Study Guide

The Hunger Games The Media

The Media

More than anything else, The Hunger Games is about the media: what it shows us, what it hides from us and how it can be used to make the most horrible things seem commonplace. In that sense, it isn't much different from our own media diet.

For instance, take the way the media in the movie creates instant celebrities: plucking them up out of nowhere and letting the world love them before tossing them into the kill zone. Granted, the penalty for getting kicked off Celebrity Housewives isn't quite that bad, but our media culture has the same way of building someone up only to brutally tear them down or totally forget about them. The Hunger Games adds just a few extreme touches to remind us how savage the whole thing can really be.

Then there's the way the media distorts what we see: showing us a piece of the puzzle and hiding the rest behind a lot of smoke and mirrors. Perfect example? Peeta's declaration of love for Katniss. It's a great hook, as Haymitch puts it:

HAYMITCH: Now, I can sell the star-crossed lovers from District 12...

KATNISS: We are not star-crossed lovers.

HAYMITCH: It's a television show! And being in love with that boy might just get you sponsors, which could save your damn life.

But that's not the whole story. Katniss doesn't really love Peeta. She's got this guy at home who may or may not be her true love, but he's got these political ideas and… it's complicated. But that's not going to help Haymitch score some medicine for Katniss in the arena. So they sell the fantasies, and the media gobbles it up to broadcast to the Capitol as the story du jour. They're turned into Brangelina or TomKat or Bennifer for the duration of the broadcast.

Manufactured love; isn't it appalling? Now excuse us while we catch up on those episodes we missed of The Bachelor.

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