Sunday, May 4, 2014

Nature of Evil

The Evil in the Hunger Games trilogy seems fictional and unimaginable. Killing children, mass torture and altering people's bodies against their will are all actions taken by the Capitol. However, genocide exists in our current world and perhaps the most horrifying genocide and most shocking violation of basic human rights happened around 70 years ago.

The Holocaust was devastating, with horrors going beyond what anyone would think a human could do. The horror of the Holocaust can never truly be compared to or matched by anything, but doe details form this atrocity were used in the Hunger Games. The people Hitler viewed as lower class citizens, were dehumanized and turned into nothing but numbers, with numbers literally tattooed onto their arms. At the reaping, District citizens are turned into nothing but a number in the chance of the drawing. The readers do not even learn all the tributes names, some are just referred to by their gender and home district number.

Millions of people were forced into concentration camps, which odds are meant death and were not even afforded the chance to say goodbye to their families. In Catching Fire, Katniss does not get to say good by to Prim before entering the Arena, which it is likely she will not return alive from. Unfortunately, in both Panem and Hitler's Germany, children were not treated as too young to witness or suffer from the inhumane treatment. Teenage men and women were subjected to horrible treatment. With such unimaginable cruelty occurring in Panem and our own world, the only thing we can be sure of is that evil persists.

But was every Nazi in Hitler's Germany born evil? Were each of them systematically turned evil? Or were they good people who just did evil things? A popular saying, easily applicable to the Holocaust says "There are two kinds of evil people in this world. Those who do evil things and those who see evil things and don't try to stop it." So is either type of evil worse? Is Hitler more evil than the man who released the dogs to tear concentration camp prisoners to shreds? Is President Snow more evil than the Capitol spectators who take delight in the hunger games and provide its demand? Evil is an extremely complicated concept because everyone has the potential to be evil but everyone also has the potential to stop evil.

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