The place of television is indispensable in Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games.”The rich and privileged members of the society who live in the sumptuous neighborhoods of the Capitol rely on television as the only medium through which reality and various events can be perceived.Throughout the chapters of the book, the people of the Capitol and the surrounding twelve constituent Districts vest much of their specialized interest in television. They get news, general information and entertainment from television. Between the book and reality television there are many similarities as much as there are some differences. These shows have the merit and allure to change people’s social lives and have more negative impact than positive on the society.While the people of Capitol and the residents of its twelve districts put their trust in the television and believe everything they see on it as a sacred truth, it leaves them dehumanized, insensitive to human needs and out of touch with the reality of the world around them.
It is imperative to note that television has highly minimized human interactions between the districts. This is evident in the manner in which everyone follows the proceedings of the Hunger Games on the television screens including the participants. “I have to raise my head out of the required respect and cannot avoid seeing that every screen is now dominated by a shot of Peeta and me” (Collins 134). Residents of the Capitol and the surrounding Districts mingle no more in the physical sense but televised programs bring them together in fantasy. As highlighted by Collins, this is a strategy employed by the governing authority at the Capitol to curb the once rebellious surrounding twelve Districts in their endeavor to secede from the prevailing dehumanizing imperialistic rule of the ruling class. Television therefore acts largely as a mental cloud to prevent the working class from thinking of ways to rise from the shackles of poverty, hunger, economic exploitation and other social problems that exist in the society. Television therefore provides Peeta and the political elites with a suitable platform to spread his propaganda about his good leadership over the entire Capitol and the surrounding districts.
Reality television shows are not only exciting and interesting but are also very addictive. This is because the shows mimic reality, and thus the audience feels a compulsion of knowing the outcome of the show (Murray 279). The shows keep the audiences on their toes by keeping them in suspense exploring unimaginable ideas. However, many people still question “the reality” of reality shows. In The Hunger Games, children are randomly chosen and, to the amusement of the people, are sent to engage in a fierce deadly fight. This is the same trend today; the much televised reality shows still feature games similar to the Hunger Games that entails fighting and hiding thereby prompt participants to be alert or risk being killed by other parties. This is similar to the reality television shows on television because the competitors must be alert or risk being caught unawares. Both the Hunger Games and the reality television shows are made for one similar purpose which is the entertainment of the viewers and audiences.
Television games are very different from the Hunger Games.Even though in the Hunger Games television and its flickering cameras are highly regarded throughout Panem, it bars the audience from getting the actual touch of reality of the social and physical world within which they live to a greater extent. What people are made to believe as the true reflection of reality is quite different from the truth in most cases. In her own confession, Katniss testifies that the televised Capitol is not identical to the one she visits. “If anything, they have not quite captured the magnificence of the glistening buildings in a rainbow of hues that tower into the air, the shiny cars that stroll down the wide paved streets, the oddly dressed people with bizarre hair and painted faces that have never missed a meal” (Collins 59). Moreover, television publicizes false belief among the rich that “The Hunger Game” is just but a means to preserve dominion over the poor crowd. “The real sport of the Hunger Games is watching the tributes kill one another. Every so often, they do kill a tribute just to remind the players they can” (177). In their judgment and own interpretation, the Hunger Games is nothing short of fun and entertainment in spite of the deadly grip it has on other members of the society who happen to be the participants of the game by the virtue of being forced or coerced by the ruling authorities of the Capitol.
Reality shows use curiosity to allure the audience or the public. This is because the public is always curious about what they do not know or what they think is a mystery. In this way, the reality television shows introduce new things, unimaginable ideas, and unexplored facts to attract the attention of their audiences. The entertainment value of these shows has risen at a very high rate. Many people tend to prefer violence, shock value, talents, and celebrities among many others. The audience may be aware of the manipulation but this does not affect their perception of the shows. Aggressive marketing is also another factor that has helped Reality shows have gain popularity. Reality shows can easily fool the public. What is unreal is made to look real. That is why the audience tends to believe these shows and compares them with their everyday lives. Other people watch the shows simply because their friends and family members are watching. Hunger Games therefore create an awareness of the newest trends and fashion among the viewers hence they do not feel out of place during conversations.
Reality shows are not only unpredictable but are also far-reaching and multiprolonged. Some reality shows are based on false and fake realities which have a negative effect on the audience and society at large. These reality shows do not take into consideration the mind set and the consequences to the audience. Their main goal and objective is to make profits. This simply means that reality shows only entertain but do not have any other benefits to the society. This does not mean that all reality shows have no benefits. There are a few reality shows that are beneficial to the society. Presenting peoples real life struggles as an entertainment has positive and negative aspect. The reality shows help people to forget their life struggle by laughing at the problems. However, this does not solve the problems. It is only a momentary solution to the problems. This simply means that the reality shows dehumanize people in some ways. Critics have classified realty shows as a weapon of mass destruction.
In few words, the moral teaching of The Hunger Games is to understand the core value of morality. And while the people of the districts put their trust in the television and believe whatever is presented on the screen, it leaves them dehumanized, insensitive to human needs and out of touch with the reality of the world around them. Therefore, Collins shows agreement that television, if not used responsibly, has a detrimental effect on the society. It makes people lose touch with reality in the world around them, turn a blind eye to the prevailing human problems and worse still drive people to live in the world of fantasy. It is evident that reality television shows control every aspect of human lives in the Capitol and the surrounding districts since all the information, summaries, episodes, games, and discussions are aired through them. However, these shows can have a negative impact on the society which leads us to be more violent and increases the aggressive behavior in us and activates it. Also, it makes us accept violence as a legitimate way to solve problems. Therefore, the acceptability of violence will undermine the social spirit for children and adults alike.