The Use of Symbols in the Hunger Games

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Written by Suzanne Collins, the Hunger Game is an adult dystopian novel with various symbols. The aim of this paper is to discuss three important symbols in the narrative and explore their role in the setting. To start with, Panem is an important word in the novel that symbolizes the dystopian United States.

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Recalled as Panem et circenses in ancient Rome and used to refer to circuses and bread in Latin, Panem is referenced to gladiatorial games of Ancient Rome. In reference to Roman Ceaser, the Panem phrase is used as a strategy to lure the public minds using a forceful discontent. Roman Caesar provided entertainment and plenty of food to the public as a strategy of quelling discontentment. The novel combines reality television and gladiatorial Games to create the narrative behind the Hunger Games.

There is a link between the Panem and the U.S culture as the author decides to retain the U.S cultural heritage such as Appalachia mining industry within the present-day U.S Panem setup. However, the metaphor behind the District 12 becomes complicated due to the influence of Ancient Roman on Panem. Connections between the modern U.S and Ancient Rome exist as a result of Panem, suggesting that the modern United States is derived from its own systematic Panem et circenses strategy. To remind the districts of their powerlessness, the games were created as a defeat mechanism for the Capitol. In addition, people from Panem are discontent to the fact that the districts are underfed. Panem has failed to emulate Panem et circenses strategy given that most peoples have decided to be rebellion. For instance, due to less availability of food, Katniss decided to engage in illegal hunting as the District 12 is directly involved in the large black market (Collins 3).

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