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The Miseducation of The Hunger Games

 

            Katniss Everdeen! The teenager from District 12, who volunteers in place of her younger sister, Primrose, so that she does not have to endure the inhumanity of the 74th Hunger Games. Katniss Everdeen feels that the Capitol and the Hunger Games are cruel and should be eradicated. She, without explicitly stating, thinks they are a violation of the rights of the districts’ residents. Through her repetitive defiant acts, she unknowingly is revered as a symbol of hope for the districts, a Mockingjay.

The Breakdown

The Capitol is composed of the people and government that triumphed after a rebellion of the districts. It represents the capitalistic oppressor of the 12 districts. The Capitol split the 12 districts apart, ranking them from 1 to 12, based on socioeconomic status and resources. This systematic order of separation and disenfranchisement caused the district people to suffer from extreme poverty and inability to escape from said poverty. The Capitol assigns peacekeepers to use abusive methods to control the districts. The Capitol engrained the ideals of competition and patriotism through the pursuit of victory in the annual game only allowing one Victor from one district to win. This process causes deep resentment between districts.

In the Hunger Games, the Tributes use survival skills, including killing one another, in order to survive and win. Those from the wealthier districts are able to receive specialized training, and some even volunteer to be tributes. This negates the famous line, “May the odds be ever in your favor.” The odds are inherently stacked against the tributes from the poor districts. The playing field is never equal. These annual games are then televised and shown for “entertainment” across Panem. Districts are forced to watch adolescent children kill each other for the sake of retribution for rebelling against the Capitol.

Trouble Ensues

The sacredness that Katniss bestowed upon Rue as she lay dying and the gesture of support that Katniss extended to District 11 sparked rebellion within the district. The district was outraged that the Capitol allowed an innocent child to die in their honor. Later, Katniss’ defiant act of forcing two Victors to be crowned as winners of the 74th Hunger Games fuels rebellions within other districts. She is unaware that her actions would cause such strong and violent riots across Panem. The rebellions started within Districts 10 through 12, the most marginalized districts of Panem. Districts 3 through 7 were reluctant to fight against the Capitol because they were closer in socioeconomic status to the Capitol. But, once they realized that they were still just districts, they understood they were not protected as they thought. This realization prompted them to join the rebellion. The most marginalized groups in conjunction with the most privileged groups came together in a common fight and became unstoppable.

Uh, oh!

Well, let’s try this perspective. What if the poor districts were labelled urban hoods and ghettos? What if the Hunger Games were called the trap? The place where you have to fight, many times to the death, with people who share your struggle, in order to survive in a game that was never set up for you to succeed. What if the mass televising of Capitol TV represents CNN and Fox News? What if all the Victors were named Barack, Oprah, so on and so forth. The ones who “made it out.” The pride children of the great nation of America. What if our Mockingjays and tributes come in the forms of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Aiyana Stanley-Jones and the long list of other people killed by police brutality and the system that allows it? What if our call-to-action proclamation, like Katniss’ Hanging Tree, happens to be #BlackLivesMatter and “No Justice, No Peace”?  Would this triology be accepted and applauded then? To the people that sympathize with Katniss but demonize or fail to comprehend why riots break out within black communities when they are attacked, how is this possible? What makes it so right for the districts in Panem to riot against the brutality of the peacekeepers, but African Americans in Ferguson in 2014 were looters and criminals when policemen brutalized them? The Hunger Games trilogy is a mere theatrical representation of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, not a single incident, but an ongoing issue that has erupted in America.

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