Publication Date

Summer 8-13-2023

Document Type


First Advisor

Ward, Artemus

Degree Name

B.A. (Bachelor of Arts)


Department of Political Science


Throughout the twentieth century, there has been an increasing awareness and fear of authoritarian governments in the Western world, the United States in particular. While these methods of governance were steadily becoming more present in Western media throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, portrayals of authoritarianism and dystopia experienced a peak in popularity toward the end of the two-thousands decade, with book and film franchises like The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins spearheading this emergence. Many of the themes and aspects of the series setting alert the audience to many of the ways authoritarianism can be seen in real life, and for many fans of the series, it may be the first time they were made aware of the concept in general.

Through this capstone, the main points to be addressed are how similar the setting of Panem is to real-life authoritarian governments and how the portrayals could have impacted the awareness of these governments among the public in the early twenty-tens. To reach this assessment, surveys will be administered to gauge how aware people are of Hunger Games and its real-world connections, as well as the four Hunger Games novels (with film exclusive additions where applicable) and several articles that discuss authoritarianism’s rise in prominence and the public’s reaction to it. Due to research collected over the course of four months, it could be inferred that the Hunger Games had an impact on authoritarian awareness, specifically among younger generations of audiences.

Suggested Citation

Stewart, Quentin. Panem's Parallels: Authoritarianism in the Real World. Northern Illinois University, 2023.