We're expected to believe that torturing their children keeps parents passive, rather than as enraged as a she-bear with cubs.
I don't believe it. Parents would not passively send twelve-year-olds, year after year, to torture. An entire population would not watch these televised Games without a resistance movement arising sooner than 75 years.
Does she have a point? Wouldn’t parents do everything to protect their kids? We’d certainly like to think we’d go all “Mama Grizzly” when anyone came after our cubs.
So, why didn’t the parents become enraged she-bears in THE HUNGER GAMES?
Let's start with the back story. The Capital has thrust the games on the populace as a measure of control. The games are supposed to demoralize the people, who are already living at subsistence levels (at least in most of the districts). And, an earlier uprising resulted in the obliteration of District 13. So, under the fear of reprisals—which may also include becoming voiceless slaves in the Capital—parents grudgingly stand by while their child is selected for the Games. Certainly, some parents must fight back or hide their children, but hungry and scared people will do things we well-fed citizens of democracy may shudder at—just to keep the rest of their family alive.
What about our world? Kress writes that “not even Rome had child gladiators.” Maybe not. But here and now, thousands upon thousands of children are trafficked for:
So, I'm willing to suspend disbelief and buy the premise of the Games. And so are many, many other adult readers.
However, does it really matter if THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy is psychologically believable from our perspective? Is the experience of the Games really about what might happen in the future? Or is the story more about being a teenager now? Maybe the story resonates—and is thus psychologically believable—because it’s about the feeling trapped in a system outside your own control (like school) and being forced to compete with your peers.
What do you all think? Is the premise of Suzanne Collins’ fantastic trilogy plausible—psychologically or otherwise? Do the Games need to be believable for both adults and teens? Discuss.