16 April 2018
Hope in The Great Gatsby and The Hunger Games
When one thinks of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Suzanne Collins, his/her mind is immediately drawn towards their respective novels, The Great Gatsby and The Hunger Games. While at first glance these novels could not appear to be any more different, it is the theme of hope that they are connected; hope for a better future, hope for a better life, hope for mankind. Fitzgerald and Collins use motifs like poverty, oppression, class structure and inequality in The Great Gatsby and The Hunger Games to further express the overarching theme of hope.
When thinking of hope, one of the biggest thing that people hope for is a better future; it is indeed the American Dream. The Great Gatsby sets up a story about the American Dream through the rags-to-riches story of Jay Gatsby but also through the undying hope of George Wilson. George Wilson lives in the Valley of the Ashes, a place Nick describes as: “a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of ash-gray men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air.… [And the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg] brood on over the solemn dumping ground.” (Fitzgerald, Chapter 2). In this dramatic description, Fitzgerald sets the scene for the world of the working poor, where George and Myrtle Wilson live. The “valley of ashes” provides a sharp, poetic contrast to the cool, lush estates of East Egg. What would normally be signs of life—wheat fields and gardens—are merely forms in a smoldering, colorless landscape. Throughout the novel, there is a desperate hope that exists inside of George that one day he can escape the poverty that he is living in, whether it is through Tom selling him his car or moving out West where there are more opportunities. In Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, the theme of hope is immediately presented in its most famous quote “may the odds be ever in your favor”. For the poorer districts of Panem, it is hope that drives them. Panem is a dystopic futuristic society that once was the United States. It is split up into 12 districts and the Capitol. The Capitol is the richest area of all Panem, and its border districts 1 and 2 reap many of those benefits. Districts 3-12 are living in the poorest of conditions and are forced to cultivate their resources and send them to the Capitol. In the movie, we can see an in-depth look at poverty in district 12. In the opening scene, Katniss is hunting and Gale brings her a piece of bread. Her eyes widen and she splits the bread and half and smells it before quickly devouring it. This shows us that bread is a high-value item in this society. As the director takes the audience inside Katniss’ home, it is obvious that they are not wealthy; they don’t have electricity or running water. Another scene t...