Discipline and the Docile Body: Regulating Hungers in the Capitol

In G. Dunn & N. Michaud (eds.), The Hunger Games and Philosophy. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 250-264 (2012)
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When Katniss first arrives in the Capitol, she is both amazed and repulsed by the dramatic body- modifications and frivolous lives of its citizens. “What do they do all day, these people in the Capitol,” she wonders, “besides decorating their bodies and waiting around for a new shipment of tributes to roll in and die for their entertainment?” In this paper, I argue that the more time and energy the Capitol citizens focus on body-modification and their social lives, the more self-focused they become and the less likely they are to notice or care about political injustices that don’t directly affect them. A further examination of how the frivolity of the citizens is actually used by the Capitol to strengthen its power also provides insight into what seems most troubling about the lives of the citizens not just of the Capitol but of District 13 as well—namely, their lack of self-directed significance.
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