Sunday, September 12, 2010

MOCKINGJAY as Political Statement

In the Districts, the idea of a republic is completely alien. There is only President Snow, and his Peacekeepers. No checks nor balances as there are in the United States government...or as there used to be. 

Nowadays, the lines between the three branches of government (executive, legislative, judiciary) are so blended as to make them almost meaningless. Congress debates whether or not things are constitutional (the judiciary's job). The Supreme Court creates law, even at times overruling multiple votes by the people. And the President steamrolls them both from the bully pulpit. It has been this way for decades, and it is getting worse. 

Whatever your politics, we can all agree that the less WE THE PEOPLE participate in government, the less power the people have. This line in the third book of the Hunger Games trilogy left me with goose bumps: 

"In return for full bellies and entertainment, people had given up their political responsibilities and therefore their power." -Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

How is the Capitol with its Districts like our world today? Without spoilers, please share your thoughts in the comments. 


  1. Good topic Katrina! I loved this series. What Suzanne Collins says in her quote there about abdicating our responsibilities as citizens is right on. It applies to America today. So long as we are comfortable, and entertained we have no need to participate in governing ourselves. This is where the danger starts. I do not know what the solution is—but I suspect the blame lies solidly in the education system and the media. There really is no dividing line between news and entertainment today. So the only news that gets notice is that which is entertaining. Yes, even the bad news.

    While the advent of the internet as a means of sharing news unfiltered by media conglomerates is a good thing, the problem is that we are still unmotivated to step away from the computer and get out there and change things. We've all been trained since birth to sit back and passively consume the "news" and we aren't likely to "rebel" unless our own lives were at stake. But by then it's too late. This is a cautionary tale.

    I could see something like the Hunger Games taking place even today. I think once people got over their initial revulsion of kids killing kids, they would tune in by the millions to watch.

  2. Well said, Sue. I'm afraid I can see something like the Hunger Games happening in today's society, too, though I think it would start with convicted prisoners and then they'd do a juvenile hall edition. Because that way people could justify it to themselves the same way the Capitol people justify that, well, the Districts are filled with barbarians, anyway. It wouldn't even be a slippery slope, just a straight-off cliff.

    I liked how many of the names in the Capitol were Roman, like Claudius. It reminded me of the gladiators, which I suspect it was supposed to. Very interesting parallels.

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment!


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