Suzanne Collins wrote the dystopian trilogy The Hunger Games. The Giver, on the other hand, is an American young adult dystopian novel written by Lois Lowry. Both books begin each day in a dystopian environment. The setting is a genre that seems to be complicated. They prefer to share such traits, such as backgrounds and realistic storylines, in dystopian novels. The Hunger Games, written by Suzanne Collins, is about a teenager named Katniss Everdeen who finds herself volunteering to fight in the annual Hunger Games (Collins, 1). The Giver, on the other hand, is about a boy Jonas who finds a seemingly perfect world characterized by the lack of differences, emotions, war, and color until Jonas obtains an assignment on reception of the memories from the past that results in pain. “As Jonas comes to realize this orderly, disciplined life is also a life without color, pain, or past.” On comparison of The Hunger Games by Collins and The Giver by Lowry, it becomes evident that the setting is the key idea of dystopian. The setting plays a crucial role in the creation of an image that clarifies the story on the occurrences. The setting is an environment whereby everything takes place, and it plays an important role in setting limits for both the character and the plot. On comparison of The Hunger Games and The Giver, it becomes evident that they have a different setting that assists in the figures in building the plot.
In The Hunger Games, the main character Katniss Everdeen resides in Panem. Panem is divided into a dozen districts and every year; each district is forced to select two tributes. The tributes are usually a girl, and a boy expected to fight in the annual Hunger Games held in the arena. The games are meant to indicate the control that the Capitols have over the people. “..the Games are used to control and intimidate otherwise innocent people.” (Scholes and Ostenson, 1)The screening of The Hunger Games ensures that every member of the community is capable of seeing the various tributes fight against each other for the amusement of the capitals. The quotation provides information on the occurrences on the day of the reaping and the District 12 throughout the games besides informing of the implications of The Hunger Games. The author highlights the Capitol’s exploitation of the people through illustrating the fact that they take the children from the various districts and force them to kill each other while others watch. The Capitols, therefore, seem to have total control of the people.
The intentions of the Capitols is always clear irrespective of the words that they use in their attempt towards enticing the people into engaging in some of their exploitative activities. Collins documents in her book how the people complain of their children being taken and their sacrifice with the people having little to do about the exploitations of the Capitols. “Look how we take your children and sacrifice them and there’s nothing you can do. If you lift a finger, we will destroy every last one of you. Just as we did in District Thirteen.”(Collins, 76)Furthermore, she goes further to highlight the fact that any complaints from the people would warrant the complete destruction of the individuals for going against the authority. The Hunger Games is a dystopian book since the author plays a crucial role in splitting up the city into various districts unequally, poorer and richer. The system of the community is the work of the capitals with the areas forming the residence of the people of Panem. The division of the country into the various districts arose from the need for governing the people quickly.
The Capitals have transport drain that facilitates movement across the different communities. The purpose of every district is thus to ensure the production of a particular right assigned to it. For instance, the District 12 focuses on the manufacture of coal. The author narrates that sixty seconds is the duration that the people are expected to stand in their metal circles before their release by the gong. Stepping off before the minute warrants punishment by being blown by the landmines.
The mouth of the cornucopia serves as the source of food for the people in the arena. The cornucopia is also crucial in the provision of various items in the field that include the weapons, medicine, fire starters, and the garments. Food, containers of water, weapons, medicine, garments, fire starters.”(Collins, 148). Katniss is forced to engage in the fight with the other tributes hailing from the various districts. The author provides an explanation of the nature of The Hunger Games. The description of the setting plays a crucial role in the creation of the environment of the arena besides creating a mental picture on the readers on the placement of the materials intended for use by the characters. The author of The Hunger Games fulfills the criteria of the typical dystopian novel as evident from the fights between the children and the split of Pamen into independent districts to facilitate their administration by the Capitals.
On the other hand, The Giver forces in the perfect world that serves as the home to Jonas. The world is coupled with everyone being watched; there is peace, no pain, no colors, and the lack of both the emotions and isolation. The individuals lack the freedom of standing up to themselves (Jones, 1). Every member of the community is assigned a particular role in the community. The graduation of Jonas from the 12th group results in his assignment of an individual training from The Giver whereby he has memories from the past that include the color, emotions, and war. The hard training that Jonas undergoes induces significant amounts of pain. The imposed rule demands that every family contribute two children one female and the other male. The government requires that the family does not exceed two children. “Two children — one male, one female — to each family unit. It was written very clearly in the rules. Lily giggled. “Well, “She said, “ I thought maybe just this once.” (Lowry, 8)
The author reports of the reflection of the household rule by Jonas mother. The newborn, Gabriel is forcefully taken to a land beyond Jonas world despite their wish for the new brother. The Giver highlights the fact that Jonas has to receive all the memories in the past world’s setting. The setting is crucial in the novel as it facilitates the capability of the readers to picture Jonas world. The description of the various setting aims at presenting a comparison of the past and present with the author showing documentation of the details of the setting to ensure the provision of the clear picture of dystopian to the readers. The author of The Giver successfully fulfills the criteria of a typical dystopian novel as evident in the colors, emotions and by the taking away of the differences.
The books The Giver and Hunger Games tend to exhibit similarities due to the occurrence of events in the futuristic dystopian societies. The Giver entails Jonas as the protagonist who obtains a lifetime assignment at the Ceremony of the twelve. Jonas thus becomes the receiver of memory a position limited to select members of the society. The memories play a crucial role in enabling Jonas to discover some of the truths regarding the society whereby he lives. Similarly, the protagonist in The Hunger Games is forced to represent her district in the war pitting her against youths from other districts within the country. Both Jonas and Katniss hail from highly disciplined societies that exhibit dependence on the effective means of ensuring enforcement of the rules by acts of punishment. The evident conflict between the powers of the individuals and the power structures of the community show that radical but positive social change is achievable through courageous acts of resistance by the people (Latham, 136).
Beneath the surface of orderliness and similarities in both communities lies an extensive network of social discipline. In The Giver, there is the spatial distribution of the citizens in accordance with their stages of life. For instance, the newborns live together at the Nurturing Center; on the other hand, the adults and children stay together in families with the oldest adults staying together in the House of the Old.
Furthermore, the power structures play a crucial role in controlling the people’s activities for ensuring encouragement of those individuals that are useful towards the society and those considered counterproductive. The author highlights the fact that there exist strong regulations of the children’s lives through their definition by their jobs and participation in the community thus resulting in the availability of minimal time for the children to either relax or play. Jonas’ society further portrays another form of discipline that entails regulation of their sexual desires. The daily medications provided to the people are crucial in suppressing of the sexual stirrings in both the adults and the adolescents. The accomplishment of procreation is limited to the birthmothers impregnated through artificial inseminations and never provided the chance of seeing their children.
The society presented by Lowry’s novel indicates that training of the community members is divided into highly structured stages based on age. For instance, the children of the age three receive training on the language skills. At the age of nine, the children receive bicycles while at age twelve the children receive training on their assigned roles in life (Lowry, 51). Furthermore, as the routine is visible, every day, each adult whose children have been chosen from them cycle to jobs assigned to them prior to returning to their homes to eat the prepared meals delivered at the particular time.
On the other hand, Collins focuses on showing dystopia by focusing her narrations on Katniss who is a seemingly intelligent girl living in one of the poor districts of Panem. The regions are expected to comply with the rule requiring that every district contribute a boy and a girl to participate in the death matches. The last tribute alive becomes the winner of the events. Furthermore, the function receives nationwide attention with punishments met for the previously attempted rebellion by the people. The rulers impose the penalty on the people to serve as a reminder that they are under the control of the government. The common themes of dystopia evident from The Hunger Games include surveillance by the government, poor living standards, totalitarian regimes, brainwashing, and concealing of information. “Throughout the series, Katniss does not understand the situations she fnds herself in and cannot anticipate the results of her actions.” (Godbey, 19). The illustration indicates the extent to which the rulers put the people in disarray due to their protection from some of the vital information.
The novel entails separation of class highlighted with the division of the country into twelve different districts. The residents of the Capitol tend to exhibit apathy to the conditions of the rest of the inhabitants of Panem as evident in their seemingly extravagant lifestyles, ignorance of the outside world and observing the death matches as small sources of entertainment at the expense of the lives of needy individuals. The districts having large populations are compelled to provide special labor for the residents of Capitol at risk of brutal punishments. The people are compelled to struggle for the minimal resources to live while the parents and family members are forcefully made to watch their children and siblings murdered every year as a reminder of their powerless nature.
Furthermore, the approach adopted by the Capitol in punishing its traitors ensures their reminder of the amount of power that it has over them. Additionally, the separation and isolation of the people based on their districts play a crucial role in ensuring limitation of their communication capabilities and uniting as well. The element of control that the Capitol has over the lives of the people residing in Panem plays a crucial role in highlighting dystopia evident in the novel
In conclusion, both The Hunger Games and The Giver portray the various characteristics of dystopia. The different features of dystopia that include powerlessness are evident whereby the people have no control over their lives with rebels receiving heavy punishments. The people are manipulated into believing what their rulers want them to know while withholding the crucial information. The manipulation is thus a characteristic of dystopian literature that is evident from the novel. (Scholes and Ostenson, 1)The dystopian setting in both novels plays an important role in allowing the authors write on the future of the world. The two novels thus clearly depict dystopia in the various presentations of occurrences in the worlds of the protagonists.
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Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games trilogy. Scholastic Australia, 2012.
Godbey, Margaret J. “Beyond sensation: The hunger games and dystopian critique.” The ALAN (2014).
Jones, P. Mind Games: Mind Control in YA literature. Retrieved from: https://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/ALAN/v39n2/jones.html Accessed [21 Apr. 17]
Latham, Don. “Discipline and its discontents: A Foucauldian reading of The Giver.” Children’s Literature 32.1 (2004): 134-151.
Lowry, Lois. The Giver. Vol. 1. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1993.
Scholes, J, and Ostenson, J. Understanding the Appeal of Dystopian Young Adult Fiction. Retrieved from: https://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/ALAN/v40n2/scholes.html Accessed [21 Apr. 17]