The Color Purple, the Hunger Games, a Gathering Light , Slumdog Millionaire Essay

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Oxford Online dictionary defines discrimination as the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex. Discrimination is used broadly in literature to develop social hierarchies as well as highlight the internal struggles faced by characters. It can also be portrayed as a tool; a means by which power is gained. This theme is prevalent in A Gathering Light by Jennifer Donnelly, The Color Purple by Alice Walker, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Slumdog Millionaire directed by Danny Boyle. These texts represent different time periods and develop understanding of a variety of cultural perspectives. However, there are recurring similarities between the ways in which vastly different literary characters and social groups discriminate against each other and the way in which this impacts both them and their society within the text. By comparing and contrasting the ways in which discrimination is explored as a theme in these texts we can gain a deeper understanding of the widespread effects it has on individuals and a society whilst being challenged to consider how deep the roots of discrimination run in our own society and the effect this is continuing to have on the world we live in. However, all texts reveal the idea of discrimination and the effect it has on people and society as a whole in remarkably similar ways. The Color Purple reveals most strongly the impact that discrimination between characters can have on an individual. This text is based on a society where discrimination against blacks, women and poor people is normal. Black women such as Celie and Sofia are therefore doubly oppressed through racism and ill treatment from their husbands/fathers. Readers from a society in which family values are held in high esteem are shocked by the extent of discrimination against friends and family members. Harpo reveals through his actions how men are expected to abuse women in order to gain control and show power. We are introduced to the idea of imitating discriminative behaviour from older generations as Harpo has learnt from his father (Mr____) that abusing and raping his wife is normal and okay. This kind of behaviour is not restricted to just Celie’s family but most men in the African American community have the same views. Another character in The Color Purple, Shug, emphasises how discrimination can be deeply rooted in an entire society to the point where strangers will blatantly judge one another based on things which individuals have no control over. She tells Celie “you sure is Ugly” and because of her lack of beauty looks down on Celie even though she does not know her. In both The Color Purple and The Hunger Games there is evidence of discrimination between characters and the impact that active discrimination in the form of opression has on their lives. In The Hunger Games discrimination is portrayed as a natural way of life. President Snow oppresses the people in the districts in order to gain power and authority over Panem. Discrimination is shown in The Hunger Games often, as the story is largely based on inequality and prejudice. A prime example is the way the people of the Capitol treat the people of the Districts, particularly people from the lowest Districts on the food chain,10,11,12. At the tribute parade Katniss and Peeta join hands and hold their arms in the air. Caesar Flickerman comments “See I love that! Two young people, holding their arms up together to say we are proud to come from District 12, we will not be overlooked, I love that!" In doing so he implies that tributes from 'outline' Districts are often overlooked, and almost never have a victor, thus discriminating Katniss and Peeta because they are from district 12. Katniss did what most people won’t, and stood up for herself and the people she cares about. In an oppressive society Celie and Katniss are both undermined and treated with contempt and disrespect. This is seen...
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