Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Money, Glory, or What?: The Careers in the Hunger Games

One aspect of the Hunger Games series that has always fascinated me is the careers. We know so little about them, really, except for Finnick, and I don't feel like we ever get a detailed explanation for why Finnick volunteered for the games in the first place (correct me if I'm wrong).

Of course, it seems that the obvious answer as to why people from the richer districts volunteer is because of the rewards, but that says a lot of interesting stuff to me. These districts are already the richest of the districts. The people there are already better off than most in Panem, yet I never got the impression that they were well off enough to love the Capitol. Tolerate it more, yes, but volunteering for the games doesn't seem to be something they would do out of patriotism.

If anyone in Panem was going to volunteer purely for the sake of needing more money and food, you would imagine that it would be the poorer districts where their situations are more dire and more people are starving.

The richer districts  have enough money to throw around to get training for their kids (at least some of the people do), but it's difficult for me to imagine the majority of the people in those districts as being higher than what we would consider working class. I imagine them as able to get by without starving but not as having that much money for luxuries. If parents are paying for the children to train, I imagine the costs taking up virtually all of the extra spending money they have (and possibly cutting into money they would otherwise spend on food and other necessities), though this is my own speculation and not something I can say with certainty.

But why would they do that if they could survive well enough without the money. Why risk death for their children?

The only good answer I have is glory, which still doesn't quite make sense to me if I'm being honest. The richer districts do seem to have a stronger sense of loyalty to the Capitol. It's why it took them the longest to join the rebellion, but why do they? Is it purely because the Capitol is closer and therefore exercises more man power to keep those districts in line? Or do they stay loyal of their own free will (however free that can be within Panem)?

I don't think the books give us a definitive answer despite what characters we get to meet from these districts. They seem to despise the Capitol yet stay out of the rebellion, which to me would hint that their loyalty is more about fear of retaliation, and it is true that they have more to lose than the poorer districts, which is the only reason that makes sense to me as to why they refused to betray the Capitol for so long.

However, that explanation still doesn't feel adequate to me when it comes to careers volunteering for the games. Why would the richest districts be the ones most eager to take their chances in the games? If their loyalty to the Capitol is only about fearing retaliation, why would they seek glory through the games the Capitol has created?

I don't think I have an answer, but I'd be curious to hear from others who might.

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