“Are You Preparing for Another War?”: Un/Just War and the Hunger Games Trilogy
Drawing from the body of just war theory, this article analyzes Suzanne Collins’s discussion of warfare in the Hunger Games trilogy, tracing the ways in which decisions about war unfold along the lines of the love triangle plot involving Peeta and Gale. Although there are important issues about social injustices driving the trilogy, a fair amount of scholarship has focused on romance in the novel. The more interesting tension in the narrative is not Katniss’s romantic entanglements but the conflict among Peeta’s adherence to the principles of just war, Gale’s disregard of them, and Katniss’s continuing moral dilemmas about them. Arguing that Katniss’s deliberations about war—both joining the rebellion and fighting in the war against the Capitol—are aligned with the foundational principles of just war theory, this essay traces the mandates of jus ad bellum as set out in The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, where Katniss, influenced by both Gale and Peeta, considers rebellion, and then reads in Mockingjay the ways in which the ethical demands of jus in bello lead her to choose Peeta.