The eco-apocalypse movie that I have decided to do an analysis of is the first Hunger Games. I’ve watched the whole trilogy as well as read the first two books, so I’m familiar with the concept portrayed in the whole series. The movie Hunger Games was directed by Gary Ross, which is a direct correlation to the book with the same title written by novelist Suzanne Collins. The whole trilogy was written and published by 2010 which was before the first movie was released in 2012. A short overview of the whole trilogy is that the setting is in the unspecified future located in Panem, which is post-apocalypse North America. Due to an assortment of different disasters, famines, wars, ect. the people are placed in districts based on wealth, and due to rations and for the entertainment of the Capitol, kids from each district were chosen to kill each other. The trilogy revolves around this idea in futurist world and the protagonist fights back against the Capitol to fight for what is right. The Hunger Games includes examples of both Diamond’s 5-point framework and Nolan & Lenski POCET model throughout the movie, which raises the question if Panem can survive the inevitable downfall. Panem is home to 12 Districts that all serve importance to their land. Each District has a main job to do and they trade with others to be able to survive. For example District 3 is technology based, so they export firearms and electronics, District 6 main export is medicine, District 7 handles all lumber resources, District 8 makes clothes using kids at a adolescent age to do so. Much like the slavery in Mayan civilization, District 11 acted as slaves, where they were tightly controlled by the capitol because they were in charge of the food supply, meanwhile they were being underfed and poorly mistreated. Within the movie and much like most civilizations throughout the history of the world, power and wealth is a direct correlation to how your portrayed by other citizens and how the Capitol treats you.
The movie starts out by telling the audience how a boy and girl ages 12 to 18 from each district get chosen to participate in what they call a reaping. Right from the start it shows the main character Katniss hunting animals to be eaten, unlike most previous societies where the men would go hunting and supply the food for their families and groups. Her weapon for hunting animals is a bow and arrow, which was very common during the Hunting and Gathering time period. This is a futurist world, so the fact that the poor people have to resort to using bow and arrows is showing how society must’ve collapsed and the wealth shared between rich and poor grew far apart. Next scene shows a character named Gale pull out a piece of bread from his bag and offer it to Katniss, who then says oh my god, Is this real?. Fresh foods is scarce and really hard to come by in their society due to her exclamatory reaction to a piece of bread. Next important scene is where all the people from District 12 gather to see who is selected for the annual Hunger Games. While standing waiting for the names to be announced a video starts playing, probably made by Capitol, which states how this kids fight to the death for honor, courage, and sacrifice and the lone victor would serve as a reminder of our generosity and forgiveness. This is how we remember our past, this is how we safeguard our future. This is an example of the Capitol using media to portray mass murder to be something other than what is actually happening. The Capitol wants to show the citizens that you should be prideful and that it is an honor to fight to the death to represent your District and families. Katniss’s sister got selected to be in the Hunger Games, but Katniss volunteered as tribute to take her spot in the battle, which has never happened in the reaping before. This is for several reasons, Katniss’s sister is unskilled and very small, which in result means that she would be killed very early and likely have no chance of winning.
On the other hand Katniss is known around her District for having an amazing shot with the bow and arrow, and much older and mature to be able to have a real chance of winning and coming back home. Katniss final words to Gale before being sent off for the games in whatever you do, don’t let them starve., which once again shows how scarce food is to come by in their specific District at least. Katniss is the girl selected from District 12, and the boys name selected is Peeta. They leave DIstrict 12 to head to the Capitol where the ceremonies are held. On the way there they are given a mentor named Mitch who has one the games in the past and help those two learn survival techniques, which includes gaining fan support or sponsors. During the games, sponsors can send you care packages with life saving gear, so it is a good strategy to become likable and entertaining. While at the ceremony, it shows how extremely wealthy they are, unlike many of the Districts. This is similar to past civilizations where the rich were filthy rich and the poor were dirt poor with really no inbetween. Everything about the ceremony shows how overly rich they are, the way people dress, eat, and the materialistic things that they posses. The majority of the movie is showing the actual Hunger Games, where 2 kids from each District are fighting for their lives against other contestants and natural causes that are completely controlled by the Capitol since it is a futuristic world. Throughout Panem the games are being broadcasted to the citizens so they can watch hoping that their loved ones will persevere and become the lone victor. At the end of couple weeks, the movie shows how only Katniss and Peeta are left standing, which due to rule changes stated that if the last 2 people left are from the same district then they can both survive. This was a rule change because they knew that everyone watching wanted to see a love story between the two.
The final scenes are post-Hunger Games once Katniss and Peeta have returned as victors, despite making the Capitol very unhappy since they were considered underdogs and President Snow explained why he doesn’t like underdogs. The Districts had no say in anything, they were completely controlled by the Capitol which had all the power in Panem. This style of government was a tyrannical dictatorship, which means that the President, in this case President Snow, had complete control over Panem, such as political and economic power. Propaganda is portrayed several times throughout the movie, the main example is when the Capitol will show the people of the districts videos that make it seem like their life isn’t bad and that one day they will have wealth as well. Capital punishment issued by President Snow takes place at the end of the movie once Seneca, who is the head of the Hunger Games and a public figure working for the Capitol bends the games rules to allow for two winners instead of the traditional one. President Snow feels like it is an embarrassing and weak move to try to please the viewers who wanted both Katniss and Peeta to win, so in result he locks Seneca in a room with poisonous berries and it is inferred that he’s killed. The Capitol due to its tyrannical dictatorship tries to control all of its citizens minds into thinking alike whether that be through propaganda or other deceiving strategies, which is called collective consciousness.
In the movie, President Snow is talking to Seneca and asks him why do you think we have a winner?… hope, hope it is the only thing stronger than fear. a little hope is effective, a lot of hope is dangerous. and that is fine as long as it is contained, so contain it This is a perfect example of how the government is giving people false hope that everything will eventually be good, so that they remain calm and follow order. So to instead of tending to the Capitol after winning the games and participating in the social norms, Katniss decides to be the face of the revolt against those in power. People never thought to not follow Capitol’s orders, due to the extreme fear that they implemented into the minds of the citizens and The Diamond model is demonstrated once a little girl from District 11 named Rue is killed during the games. Her death started a moab uproar in her district were the people started attacking and killing the peacekeepers, which are Panem’s police/army. This revolt is an example of society’s response to problems that Jared Diamond talks about in his 5 point framework. Another example of Panem responding to problems is when the main characters in the movie Katniss and Peeta, who both were in the Hunger Games started to act out against the government by first both winning the games which has never been done before, but it the following movies all the district work together to sabotage the corrupt Capitol and overthrow it. This is very similar to the Mayan civilization which is believed to be overthrown by the peasants due to being overly controlled by their government. A fairly obvious correlation to the ancient world and the Hunger Games is the gladiator battles in the roman colosseum.
In both cases people brutally murdered each other for the spectator’s enjoyment. Winning the Hunger Games gives the victor an abundance of spoils and glory, while gladiators would occasionally be granted freedom if they distinguished themself in battle. The common theme between the two is that the fighters were instilled with just enough hope, so they would never lie down and quit. President Snow even nefariously says that a little hope is actually a good thing. Winning the audience over proved crucial during the Hunger Games with viewers or sponsors sending in care packages which ultimately ended up saving their lives having medicine and food in it. During the gladiator fights gaining popularity was the difference between life and death, if they gave thumbs up you would survive, but if they thumbs downed you, you would be murdered. People spectating this extreme violence show a lot about how humans are subconsciously infatuated with violence and how our society chooses to respond to violence, even modern days the shows that get the best ratings are usually physical sports like football or boxing. Unlike many societies in the past, gender inequality doesn’t seem to play a factor at all in the movie. Not once did Katniss encounter someone that had less hope in her chances of winning due to her gender, however the fact that she was from District 12, made her and Peeta underdogs in the games.
Gender roles are shown a little bit in the movie, for example Katniss’s dad died in a coal mine explosion and coal miners are always men, and the women would do things around the house such as take care of the kids, make clothes, and house chores. The Districts each seem to be different type of societies that have been seen throughout history. The higher Districts seem to use parts of the Hunting & Gathering for hunting animals with bows and arrows, knives, and maybe spears. Horticulture and Pastoral is where basic farming and domesticating animals begin which Districts 9 and 10 main job for Panem is. Agriculture is the next type of society and District 11 handles all of the Agriculture in the movie. There are 3 Districts that I feel show Industrialization the best, these are 3,5, and 6 because they are control of technology, power and transportation. Finally Post-Industrialization is only showed by District 1, where the Capitol is, because their luxury lifestyle with advanced technology and in the movie shows futurist objects that don’t exist yet. Some of Diamonds 5 point framework of how societies collapse could show how Panem was brought about after previously being the United States and Canada. Climate change shaped the landscape of Panem, due to unspecified reasons of sea levels rising the land area is significantly smaller with the ocean moving in on all angles. Due to many disaster that took place within North America, the little amount of stuff that remained caused wars over which maybe have been with friendly or hostile neighbors, but either way it is apart of Diamonds societal collapse theories.
Society’s response to this problem was the Capitol would make 13 Districts, which they tried to revolt against the Capitol but were defeated and the 13th was completely destroyed. They called that time the Dark Days, because of that the Hunger Games was created as a reminder of that time and how it must not be repeated again. Nolan and Lenski POCET model is The Five Basic Components of Human Societies as stated in Chapter 2 of their book. Population is important aspect of the Hunger Games, because since Panem is separated into Districts there is trading between but need to rely on what your District has to survive. Katniss’s Districts main job is to supply the Capitol with coal and they don’t get much if any assistance from the Capitol to support their citizens, so in result food is a concern for many Districts. Due to their terrible living conditions families don’t have many kids because they wouldn’t be able to support them. Organization is very important to the Capitol, they have complete control over all of their citizens and brutally enforce the Districts to supply them with specific goods to better their own lives while treating everyone else like slaves. It is important for a society to make it possible for members to satisfy both their own individual needs and the needs of the society as a whole(Nolan & Lenkski 38), and these practices aren’t being followed by the Capitol. Culture is shown throughout the movie whether it is shown through symbols or clothing. Some key symbols in the movie are the mockingjay pin Katniss got and kept with her during the games, the act of holding up 3 fingers which is shown when showing appreciation or admiration, but the movie doesn’t tell if there is a more important meaning to the gesture.
The most obvious sign of culture in the Hunger Games is while all the contestants are at the Capitol for the ceremonies the upper class citizens had exotic dresses with colorful hair and makeup on, even most of the men wore it as well. Environment caused a lot of chaos during the games itself. For example since the battlefield was completely controlled by the game makers they could control the environment and they made a forest fire, poisonous berries, and tracker jackers all to try and eliminate players from their game. Technology is prevalent in only couple DIstricts and is what the Capitol revolves their lives around. The futuristic lifestyle of the important people in the movie heavily relies on technology. The Hunger Games included many examples of both Diamond’s 5-point framework and Nolan & Lenski POCET model throughout the movie. This futuristic world has a great deal of problems that all stem from higher hierarchy, which is President Snow. According to both books and the research that they have found, Panem in likely to collapse due to many mistakes made by the Capitol. It is only a matter of time before the citizens of the Districts follow previous civilizations and attempt to overthrow the tyrannical government.
Juenger, Kayla. Hunger Games Sociology Presentation. Prezi.com, 6 May 2014, prezi.com/4rvnekhsgsv-/hunger-games-sociology-presentation/.
Rizzuti, Becki. Katniss Everdeen’s Relationships in ‘The Hunger Games.’ HobbyLark, HobbyLark, 11 May 2016, hobbylark.com/fandoms/Katniss-Everdeens-Relationships-in-The-Hunger-Games.
What Caused the Apocalypse in the Hunger Games? Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange, scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/68587/what-caused-the-apocalypse-in-the-hunger-games.
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