The Hunger Games and the ‘great divide’

After watching the new film Hunger Games last night I was thinking it perhaps lent itself to be discussed in terms of some of the (or at least one of the) theories we’ve been looking at in class.

Set in a futuristic dystopia called ‘Panem’ (the remains of North America after some unnamed environmental disaster – possibly climate change) only one out of 13 districts is wealthy, while the remainder are poor. Every year a boy and girl are chosen from the 12 poor districts to participate in an extreme survivor/gladiator style contest against each other called the Hunger Games, of which only one contestant will survive.

Since it involves children killing children, the concept is obviously vile, but it has been subject to quite a lot of comment and interpretation by sites such as Duck of Minerva and the New Yorker etc.  What struck me most about the political set-up presented in the film was that it seemed to be a total inversion of what we call the Great Divide – with anarchy, the state of nature and conflict being played out in the domestic realm. None of the usual stuff we associate with the domestic aspects of the divide (justice, community, ethics, law and order) was present, but instead the political environment clearly revolved around anarchy, insecurity, self help, friends and enemies, war, and recurrence and repetition. If anyone else in the group has seen it I would be interested in their view.


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