Social Criticism in the Hunger Games and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

2170 Words Sep 29th, 2013 9 Pages
Social Criticism In The Hunger Games And Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland
“Off with their heads!“ (Carroll 122) could be the motto of Suzanne Collins’ bestseller The Hunger Games. Published in 2008, the novel tells the dystopian story of Katniss, a young girl who has to participate in a fight-to-death-tournament with 23 other teenagers. Connoisseurs might have recognized the quotation of the classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, first published in 1865. Mostly known as a children’s book, the novel depicts the story of Alice a girl that finds herself in a wonderland, where she meets many curious people and gets confronted with arbitrary brutality. Although they don’t seem to have much in common at first glance and have
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The capriciousness of the Queen’s decisions becomes even more obvious when Alice attends a trial where the Knave of Hearts is accused for having stolen some tarts which the Queen had made. Not only that the reason for this charge seems ridiculous but when finding no evidence the Queen just overrules the jury and the judge, which again underlines the oppressive power she possesses. Both novels, The Hunger Games and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, therefore succeed in depicting arbitrary measures and brutality as a way to portray government oppression, personified by the Gamemakers and the Queen of Hearts. Being confronted with this oppression, both girls think about which place they take and self reflect their identities.
According to Erik Erikson, an important developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst, “identity formation is one of the key tasks of adolescence.” (Beck, Earl 77). Relating to that, both novels deal with the fundamental topic of children’s development. Katniss, although being only age 16, can be described as comparatively mature, at first glance. Since her father died in a mine accident, she has to replace him in being the breadwinner of the family. On closer examination, however, one discovers Katniss’ immaturity: she doesn’t seem to be able to organize her feelings, which lets her appear stubborn in some ways. This is for instance shown in the relationship to her mother who sinks into a deep depression after losing her husband. Katniss isn’t able
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