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Anthropological Examination of ‘The Hunger Games’ Essay


In the movie ‘The Hunger Games’ a female and a male is chosen from twelve districts to compete in a game called Hunger Game. They must fight for their life and survive outdoors in order to go home. There is only one winner out of the 12 districts, out of 24 people, only one goes home. Anthropology, one of the three social sciences is the study of development of the human species and human cultures throughout the world, also the ways of living of a group of people, traditions and conventions. The hunger games provide three aspects from the anthropological perspective; functional theory, cultural materialism and feminist anthropology. The movie hunger games has a strong anthropological view.

Functional theory

Functional theory, one of the school of thoughts in anthropology, is a theory that believes every belief, action and/or relationship has a purpose to meet the needs of an individual or society. In the movie, the purpose of this game is simply for the enjoyment and entertainment for The Capitol. The twelve males and twelve females from each district are to be cleaned and to be put in their best clothes at the reaping. When the male and female are picked from each district they are taken to the capitol to be cleaned thoroughly, put them in costumes and make them presentable at the opening ceremony. An action was taken in the game by Seneca Crane, the head game maker, and the rule of the game was changed, he allowed the game to have two winners, because of this he was executed, the action of changing the rules of the game was taken for society.

Cultural materialism

Cultural materialism is the theory of materials or conditions within the environment that influence development, a school of thought in anthropology. The biggest cultural materialism in The Hunger Games was their clothing. In district twelve, the people wear clothing that are alike in the reaping. The females wear dresses or blouse and skirt that are alike, they are faded white, pink and/or grey, the designs are also the same. The males in district twelve wear shirts and dress pants, faded grey or white. On the other hand, the people living in The Capitol is dressed very high fashion, and colourful, they also have a lot of makeup on. The cultural materialism difference between the both classes is the lower class, from the districts, wear non-colourful faded clothes and people of the high class, from The Capitol, wear colourful unique clothing.

Feminist anthropology

Feminist anthropology, a school of thought in anthropology, is the study of gender roles and how male are dominate. In the movie, males and females are picked to compete in the hunger games, although there’s a bias perspective that a female would not make it so far, nor win. The instructor and counsellor of district 12 told Katniss that she wouldn’t make it far, because she is a female but mainly because of her attitude. To every one’s surprise, Katniss and Peeta win at the end.


The movie ‘The Hunger Games’ has a strong anthropological view. The three schools of thought, functional theory, cultural materialism, and feminist anthropology, each have a strong view in the movie the hunger games. It shows why they changed certain things in the game, their culture and why they do the hunger games annually. It shows the cultural difference between the high class and low class. Lastly the bias perspective between female and male.

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