Cultural Analysis of The Hunger Games

Topics: Ancient Rome, Gladiator, Rome Pages: 5 (999 words) Published: December 3, 2014
Christen Giordano
English 101-068
Matt Stark
October 16, 2013
The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games, written by Suzanne Collins, is set in a dystopian country called Panem. This country is split up into twelve districts, and the districts are lead by the Capitol. Annually, the Capitol forces children of the districts to fight in the Hunger Games until only one child is left alive. The Capitol uses the games to show their power and to discourage the people of Panem to start another war. The games are very entertaining to the people of the Capitol, and the whole country is required to watch on television. Even though this seems unusual to enjoy watching children fight to their death, this idea has been around for thousands of years. Gladiatorial games were held in Rome in the late fist century BC where men would fight until their death. This was a form of entertainment in ancient Rome, and almost everyone came to watch. Even though this kind of violence is seen as unacceptable, this violence was seen as entertainment in both the novel and in ancient Rome. The way Collins shows the arena and the contestants in The Hunger Games shows how Ancient Rome shapes the reading of this novel.

In both ancient times and The Hunger Games, the games were watched and enjoyed by so many people that a big arena was necessary. In Rome, the arena was big enough to allow thousands of citizens to view the murderous games. The arena in Rome was the Coliseum. It covered about six acres and held anywhere from fifty to eighty thousand people. (Augustus) The games were free to watch, and citizens from all social class came to watch. The games here were glorified and were considered a sporting event. In Panem, the arena was built new each year by the Game Makers and had cameras everywhere to show the citizens tuning in back home every detail. The citizens would watch for free, but the citizens on the districts didn’t glorify the games, they would watch in horror as their loved ones were killed. (Collins) These similarities shape how Collins wrote about the arena and how the games were watched.

The leaders in both of these cultures very much enjoyed these games. The emperors and the rich homeowners of Rome would choose their best slave to become a gladiator and fight in the arena. The masters of these slaves would train the gladiators to become better fighters, thus better representing the strength of their household. (Augustus) In the Capitol, if someone liked a contestant better than another, they would buy gifts to send in aid of the contestant. These people were called sponsors. The people of the Capitol would also place bets on the contestant they wanted to win. (Collins) Ancient Rome’s gladiatorial games shape how Collins wrote about the contestants and the role they played in the arena throughout her novel.

In both cultures, the games were lead by the leaders or those who were high in power. In ancient Rome, they were lead by the emperor and in The Hunger Games they were lead by the Capitol and President Snow. The fighters in ancient Rome were purchased slaves and conquered people. ( These people were forced against their will to fight in these games. Much like the gladiators, the contestants in The Hunger Games were forced to fight against their will. The fighters in the Hunger Games were two children from every district, and were chosen at random through something like a lottery. This was called a “reaping”. (Collins) Both of these cultures overlook the fact that the people fighting are humans and cheer the contestants on as they kill each other. The way Collins chose to have the contestants chosen in her novel shows the influence of the knowledge of Ancient Rome had on The Hunger Games.

In both cultures, there were mixed emotions amongst the contestants and gladiators. In some districts, the children were trained their whole lives to fight in the Hunger Games and win. These people were called Career Tributes and would...

Cited: Augustus, the time of, the Samnites were allies of Rome, and the name disappeared. "The Roman Gladiator." Sir Thomas Browne. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2013. .
Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic Press, 2008. Print.
"Gladiators, Chariots, and the Roman Games []." N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2013. .
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