I’ve been thinking a lot about different aspects of The Hunger Games film and something that keeps coming to mind is a short story called, “The Lottery.” We read it in High School back in the 80’s but the story was first published in the New Yorker Magazine in 1948. It is sometimes seen as a protest against totalitarianism, a form of authoritarian government that permits no individual freedom. The story explores the potential of ordinary people to do evil things solely because of a sense of tradition. Only it doesn’t do that exactly… there is no authoritarian government forcing people to take part in the Lottery the way it is in the Hunger Games. I think for me the story explores what happens when people cling to old ways of doing things not because they work or because they continue to serve society’s cohesion or progress but unquestioningly because that’s the way they’ve always been done.
An unexamined life is no life at all so I decided to explore some of the parallels between The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and 1948’s short story, The Lottery by Shirley Jackson…
HG – Josh Hutchinson stars as the boy whose name is drawn
TL – Bill Hutchinson is the man who draws the dot
BOTH – names are drawn and the “winner” will be killed to make the crops grow or keep people eating well for another year or a variety of reasons.
BOTH – villagers gather in the town square for the lottery/reaping/drawing of names
HG – Only older children ages 12 to 18 participate
TL – Everyone participates