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On the Hunger Games trilogy
Your Heart Is a Weapon the Size of Your Fist
Love as a Political Act in the Hunger Games
There’s a piece of graffiti on a wall in Palestine. Over the years since it was painted, it’s been photographed by scores of travelers and journalists. It reads:
Your heart is a weapon the size of your fist. Keep fighting. Keep loving.
More than bombs, fire, guns or arrows, love is the most powerful weapon in the Hunger Games. It stirs and feeds the rebellion. It saves the doomed. It destroys the bereaved. And it gives even the most devastated survivors a reason to go on.
“Love” is not synonymous with “passion”. Hatred is also a passionate emotion. When I say “love” here, I mean compassion, loyalty, empathy, and the bonds of friendship, family, and romance. All these things are present in Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games series. So too are greed, selfishness, hatred, and fear. That the protagonists are able to put stock in love, even while given so many reasons to hate, is what gives the Hunger Games a note of hope despite the suffering of the characters.
The Hunger Games is part of a genre of post-apocalyptic political fiction, the best known example of which is George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Suzanne Collins has said that Nineteen Eighty-Four is a book she reads over and over again, and the Hunger Games shows a great debt to Orwell’s novel and to subsequent variations on it such as the graphic novel V for Vendetta.
Both the Hunger Games and Nineteen Eighty-Four pit the power of hate versus the power of love. In Nineteen Eighty Four, it’s hate that ultimately triumphs, but the Hunger Games— which is American, …
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