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Panem Or U.S.? Breaking Down The Philosophy Of 'The Hunger Games'

Brian Castellani

It may be one of the most popular book series and most anticipated movies of the year, but one expert says the real world may resemble the world of Panem more than we realize. 

Florida State College of Jacksonville philosophy professor Nicolas Michaud joined Melissa Ross Thursday on First Coast Connect to discuss the second movie in the Hunger Games series, Catching Fire, which comes out Friday.

Michaud said some fans of the series might identify with the 12 "districts" of Panem, who do their best to survive. Others might see themselves as the aristocrats of "The Capitol," who consume the bloodsport of the "Hunger Games" as entertainment at the expense of the lower classes.

Michaud asks that fans look deeper than just the subtext of a dystopian United States, and look at instead how the setting parallels the role the U.S. plays on a global scale.

"Our society throws out what third world countries manufacture for us — where those third world countries — will never have the opportunity to purchase for themselves," he said.  

He referred to the 2010 suicides at the "Foxconn" factory in China that where Apple products, including the iPhone, are manufactured.

Fourteen workers at the plant killed themselves, and investigators later described the working conditions at the factory as comparable to a "labor camp."

Michaud has contributed to volumes on the philosophy of The Hunger Games and other films such as Jurassic Park and The Big Lebowski.

You can follow Melissa on Twitter @MelissainJax.

Melissa Ross joined WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. During her career as a television and radio news anchor and reporter, Melissa has won four regional Emmys for news and feature reporting.
Patrick Donges served as WJCT's Digital Content Editor from August 2013 - August 2014.