The Hunger Games trilogy is a popular culture success. Embraced by adults as well as adolescents, Suzanne Collins’s bestselling books have inspired an equally popular film franchise. But what, if anything, can reading the Hunger Games tell us about what it means to be human in the world today? What complex social and political issues does the trilogy invite readers to explore? Does it merely entertain, or does it also instruct?
Bringing together scholars in literacy education and the humanities,
The Politics of Panem: Challenging Genres examines how the Hunger Games books and films, when approached from the standpoint of theory, can challenge readers and viewers intellectually. At the same time, by subjecting Collins’s trilogy to literary criticism, this collection of essays challenges its complexity as an example of dystopian literature for adolescents. How can applying philosophic frameworks such as those attributable to Socrates and Foucault to the Hunger Games trilogy deepen our appreciation for the issues it raises? What, if anything, can we learn from considering fan responses to the Hunger Games? How might adapting the trilogy for film complicate its ability to engage in sharp-edged social criticism? By exploring these and other questions,
The Politics of Panem: Challenging Genres invites teachers, students, and fans of the Hunger Games to consider how Collins’s trilogy, as a representative of young adult dystopian fiction, functions as a complex narrative. In doing so, it highlights questions and issues that lend themselves to critical exploration in secondary and college classrooms.