“Are You Preparing for Another War?”: Un/Just War and the Hunger Games Trilogy

  • Roxanne Harde
Keywords: Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins, just war theory, martial theory, children and war


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.


DOI: 10.1353/jeu.2019.0003

Author Biography

Roxanne Harde

Roxanne Harde is Professor of English at the University of Alberta’s Augustana Faculty, where she also serves as Associate Dean, Research. A Fulbright Scholar, Roxanne researches and teaches American literature and culture, focusing on children’s literature and popular culture. Her most recent book is The Embodied Child, co-edited with Lydia Kokkola (Routledge, 2017).

How to Cite
Harde, R. (2019). “Are You Preparing for Another War?”: Un/Just War and the Hunger Games Trilogy. Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, 11(1), 59-83. Retrieved from https://jeunessejournal.ca/index.php/yptc/article/view/434