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Conflict in Hunger Games

In: English and Literature

Submitted By turkishdelight
Words 924
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The texts convey insights regarding the aspects of conflict that can involve struggle within individuals’ minds; develop between individuals or portray a protagonist versus a society. In the novel The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (2008), conflict leads the protagonist, Katniss, to make decisions for survival. The contrasted perspective of different districts and the Capitol symbolically refers to a battle between ‘tributes’. The song, Behind the Wall, by Tracy Chapman also focuses on conflict and its effects on a society. The powerful title holds connotations of something hidden hinting the domestic affairs occurring between “a man and his wife”.
The Hunger Games explores the loss of justice caused by the abuse of power and conflicts that arise maintaining absolute power. Collins’ use of a futuristic post-apocalyptic setting and a dystopian society creates a conflict between Katniss and the Capitol. The emotive language, "Rue's death has forced me to confront my own fury against the cruelty, the injustice they inflict upon us” emphasises the inequity of bringing 24 people into an arena to fight to death, to remind the country not to rebel and to maintain absolute power. It results in conflicts in society as the people from poorer districts start becoming against The Games. Moreover, the ironic definition of District 12, “where you can starve to death in safety” reinforces the conflict that disenfranchises poor people in the unpleasant layering of Panem. The conflicting characteristic of two opposite communities stresses the tremendous impact and abuse that the Capitol exercises over District 12. As the tributes are brought into the area to start fighting, another type of conflict is introduced to the readers. In this part of the novel, the conflict between individuals becomes the catalyst in society where the tributes are forced to compete against each other, inevitably losing their morals and innocence for survival. The simple sentence, “Care about what Haymitch said. About staying alive.” makes it really clear that the most important thing is trying to stay alive. The conflict between individuals is powerful enough to change not just Katniss’ but also all of the antagonists’ personalities in the Games. Furthermore, inclusive language and the low modality of “the dread that we may come face to face” foreshadows the conflict which takes place as the book progresses when the Capitol changes rules of the Games to leave Katniss and Peeta trying to find a way out, hinting that the worst is yet to come.
Conflict between individuals is also studied in the song, Behind the Wall, by Tracy Chapman. In this song, the composer focuses on conflicts that can be found within family life which in its extreme is known as domestic violence. A descriptive representation of conflict between a man and his wife is effectively presented in the song. To allow the audience to acknowledge the dangers that conflict can cause, in the first line of the poem, “Last night I heard the screaming” Chapman uses first person and emotive language just like Collins. The connotation of pain arouses audience’s curiosity and it is hold as she refers back to the powerful title “Behind the Wall” which hints the hidden domestic conflict. This is studied in more detail when the audience first reads Chapman’s concerns about police’s lack of power and how this causes conflict within society in addition to domestic violence in families. Chapman’s worries are mainly related to the physical and emotional pain that conflict can cause. The juxtaposition between the screaming and silence,
“Last night I heard the screaming
Then a silence that chilled my soul” creates tension highlighting the horrible consequences of conflict. The metaphorical expression also underlines her worries which are justified as the stanza comes to an end when the woman needs an ambulance.
Another aspect of conflict, the inner conflict that can be catalysed by battles within a society, is examined in Suzanne Collins’ novel – The Hunger Games. Characterisation is used throughout the novel to reflect the internal struggle within Katniss, whose outlook on life has been heavily impacted by the constant conflicts she has faced in an abhorrent society. Interplay of metaphors, “I learnt to hold my tongue and turn my features into an indifferent mask” not only creates distinct imagery but also captures Katniss’ response and her cynical and tough personality which has been shaped by the daily hardships that living in a poverty-stricken environment brought. The facade she is forced to develop to ensure her own survival gives her power to work through the difficulties she confronts while actually it is the reason why she is facing inner conflicts. The first person perspective of the narrative allows the readers to understand Katniss’ feelings in addition to the images portrayed with the help of descriptive languages, similes and metaphors. This perspective engages the reader in Katniss’ personal conflicts and lets them comprehend what’s behind her mask. As the use of first person, “Twilight is closing and I am ill at ease” allows the audience witness the fearful side of Katniss that is often hidden by her closed individual side; readers get a sense of involvement in her internal conflicts.
As mentioned in these texts, conflict can lead anyone to make choices that wouldn’t be made under less pressure. Furthermore, conflicts may have awful consequences such as emotional and physical pain as well as becoming a catalyst for other types of struggles. These concepts of conflict particularly associated with power and abuse are relevant to the contemporary world as well as the futuristic and out-dated settings of the texts.

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