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The Hunger Games

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Universidad Metropolitana

Lecturas I

Valeria Gómez

Control: Evil but effective

At a glance, "The Hunger Games" shows a dystopian post-apocalyptic country reality but it actually is a more profound book than it seems. It has different striking themes of politics, damaged personal relations, society, rebellion etc. which if are analyzed, they are comparable to some scenarios of reality. One of them, perhaps one not as famous for readers as the rebellion one, is the effectiveness that have control mechanisms and fear, related to the survival of the human being, to suppress a whole country.

A famous quote from the dictator Iósif Stalin says that "If you control the food of the people, you control the people and they'll be grateful of what little we give", and it fits perfectly to the novel. I personally think that not only applies to food, but also to the general atmosphere of uncertainty and fear which any case of repression produces. Obviously, people who live in that situation do not agree, but the situation itself make them “to learn to hold their tongues and to turn their features into an indifferent mask” for protection.

In addition to what can be called "lack of freedom of expression", The Capitol manages as it pleases districts, especially the poor ones, because it makes them be so busy in their though daily life, that they do not have time to think in an uprising. This is noticed, for example, in Katniss Everdeen and Gale's life; they are kids who are the livelihood of their houses and without their initiative of risks their lives every day by haunting and exchanging products, their families will practically die. However, although that is a huge responsibility on their backs, they consider themselves as lucky people because "even though trespassing in the woods is illegal and poaching carries the severest of penalties, more people would risk it if they had weapons” (Collins. 2008. P.5). That gives an idea of how desperate people is.

On the other hand, the Government gives people small doses of hope with food baskets called "tesserae"; each one "is worth a meager year’s supply of grain and oil for one person" (Collins. 2008. P.13). However, this is a domination technique combined with another: the reaping. Legally, when the citizens of the districts turn 12 years old, their names are entered once in the "pool", so they become eligible for the reaping. Nevertheless, they can opt to add their names several times in exchange for tesserae, and the people who are truly starving do not have another choice than taking their chances. This means that the population of 12 to 18 years old must dare to participate, several times more than the necessary, in another control mechanism: The Hunger Games.



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