Hunger Games as Social Commentary

In my last blog, I discussed the things I don’t like about the Hunger Games. What I do like about the Hunger Games is the sort-of social commentary on society’s obsession with media, fame and image.

In the Hunger Games, children ages 12 to 18 are forced to compete to the death in a huge outdoor arena. The whole event is televised, and the lead-up to the event is highly publicized, with contestants getting into costume, being interviewed and parading around for audiences. In addition to its political aims (to keep the 12 districts outside the Capital in their place), the entire Hunger Games event is one big reality-TV extravaganza.

Apparently, Suzanne Collins was inspired to write the books after channel surfing and seeing reality TV on one channel and war coverage (the Iraq invasion) on another, and “the two began to blur in this very unsettling way.”

The result of her ruminations is equally disturbing, but she does leave a reader with some interesting insight, if you’re looking for the reality behind the art. The books shine a light on our obsession with entertainment, particularly reality television.

The books also point out the phoniness of celebrity and fame. In the Hunger Games, the contestants are adored by audiences during the lead-up to the event, but then the audiences are just as happy to see the contestants killed in the arena. In a less violent way, we do this to celebrities all the time – build them up and tear them down.



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