On the Hunger Games trilogy

District 13 and the Capitol: Two Sides of the Same “Coin”

By V. Arrow

On one important way, the Capitol and District 13 are diametrically opposed. There is no place more visible in Panem than the Capitol: literally visible, in the fences and white-helmeted Peacekeepers in the districts, and ideologically visible in the districts’ isolation, propagandist education, and strict socioeconomic caste system. And there is perhaps no place less visible than District 13: until the end of Catching Fire, neither we nor most of Panem even know it exists; it is, literally and figuratively, underground.

In another way, however, the two can be seen as two sides of the same coin. They may be on opposite sides of the Second Rebellion but, as Katniss realizes during the course of Mockingjay, they are not so different when it comes to political goals.

The Capitol and District 13, and their leaders, have both strong similarities and obvious differences. And by comparing one with the other, we come to understand each of them better.

History and Philosophy

The details we receive about the history of Panem are limited. We know that, seventy-five years ago, there was something called the First Rebellion, in which the districts, led by District 13, attempted to overthrow the Capitol and were defeated and punished by the inception of the Games—tesserae system . . . except for District 13, with whom the Capitol struck a secret accord, agreeing to let them live in secrecy as long as they did not disrupt the Capitol’s rule of the twelve remaining districts.

The word “rebellion” suggests that the First Rebellion was  …

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