‘The Hunger Games’
After the rebellion, the society underwent a rapid and significant stratification in terms of social caste and economic status. The District and Capitol are divided significantly along socioeconomic classes, which are utilized by the social elite as a means of sustaining the status quo. The North Korean society can be likened to The Hunger Games in that there are significant divisions that have taken place along racial and social economic status around the country. The working and poor classes are only availed with the option of working for the wealthy and elite who have dominated the political field. The interests of the rich elite are protected by the political class, which is also driven by the need to make profits.
The inequalities and divisions currently being experienced in North Korean socioeconomic classes are also illustrated within the text. The clamor by political and human rights groups to improve equality and equity in North Korea in terms of access to equal opportunities and social services around the country has arisen from the poor state of society in conferring similar benefits to minority communities (Collins 45). Social inequalities expressed in the form of classification of groups of individuals alongside economic, gender and racial divides is a common theme in the text and is present as well in the developed world, such as North Korea. The government is able to control and restrict activity, preferably with the use of new technology used for monitoring of activities of the common population. The North Korean society is an excellent example of a dystopian society in that there are extensive restrictions and control measures implemented by the political class as a means of sustaining the status quo in their favor. Throughout the history of humankind, societies have focused on establishing ideal standards that may be used by future generations and in the process justifying the means used to establish specific social conditions.
North Korea is an example of a dystopian society in that there is a significant reliance on the absolute power of a single individual to provide guidance. Studies suggest that the relentless pursuit of a utopian society, usually results in a dystopian society because of excessive control and restrictions imposed by the political ruling class as a means of sustaining the status quo and associated benefits from such conditions. Conformity is a critical aspect of social influence, which has an impact on the acceptable behaviors and ideals of members of society such that they are accepted by the community. It is evident in North Korea of the importance of possessing fascist ideals and behavior to gain acceptance in the society.
Conformity may be utilized as an oppressive means of establishing control in totalitarian societies, whereby actions, thoughts, and interactions of individuals are monitored and controlled. The individuals who fail to adhere to rules that are established are liable for punishment or extermination from such a society. The fear of death and punishment because of failure to adhere to rules is sufficient to maintain control, with the perfect society only being realizable through elimination of free-will and dehumanization. Fear is denoted by Haymitch as he notes, “Someone who committed a crime. They cut her tongue so she can’t speak,”, which is effective in ensuring the retention of the status quo in favor of the Capitol (Collions 23-24)
The protagonist in the text, Katniss, offers herself to participate the hunger games to save her younger sister from death, when she exclaims “I volunteer!..I volunteer as tribute!” (Collins 23). Social situations in Kim Jong-Un’s North Korea can be described as being likeness to the dystopian society that is carefully presented in The Hunger Games.
The post-apocalyptic world that is presented by Suzanne Collins in The Hunger Games is marked by the presence of singular ruling authority and a political class dominating the Capitol against the District, which is likened to the poor working class. The novel classifies individuals based on gender, profession, and socioeconomic status as a means of ensuring that power is retained and the status quo is sustained. From the text as well as the real world example of North Korea, it is evident that achieving a utopian society is merely a dream for the ruling authority. The power of the ruling class is evident in the claims, “Taking the kids from our districts, forcing them to kill one another while we watch – this is the Capitol’s way of reminding us how totally we are at their mercy. How little chance we would stand of surviving another rebellion” (Collins 76). The statement is illustrative of the dominant authority within the text.
However, it is
only the common populace, those living in the districts, who ultimately suffer
after the deaths of their children and excessive restrictions and control used
by the ruling political elite to safeguard their interests and more so, sustain
the status quo. North Korea exercises similar levels of control and
restrictions under the guise that the political elite seeks to ensure that the common citizens are
able to access social services and in the process achieve quality, which
is ultimately elusive and unattainable due to the presence of a rigid status
quo. Thus, the quest for a utopian society results in a dystopia, where
conditions are worse than they were initially.
Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic, 2008. Print.