To rebel is to revolt against the ruling power, reject accepted conventions and takes an individual or group that’s resistant to authority. In a dystopian novel, such as George Orwell’s 1984 and Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games, the typicality is for the protagonist to rebel against the corrupted regime. Winston Smith is the protagonist of 1984, and it is through him that the readers have the capacity to comprehend and feel the agony that exists in the totalitarian society of Oceania.
Katniss Everdeen is the main protagonist, the narrator, and District 12’s female tribute, a determined teenager trying to survive the totalitarian control.
It’s the protagonist that helps the readers recognise the negative aspects in a dystopian world through their perspective, this is because Winston and Katniss are able to see the unethical in Oceania and Panem. Orwell and Collins create a world in which oppressive societal control and the illusion of a perfect society are maintained by a repressive dictatorship ruling.
This makes the readers associate with past dictatorship ruling, like; Joseph Stalin’s USSR and Adolf Hitler’s Germany era of ruling as they were manipulative and sadistic and used propaganda and secret police to prevent people from rebelling against their ruling. These techniques are similar in 1984 and Hunger Games as the leaders dehumanise citizens of Oceania and Panem by the use of Thought Police and Peacekeepers.
The similarity between Stalin rule in the Soviet Union and 1984 could be because Orwell experienced first-hand a totalitarianism control when fighting in the Spanish Civil War on the side of the left-wing communist government which was embattled by General Francisco Franco, in other terms 1984 could be written as a warning to humanity.
In Panem there is inequality between the rich and poor, most of the poverty is isolated to the last of the Districts where earning a very small living is life.
Katniss condemn this when she says, “District 12 where you can starve to death in safety. ” The use of dialogue would make the readers sympathise with Katniss because the Capitol is claiming District 12 to be a safe haven, although it is the poorest District and cannot afford food for its inhabitants. This also may be the reason why Katniss hunts illegally in the woods beyond the District’s borders to feed her family. Hunting is illegal due to the fact that the Capitol is seeking power and control over the Districts by limiting food in order for them be the suppliers.
In other words; by not allowing them to hunt, the Capitol can make sure that the only food source comes from them, this giving the Capitol an advantage and power. Katniss is rebellious as she is hunting illegally and if she was caught she’ll be murdered. This links to the fact that children living in District 12 are more likely to take tesserae tokens to survive due to the shortage of food compared to children living in the Capitol, this is because they would be tempted for a ration of oil and food.
This is the reason why children living in the Districts are entered in the reaping. Collins makes the readers feel sorrowful for those living in District 12 by the use of the word ‘starve’. We associate with someone that is malnourished and creates an image of someone suffering from hunger which is a fear for all societies. Collins inspiration came from ancient Rome, so we can see a comparison between the tributes and the Roman gladiators because gladiators that fought in the arena had no choice, since they were often slaves or prisoners of war.
Similarly from Panem, in Oceania there is also inequality between the rich and poor. The small Inner Party seems to live in luxury whilst the Outer Party members live in rundown apartments and the larger population, the ‘proles’ live in poverty. The ruling regime being the wealthiest and smallest population shows that wealth has not been divided equally and is contained for power. Through Winston, third-person narrative we’re informed that the proles live in decayed and bombed ruined houses, which indicates a war has occurred.
This is a common convention in dystopian literature as war or a revolution had to occur for an oppressive regime to look favourable to the people because it’s giving the illusion of a perfect society. Orwell demonstrates how totalitarian societies promote the wealth of the ruling regime while decreasing the quality of life for the proles in the fictional book ‘The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism’ that was written by a former member of the Inner Party, who is conspiring against Big Brother.
“Below Big Brother comes the Inner Party…Below the Inner Party comes the Outer Party…Below that come the dumb masses whom we habitually refer to as ‘the proles. ’” The repetition of the word ‘below’ would indicate to the readers that Big Brother is the most important and the least is the proles, as the level of importance decreases. The phrase “dumb masses” could be an indication to the readers that the proles are seen as the inferior population because we associate the word “dumb” to be someone stupid.
If we were to picture a pyramid structure for the hierarchy of Oceania; at the bottom would be the proles, who can be seen as the working class. Above the proles would be Outer Party, who can be seen as middle class and then there is the Inner Party, who are seen as the elite class. Orwell lures us to the fact that the citizens of Oceania are being manipulated by the Party, “until they become conscious they will never rebel, until after they have they cannot become conscious.
” This is showing the irony involved with revolution, in order to rebel you must know you’re oppressed, however, to know you’re oppressed, you must first over-throw the regime that deliberately keeps you unaware. By repeating the words ‘until’ and ‘they’ Orwell draws the readers into the fact that the citizens of Oceania are being manipulated by the Party and Orwell could be warning us of the consequences in giving the politicians too much power. Orwell could also be showing us what could happen to humanity if we aren’t being careful, his holding a mirror to society.