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The Hunger Games and Philosophy: A Critique of Pure Treason

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The Hunger Games and Philosophy: A Critique of Pure Treason is a collection of essays by various authors which examine aspects of the The Hunger Games trilogy from a philosophical standpoint. It is part of The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series, which applies this approach to various works of pop culture. The book is edited by philosophy professors George A. Dunn and Nicolas Michaud, who themselves are fans of the trilogy.[1] It was published on February 28, 2012 by John Wiley & Sons.


Katniss Everdeen is “the girl who was on fire,” but she is also the girl who makes us think, dream, question authority, and rebel. The postapocalyptic world of Panem’s twelve districts is a divided society on the brink of war and struggling to survive, while the Capitol lives in the lap of luxury and pure contentment. At every turn in the Hunger Games trilogy, Katniss, Peeta, Gale, and their many allies wrestle with harrowing choices and ethical dilemmas that push them to the brink. This thoughtful guide draws on the work of Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, Charles Darwin, and other engaging philosophical thinkers to take you deeper into the story. It gives you new insights into the Hunger Games series and its key characters, plot lines, and themes, including war, authenticity, social class, personal identity, altruism, gender, art, fashion, and moral choice.[2]


Introduction: Let The Hunger Games and Philosophy Begin!

Part One: "Having an Eye for Beauty Isn't Necessarily a Weakness": The Art of Resisting the Capitol

1. "The Final Word on Entertainment": Mimetic and Monstrous Art in the Hunger Games by Brian McDonald

2. "Somewhere between Hair Ribbons and Rainbows": How Even the Shortest Song Can Change the World by Anne Torkelson 3. "I Will Be Your Mockingjay”": The Power and Paradox of Metaphor in the Hunger Games Trilogy by Jill Olthouse

Part Two: "We're Fickle, Stupid Beings": Hungering for Morality in an Immoral World

4. "The Odds Have Not Been Very Dependable of Late": Morality and Luck in the Hunger Games Trilogy by George A. Dunn

5. The Joy of Watching Others Suffer: Schadenfreude and the Hunger Games by Andrew Shaffer

6. "So Here I Am in His Debt Again": Katniss, Gifts, and Invisible Strings by Jennifer Culver

Part Three: "I am as Radiant as the Sun": The Natural, the Unnatural, and Not-So-Weird Science

7. Competition and Kindness: The Darwinian World of the Hunger Games by Abigail Mann

8. "No Mutt Is Good" — Really? Creating Interspecies Chimeras by Jason T. Eberl

Part Four: "Peeta Bakes. I Hunt.": What Katniss Can Teach Us About Love, Caring, and Gender

9. Why Katniss Chooses Peeta: Looking at Love through a Stoic Lens by Abigail E. Myers

10. "She Has No Idea. The Effect She Can Have.": Katniss and the Politics of Gender by Jessica Miller

11. Sometimes the World Is Hungry for People Who Care: Katniss and the Feminist Care Ethic by Lindsey Issow Averill

Part Five: "As Long as You Can Find Yourself, You'll Never Starve": How to be Yourself When It's All a Big Show

12. Why Does Katniss Fail at Everything She Fakes? Being versus Seeming to Be in the Hunger Games Trilogy by Dereck Coatney

13. Who Is Peeta Mellark? The Problem of Identity in Panem by Nicolas Michaud

Part Six: "Here's Some Advice. Stay Alive": A Tribute's Guide to the Morality and Logic of Warfare

14. "Safe to Do What?": Morality and the War of All against All in the Arena by Joseph J. Foy

15. Starting Fires Can Get You Burned: The Just-War Tradition and the Rebellion against the Capitol by Louis Melançon

16. The Tribute’s Dilemma: The Hunger Games and Game Theory by Andrew Zimmerman Jones

Part Seven: "It Must be Very Fragile if a Handful of Berries Can Bring it Down": The Political Philosophy of Corolianus Snow

17. Discipline and the Docile Body: Regulating Hungers in the Capitol by Christina Van Dyke

18. "All of This Is Wrong": Why One of Rome’s Greatest Thinkers Would Despise the Capitol by Adam Barkman

19. Class Is in Session: Power and Privilege in Panem by Chad William Timm


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