Identity Construction and the Gaze in The Hunger Games

Allison Layfield


While The Hunger Games is a dystopian novel about life under a despotic government, it is also a bildungsroman in which we follow Katniss Everdeen and her transformation from ordinary girl into Reality TV hero. This transformation occurs when she is pulled from her home in a coal-mining district and forced to participate in the Hunger Games, an annual event in which children fight to the death in an arena. The structure of these games follows the Reality TV format and is broadcast across the nation. By following Katniss through her character-building transformation, we can explore the relationship between identity construction and Reality TV as a genre: her journey is an example that shows us how Reality TV has changed the way we watch television. The Hunger Games also asks its adolescent audience to think critically about the way television influences their own identity construction process.

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The Looking Glass: new perspectives on children's literature

ISBN 1551-5680