On the Hunger Games trilogy
Community in the Face of Tyranny
How a Boy with a Loaf of Bread and a Girl with a Bow Toppled an Entire Nation
By Bree Despain
Being a tyrant is easy, really. All you have to do is take away people’s freedom. Many people in today’s society take certain liberties for granted: freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, free commerce, free press, and more simple freedoms such as travel and easy communication–all things that make a community strong and viable. But what if in one swift movement all of these liberties were taken away? That’s what the Capitol did to the districts of Panem. After the first unsuccessful rebellion of the districts against the Capitol seventy-five years ago, the Capitol retaliated by taking every measure it could to destroy the feeling of community within the districts and between the districts, controlling and isolating people in order to keep them from rebelling again.
The most literal meaning of community is “to give among each other.” Essentially, to share something amongst a group–whether that’s information (communication), goods, common goals, or a sense of family. If you destroy the ability, or simply the desire, to give or to share amongst a group of people, you will destroy the heart of the community. And if you destroy the heart of community and replace it with fear, then you will control the people.
The Capitol does this first by keeping many of the people in the districts on the brink of starvation. It controlled the food sources, outlawing hunting and forcing parents to sign over their children’s potential futures (and any sense of security or innocence that should come from being a child) …