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The Hunger Games Versus Lord of the Flies: Civilization Meets Savagery

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The Hunger Games versus Lord of the Flies: Civilization Meets Savagery

     The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Lord of the Flies by William Golding share striking, similar and prevailing features. Both of these books have characters with comparable personalities, traits and motives. The two adventures are set in a corrupt society with an absence of civilization and savagery takes over. The unifying motif is the underlying savagery and desperation to live that stands out within each character when survival mode is activated. In both literatures, the characters are power-hungry and struggle to surpass everyone to become the real leader, but this only leads to the corruption and destruction of humanity. William Golding portrays that human beings are capable of evil things when forced into harsh situations, which is parallel to the catastrophic events occurring in Collins’ novel, The Hunger Games.

     Lord of the Flies by William Golding and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins are symmetrical versions of the same narrative, containing an in-depth exploration of the behaviours in human nature. These adventure novels include many themes, such as civilization, savagery, power and order. In Lord of the Flies, Golding explores the dark aspects of human nature. He includes war, power and savagery in the boys’ world. “He tried to convey the compulsion to track down and kill that was swallowing him up.” (page 51). Jack’s transformation from civilized bully to savage killer has begun. He's obsessed with hunting at the expense of all else, even rescue. Comparatively, in The Hunger Games, Collins incorporates power, containment, control and violence by incorporating a government organization by the name of the Capitol; a dictatorship that holds total political and economic dominance over Panem, enforcing its rule through an army of Peacekeepers, capital punishment, brainwashing, the fear of nuclear devastation and the Hunger Games.

     “When I was younger, I scared my mother to death, the things I would     blurt out about District 12, about the people who rule our country, Panem, from the far-off city called the Capitol. Eventually I understood this would only lead us to more trouble. 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.” (page 6).

Free speech, we learn, is not a given in Panem. Katniss censors herself because of the fears her mother has of the government. She clearly shows the flaws of being powerful when the members of the Capitol have evil intentions to place children in a life or death situation by examining their strength and survival skills.“I volunteer!” I gasp. “I volunteer as tribute!” (page 22). Katniss volunteers to serve as the female tribute for District 12 in the Hunger Games. She has years of experience hunting (and therefore killing) and is far less sensitive than her sister, making her more likely to survive the ordeal of the Games. Golding also proves that power leads to destruction as he includes a character who negatively changes the boys and corrupts the lawful society. These themes are explored by using two characters who reflect and compete with each other. One of the characters governs through fairness and in a civilized manner, while the opposing character represents an irrational, evil and unintellectual side of the human race.

     The characters in Panem and on the island have strong similarities. Within both groups, there happens to be a little bit of teasing, fighting and superiority occurring. The alliance made during the Games as well as the nightly pig activities show how the nagging desire to kill can become an amusing game. Cato and Jack, the two more savage characters in each story, learn to embrace their primitive instincts and accept their imminent success or failure. “Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood.” (page 72). “I cut the pig’s throat,” (page 73). Katniss and Ralph act as complementing characters of the two books that represent the logical part of the brain. Katniss is eager to stay pure as she enters the world of her impending death; she is one of the only ones in her situation who can remember that she is still human underneath the guise of the Games.

     These two novels are very similar; this is shown through many means such as how they both include a protagonist and antagonist to represent the good and evil side of human nature. Ralph, in Lord of the Flies, represents leadership and a civilized and diplomatic young man. “What are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages?” (page 79). He is attractive, athletic and appropriately intelligent. When faced with chaos, he applies constructive and orderly ideas to keep from more catastrophes. He may be the only boy that listens to Piggy and his intellectualism. “Shut up,” said Ralph absently. He lifted the conch. “Seems to me we ought to have a chief to decide things,” (page 18). He is the first to appoint the idea of having a chief. He applies the use of the conch and the idea of the fire. He never ceases to give up on surviving and remaining civilized, despite the behaviour of the other boys. Comparatively, in The Hunger Games, our protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, has similar values and qualities. When Katniss arrives in the Arena, she proves to be brave, loyal and clever, which won over the hearts of both the Capitol and the citizens of Panem. “No one will forget me. Not my look, not my name. Katniss. The girl who was on fire.” (page 69). Cinna, Katniss Everdeen's stylist, made sure to give a lasting first impression with his unusual and breath-taking designs during the tribute parade, creating "the girl on fire" theme for Katniss.



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