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What do the 3 fingers mean in The Hunger Games?

The Hunger Games saga, created by author Suzanne Collins, is an example of how stories, even fictional ones, have the ability to move people and create something greater than a simple adventure in the world of the imagination. Just like in books, in real life symbols have a much deeper meaning, capable of challenging inequalities and changing the world, albeit little by little.

An example of this is the 3 fingers symbol that appears in the books and films of the Hunger Games saga, which transcended fiction and began to be used in real resistance movements and struggles against the system in some countries.

What does the 3 fingers symbol mean in The Hunger Games?

To understand the meaning of the 3 fingers raised in the story of Suzanne Collins, we must understand the context in which the symbol was created. The story takes place in a dystopian future in the totalitarian government of Panem, where the Capital is nourished and served by the material provided by the 13 outlying districts, each with its own function that prioritizes life at the center of this government.

The districts are, as in any totalitarian government, oppressed, which causes the First Rebellion, where the Capital wins and the 13th district is “destroyed”. Since then, every year, the so-called Hunger Games are held, where two young people from each neighborhood are drawn and placed in an arena to fight for their lives, an event considered a great spectacle by the population of the capital.

The author of the books, Suzanne Collins, before she became a writer, worked with children’s television, and knew firsthand the importance of symbols in influencing people, which is why she took not just one, but two very important symbols for the story: the mockingbird and the 3-finger salute.

3-finger salute from the Hunger Games saga Image: Disclosure

The 3 fingers, in the story, are a symbol made in district 12, where the main character comes from, generally used in funerals, which according to the first book “Means thanks, admiration, farewell to someone you love”. When Katniss Everdeen volunteers for the Hunger Games in place of her younger sister, the entire District 12 performs the gesture of placing 3 fingers on her lips and then raising them as a sign of respect.

Once in the arena, Katniss befriends a girl from another district called Rue, from District 11, and when she dies, Katniss decorates the girl’s body with flowers and repeats the greeting on the screens so that everyone watching the matches can see. In District 11, this gesture is repeated by the population and ends up causing a riot, and from that moment on the salute becomes something much bigger, culminating in the end of the totalitarian government of Panem.

In the real world, the gesture has gained ground in some countries that have oppressive governments, especially in Asia, as in 2014 in Hong Kong, where the population demonstrated in favor of democracy, in Thailand, governed by a dictatorial monarchy where there is repression against democratic movements, and in Myanmar, which suffered a military coup in 2021.

In the latter, an account was even created on the threefingers.org website, Facebook, Instagram and X/Twitter with the aim of creating art and publicizing their fight for democracy in the country. Below is a post from account X that says “We have lost our right to live a life fit for humans. The intention of this mural was to give a pen to all citizens of Myanmar to write what they have lost and are losing since the military coup that occurred on February 1, 2021.”

The post What is the meaning of the 3 fingers in The Hunger Games? appeared first on Olhar Digital.

Source: Olhar Digital

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