WHAT A TEEN SEES IN THE HUNGER GAMES

Hunger Games: contrast between Capitol and Districts

 

I haven’t read the Hunger Games, nor am I a fan per se, but this past weekend, I saw the movie.  I didn’t really enjoy it and would maybe give it a 6.5\10 rating, but this isn’t a review. Instead, I’d like to point out an ongoing metaphor that I noticed throughout the movie and that I thought was pretty interesting. I don’t think many people have realized it, but hopefully after reading this, you will. Here’s a quick summary and review of the movie.

The first time that I saw the people of the Capitol and how they acted, I noticed the massive contrast between them and their eccentric dress and behaviour with those who lived in District 12, in grey poverty.  Moviegoers begin to think that the people of the Capitol are insane from how they dress, how they act, how they talk, and develop disgust for them when Primrose is chosen during the Reaping, and Katniss takes her place. Not to mention that these people actually get entertainment out of watching these children kill each other.

So, the people of the Capitol seem like complete aliens to our society. They’re horrible people – nothing like us, right? I wouldn’t be so sure.

See, the Capitol can be compared to the first world countries of our time where we have fun and luxury at the expense of others. When the people of the Capitol watch the Hunger Games competition, it’s like us buying products made in child sweat shops in Indonesia. As we as a civilization prosper, the lowest denominator of our society gets worse. The people of the Capitol watch the Hunger Games due to their constant need for entertainment and their self-proclaimed entitlement to be entertained. That is the same as our self-proclaimed entitlement to entertainment as well as wealth, food, water, products, etc.

We think, when we’re buying a pair of Nike shoes, ‘Hey, everyone else buys them. They can’t be so wrong. How am I, one person, going to make any difference by not buying the shoes?’

The many fans of the Hunger Games competition are of the same mindset. ‘Everyone watches the Hunger Games! It’s not a bad thing if everyone does it. Even the Government. There can’t be anything wrong with the competition. Even if there was, if I stopped watching, it wouldn’t make a difference.’

The movie tricks us into hating the people of the Capitol, when their values and behaviour are parallel to ours.  I think that this is an attempt by the author to point out to us a fatal flaw in our society. We are hesitant to be free thinkers. We assume that if everyone else follows a path, that it must be true and right.

In 1961, researchers conducted a study about human obedience to authority called the Milgram Experiment.  In the study, a subject was to ask a man a series of questions through a microphone. He could not see the man, only hear him. If the man answered the questions wrong, the subject was supposed to shock him. The man was an actor and was not actually getting shocked, but the subject didn’t know that. The man answered many wrong and, while being ‘shocked’, screamed in agony for the subject to stop. When the subject asked the researcher if he should stop, the researcher urged him to continue. The subject continued shocking the man until were no more screams for help.

This study showed how people can be driven to do anything if they are led to believe that it is okay; that people trust that those in authority are always right and that they know what they are doing.

But, sometimes authority doesn’t send people on the right path. And, sometimes the crowd’s way isn’t the best way.  What we really need are more skeptics in the world – more people to step up and say, ‘You know what? This isn’t right.’

My point is summed up perfectly by Peeta when he says, ‘What if everyone just stopped watching?’ I think this may be the most important quote of the film because it shows a hidden theme, a comment on human nature, on society as it is today. It is a plea for change. I don’t know if this is what the author meant with those words, but it’s what I got out of it. And it’s some great stuff to think about.

It’s true. What if everyone just stopped buying?

Ben Shapiro is a 16-year-old tenth grade student.  When he’s not playing Lacrosse, jamming in his basement music studio, or bbming his friends, he’s thinking deep thoughts like these.  Keep your eye on this guy.  He may be your future Prime Minister. 

Comments

  1. Great analysis. I’ll have to ask my own son his take on the books and movie.

  2. Debra Berger says:

    I absolutely love they way you think, what a bright
    young man you are.

  3. Paul Rabil says:

    I think you should come play for our lacrosse team! Send a video of you playing and ill hit you up as soon as i can!

  4. Celebrate Woman says:

    Ben,
    Great and genuine analysis. High-Five to your parents! It all starts in the family and then backed up by society at large.
    The most valuable gift any parent can give to their child is a (excuse my words, but they are meant to express the gist of it) “bullsh–t detector.” This is when we question authority on any subject.
    My 4-year-old already questions when I state some ideas to him. I do it on purpose, so he can learn to detect where it is a must to ask “why.”
    Ben, thank you for sharing your internal way of thinking. You just made my day, buddy.

  5. I like your profile Ben. I’m going to the movie tonight and I loved the books. Since I’ve read them I find myself realizing that we are more like the Capitol than I’d like. Which leads me to wonder- who are the Districts?

  6. I absolutely love this analysis, Ben. Well-done to you and your very cool mom! I didn’t know about the Milgram experiment, but the results don’t surprise me at all. Reminds me also of an experiment Jane Elliott did with her elementary school class in “A Class Divided.” She does this with her students after the assassination of MLK, Jr. An incredible demonstration of the power of authority and mob behavior. Please watch it when you have an hour. You’ll really get a lot out of it – I can tell. Bravo, and keep thinking!!!
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/divided/

  7. Great post, Ben. Made me think of this interview with Steve Jobs. I thought you might enjoy this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYfNvmF0Bqw

  8. This is a great analysis. The line of Peeta that you mentioned was my favorite too. I’ll be checking out your blogs moving forward. I’m hoping to see/ read more of these kinds of analysis.

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