Hope and revolution in a critical dystopia: The Hunger Games
Alkan, Ceren (2015) Hope and revolution in a critical dystopia: The Hunger Games. [Thesis]
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, is a narrative embodying significantly dystopian elements such as an oppressive ruling regime, advanced technologies of surveillance, and constant threat on human life, which then transforms into a revolution narrative. This thesis presents an analysis of The Hunger Games in terms of notions of hope and revolution, in comparison to classical examples of dystopian literature such as Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four. First I look at the discussions on genre limits within utopian literature as well as criticisms brought to utopian thinking in general. Acknowledging hope as an ambivalent concept, I approach The Hunger Games beyond the framework of currently introduced sub-genres of critical utopia and critical dystopia. Using the means provided by the concepts of "cruel optimism" and "militant pessimism", I take hope as two different categories and emphasize hope‘s potential for operating in favor of the existing system as well as being a revolution trigger. Using critical discourse analysis, I examine The Hunger Games and the revolutionary interest it embodies in relation to the transition of individual hope to collective hope, through acts of solidarity. Finally, based on the critical approach that the trilogy presents for revolution, in terms of devotion to a leader and use of violence, I examine how power may take over utopian dreams.
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