Article | The social symbology behind the “Hunger Games”

Building a literary universe is never an easy task – just think, for example, of the originality of “The Lord of the Rings”, “The Chronicles of Ice and Fire” and “Harry Potter”, three sagas of fantastic fiction that are applauded by genre fans and experts. It is even more difficult to imbue original narratives with more symbolic metaphors that cross generations and ages for a common good. In this context, besides the aforementioned trio, we also have Suzanne Collins’ flawless creation, ‘Jogos Vorazes’.

Collins was already a veteran of the entertainment scene, mainly for creating the famous children’s animation “Caring Bears”. But it wasn’t until the publication of the first volume of the series of books in 2008 that she found her magnum opus, crafting a dense and stimulating plot set in Panem, a sovereign nuclear state that has established itself years after global and ecological conflicts. catastrophes, opening a new chapter in the history of mankind and bringing about the ruin of modern civilization. Centered by the capital and thirteen adjacent and peripheral districts, Panem is located in what used to be called North America and has become the scene of brutal massacres involving young people sacrificed to maintain the demagogic authoritarianism of the tyrant President Snow.

For those unfamiliar with the plot, the rundown presented above is a good reason to start reading the novels and then move on to the big movie adaptations starring Jennifer Lawrence. But the strata go beyond a simple synopsis, infiltrating necessary themes of discussion which are exalted in an enviable timelessness, like the aforementioned dictatorial incursions. Collins’ establishment as a novelist came with a vast cultural baggage, including references to the classic “Battle Royale” by Koushun Takami (1999).

After the rise of Panem, the Districts, which lost the war, were forced to nurture the luxurious life of the inhabitants of the Capital and, if that was not enough, they also had to pay a “human royalty”, give birth to a boy and a girl year after year to fight for life in the Hunger Games, morbid events that give their name to the title of the saga. Each of the pieces presented by the author is covered in symbologies which are evident when explained, but which can do a lot for those looking for simple entertainment. The word Panem itself refers to the Latin expression panis et circenses (bread and circus, in Portuguese), a policy used by the Roman Empire to entertain the population and make them forget about social problems.

In fact, the participants in the Games function like former gladiators – even when we turn our attention to the characterization of the event. Secular weapons, such as harpoons, arrows and swords, available in an arena of the most advanced technology. In place of the Colosseum bleachers, flying drones and hidden cameras mark the marches, clashes and deaths to the worship of spectators who have taken refuge in the comfort of their homes – and family members who bite their nails in expecting the worst.

Critics of the glamor of tragedy, worthy of poignant analyzes of the media’s treatment of cautious subjects, are not limited to the title event, but also to the other forays present in books and films. The very configuration of the Capital obeys the same principle: contrasting with the miserable sobriety of the Quarters, there is an exaggerated exuberance of what is meant by “ruling class”, which plunges into the luxury of fluid costumes, heavy make-up. and shiny and an unnecessary opulence understood, in the molds we know, like predatory capitalism. Snow’s buildings, streets, seat of government are planned in great detail, towering towering above a horizon marked by hunger and survival – think, for example, of the amorphous mass from which Katniss emerges as the savior and how one who intends to overthrow what was denied to them almost eight decades ago.

The shock is also an element of great importance for the conduct of the story: this aspect is present through the “forced” twists of the reality shows, more precisely when Peeta (played by Josh Hutcherson) announces the pregnancy of Katniss live. on television and awakens a primordial sense of empathy among the people of the Capital – something that does not last long, considering that Snow’s decision is to ‘keep the show going’ in order to remember who belongs to the winners and who belongs to the losers. Sociological pushes come from a number of places, including George Orwell’s Big Brother entity and Jeremy Bentham’s concept of panopticon – both describing the false illusion of freedom and constant control of government.

The icing on the cake comes with the mix of art and politics, something that is not much different from our reality. The top, in fact, comes with the work of Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) in designing a bimodal dress for Katniss, in which she transforms into a thrush on stage – a bird that has been carved as a symbol of the resistance of the districts. against the oppression of the capital. Greeted with applause even by members of the elite, Cinna came to an end in brutal retaliation, fueling Katniss’ need to change the status quo once and for all and show the true voice of minorities.

Of course, a brief post like this isn’t enough to explore all of the nuances present in ‘The Hunger Games’, but at least it’s enough to spark more thoughts on the magnificent saga created by Suzanne Collins. And, for those who want to draw their own conclusions, it’s worth remembering that all the movies are already available on HBO Max.

The post Article | The social symbology behind ‘The Hunger Games’ first appeared on CinePOP.

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