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Popular Culture as Resistance: The Dual Critique of Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games
Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This essay aims to examine Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, a dystopian novel, using Marxism, a utopian ideology, and also to highlight the dual critique presented by the book. This essay will use Marxism’s view on ideology and mass culture to analyse The Hunger Games. The essay argues that the power structure in the novel is critiqued from a classically Marxist perspective, based on class theory. Because the novel has a reality-show inspired element it also addresses more postmodern ideas as well, i.e. ideas of late capitalism and its influence on today’s society.

The Hunger Games was published in 2008, the same year that the financial crisis hit America. The book follows 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen who lives in District 12 in the future dystopian world of Panem. The leaders of Panem live in the Capitol, from where they control the twelve surrounding districts with an iron fist. Part of their control is enforced by the Hunger Games in which a boy and a girl from each district compete until only one survivor is left each year.

The essay finds it interesting to bring out the Marxist critique in The Hunger Games since it is written by an American author and has found most of its popularity in America, a country that has a complicated historical relationship with Marxism and communism ever since the Cold War. The Marxist critique in The Hunger Games makes the book quite radical, especially considering its place of publication and the socioeconomically fraught time in which it was published.

The Hunger Games contains two different kinds of critique: the book’s critique of today’s society, and the main character’s critique of the fictional society in which it is set. The essay suggests that readers of The Hunger Games have found that by reading about the main character’s critique of the society she lives in, they might themselves become more interested in viewing their own society in a more critical way.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 20 p.
National Category
Specific Literatures
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-24099OAI: diva2:725561
Subject / course
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2014-06-17 Created: 2014-06-16 Last updated: 2014-06-17Bibliographically approved

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