Hope is the Thing with Feathers: The Potential Impacts of the Political Implications of Popular Young Adult Literature: A Close Reading of The Hunger Games

A Senior Capstone Experience by Julia E. Clifton ’22

Submitted to the Department of English

Advised by Professor Roy Kesey

Contributor Biography: Julia Clifton graduated from Washington College last spring with a degree in English and minors in creative writing and JEP. She is from Bel Air, Maryland and now works at the public library after interning with the Library of Congress for the summer.  

Description: Popular Young Adult novels are traditionally dismissed by scholars due to their status as popular YA literature. This article seeks to disprove this notion by analyzing Suzanne Collins’ popular dystopian trilogy The Hunger Games through a Marxist critical lens to investigate its political implications to understand how works like these could impact their audiences to prove that they are worthy of serious analysis. In order to demonstrate this potential impact, I examined the progression of oppression and rebellion in the works, and I compared key aspects of both to the current rebellions in Thailand to show how readers might see the same things in the real world and potentially learn how to do something about it. I chose the Thai rebellion because it is an excellent example of how the HG books have already impacted young readers as, in 2014, young protestors in Thailand began using a rebellious gesture from THG books as a symbol of resistance and they continue to use this gesture in protests today. This article also considers the usage of media within the trilogy through Marxist media theory, which asserts that the elites are always in control of the media in society, by comparing how media is used as both a tool of oppression and rebellion in the books and in Thailand. The purpose of this article is to prove that these works have the power to inspire readers to make change in the real world and that potential is crucial to consider when deciding if they are worthy of scholarly discussion. 

Read Julia’s SCE below:

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