For this week’s theme of good and evil I decided to re-read the Hunger Games novel, paying special attention to when there is a direct, clear opposition between what is good and what is evil. It’s easy to think of exampled from this story, as the idea of the capitol as an oppressive, elitist, bourgeoisie class that is evil to its core. A kind of government that pits its own children against each other for the entertainment of the wealthy is one that is certainly tyrannical and sinister. However, the interworking of good and evil throughout this story is much more complex than just the Capitol is evil and the districts are good.
In the story, several of the districts, particularly 1 and 2, those closest to the Capitol, are described as the Capitol’s “lap dogs.” They also enjoy much more wealth then the districts higher in number and are the most violent and vicious competitors in the games. This makes the whole idea of good and evil so much more complex. If it were as simplified as the Capitol vs. the Districts, an uprising would not take much to fuel, however, now that there is complexity in what districts we as readers feel we can trust, we feel a little bit of that weight of oppression and helplessness that is the tone for most of this first novel.
One of the most complex and pervasive ideas of the good and evil theme, and one that is almost exclusive to the novel over the film, is Katniss’ internal struggle of under which of these categories does she fall? Katniss is constantly struggling with her attitude toward and treatment of her mother, wondering if she should be nicer, or if her mother even deserves all the Katniss does for her now. She also often will find herself hating and judging her stylists and such from the Capitol, and then later feeling bad and realizing that she would probably be wrapped up in the same material, petty issues with which they concern themselves in the Capitol. In this novel, one of her most pervasive internal struggles is with Peta. She knows that she needs to use his love story in order to survive but putting on that façade and toying with his emotions is always uncomfortable, and in the novel, we can read Katniss’ thoughts and feelings on the matter directly.
I chose this image because not only does it display a fascist propaganda of a tyrant-looking government like that in Panem, it is not a fictional piece. Though the hunger games is a work of fiction, it is a direct commentary on the distribution of wealth in our country and our world today, and this poster shows how Suzanne Collins’ idea that our society is heading in this direction, while epitomized, is not unfathomable.
Undertaking Katniss’ internal struggles as well as the government that oppresses her, are two very different but prefect examples of how the good and evil dichotomy doesn’t always break down into just two parts so easily.