“The Hunger Games takes place after the destruction of North America, in a nation known as Panem, which consists of a wealthy Capitol and twelve surrounding, poorer districts. District 12, where the book begins, is located in the coal-rich region that was formerly Appalachia. As punishment for a previous rebellion against the Capitol in which a 13th district was destroyed, one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 from each district are selected by annual lottery to participate in the Hunger Games, a televised event in which the participants (or "tributes") must fight to the death in a dangerous outdoor arena controlled by the Capitol until only one remains. The story follows 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, a girl from District 12 who volunteers for the 74th annual Hunger Games in place of her younger sister, Primrose. Also selected from District 12 is Peeta Mellark, a baker's son whom Katniss knows from school, who once gave her bread when her family was starving” (Wikipedia 1).
There are strong literary themes throughout this work that readily lend themselves to various forms of critique. This paper will focus on two main genres of literary criticism. The first is Marxist criticism, for which there is plenty of material that reveals the novel’s explicitly anti-imperialist agenda. There is a strong oppression of the poor by the rich, and socioeconomic subjugation is responsible for the huge disparity between the “haves” and the “have nots”. The Capitol dominates its districts by controlling education and the media, keeping the districts in a state of hunger and poverty, and monitoring all aspects of life with an eagle eye.
The second form of literary criticism applied to The Hunger Games will be feminist critique. Katniss is presented as a strong, independent woman who seems to have transcended the confines of the traditional female gender role, and she is ultimately successful due to her ability to
Cited: Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic, 2008. Print. Dunn, George A., and Nicolas Michaud. The Hunger Games and Philosophy: A Critique of Pure Treason. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2012. Print. Siegel, Kristi. "Introduction to Modern Literary Theory." Homepage. Mount Mary College, 01 Jan. 2006. Web. 01 Mar. 2012. <http://www.kristisiegel.com/theory.htm>. Tyson, Lois. Critical Theory Today a User-friendly Guide. New York: Routledge, 2006. Print. Various Authors. "The Hunger Games." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 03 Jan. 2012. Web. 01 Mar. 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hunger_Games>.