Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Hunger Games as social commentary

Jennifer Lawrence playing the role of
Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games
(photo from StarTribune c/o Murray Close, Lionsgate)
If you are not a teenager and haven't yet heard, "The Hunger Games" is the first of a wildly popular best selling book series by Suzanne Collins. It has also just been released as a movie.  I went to the movie yesterday with our daughter and found it action packed, more than a little bit violent, and providing hard hitting social commentary.

In a radio interview Suzanne Collins noted how the impetus for the book was spawned from seeing how widely popular "reality television" had become in American culture. She likened this to the Roman gladiator games, where the entertainment occurs at the expense of the participants, as in old Roman times fighting to their deaths in the coliseum, or being publicly ridiculed on television in today's world.

The widening economic disparity occurring in the United States is also reflected in the futuristic Hunger Games. People in the capital region live lavishly, while the surrounding 12 districts are working to simply eek out a living.  This graphic novel and movie are wake up calls to the often cruel and voyeuristic nature of reality television and our rapidly growing economic gap.  Let's all live and work so that we don't spiral down this trajectory toward The Hunger Games.


  1. Thanks. Um, any particular suggestions on how to avoid this slide? Like maybe, return to a more progressive tax system so all the wealth doesn't flow to the top 1% wealthy in this country? We're practically already there with the 1%/99% problem and corporate control of just about everything, and very few people seem concerned. It astounds me.

  2. Yes, the tax structure needs to be more equitable. Our public schools, from elementary through graduate level, must also be supported to a greater extent. It is becoming harder in this country to rise out of poverty than in many others. I think that as the white middle class is now feeling the pain, things may be more apt to change.