The Disappointment of Violent Revolution

Posted: December 3, 2013 in The Hunger Games Op Eds

By Liv Euler

Floating around thirty-eight countries are roughly fifty million Hunger Games books, twenty-three and a half million in the United States alone. Over four thousand screens projected The Hunger Games, making nearly seven hundred million dollars in revenue worldwide. The recently disclosed Catching Fire has soared past two hundred and fifty million dollars in revenue after just the first eight days of it’s release. The series has captivated a global audience in an unprecedented fashion, even surpassing sales of the applauded Harry Potter series.

So, what does this tell us? Millions and millions of people, readers, moviegoers, and bystanders, are consuming themes of inequality, suffering, love, corruption, and revolution and digesting them into their outlook of the contemporary political scene. The series, whether purposefully or not, is acting as a teaching tool for overcoming adverse political situations. For two primary reasons the Hunger Games series runs counterproductive to the efforts of peacemakers internationally: First, the Capitol falls through violent revolution brought forth by Katniss and comrades. Secondly, despite hints of cognitive dissonance violent revolution is the only tactic utilized in the overthrow. To readers and viewers this suggests that violent inequalities and political oppression are only defeated through the use of fierce counter-violence. As the acclaimed Martin Luther King Jr. said so eloquently, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” In a world pervaded by violent conflicts such as those in Syria, Egypt, Israel and Palestine, and the like, this traditional message is not peacemakers wish to be portrayed.

Katniss, Peeta, and Gale the three prominent “good guys” of the series first capture the hearts of readers and viewers through an intricate love triangle. Each character respected for a different reason: Katniss, a brave, intelligent, mature young woman; Peeta, a caring, selfless, giving young man; finally, Gale as a supportive, understanding friend. As the series progresses so does the transition of these characters from seemingly nonviolent peace and justice seekers to fierce revolutionary warriors; same ends, but different means.

It is rather disappointing that Collins did not choose a different path for these characters, although she did try to save face by portraying Peeta as a sacrificial, sustaining peacekeeper while in the hands of the Capitol. All readers and viewers gathered from the series, Mockingjay primarily, is that the “good guys” had to become hardened, angry killers avenging the injustices of their past. It is obvious that the Capitol did indeed oppress, completely take advantage of, exploit, and downright ignore the basic human rights of outsider district members; I am by no means suggesting Katniss and company should have just continued living noiselessly. Justice through some form or another was crucial to Panem’s future as a nation. However, was it necessary to enforce justice through the same murderous, violent methods used by the Capitol to begin with?

In a world rife with violent conflict it is of utmost importance for peacemakers to change the traditional narrative of combatting violence with violence. While it is unfair to say that Collins believes in war and violence and this is the sole reason for ending the series the way that she chose, it is fair to say that for readers who read superficially war and violence are apparently necessary and just means for revolution. Certainly the work can be interpreted in more than one way, but what if Collins had chosen another route? What potential did the series have for shifting, or at least intriguing, the mindset of those it reached? In my opinion, great potential.

Had Collins depicted a more nonbelligerent alternative peacemakers would be able to greater utilize a series that is reaching millions and millions of young people who have the potential to be life changers. Instead, the traditional narrative remains intact and violence prevails. As peacemakers move their way through the trenches of redefining justice the heroic Katniss Everdeen and her noble assassination of corrupted leadership acts as a speed bump experienced by millions worldwide. As a student of political science and peace and conflict studies, a concerned global citizen, a constant believer in the inherent good, and a Hunger Games fan I anxiously await a fourth book of clarification and redemption.


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  1. Anonymous says:

    I like how this is a different point of view than what I usually thought. It is true that Collins would have made a greater point to use the peacekeepers to a larger role because it is true that in real life they are the ones to be in the midst of conflict (UN).

  2. Anonymous says:

    I enjoyed the fact that this was a different view than what is normally shared. I do not know if I wholly agree with the idea that a book about peaceful revolution (usually seen as unrealistic) would trump a series based on a what-not-to-do scenario in terms of getting Collins’ point across.

  3. Rachel Opperman says:

    Again agreeing with the above comments, this is not the typical point of view that is shared amongst readers, nor can I say that I truly support it. However, your reasons for maintaining this viewpoint are well-depicted in your argument. However, I would make a suggestion to provide a more specific example of how Collins could have made her three heroes overthrow the government in a more peaceful way, just to strengthen your argument even further. An engaging article however!

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