Tuesday, February 24, 2015

And May the Odds be Ever in Your Favor

I believe most of us are familiar with The Hunger Games, a trilogy by Suzanne Collins. But for those of us who are not, here is a brief overview. The Hunger Games is about a dystopian world set in "Panem". This world consists of 12 districts and the Capitol. The Capitol controls each district, and each of the 12 districts vary in their level of poverty. Perhaps then it comes as no surprise that the Capitol is full of extreme wealth and luxury. Every year, the Capitol select two children from each district to participate in the televised "Hunger Games." The objective of the game? To be the last one, not just standing, but living.

What I find particularly fascinating about this trilogy, besides it's obvious critique on American society/capitalism, is the Marxist lens through which these books can be viewed. Essentially, they are a lesson in Marxism. There is conflict between the classes, the poor(the districts) stay poor, the rich (the Captiol) remain rich by controlling the poor, and this dynamic drives a revolution (led by the trilogies main character, Katniss Everdeen). To be clear, Marxism is critiquing/condemning capitalism. Who knew we were teaching our 13-year-olds the basics of Marxism?

Above: The Captiol; Below: District 12

In "The Pedagogy of the Oppressed", Paulo Freire presents his theory of education in the context of revolution--a Marxist idea. Friere writes:
It is only when the oppressed find the oppressor out and become involved in the organized struggle for liberation that they begin to believe in themselves. This discovery cannot be purely intellectual but must involve action; nor can it be limited to mere activism, but must include serious reflection: only then will it be a praxis. 
This quote further explains the theory of Marxism, and helps to contextualize The Hunger Games through a Marxist lens. 

Interested in knowing more about The Hunger Games through the lens of Marxism? Check out this blog post "Panem Brings to Life Marx's Manifesto."


  1. Fun! But pretty brief? The Freire stuff seems sort of tossed in, and you really just outline the class struggle without linking it to any of the main tenets of Marxism that we looked at with Eagleton (base/superstructure), Althusser (ideology, ISA's/RSA's), and Freire (banking/problem-posing, dialogism). Really good start, but try to increase your textual specificity and the level of detail you offer about the theory.

  2. Also...art project? Not sure if this is it?