvers continually “show off” their power to the Reds to remind them who has the “right to rule” and the power to do so. Ubiquitous propaganda in the forms of lies and deceit, as well as forced conscription reinforce the façade that the Silvers are perfect and have everything in order. In a similar fashion, the Capital’s propaganda throughout the districts in Panem, emphasized by the Peacekeepers, spies, and the Hunger Games, reinforce the Capital’s power and right to rule, as well as the false truth that Panem is thriving (this is especially prominent in the events after Katniss and Peeta win the Hunger Games).

In both societies, a hero with the potential to topple the established order emerges from the lowest class and is put in a spotlight before the ruling class. For Mare, this happens during the Queenstrial when she discovers her abilities in front of the royal Silver families; for Katniss, this occurs when she volunteers as tribute for Prim, and finds herself as the District 12 tribute for the 74th Hunger Games and lands before the eyes of the Capital and the nation of Panem.

The element that really interests me, and is what I will be discussing in my research paper, is finding that moment, exemplified in Red Queen and The Hunger Games, where propaganda in dystopian societies begins to fail and how the established order crumples under the actions of the hero (i.e. Katniss and Mare). From the research I have conducted and will continue to do, I have noticed that the ability of both governments, in The Hunger Games and Red Queen, to control the masses by propaganda and fear, hinges on the assumption that citizens will look out and act in their own interests, not others’. Propaganda begins to lose its grip when a selfless leader who refuses to be used as a pawn and controlled by the government emerges and will continually look to the interests of others before him or herself. Both literary leaders, Mare and Katniss, come from the lower class, break the law to provide some form of support for their family, and also have anger directed toward the ruling class. It is their selflessness that enables them to subvert the established order while among their midst and seemingly being used as the government’s “pawn”.

            I will then conclude my paper by arguing what these themes translate to as a message to young adult readers. So far my research points me in the direction that these themes underscore the belief to kids that they can make a difference in the world they are living in. If there is something in society they do not agree with, or do not want to be a part of, they can make a difference. Not by having special abilities (like Mare and Katniss), but by being selfless. By not giving into power and pressure, but by looking out for others and making an impact that way.



“Katniss Buries Rue with Flowers.” bitchmedia, Bitch Media, 10 Mar. 2014, 19 Feb. 2017.



Propaganda was prodigious in The Hunger Games. The capitol of Panem has used propaganda to control the country. The capitol of Panem has made false claims to get citizens on their side. The Hunger Games is a story about 12 districts all located in Panem. Each year two people are chose by the “The Capitol” to represent their district in the Hunger Games by fighting till death. President Snow used live streaming, fashion, interviews, and drama to cover up the brutal reality of what the Hunger Games actually was. The Capitol made sure every household had a television no matter their place of living and also had TVs around just in case you were not home. All of these examples were used to persuade people in the country to believe and watch the Hunger Games as if it was a positive event for Panem. It made the games look as if it were more of a competition to the world.

Katniss became very popular in the Hunger Games. The celebrity and fame of the Hunger Games that was televised to the rest of the country showed a different image of what really occured. That was President Snow’s plan, to not show everyone what the real cause of the Hunger Games. It was shown similar to a reality show in the real world today. An example of propaganda in the Hunger Games was that Katniss and Peeta were acting as lovers. This made the audience more and more interested in the games. It also gave the audience mixed emotions because it was only possible for one them to win. Another example of propaganda in the Hunger Games was how they televised the games. It made it seem as more of a sport than a war. This made the games appear interesting and fun to be a part of while the people of Panem watched.

Winchel, Beki. 7 crisis lessons from “the hunger games.” 24 Nov. 2015. Web. 7 Feb. 2017. 

In 2008, Disney came out with a new movie based on a futuristic and dystopian world where humans utterly destroyed the earth and left robots to clean up the mess that they left behind as they made a long voyage through space. Yet, audiences weren’t necessarily interested in the dystopian aspect of it. They instead became entranced with the main character; a lovable little robot who was the namesake of the movie, Wall-E. This happened because the film and the advertisements for the film emphasized the relationships between the characters. It made the destroyed world become more of a backdrop for the drama of the love story between Wall-E and Eve. Although there are still important elements of the plot that revolve around dystopian themes, such as the fight to bring plants and the spaceship full of humans back to Earth, the advertisements for the animated film really emphasized the characters and not much else.

In this movie poster, there is a clear focus on the relationship between the two robots due to the fact that they are in the center of the poster and are illuminated by both the moon in the background and the streetlight. The robots are surprisingly expressive and exude personality through their body language; in the adoring gaze of Wall-E and the scrunched up giggly face of Eve. This makes them more appealing to audiences and makes the audience want to get to know them better. The dystopian theme literally fades into the background of the poster. The desolate and grungy landscape, the spaceship in the upper left, and the hovering robot make it evident that this movie takes place in the future, but there is really no other distinct information. Overall, whoever sees this movie poster would walk away thinking not about the setting, but about the adorable characters.

In this advertisement on the side of a building, it is really stripped down to the essential element of the movie, Wall-E himself. Yet, it is still an effective advertisement. This image brings Wall-E’s personality to the foreground and creates interest through his body language. The way that Wall-E holds his hands and has the little tilt to his head and the expressiveness of his little robot eyes make him seem like a person, not a robot. Despite the fact that it gives absolutely no more information or context for the movie, it doesn’t matter. It still communicates exactly what it needs to, the character of Wall-E himself.

Even in this movie trailer, the surrounding circumstances of the movie are not well explained at all, it instead develops Wall-E as a character. Showing his daily activities and how he reacts to different things in his everyday life. It establishes his intensely curious personality and lovable, quirky sense of humor. It gives the audience a character to latch onto and something to care about. Making the audience care is essential, because it establishes a relationship with the character and makes them want to watch the movie.

This approach to advertising the movie is a stark contrast to the advertisements for The Hunger Games that we examined in class, where the ads were from the point of view of the Capitol and were ineffective in really grabbing the attention of the audience. By eschewing the point of view of the dominant group, the corporation Buy-n-Large, Pixar relates more directly to the audience with character appeals.

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.

One of the most impactful and ever-present pieces of propaganda used during The Hunger Games is the Treaty of Treason video that is shown during the reaping (in this post, I’ll be referring to the version from the movie and the visuals that are portrayed along with it):

Not only is this video issued by the Capitol in an attempt to justify the Hunger Games, but it is also a way of making the citizens of Panem feel as though the Hunger Games’ existence is their fault. In my opinion, the message and its delivery are masterfully crafted; it idolizes the Capitol (“Thirteen districts rebelled against the country that fed them, loved them, protected them…”), showing what the country suffered without explaining what terrible things the Capitol responded to the rebellion with, one example being the complete obliteration of District 13. The video makes it seem as though the districts destroyed each other, stating, “Brother turned on brother until nothing remained.” The Capitol then goes on to blame the districts for their current situation without defining the Capitol as the villain by using collective words such as “we” in, “We swore as a nation we would never know this treason again…” and uses the passive to avoid fault, such as in, “… and so it was decreed…” when discussing the founding of the Hunger Games.

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.” In this instance, the Capitol is picking and choosing words out of Panem’s history in order to make the districts look like the problem and instill a trust in the Capitol’s actions. However, this does not stop the children from District 12 from appearing stressed and upset at their potential death sentence. The Hunger Games have been accepted as a part of life after so many years since its founding, and though the people in the higher-numbered districts have realized its severity, those in the Career districts are able to take pride in the video and accept that the reward of “our generosity and our forgiveness [in the form of fame and riches]” is worth the risk of death. Does this mean that this warped explanation of history has taken its toll in changing the outlook of those districts on the Capitol, or are the people in those districts indifferent to the games because those that don’t want to participate will never have to due to the high amount of volunteers? Does this allow them to take advantage of the tesserae system by placing names in the jar that will never get picked? This specific propaganda film within The Hunger Games is one of the great ways in which disparities between districts and their attitudes towards the Games may have been formed, and has acted as a manipulative way for the Capitol to save face on the events that occurred in Panem’s history.

Works Cited:

Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. NY, NY, Scholastic Press, 2008.
“Propaganda.”, Merriam-Webster,
The Hunger Games. Directed by Gary Ross, Lionsgate Films, 2012.

Throughout YA literature, the author utilizes media and/or propaganda a source of gaining favor or support for a specific movement or ruling body. In such dystopian literature, people are in a society that is ruled or lead by an organization that might not have the total support of the people, but through the use of propaganda/media they keep the people blind, inline, or submissive using the messages they spread. By doing this, they retain control of the people through means such as inspiring hope, inspiring fear, or some other tactic of keeping the society in order or the people in line with their rule.

The Hunger Games exhibited these defining characteristics of dystopias as well. For example, when the Capitol displays the video at the District 12 reaping, it illustrated their use of propaganda. The video illustrates the message that the capitol’s regime is there to provide peace and security for the districts in exchange for their resources. They completely ignore the how they oppress the people and keep some of the districts in awful conditions. They also use propaganda to spread fear about how the previous time was filled with war and despair and that their rule prevents this.

The Capitol then justifies how the Hunger Games is a way to end all war and despair by each district offering up two tributes to fight to the death as a symbol of sacrifice for the greater good. If someone was to tell this idea to a person, they would think this it is completely crazy. Though through the use of propaganda and media, they illustrate how this idea is the only way of survival/peace.

Also, in the Mockingjay part 1, District 13 uses the symbol of the Mockingjay as a way to gain support for the revolution against the capital. They appeal to the emotions of the occupants of the other districts by illustrating the death, despair, and struggles of the people. This source of propaganda also gains their movement support but instead of trying to do it with submission, they gain support through inspiring people to be active and fight back. This illustrates both spectrums of how propaganda and the media are used to promote support for a group/movement.

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

Ross, Gary, et al, director. The Hunger Games. United States: Alliance Film, 2012.

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.


When rogue artificial intelligence Michael Talis saved the world from war he immediately assumed the burden of convincing the leaders of humanity not only to subjugate their nations to his rule, but also to offer their own beloved children as the collateral that would ensure peace (1-3). For many, this would be a difficult thing to accept, and surely the citizens of the world that empowered Talis could defeat him. Why has there been such resigned acceptance?

City goes boom. It's really not meant to be subtle.

Behold the power of propaganda. The word of Talis is known and studied by the leaders of the world, having been collected in a holy text known as the Utterances (20). His strategy is threefold. First, Talis portrays himself as the savior of the world, and mankind as short-sighted and incompetent: “. . . and of course people started shooting, because that’s what passes for problem-solving among humans. See, guys, this is why you can’t have nice things” (2). He would have us believe we are not fit to care for the earth alone. Then again, Talis is not above that timeless despotic classic, fear. When once a state dared attack a compound where his hostages were housed, Talis removed all trace of their capitol from the earth. “City goes boom . . . It’s really not meant to be subtle” (169). Indeed, Talis himself assures the people of earth that “resistance is futile” (32). This last quote is, of course, not original but is one of his many beloved movie quotes. Indeed, the third arm of rhetoric Talis employs is designed to subtly suggest a sense of humanity. His demeanor and tone are always lighthearted, jocular, reminiscent of a young boy, even when the subject matter is quite heavy. From Greta’s later experiences we know that the AI process information at startling speeds (351-352). We must therefore assume that any humor on the part of Talis is purely affected, that he disarming in more ways than one. Michael Talis, the benevolent, the omnipotent, the charmingly playful. I wouldn’t half mind giving him a chance.

Works Cited:
Bow, Erin. The Scorpion Rules. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2016, New York.
Mihan(AKA)Zed. Metro zagotovka. Wikimedia Commons, 19 Oct. 2008,

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.