On the Hunger Games trilogy

The Inevitable Decline of Decadence

By Adrienne Kress

The goal of every culture is to decay through over-civilization; the
factors of decadence—luxury, skepticism, weariness and superstition—are constant. The civilization of one epoch becomes the manure of the
next.

—Cyril Connolly

The Hunger Games trilogy deals with many themes: war, rebellion, the manipulation of media. But it was its concern with societal decadence and its inevitable downfall that made the first book’s release timely. The bestselling YA dystopian series came onto shelves just as the world’s economy took a tumble. For years we’d been living in comfort and excess. Consumerism was rife, and shows like Sex and the City glorified consumption by extolling the virtues of shoes worth hundreds of dollars. Then, suddenly, the party was over, and the world became concerned with trying to save money rather than spend it. Today the idea of wasteful consumption turns our stomachs.

It isn’t as if this is the first time our society has gone from a period of great decadence to a time of recession; the pattern seems to be predictable. Yet despite the fact that rampant self-indulgence never lasts, those in the moment still somehow manage to think it can. Why is it that those in power truly believe that this time, this time, decadence will win out? Probably because decadence can be so much darn fun. The problem is, in order for these few people to continue to live this kind of lifestyle, many others must sacrifice a great deal  …

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