Professor Nadine Davis
12 April 2013
Power of the People Imagine yourself trapped in a life of despair and welfare. You cannot do what you want, when you want, or how you want. You must follow every rule that the government gives you, or else you could be executed or beat and humiliated in front of your entire town. This was the sad life of Katniss Everdeen, a main character in the fictional novel The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and those who lived in the other 12 districts. Citizens should never be afraid of their government, as the government should be supporting, protecting over its people by providing a safe environment, and ensuring liberty for all. Therefore, to prevent the government from gaining the power to cause fear in its citizens, there should be less government control overall.
For Katniss, her world was comparable to a dystopia. In Suzanne Collins’ first book in the trilogy, The Hunger Games, 12 districts had to give up two children annually and have them all fight to the death, until one child was left standing, for punishment of the districts trying to overtake the government in the past. “Taking the kids from our districts, forcing them to kill one another while we watch – this is the Capitol’s way of reminding us how totally at mercy we are to them” (Collins p. 18). This quote by Katniss was right down to the point. Their government, the Capitol, is more of a dictatorship run by a man named Mr. Snow. As Katniss says, “Even though the rules were made up by the Capitol, not the districts…” (Collins p. 13), the districts have no say in what they can do, even down to
Hildebrandt 2 what they can grow in their fields. Each district has a certain food or material they are forced to make, and all people that are able too, must work. This in no way is fair to the people of the districts. Why does the Capitol get to choose what they can and cannot do? They are normal human beings, just as the people they control are. As the book unfolds, it turns out that Katniss and a boy from her district, Peeta Mellark, are the ones who must participate in the Hunger Games. The night before they go into the arena, Peeta and Katniss have a conversation and Peeta says, “I don’t know how to say it exactly. Only, I want to die as myself… I don’t want them to change me in there. Turn me into some kind of monster that I’m not” (Collins p. 141). This is just one example of the immaculate fear that the citizens have of the Capitol. The sheer fact that Peeta is afraid them changing him, shows that something is wrong with the way their government is treating its citizens.
As if life could not get any worse for Katniss, in Collins’ third book to the trilogy, Mockingjay, it does. Although Peeta and Katniss teamed up and both came out alive from the first time they had to go into the Hunger Games, the Capitol decided they didn’t like this. “You’re in trouble. Word is the Capitol’s furious about you showing them up in the arena. The one thing they can’t stand is being laughed at, and they are the joke of the Panem” (Collins The Hunger Games p. 356). This quote from Katniss’s coach, Haymitch, states what could be an obvious problem of rebellion, but for the citizens of Panem, the problem is much deeper than that, and the outcome could quite possibly be catastrophic. The fear of what could happen to someone who tries to rebel against the Capitol is shown again when Katniss says, “We all have one enemy, and it’s the Capitol!”(Collins Mockingjay p. 216). Once the Capitol began gaining all of the power, the people of the districts started to lose all sense of hope. When a government has all the power in all decisions, the citizens become dependent on the help of the government. This
Hildebrandt 3 in turn gives them absolute power over every part of the citizen’s lives because the thought turns into, if the Capitol does not help us, we would all die. It is almost like a brainwashing…