October 1 from 6 pm to 9 pm
“Being Forced to Play and Ending the Game: Disengagement, Dissent, Revolt, Rebellion, and Revolution in The Hunger Games.”
Lecture will be followed by a showing of The Hunger Games.
Through the eyes, voice, and internal monologues of Katniss Everdeen, Suzanne Collins presents a series of descriptions of political experiences in the totalitarian state of Panem, which forces teenagers to play to the death in the annual “Hunger Games.” Katniss’s experiences reveal the various forms of opposition that are possible against institutions she cannot control. Katniss choses different modes of opposition based on the manner in which she is affected by the Capitol – that is, in response to the ways in which she is forced to participate in a political life that is not her own, and always through her refusal to play the game that is imposed upon her.
Katniss first approaches politics from the perspective of disengagement: even when she is forcibly mobilized, that is, forced to play in the Hunger Games, she does not oppose the regime. Instead, she attempts to remain true to herself. Her engagement thus remains personal and ethical, turned toward her family and friends. Following her victory and survival, she enters a depressive state and only emerges from her attitude of withdrawal once she realizes that she no longer controls her own image. She takes on an attitude of dissent, refusing to play her assigned part in the Capitol’s game in order to assert the truth about herself. Her forceful drafting into an organized rebellion then leads her to revolt against her new and old captors – the rebels and the Capitol – in order to create a minimal space of freedom for herself and her own desires and values. She settles on rebellion against the Hunger Games themselves, refusing the game itself, and finally, she joins a revolution, if only briefly, to oppose those – all those – whose power is tied to the Games.
Please note that this presentation will contain a good number of “spoilers” for those who haven’t read the full series.