What is the setting and backdrop of “The Hunger Games”?
"The Hunger Games" is a novel by Suzanne Collins, set in a dystopian society named Panem. Panem is established in what was once North America, devastated by severe disasters, droughts, fires, and rising sea levels. It is composed of the Capitol and 12 Districts, after the 13th has been reportedly destroyed during a rebellion against the Capitol's tyrannical rule. Each district specializes in a specific industry or trade, for example, District 12, where the protagonist Katniss Everdeen resides, is known for coal mining. The Capitol, characterized by its high technological advancements and extravagant lifestyle, exerts a strong control over the districts, subjecting them to a life of poverty, repression, and hardship. As a form of control and punishment for a past rebellion, the Capitol has created the Hunger Games – a televised fight to the death competition involving one girl and one boy, "tributes," selected by lottery from each district. In terms of the social-political backdrop, the society in "The Hunger Games" operates on an extreme form of totalitarian government, where the Capitol exercises absolute power. There is a stark contrast in wealth and living conditions between the Capitol's inhabitants and those living in the districts, representing the socio-economic disparity. The Hunger Games, presented as a form of entertainment for the Capitol but horrifying punishment for the districts, act as a symbolic manifestation of the Capitol's power and a tool for maintaining social order. Fear and manipulation are wielded as control strategies, creating a climate of tension and survival. The backdrop of this book thus paves the way for many themes like inequality, rebellion, power, and manipulation that drive the story.