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Media Critique: Hunger Games and Adolescents

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1 Media Critique: Hunger Games and Adolescents
Elise Thrift Rebecca Bellanti


3 Adolescence Adolescence is a time for unique self discovery and identity formation. Adolescents use this time to make judgments and regulate their behaviors (Dunn & Craig, 2013, p. 304) Image retrieved from:

4 Erikson’s Psychosocial Theory
Emphasis on becoming a distinct individual. Personal accomplishments are more important than collective group accomplishments. Answers the question, “Who Am I? (Dunn & Craig, 2013, p. 305).

5 Erikson’s Psychosocial Theory Ages 12-18 years of Age
Ego Identity Vs. Ego Diffusion Sorting out the various roles one is in. Ex. Student, Sibling, Child, etc. Forming an Ego Identity A basic sense of who we are as an individual Ex. Self-concept/Self Image Ego Diffusion A major conflict between two roles with opposing value systems

6 Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages Ages 18 years and older
Intimacy Vs. Isolation The ability to share oneself with another person without fear of losing one’s identity Image Retrieved From:

7 Social Reference Group
“Adolescents are surrounded by a bewildering variety of roles offered by a multitude of social reference groups with which they may identify, and in so doing help to define themselves” (Dunn & Craig, 2013, p. 305 ). i.e. parents, friends, social groups Each role that is experienced feeds the development of identity (Dunn & Craig, 2013, p. 305 ).

8 James Marcia’s Identity Statuses
Foreclosure-accepting an identity without working through an identity crisis Diffusion-inability to focus on identity formation, lacks direction Moratorium-actively working through an identity crisis Identity Achievement-acceptance of identity based on individual choices (Dunn & Craig, 2013, p. 305)

9 Role as Friend Katniss and her hunting partner, Gale Hawthorne, share similar struggles and experiences. They talk about defying the government and do so by hunting in the forest outside of the approved boundary. In spite of facing the games where only one person survives, Katniss and Peeta begin a friendship. In the end, Katniss refuses to kill Peeta and the two plan to commit suicide instead of playing the game the way the government intended. Image retreived from Iimage retrieved from

10 Role as Parent Caretaker for younger sister Primrose
Volunteers for the reaping in her sister’s place During the games Katniss befriends Rue, a younger tribute, who is similar in age and stature to her sister. She acts as a parent to Rue and protects her during the games. Katniss accepts the role of provider and hunts to supplement the families food supply. Her father who is now deceased used to hunt with Katniss.

11 The Process of Identity Formation
Katniss initially struggles with identity formation in a number of ways. She is sharing the role of friend, and parent, all while trying to achieve autonomy. With this in mind, she fits into Erikson’s role of identity vs. role confusion. Katniss must find her identity so she does not diffuse her ego. Additionally, according to James Marcia, Katniss is in moratorium towards the beginning of the movie. She is actively seeking who she is and working through her shared roles.

12 Identity Achievement Provider: hunted to feed family because rations allowed by government are insufficient Caretaker: for younger sister Primrose Volunteer: for the reaping in her sister’s place Friend: maintains friendship during games Image retrieved from

13 Insights Katniss is 16 and is moving toward emerging adulthood.
She has begun to accept and indentify with her various roles. At the end of the movie, Katniss is able to effectively establish her individuality. She chooses not to conform to the Capitols role of her as a tribute, but instead chooses her own path. She is independent of her society's standards and recognizes herself not only as a winner of the Hunger Games, but a rebel against the Capitol. She maintains a stable relationship with Peeta in her friend role and continues to be parent to her sister Primrose.

14 References Dunn, W. L., & Craig, G. J. (2013). Understanding Human Development (3rd ed.). Upper Sadle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc. clevverTV. (2011, November 16). The Hunger Games Official Trailer! Retrieved from

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