Only I keep wishing I could think of a way to . . . to show the Capitol they don’t own me. That I’m more than just a piece in their Games. (from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins)
This is a favorite moment for me in The Hunger Games trilogy because it’s a statement of resolve. It reminds me of the story of Daniel from the Bible, in which Daniel (who had been brought along with the brightest and best young men of Israel to Babylon) refuses to eat food and drink wine from the Babylonian king’s table. He asks instead for water and vegetables. Daniel’s actions are a small rebellion, a refusal to be owned. And that’s the kind of thing that Peeta (the Hunger Games character who says the line above) also wants. He doesn’t have control of his situation, but he does have control of how he responds to it. Which is something that is true for all of us. In the book, the Capitol is a place where people are comfortable with ignoring the abject poverty of people who provide them with the food and products they consume. In this way, our own culture is not so different from the Capitol. We, too, are far too comfortable being ignorant of the conditions in which much of the rest of the world lives. We forget that the products we buy have a human cost that is not reflected on the price tag. And while I don’t believe there is a malignant “they” in our culture, I am more and more convinced that I do not want to be owned by this attitude. I may not be able to escape the injustices of our world, and I may not be able to change it. But it’s worthwhile to make choices that prove to me as much as anyone else that I’m not a piece in this game. Like buying Fair Trade and cruelty-free products when I can, and supporting organizations that attempt address the crippling poverty that is too easy for us to ignore.