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Totalitarian Society and The Symbol of Mockingjay in Hunger Games

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In The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Panem is a dystopian society with totalitarian characteristics such as control over means of communication, the usage of weapons or violence to control those who oppose them, and total control over the economy. Katniss Everdeen, protagonist of The Hunger Games, attempts to rebel against the government. Katniss’ rebeldy is first showcased when she decides to go out of District 12’s border and hunt even if she isn’t allowed to. Her rebeldy is also seen throughout the story with her attitude towards the Capitol and its people. Katniss’ bow and arrow along with her mockingjay pin demonstrate rebeldy against the government and president Snow. Katniss’ bow and arrow symbolizes her being independant and her ability to provide sustenance for her family, along with the responsibilities that she bears, the mockingjay pin symbolizes a creature with a spirit of its own, a bird that previously marked resistance and rebellion when they broken free of the control of the Capitol.

All along in the novel Capitol has control over all twelve Districts in both economically and politically. Snow, who is called president of Panem, is known to be merciless when keeping law and order in the districts, inflicting fear in districts so that every rule set is followed. Katniss however is seen to break many rules and rebel in both subtle and loud ways. When we are first introduced to Katniss and her character, we see that Katniss is strong physically and emotionally, full of courage and resonance that help her preserve the difficult life she has after her father’s death in the mines. Katniss endures the pain of seeing her mother literally shut down and goes off to the woods to hunt even when she isn’t permitted. While outside the fence, Katniss is known to talk against the Capitol with Gale which it itself is an act of treason. If anyone is at any time discovered to oppose the government, they are immediately punished. The Capitol even goes as far as to punish publicly in order to inflict fear and gain further control over Panem. The Capitol has many ways of letting Panem know that they are in control, one of them is The Hunger Games. “Each of the twelve districts must provide one girl and one boy, called tributes, to participate. The twenty-four tributes will be imprisoned in a vast outdoor arena that could hold anything from a burning desert to a frozen wasteland. Over a period of several weeks, the competitors must fight to the death. The last tribute standing wins; taking the kids from our districts, forcing them to kill one another while we watch -This is the Capitol’s way of reminding us how totally we are at their mercy. How little chance we would stand of surviving another rebellion” (27). The Capitol believes this to be even one more way in which they control the Districts. But unfortunately for them, even in the arena Katniss demonstrates that the tributes are more than a piece in their games. And when Katniss defies the Capitol in the arena, Haymitch gives advice and alerts Katniss of their fury. “Listen up. You’re in trouble. Word is the Capitol’s furious about you showing them up in the arena. The one thing they can’t stand is being laughed at” (495).

There is a massive disparity between the rich and the poor in the Panem. The author focuses on food as a symbol of wealth and inequality. Even through the reapings those extremely poor that don’t have much to eat get a tesserae in exchange for food. This creates division and hate towards those wealthy Districts and Panem since the children of the outer Districts may have more entries in the reaping since they are in need of food for survival in contrast to those in wealthy families in inner districts. Katniss and others who live in the Districts that are further from the Capitol stay to starve, while the Capitol, president Snow and the close Districts live and enjoy their easy lifes with a great amount of food, creating much hate in Katniss’ heart. The connection people have with food iis parallel to the chances of survival in the Hunger Games. For example, those tributes from districts closer to the Capitol have plenty of food and are used to a comfortable life. But in the Hunger Games, those same people who live comfortably may have a tough time in the games when food is not available. But are trained since birth to play in The Hunger Games making them more capable and ruthless to kill others. Katniss’ hate for the Careers is present since the beginning of the games and is demonstrated in the following quote. “My hatred of the Capitol has not lessened my hatred of my competitors in the least. Especially the Careers. They, at least, can be made to pay for Rue’s death” (330). Since the rebellion those outer and much more poor Districts have been isolated and Katniss hates how the people within the Capitol live their lives freely while the others like her have to suffer and go through many things in order to survive. When Katniss is thrown into the arena, she alike Peeta wish to let the Capitol know that they not only disagree with them but oppose them as a whole. ”I want to do something, right here, right now, to shame them, to make them accountable, to show the Capitol that whatever they do or force us to do there is a part of every tribute they can’t own” (328). The quote above is said by Katniss after Rue’s death and demonstrates with accuracy Katniss’ attitude towards the Capitol, she does not only hate the Capitol but wishes to shame them for their actions. Katniss ends up decorating and surrounding Rue’s body with flowers to let others know that every tribute is a human and not property of the Capitol.

The Capitol along with president Snow have decided to keep districts against each other and to prevent a rebeldy. Sowing division, dividing up the country into the twelve Districts and giving Districts specialties in producing goods and only those goods. The Districts then work for the Capitol in order to survive and feed their family, for so then depending on the Capitol to survive, this dependence grows even bigger with the rules like the one against poaching, which prevents residents from augmenting their meager food supply but Katniss breaks by hunting and feeding her family. With her bow and arrow that symbolizes her being independant and her ability to provide sustenance for her family, she goes out of District 12’s borders and routinely sells her hunted animals in a market like place due to financial struggles. Trespassing borders and going hunting could be more common as Katniss says if they were to be given any kind of weapon and ability to hunt. “Even though trespassing in the woods is illegal and poaching carries the severest of penalties, more people would risk it if they had weapons. But most are not bold enough to venture out with just a knife. My bow is a rarity, crafted by my father along with a few others that I keep well hidden in the woods, used to hunt” (9). In the novel when Rue and Katniss start to know about one another’s life, Katniss says that Districts have so little communication with anyone outside their district that they know little to nothing about each other’s District. In the novel, while she talks with Rue, she wonders if their conversation is even let to be heard since it is known that they don’t want people in different districts to know about one another. This is also when Rue notices Katniss’ mockingjay pin, a bird that symbolizes a creature with a free-like spirit just like her.. In the following quote we see Katniss give further explanation of what this bird is. “For the first time, I get a good look at it. I suddenly recognize it. A mockingjay. They’re funny birds and something of a slap in the face to the Capitol. During the rebellion. After the birds gathered words, they’d fly back to centers to be recorded.Then, of course, the rebels but the Capitol endless lies, and the joke was on it. So the centers were shut down and the birds were abandoned to die off in the wild. Only they didn’t die off” (62).

In The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, society is controlled and deceived with a totalitarian government whose characteristics include the controlling communication, the usage of weapons or violence to control those who oppose them, and total control over the economy. Katniss is seen as a rebel and potential to cause rebelty among Districts with her actions. Her rebeldy is showcased when she decides to go out of District 12’s border and hunt even when she isn’t allowed to. Her rebeldy is also seen throughout the story with her attitude towards the Capitol and its people. Her bow and arrow along with her mockingjay pin also symbolize an attempt to go against its totalitarian government.

Works Cited

  • Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. Scholastic, 2008.
  • http://mcla7th.weebly.com/uploads/1/4/0/8/14084007/hunger-games-18pdf. PDF

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Totalitarian Society And The Symbol Of Mockingjay In Hunger Games. (2021, October 25). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 23, 2022, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/totalitarian-society-and-the-symbol-of-mockingjay-in-hunger-games/
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Totalitarian Society And The Symbol Of Mockingjay In Hunger Games [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2021 Oct 25 [cited 2022 May 23]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/totalitarian-society-and-the-symbol-of-mockingjay-in-hunger-games/
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