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‘The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson and ‘The Hunger Games’ by Suzanne Collins are two thought-provoking works of literature that explore the theme of dystopia and the dark side of human nature. Although written in different time periods and contexts, both stories share common elements and raise similar questions about society, power, and the individual’s role within it. This essay aims to compare and contrast ‘The Lottery’ and ‘The Hunger Games’ in terms of their setting, themes, and the portrayal of the characters’ struggle against oppressive systems.


‘The Lottery’ takes place in a seemingly idyllic small town where a yearly ritual known as the lottery occurs. The story unfolds in a familiar and ordinary setting, which makes the shocking events that transpire all the more unsettling. In contrast, ‘The Hunger Games’ is set in a post-apocalyptic nation called Panem, where the Capitol exercises control over twelve districts. The stark contrast between the opulent Capitol and the impoverished districts emphasizes the vast disparity in wealth and power.


Both ‘The Lottery’ and ‘The Hunger Games’ explore themes of control, sacrifice, and the consequences of blind obedience. In ‘The Lottery,’ the townspeople unquestioningly participate in the ritual, demonstrating the power of tradition and collective mentality. The story raises questions about the nature of conformity and the dangers of blindly following societal norms. Similarly, ‘The Hunger Games’ depicts a society where children are forced to fight each other to the death as a means of entertainment and control. The novel examines the themes of oppression, rebellion, and the sacrifices individuals are willing to make for survival and freedom.

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In ‘The Lottery,’ the characters are presented as ordinary townspeople who carry out the lottery without questioning its purpose or morality. The focus is on the collective rather than individual characters. In contrast, ‘The Hunger Games’ introduces readers to Katniss Everdeen, a strong-willed and resourceful protagonist who becomes the symbol of resistance against the Capitol. Katniss’s struggle against the oppressive system and her journey from self-preservation to rebellion highlights the power of individual agency and the capacity for change.

Struggle against Oppression

In ‘The Lottery,’ the characters are trapped within a system that perpetuates violence and death. Their struggle against oppression lies in their failure to question and challenge the lottery, as they passively accept their fate. In contrast, ‘The Hunger Games’ portrays a more active resistance. Katniss, along with other characters, refuses to conform to the Capitol’s demands and actively seeks to undermine the system. The novel presents a narrative of hope and resistance, illustrating the potential for change even in the face of overwhelming odds.


While ‘The Lottery’ and ‘The Hunger Games’ were written in different time periods and explore dystopian societies through different lenses, both stories delve into the dark aspects of human nature, the consequences of blind obedience, and the struggle against oppressive systems. ‘The Lottery’ challenges readers to question the power of tradition and conformity, while ‘The Hunger Games’ showcases the power of individual agency and resistance against injustice. Despite their differences, both works serve as cautionary tales, reminding us to examine the systems we uphold and the potential consequences of our actions.

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