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From The Capitol To The Districts: Social Class Structure In The Hunger Games

2288 words - 9 pages

Brewer 1From the Capitol to the Districts: Social Class Structure in the Hunger GamesNovels, especially young adult novels that are read at a critical point in a child's life, tend to propel ideas, beliefs and thoughts, even if subconsciously. Young readers have passed from a seemingly ordinary wardrobe and into the magical world of Narnia, and never paused to drink in the deeper meaning of the story and character implications until they were older. They have looked upon the Lake of Shining Waters with Anne and heard her babble away, bringing her imagination to life without worrying about the hinted references of her previous status before her arrival at Green Gables. Most recently, and perhaps most importantly, they have walked along the halls with Harry, hiding under an invisibility cloak, wondering what the Dark Lord has plotted next to harm the young hero. I, along with many other readers, was too caught up in the thrilling tale of magic and adventure to wonder about the author's intentions of having the villain believe that an entire race of non-magical people were beneath him. Class is always present in a text in some form, but it is not often something that we consider when reading a novel. But now, for the first time since our journey with Harry, readers have found a new story to entice them. Katniss Everdeen, the girl on fire captivated masses of readers with her thrilling and ghastly tale. We dove in, creeping alongside the heroine through her struggles in the arena, holding our breath at the political, physical and mental games she must play in order to stay alive. Readers emerge feeling as though they have been forever changed by her adventures. Then, finally, when they are ready to reconsider the story, to try to deconstruct it and derive an interpretation of what author Suzanne Collins was trying to say, they often turn to feminism as their basic literary theory to judge from, leaving other schools of criticism desperately overlooked. While there are pages upon pages of criticisms about feminisms and their role in The Hunger Games, the mentions of Marxism and class structure in the novel are not often discussed. Readers must look at the book with this particular lens, or they will undoubtedly miss a large underlying problem that the book comments on. It is not enough to give the book consideration in one area; Marxism plays an integral role in the events that unfold in The Hunger Games that cannot be disregarded. The interaction between the bourgeoisie (the Capitol and ruling class) and the proletariat (districts and the working class) are key elements to the theory of Marxism that are important to the book's overall cautionary message. When a reader understands and applies this literary theory to The Hunger Games, it becomes apparent that the class struggle and structure is the foundation, and eventually the fissure, that causes the fragile system of Panem to be brought down by Katniss in her moment of cleverness with the poisonous...

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