Comparative Analysis Of Ender's Game And The Hunger Games
Dystopian texts analyse current significant societal concerns and imperfections and provide us with a warning to our possible bleak future. Orson Scott Card, in Ender’s Game reflects our anxieties about our increasingly divided world. Card has taken aspects of our reality and exaggerated them by placing them inside of a dystopian world. Card has placed a variety of tropes onto Ender, the protagonist, such as constant surveillance and strict rules and regulations. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, is complementary to Ender’s Game, in that they explore the emerging human condition in which, constant surveillance, cruelty, and injustice are accepted in society. During Ender’s Game, Card shares his criticism of society, believing that our freedoms are lessening, and that we are nearing the world of a dystopian nightmare.
Everyday citizens must suffer and sacrifice, in order for powerful people to live in the perfect utopia. A common trope in both Ender’s Game and The Hunger Games is the use of power by dominant people against the youth of society. In Ender’s Game, the military control the youth of society by selecting the best of the best children. The theme of military control is evident throughout the entire novel. The adults in Ender’s Game repeatedly manipulate the children, ‘This was supposed to be a game. Not a choice between his own grisly death and an even worse murder. I’m a murderer, peter would be proud of me.’ The game foreshadows what they will need in battle (mercilessness). The powerful people are always thinking one-step ahead, finding ways to intrude Enders mind. Ender feels controlled, this gives him a sense of entrapment’, I’m trapped here, trapped at the end of the world with no way out.’ Card has used anadiplosis repetition, emphasising a strong sense of powerlessness. In Susan Collins Hunger Games, the same theme is evident. An example of military control being used against the youth is in the annual event known as the hunger games. The powerful people in charge of the hunger games exploit the youth for the entertainment of the capitol. The capitol also restricts the resources available to the districts, ‘district 12, where you can starve to death in safety.’ By restricting basic resources that are necessary for survival, it not only weakens members of the districts, but also controls the population psychologically. The capitol keep the districts under control by limiting resources. So that they can continue to live in the perfect utopia with no worry of rebellion.
Citizens of dystopias feel as though they are under constant surveillance, this causes distress amongst those who are being watched. A re-occurring theme in both novels is the constant surveillance over the protagonists, Ender and Katniss. In chapter one of Ender’s Game, Card describes how the I.F. manipulate Ender through the monitor, “We were connected directly to your brain. We heard all that you heard, whether you were listening carefully or not. Whether you understood or not. We understood.” The conversation shows that the officials monitored Ender closely, before he started battle school. There is a variety of mental effects that Ender endures due to the constant surveillance. The way that Ender is controlled is completely inhumane, and Ender eventually develops mental and emotional distress. In The Hunger Games Katniss is a victim of constant government surveillance, ‘even in the middle of nowhere, you worry someone might hear you.’ The peacekeepers are always listening to the citizens of district 12, to see if there is any rebellion talk, which would lead to a person being publically executed. This creates a huge sense of paranoia and fear and causes Katniss to be very cautious. In both novels, constant surveillance is a common trope that effects the lives of all of the citizens in society.
Ender’s independent thought and freedom is restricted by the military due to isolation. Adults isolate Ender socially to ensure he concentrates on his training. ‘With Ender, we have to strike a delicate balance. Isolate him enough that he remains creative, otherwise he’ll adopt the system here and we’ll lose him’. The discussion between the military personnel, illustrates what they plan to do to Ender. To isolate him, by removing all contact with other children, for the purpose of keeping him focused on only one thing, becoming the perfect commander. Card has expressed that Ender was isolated frequently at battle school, “The fear stayed, all through dinner as no one sat by him in the mess hall. The other boys were talking about things, the big scoreboard on one wall, the food, the bigger kids. Ender could only watch in isolation.” Card carefully describes the isolation of Ender in the dining hall. His description portrays Ender as alone, sad and insignificant. Ender is then pushed to work harder. Proving that the isolation had been successful in manipulating Ender. Throughout the Hunger Games, the capitol is quick to make sure that all ideas, actions and expressions of individuality are shut down immediately. ‘So I learned to hold my tongue and to turn my features into an indifferent mask so that no one could ever read my thoughts.’ Katniss learned from a young age, that expressing her thoughts would only lead her to more trouble. The freedom of citizens is extremely restricted, in both Ender’s Game and the Hunger Games.
Both Card and Collins have used dystopian literature as platforms to record their feelings and journeys through life. They have shared their beliefs of a possible future filled with violence and oppression. Card and Collins have written these cautionary tales by living in today’s society, where violence and oppression is present. In the Hunger Games and Ender’s Game, both authors has simply exaggerated the effects of these actions. They have written these novels as a warning, as they see these terrible actions every day. No matter how small. Whereas everyday citizens choose to ignore them. Common tropes such as constant surveillance, suffering and manipulation have been etched into both novels, enforcing Card’s and Collin’s views even further. The emerging human condition, in which dystopian themes are becoming more evident, is not only part of novels but also part of a world in which no one wants to exist.
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