Conflict Resolution in Hunger Games
For many years people have contemplated the idea of a dystopian world and various perspectives are portrayed in books, films and documentaries. The Hunger Games is one such recent artwork conveying the idea of a dystopian society and the ruthless violence associated with such a society. In this essay I am going to focus on whether this work sets a bad example by using violence as a means to solve conflicts.
Suffice it to say, the cruelty with which the Hunger Games are portrayed is unfathomable, not only because the main participants of the battle are children, but simply because this idea of people being forced to fight each other in order to survive is completely immoral and it breeches all postulates of humanity. One can argue this book lacks morality as it is children who are forced to go through the horrifying competition. However, the idea behind the story is much deeper than it first seems and it gradually becomes more apparent as the plot thickens.
The society of Panem faces misery and despair under the dictatorship established in the country. Completely controlled by the government, people from impoverished districts are challenged just to prove their right to exist. The clear division between the Capitol elite and the miserable lives of the district citizens with their full dependence on the government, underlies the ease with which the dictators manipulate and control the people. “The history of all previous societies has been the history of class struggles” (Marx & Engels, 1848) and thus, it is inevitable that the downtrodden people of the lower classes will rebel. Violent aggression as a form of protest may be considered barbaric but “every man calls barbarous anything he is not accustomed to” (de Montaigne, 1995).
There is no doubt that in some way, violence as a conflict solving method portrayed in The Hunger Games sets the worst example, especially for its younger audience. Nevertheless, one should beaware that given the circumstances and the pressure those characters have to endure, they are left with no other choice than to survive at any cost. “Look how we take your children and sacrifice them and there’s nothing you can do. If you lift a finger we will destroy every last one of you” (Collins, 2008). This is the constant threat faced by the people of Panem and in such desperate circumstances, the distinction between good and bad, moral and immoral, right and wrong, becomes blurred. The Hunger Games does not teach violence as a method of resolving conflicts, but merely shows a society in which those moral codes which prevent humanity from causing pain to one another has broken down beyond repair.
Collins S. (2008). The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic press
De Montaigne M. (1995) ‘On the Cannibals’ featured in Four Essays. London: Penguin
Marx K., Engels F.(1848) The Communist Manifesto. London: Workers’ Educational Association
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