What happened to the rest of the world?

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  • What happens to the rest of the world in The Hunger Games?
  • Is there life outside of Panem?

The Suzanne Collins Story The Hunger Games is extremely self-contained within the fictional country of Panem. Little context is given to place the characters temporally or geographically in the wider world. Instead, characters and plot developments are only measured against the history of Panem itself, marking the time in years since the “Dark Days” of the First Rebellion and the distance of the districts’ location to the Capitol. Yet, with all the injustice and mayhem going on in Panem, the complete absence of interference from the outside society – or even acknowledgment of its presence – leaves the audience wondering if it even exists.


In the whole original Hunger Games trilogy, Katniss and Gale show their penchant for sneaking into the forest beyond the borders of District 12 and, possibly, all of Panem. Their lack of resources makes hunting there a necessity for survival, but they also enjoy the peace and freedom offered by their brief forays outside of civilization. They never encounter outsiders or evidence of humans living beyond Panem. Even with the eventual reveal of Healing Area 13, it is clear that the survivors of the destroyed area were left to fend for themselves, never being discovered by the Capitol or anyone else. So is there anyone else? And if not, what happened to them?

Connected

The Hunger Games: Who are the first and second rebellions?

The first and second rebellions are two important plot points in the Hunger Games franchise, which is based on the YA book series by Suzanne Collins.

What happens to the rest of the world in The Hunger Games?

statue of panem in the capital

It is extremely difficult to place today’s Panem in a specific time period. The districts, especially those further away from the Capitol, live in extremely underdeveloped communities, while the Capitol has technology that is so advanced that it suggests a futuristic society. However, the areas’ resource-based livelihoods from things like mining, timber, and fishing, and the Capitol’s dependence on their output, reveal that Panem has not evolved beyond the need for these familiar sources.

The luxury of life in the Capitol further shows that Panem does not suffer from a lack of resources. Rather, the problem is the misallocation of these resources. Katniss and Peeta, familiar with the famine in the districts, are rightly disgusted by the display of the Capitol elites inducing vomiting for no other reason than to keep eating. Panem exists not in a barren world, but in an unjust world, suggesting the possibility of societies beyond Panem.

that said The Hunger Games spends considerable time outside the boundaries of District 12 with no evidence of external human presence. Katniss and Lucy Gray’s exploits in the forest paint a picture of nature untouched by human civilization, despite the decades between their adventures. If other countries existed and were torn apart in events similar to the First and Second Panem Uprisings, there would be evidence of it in the land. The thriving natural ecosystems evidenced in The Hunger Games it will also include rubble, dilapidated structures, or even bodies, if humans were actually present at any point in Panem’s history.

Is there life outside of Panem?

The Hunger Games: Katniss and Gale

At least in the immediate vicinity of Panem, there does not appear to be, and never has been, any significant human settlement. However, Covey’s discussion in Ballad of songbirds and snakes raises some interesting ideas as to why this might be the case. Lucy Gray Baird is a member of the Covey, a traveling musical troupe who consider themselves nomads rather than members of any region. Even when staying in an area for a certain period of time, Kovi’s identity supersedes any loyalty to a particular area of ​​Panem.

Despite being harvested as District 12’s female tribute for the 10th annual Hunger Games, Lucy Gray dismisses being a resident of the district by simply replying: “If you say,” of the Capitol’s claim that 12 is its home. Covi considers itself its own home to the extent that the group actually remained neutral during the First Rebellion, supporting neither the Capitol nor the Districts. However, it seems that the Capitol, after its victory, rounded up the Kovi and confined them to the borders of Panem. As Lucy Gray put it Ballad of Songbirds and Serpents:

hmm So they keep me safe. And what am I giving up for that? […] I can’t travel. I cannot perform without their consent. […] Fight to be collected and you will be shot like my father. Try to keep your family together and you’ll break your head like my mom. What if I think the price is too high to pay? Maybe my freedom is worth the risk.

Following Coriolan Snow’s exile to District 12 following the 10th Hunger Games, Lucy Gray and the rest of the Coveys take him on a secret excursion into a forest that they soon become very familiar with. They know the plants and wildlife and all the secret wonders the forest holds. While Covey hails from Panem and now travels solely within its borders, the group has a history of exploring what lies beyond.

When Coriolanus, implicated in a rebellion plot by fingerprinting a missing gun, agrees to escape Panem with Lucy Grey, she leads him to the cabin Covey often uses for shelter and gathering resources. It is not clear if the Kovi themselves built this hut in the past or if they simply found it abandoned and found it useful. Either way, Covey’s fate of being mastered in the Capitol Regions suggests the grim possibility that all nearby human settlements will be forcibly absorbed into Panem. They may have been drawn to work in the areas before they had the opportunity to establish a meaningful settlement of their own.

Life on other continents will probably remain a mystery, protected by Panem by an ocean. One can only hope that other societies, if any, have found a more harmonious way of life.

hunger games Cut (1)

The Hunger Games

Created by
Suzanne Collins

First movie
The Hunger Games

The newest movie
The Hunger Games: A Ballad of Songbirds and Serpents

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