Sunday, March 8, 2015

Totalitarian Regimes in Our World and Panem

In a totalitarian government, the power is all in the government and they control everything in the state where the government is. They control everything from the media to the way of living. Through out history, we have seen many totalitarian regimes and even in today's world we see some. In the Hunger Games trilogy, it is definitely present.

In "The Hunger Games Companion", Lois Gresh discusses economic states and how it relates to the Hunger Games and other dystopian novels. In our world today "the top 1 percent of all households controls 43 percent of the wealth and the next 19 percent owns 50 percent (Gresh, 11). How is this related to totalitarian governments? Well, if there is a huge wealth gap then the top of the money ladder have all the power. As many people say, money means power. The Capitol has all the power in the Hunger Games. They have luxury items that the other districts can only dream of owning. The districts make the items and yet they do not get to keep them. In fact, if they try to take some of their hard worked items, they are severely punished. This is how the Capitol keeps all the power in the Capitol, by controlling the wealth and making sure that they get everything. This is also shown by the actual Hunger Games. Every district gives two tributes except for the Capitol. In "Of Bread, Blood and The Hunger Games," the essay "Absolute Power Games" by Anthony Pavlik describes how this works. "Pitting district against district in a death match also reflects the way each district is dislocated from others, through a political strategy of divide and conquer the maintains the Capitol's elite position" (Pharr and Clark, 31). President Snow controls how the districts communicate. The strategy is that they do not and no one is allowed to travel to other districts either. So, when the rebellions start in "Catching Fire" Katniss stumbles upon it in the Mayor's office and hears about it from Bonnie and Twill. The first time Katniss really sees the other districts though is during the Victory Tour where she realizes that all the Districts are as oppressed as her's is.

Gresh describes several aspects of a totalitarian government which are "government control over citizens, harassment of citizens, erosion of civil liberties, penalties for invoking freedom of speech [...] repressive regimes face rebellions" (Gresh, 25). We see examples of these through out our history in many of the totalitarian governments we've had. For example, we have Stalin, the dictator of Russia for many years. Stalin ran a Communist government system. Anyone who did not follow his ways, was shipped off to Siberia, never to return again. Under his rule, many people starved to death and he was the one who starved them. Gresh goes on to say how he "tortured people, imprisoned them, exiled them, starved them" and goes to show us that Stalin was quite a brutal dictator (Gresh, 23). In the Hunger Games, we have President Snow who is the main dictator in the series. His policies are strict and it keeps the districts in order. Rue even mentions in the "Hunger Games" that they are not allowed to eat the crops is District 11. If they do "they whip you and make everyone else watch" (Collins, 202). This is an example of how totalitarian governments will show their power. They will show punishment in front of everyone in order to shame the "criminal" and to show that the government will show no mercy.


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