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Features | Do dystopian novels reflect the real world?

Since today was the release of Mockingjay part 2 (in the UK at least), it felt only right that today's post was focused on the Hunger Games.
Warning #1: This post is going to touch on wars and events that are currently going on in the world at the moment. If this is going to upset or scare you please don't read on.
Warning #2: Major hunger games spoilers ahead, especially for the third book

It's easy to read dystopian novels and see them as something that couldn't happen. Whilst a reality TV show where children murder each other is probably a little far fetched, there are definitely parallels between this and historical events, the most obvious being the 1917 Russian revolution. Both started with a heavily capitalist society where the rich are extremely rich but the rest of the people are essentially peasants. They also had similar ruling structure. Then comes the communist rebels. It's clear that district 13's is run under a communist regime, and Coin's intention is to overthrow Snow and enforce a communism upon Panem. This is basically what happened in Russia in 1917. The Bolshevik communists overthrew the Tsar (the Russian king) and seized power for themselves, marking the beginning of Soviet Russia. It's also clear from the book that Coin is corrupted by power, just like the Soviet dictators like Stalin were. Whether Collins deliberately modelled it on the Russian Revolution I don't know (it seems likely to me that she did since the comparisons are fairly obvious). However, it does show that dystopian novels may not be entirely fictional.

Just like with fiction books, it's possible to form a detachment from events that happened a long time ago, and dismiss them as things that would never happen again. With events that are happening today, it's much more difficult. A prime example of this is the current war in Syria. The rebels fighting dictator Al - Assad is not that dissimilar from the rebels fighting the Capitol. Additionally, dictatorships like President Snow's do exist in the real life. It's easy to take freedom of speech for granted living in a western civilisation, but in North Korea political dissidence is a punishable offence.

So is the hunger games just a fiction book, or is it something more? In Thailand, doing the hunger games three finger salute is banned at protests. It's more than just a book. For some people, its become a symbol of resistance. "Dystopia" may not a thing that only exists within the bounds of fiction, and that's scary.

Sorry for the slightly deeper post than usual, hope I haven't freaked anyone out too much!
Katie x

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