The Hunger Games - Rebellion
The Dark Days
In any setting in a fictional work (and in real life) they are circumstances that lead up to and contribute to the setting depicted in a text. Often, a tyrannical rulership will use difficult circumstances as a justification for authoritarian measures to keep things from falling apart. Military curfews, martial law during a time of war, shooting deserters, drafts for the armed forces, even the United States using 9/11 as a reason for increased security measures and the suspension of human rights are all examples of this.
"A mockingjay. They're funny birds and something of a slap in the face to the Capitol." p.51 "It took people a while to realise... how private conversations were being transmitted. Then, of course, the rebels fed the Capitol endless lies, and the joke was on it." p.52
"The mountains form a natural barrier between the Capitol and the eastern districts.... This geographical advantage was a major factor in the districts losing the war that led to my being a tribute today. Since the rebels had to scale the mountains, they were easy targets for the Capitol's air forces." p.71
These two passages paint a picture of a time when the districts had decided as one to rebel against the capitol. Not much is told about this period, but the title it is given, 'The Dark Days' says a lot. In a setting where everything is grim and dark, a period referred to as 'the dark days' must have been unbearable. This wider idea of rebellion throughout Panem is important, as it sets a feeling for what is to come as the story progresses into sequels of the hunger games.
Capital Punishment and Avoxs
As is fitting with the inhumain totalitarian rule of the capitol, Capital punishment is often used as a means of punishment and as a deterrent. We first encounter it when The Avox girl from Katniss's past is introduced, and Avoxs are explained to both Katniss and the reader. Avoxs are citizens of Panem who have committed a crime, normally treacherous or unpatriotic , and have their tongues are cut out. They are then forced to serve as public/community workers in the capitol. Then we experience Corporal Punishment in Panem when Rue talks about public whippings and killings for theft. The above video is a reformed Avox, trying to convince others not to act against the state.
Katniss's Personal Rebellion
Despite her illegal hunting, Katniss does not concern herself with anti-establishment thoughts. Although she would entertain these thoughts when she was young, she soon realised she was only putting her family at risk. We can infer that if she was caught saying things against the Capitol that she might be arrested or executed and her family may also be detained or wouldn't be able to support themselves without her around. She is also concerned that Prim, "might begin to repeat my words." p7.
As the Hunger Games progresses, the idea of anti-establishment is introduced subtly, but is not discussed or delved into. A reason for this could be the intention of a rebellion, an echo of the dark days, to happen in the sequels to 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." p.7
"What good is yelling about the Capitol in the middle of the woods? It doesn't change anything. It doesn't make things fair. It doesn't fill our stomachs. In fact, it scares off the nearby game." p.17
"I know there must be more than they're telling us, an actual account of what happened during the rebellion. But I don't spend much time thinking about it. Whatever the truth is, I don't see how it will help me get food on the table." p.50
On her illegal hunting: "Gale and I agree that if we have to choose between dying of hunger and a bullet in the head, the bullet would be much quicker." p. 20
Katniss's compulsion for rebellion grows: "I hate Effie Trinket's comment [about last year's tributes eating like savages] so much I make a point of eating the rest of my meal with my fingers. Then I wipe my hands on the tablecloth." -- A small form of rebellion early on.
Cinna's instruction that Katniss and Peeta hold hands during the parade: "Just the perfect touch of rebellion."
"Suddenly I am furious, that with my life on the line they don't even have the decency to pay attention to me... Without thinking, I pull an arrow from my quiver and send it straight at the Gamemakers' table." p.124
"All I can think is how unjust the whole thing is, the Hunger Games. Why am I hopping around like some trained dog trying to please people I hate?" p.142