The Hunger Games series tackles issues including tyranny, oppression, and poverty. Panem may be fictional, but the themes addressed in the book are real. How are the Hunger Games relevant in the real world?
America has experienced two major periods of prohibition: the alcohol prohibition of the 20’s and 30’s and the War on Drugs from 71’ to present. The Hunger Games illustrates an important lesson—just as Katniss Everdeen sells her poached game on the black market at “the Hob,” dealers sell drugs on the black market.
Humanity’s struggle against tyranny and oppression is an important theme in the Hunger Games. There are many real-life stories of oppressed people fighting for their freedom, including the Black Seminole Rebellion of the early 19th century. Just as Katniss Everdeen sought to escape the tyrannical control of the Capitol, so too did John Horse and the Black Seminoles flee from their settlements in Florida in search of freedom.
Liberty for Security: How the Capitol keeps its citizens in check.
Related Video: Liberty & Security (3:20)
"District Twelve, where you can starve to death in safety.” Katniss Everdeen. In Panem, the Capitol controls almost every aspect of the citizens’ lives. The people of the Districts aren’t allowed to trade freely, aren’t allowed to speak freely, and are forced to live within the walls of their District. When security and sustenance are exclusively provided by the government, we lose control of our lives. If we exchange all of our liberty for security, we end up with neither liberty nor security.
In the Hunger Games, the Capitol doesn’t allow citizens to make decisions for themselves; not their occupations or their homes. All children were required to take part in the Hunger Games lottery, even if they didn’t want to. In order to respect others, we must allow people to make their own decisions, even if we disagree with those decisions.
Liberty is fragile. It can be trampled very easily. The American Revolution is proof that people will fight for their liberty. But at what point will oppressed people say “enough is enough?” It was many years after the first rebellion that the people in the districts began to fight again. The books inspire an interesting question- what would it take for you to fight for your liberty?
LearnLiberty.org is a resource for learning about the ideas of a free society. We provide a starting point for conversations on important questions like "What is the nature of man and society?" and "What is the proper role of government?"