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The Violence in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Is Actually Good for Teens

•, By Devon Maloney

 The third installment of the Hunger Games film franchise—in which protagonist Katniss Everdeen struggles with PTSD while simultaneously becoming the official face of a rebellion—is by far the most evocative of real-world inhumanity. It's a truly upsetting beginning to a two-movie reckoning, but it's mostly because this isn't Saving Private Ryan—it's a story meant for teens.

The series' previous installments, of course, were no frolic in the meadow, either. After all, we're talking about a world where children are forced to murder each other to help their starving families survive a pitiless, ruling elite. The people of Panem had been stabbed, shot, and beaten dozens of times—both on camera and in Suzanne Collins' book series—before this most recent film hit theaters.

But as its source text might have signaled to incoming audiences, Mockingjay's violence is something different altogether. Its brutality is partly why the book has been so relatively unpopular within the fandom; running the gamut from public executions by firing squad to prisoner torture and fear conditioning to hospital bombings, the ugly cruelties of this part of the story blur the line between critical fantasy and real life situations more than its predecessors.

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