This question originally appeared on Quora.
By Kat Li, Quora biz dev
Question Details: This is a follow up question to Are the Careers more desensitized to the Hunger Games than other District tributes? If so, why? I'm not suggesting poorer districts create "Careers" the way that 1, 2 and 4 do. However, they have public schools. Wouldn't it be beneficial to have some portion of their public education aimed at Tribute training (basic survival skills, hunting, maybe some weapons training)? It seems like the districts would only benefit from having such a program since the entire district stands to gain in the event that their tribute wins and they would be helping their kids improve their chances. Or if this was openly disallowed by the Capitol you'd think that after 74 years some of the districts would have organized underground training. From the sounds of it the Peacekeepers in 12 would have turned a blind eye. All they need is a few handy volunteers willing to devote some time: mentors like Haymitch or Katniss's father and a space in which to do it.
At first glance, the premise laid out in the question details (i.e. that some sort of tribute training program be part of daily life for the children of the poorer districts) seems perfectly plausible. In the real world, poor neighborhoods/regions often produce tougher children. Dire economic straits have caused many poor people to fight professionally, be it as a boxer or as a soldier. It seems entirely natural that the poorest districts stand to gain the most from producing winning tributes and have the least options available to them for improving their situations.
However, Collins' choice to not have the poorer districts have tribute training programs makes sense given the world that she has created because:
- First and foremost, I cannot imagine the Capitol seeing such programs as anything but subversive. Not only is tribute training officially outlawed (excepting the districts that the Capitol favors and turns a blind eye to), but also, this sort of training would be incredibly useful for aspiring rebels. We know that the Capitol purposefully isolates each District. Having basic survival/foraging skills would greatly hinder this goal. Similarly, the ability to wield weapons, even rudimentary ones, would be counterproductive to a government who is trying to oppress its citizens. The confidence that would come from a citizen's belief that they can defend themselves could easily translate to confidence in one's ability to take on an oppressor.
- The Capitol ostensibly provides official tribute training to the selected tributes each year. Although the Capitol doesn't want to train its citizens in any sort of subversive skills or tactics, it makes an exception for chosen tributes. They rely on tributes putting up some sort of fight in order to provide better entertainment, so they need as many tributes as possible to have basic fighting abilities before they enter the arena. And, of course, all but one of them will die anyway, so the government needn't worry about them spreading the knowledge amongst their districts, given how tightly they control the winners. The difference between giving basic training to 12 children a year (11 of which will die) and training every child in every district is huge, given the Capitol and its goals.
- Each district has a set industry which all of its citizens fit into. Learning any skill that is not directly related to the industry (i.e. mining or fishing) would only detract from the time that they spend specializing in it. Though it might overall help the district's citizens, it provides no real benefit to the government, who care both about oppressing its citizens and extracting as much from them in terms of resources as possible.
- Both hunting and weapon use/possession are crimes in the poorer districts. The Capitol would have no reason to lift these bans for school training, given the reasoning behind point 1.
In short, it would materially benefit the poorer districts' citizens lives to have basic survival training but it is counter-productive to the Capitol's goal of keeping its citizens as powerless and controllable as possible. The richer districts are both physically and emotionally close the Capitol, allowing them to retain the privilege of organizing unofficial tribute training programs, a privilege which would be denied to the more dangerous districts at all costs.
More questions on The Hunger Games:
Follow Quora on Twitter: