The Hunger Games Trilogy: An Allegory Hidden Behind Worlds

Victoria Juarez, Editorial Editor

Since the start of quarantine, I’ve been getting back into old hobbies. One of those hobbies was reading. A long time ago, I remember being obsessed with The Hunger Games trilogy and decided to review it since I owned all three copies. Needless to say, there is a reason my younger self was so entranced with these books. 

Written by Suzanne Collins,The Hunger Games was published in 2008 and had pretty good reviews upon release. The books take place in a dystopian society where the government is corrupt. The citizens’ purpose for existing is to create for the wealthy people who live in the Capitol. 

In the Hunger Games Trilogy, North America falls and from their ashes, Panem rises, creating 13 districts. During the “Dark Days” District 13 led an uprising that failed and the government destroyed them. 

Every year from then on, they would choose a male and female tribute ranging between the ages of 12-18 from the remaining 12 districts. The 24 tributes would be placed in an arena that would be customized every year to fight to the death. The victor would be crowned and walk away famous and rich. This brutal tradition was meant to be a reminder to the rebels of the Dark Days. 

The books follow Katniss Everdeen, a girl from District 12, who volunteers herself for her little sister, Primrose. Since Prim was “afraid of her own shadow” and Katniss knew how to hunt, she felt that she stood a better chance. 

The Hunger Games has a lot of violence since the whole premise is that of death, so for those who like the action, this is a great series for you. There is also a lot of romance in this series since Katniss’s tribute, Peeta Mallark, professes his love for her. 

However, when viewing this series, don’t just look at the violence or the romance. The whole series is an allegory for the mannerisms of the current US government.

District 12 is the poorest district and is made clear by the other that it was built on the Appalachian region which is home to many Indigenous people. This subtle commentary makes clear how native people are often the ones who die of starvation every day. 

District 11 is an agricultural district and is pretty poor as well. Collins makes it clear that the people in this district are black and are mistreated by the Peacekeepers, this society’s version of police. 

The books also tackle the challenges of writing a revolution. They have their government’s own creations backfire and in turn have the main character’s use such creations against them like the mockingjays or the berries in the first book. 

Something that many people criticized Collins for was that in the last book she had Katniss go through so much in the Revolution, just so that she ends up hurt and the rebels finish the revolution for her. While I understand the criticism, I don’t think it is very valid. It does make for a harder read, but if one person created and finished a revolution, it wouldn’t be realistic.  It is extremely hard to write a revolution correctly and no matter what you do you’re going to make someone unhappy.

What Suzanne Collins did do successfully though, is stray away from the chosen one trope. Throughout the series, Katniss was never chosen. Her name was not even the one drawn to go to the games, her sister’s was. She was also not chosen to be the face of the revolution, she became the face of the revolution through a series of unfortunate events. 

By having Katniss finish the Revolution, Collins would have done a disservice to the very nature of what revolutions are. Most times a person can be the face of a movement and not live to see the end of the movement. 

It is fun to read dystopian novels such as these ones, because they often take place in a different time or world, but every world is based on your own and often has an allegory hidden in it.