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The Hunger Games – Class inequality discussion Essay


Introduction

The Hunger Games is a fictional book that describes the horrendous state of the current society. The author uses metaphors to describe the class distinctions in society as well as the opulence and extravagance of the rich. This paper discusses the class inequality and the role of the media and society in advancing class inequality comparing the book with the modern class differentiation.

The Hunger Games

There is a class inequality between people living in the Capitol and the ones living in 12 districts. The class inequality represents itself in several ways, but mostly, people in such districts do not have sufficient food, and there are observed cases of starvation. Katniss, the main character in the book, has to engage in illegal hunting “the hunger games” in order to be able to provide for her family. What is more, not many families know how to hunt.

In the Capitol, on the other hand, there is plenty of food. Katniss is awed by her large breakfast of eggs, hams, fried potatoes and other delicacies during her stay in the Capitol, meaning that people there do not experience any shortage of food, while people from districts are starving. Secondly, people in Capitol are more advanced in terms of technological developments. For example, Katniss takes a shower for the first time in her life during her visit to the Capitol.

The government controls the resources in the districts. The people are restricted from travelling outside their homes and districts, which limits their ability to interact with each other and as such mobilize resources. The education offered is biased in order to limit any rebellion in the people against the Capitol. The class inequality, therefore, favours the people in the Capitol. The beliefs and norms of the people in Panem are centred on the self-interest; they are obsessed to acquire the comfort and lifestyle of the affluent people.

Panem is not a meritocracy but the society full of class differences. In a meritocratic society, the people’s progress in life is based on their abilities and not their socio-economic status. In Panem, this is not the case. The ones who survive in the hunger games are the tributes from the wealthier districts since they are able to afford sufficient food and prior training in preparation for the games.

The people who succeed economically are the ones in the wealthier districts. The people in the poorer districts are too preoccupied with their thoughts of surviving a single day; what bothers them is earning money, which is a problem for them.

The structure of the society influences the outcome of the hunger games. First of all, the poor people have higher probabilities to be selected for the hunger games since they trade food for the chance to take part in them. Secondly, the participants from the wealthy districts are well-fed and fitter than those in the poor districts.

They usually train for a longer time, which makes them comfortable in handling the weapons. The participants from the poorer districts, on the other hand, usually handle the weapons for the first time during the games; they are weak as they are malnourished and underfed. They do not have any prior trainings before the games. More participanst are, therefore, selected from the poorer districts who rarely survive. The media in Panem plays a critical role in socializing between the rich and poor people.

The poor and the rich are united when watching the hunger games, which enables them to do something together. It is acceptable since the games are regarded as entertainment; people forget about the real aim and end results of the games. Such games are highly televised; the tributes are adorned in costumes.

It is important how the tributes appear before the huge number of people, and whether they will be given gifts. There are televised interviews of the tributes which everyone watches, making the games appear as entertainment yet these young people are fighting for their lives.

During the games, there is a large audience watching as the tributes fight for their lives; the same situation can be observed in the modern world, for instance, reality shows with the rich and famous, in which ordinary people get to know about their personal lives, which is also considered as entertainment.

There are also shows where ordinary people get to participate in reality shows themselves; everything shown there be it good or bad, is a sort of entertainment for a host of people. Similar to the way the tributes want to have sponsors, the reality TV actors and producers want popularity for the show to be commercially viable.

At the end of the hunger games, the winner is interviewed; this is another source of entertainment for people. Just like in the reality shows, the winner is being applauded without any consideration of the tactics he or she used to win the game, in other words, whether it has been ethical or not.

Allan Johnson argues that social structures cause people to follow the path of least resistance. People occupy certain positions within a social structure, which are interrelated. The relationships between the positions influence how much they can accomplish.

People have great expectations of the other people and the roles they play. The expectations are influenced by the beliefs, values, norms and attitudes of the people. People avoid being in situations where they are the odd one out. They do not want to be known as defiant or peculiar. They, therefore, engage in charades where they play along with the system. The suppression of one’s true feelings or views in order to fit in is defined as following the path of least resistance (Johnson 86).

In Panem the class inequality and power structure cause people in the poorer districts and Capitol to follow the path of least resistance. Katniss forces herself not to cry when she sees Prim being chosen as a tribute and being led to the stage. She does not want to be perceived as a weak person (Collins 23).

Peeta and Katniss cooperate during the training and the interview sessions that are held every year for the tributes. They are advised to pay more attention to their appearances so as to ensure that the people love and admire them. They are both disgusted by the games, however, they comply and choose the path of least resistance.

Katniss offers entertainment for the audience by kissing Peeta since she knows that the crowd will appreciate the romantic entertainment. A gift from Haymitch after the session confirms her hopes. There was also an opportunity during the last interview to announce that the decision to take the poisonous berries was a sign of rebellion against the Capitol. However, she gets afraid and instead decides to take the path of least resistance. She explains to the interviewer that she did not want to lose Peete. She knows this answer will please the Capitol.

The Hunger Games, though fictional has great sociological concepts which students can learn a lot from. The gap between the rich and the poor is too large. Poverty continues to prosper because the society has chosen not to take care of the poor. The people are concerned with what society think of them.

They choose to keep quiet over issues that they should find the strength to talk about, such as inequalities and violence. People are more focused on enriching their lives and accumulating possessions, such as houses, clothes, cars and food. The people are fascinated with entertainment; they are captured by the lives of supermodels, singers, athletes and other celebrities.

The book also touches on the exploitation of capitalism by showing the poor workers on the farms while the owners keep getting more affluent.

People involved in showbiz careers are focused on the comfort of their lives, and do not mind showing their opulence and extravagance to the society. They do not consider the fact that some of the people among the audiences are poor and cannot spend a lot of money on luxuries. In the Nacirema, the author showed the American lifestyle that concentrates too much on themselves and their comfort. The body rituals of these ancient people preoccupy their minds the same way accumulation of possessions is the focus of the current society.

Conclusion

The author has been successful in capturing the present United States culture to show where the country is currently heading to if things do not change. It will be a society where the rich are unmoved by the plight of the poor. They will be wasting all their time on entertainment and opulence.

Works Cited

Collins, Suzzanne. The Hunger Games. USA: Scholastic Press, 2008. Print.

Johnson, Allan. The Forest and the Trees: Sociology as Life, Practice and Promise. United States: Temple University Press, 1997. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2019, November 24). The Hunger Games - Class inequality discussion. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-hunger-games-class-inequality-discussion/

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1. IvyPanda. "The Hunger Games - Class inequality discussion." November 24, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-hunger-games-class-inequality-discussion/.


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IvyPanda. "The Hunger Games - Class inequality discussion." November 24, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-hunger-games-class-inequality-discussion/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "The Hunger Games - Class inequality discussion." November 24, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-hunger-games-class-inequality-discussion/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'The Hunger Games - Class inequality discussion'. 24 November.

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