Write an analysis of the parallels between the tributes in the arena and the Gladiators in old Rome. How can we apply the notion of “panem et circenses” to The Hunger Games. OR Discuss the similarities and differences between The Hunger Games and the Theseus-Minotaur story.
There are many parallels that can be found between the idea of the Hunger Games and the Gladiators of Ancient Rome. First of all, there were two types of Gladiators, which parallel the Tributes for the Hunger Games. Many gladiators were slaves, forced into the arena for a chance to win their freedom or to pay a debt. This mirrors the situation in many of the districts, where tributes were selected during the reaping, but if they managed to survive it would mean a drastically better life for them and their family in regards to having enough to eat and a comfortable living environment. However, even after winning the games, tributes were still slaves to the Capitol and forced to remain public figures in order to keep their comfortable life. There were also professional Gladiators that worked for fame or money in the Arena. They trained before entering the arena and were often much better prepared than their opponents. The Professional Gladiators show a clear parallel to the idea of the Careers in the Hunger Games. These people would train for their entire life to take part in the Games and to earn fame and fortune in their own district.
The notion of Panem et Circenses translates to Bread and Circuses and that is extremely relevant to the idea of the Hunger Games. For one, the nation in which the Hunger Games exist is known as Panem and the people of the different districts can get extra grain to help their family survive in turn for extra entries into the reaping. This relates to the idea of the Gladiatorial battles because the citizens would receive food and gifts during the larger Arena Games as well. Furthermore, both the Hunger Games and the Gladiatorial battles were treated like large parties for the rich and famous. People would eat to excess, joke, laugh, and treat it as entertainment. Gambling was a big factor in the Gladiator Battles and the Hunger Games as well, people would bet on who would survive. Furthermore, both the Gladiators and the Hunger Games had a “Game Maker” who dictated the manner of the fights and the rules of the game. Even the author acknowledges that she used the idea of the Gladiatorial Battles to help shape her conception of the Games.
May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor
Prompt: Why did you choose this class? What are you hoping to accomplish in the course? What is your favorite character of The Hunger Games and why?
I first read The Hunger Games on a hot summer afternoon. I had the day off from work, and I just wanted to escape reality for a while. When I started to read, I was quite impressed by the authors ability to draw the reader in to a world that is very different than the one most of us grew up in. I chose to take the class on this series for a couple of reasons. When I started reading, I was gripped by the different issues that Katniss had to navigate just to exist in her society, let alone the troubles she faced after volunteering to take her sister’s place as tribute. I am intrigued by the different aspects of their society, how each district works, and how the society was able to exist in that manner for as long as it did. Further, the complex interplay between Peeta and Katniss is interesting, especially when they are put in situations that they have no control over and forced to excel.
Through this course, I am hoping to gain a greater understanding of this series, the people, and the society as a whole. While I personally study political science, so many of those aspects already make sense to me, the decisions of a lot of the characters confused me. The book often portrays different districts based on a very general stereotype of the people and what they produce, but I’d like to take a deeper look at the make-up of the different districts and why they lived under this system long enough for there to be 75 Hunger Games by the second book. Further, I want to understand more about different characters and what motivated their decisions throughout the books.
My favorite character in the Hunger Games is probably Katniss. While that is probably the answer that a lot of people would give, she is a very interesting character to me. Her inability to comprehend how to thrive in her own society, and her unwillingness to change who she is to please anyone else makes her a very strong character. However, her confusion and fear about how to deal with President Snow’s threats and the political and social aspects of the game makes it a lot easier to relate to her than when she is being portrayed at Katniss the Mockingjay. Some of my favorite moments with Katniss are when she is angry about the different rules that are being imposed on her. She hates being forced to play dress up, to play nice with the judges, and more. At first, she has no real understanding of how often Peeta saved her by making her seem softer and more lovable to the people. I like that it can be hard to predict how she will complete a new challenge, but she is consistent in her hatred of the authority figures in the book and her hatred of the society that forced her, Peeta, her family, and so many others to suffer. Even so, her love for her family often kept her in line, and she was less than thrilled when District 13 tried to force her to be the face of the revolution for that reason. She is very easy to relate too, because the author does a good job of putting the reader into her head when she is faced with a difficult decision.
I am really looking forward to this class and all that it has to offer.