I analyzed the exposition of An Ember in the Ashes and The Hunger Games. An Ember in the Ashes takes place in terrifyingly brutal world, where Laia and her family lives in a poverty-stricken city known as Serra. Under the Martial Empire, the slightest defiance is met with death. The one’s who don’t pledge their whole life to the Empire are met with executed along with their loved ones, and the destruction of everything under their possession. “A familiar look – the one he gives me if I wake from a nightmare or we run out of grain” (3). This sentence suggests that their family struggles to maintain simple necessities, such as food. Furthermore, the word “familiar” emphasizes how frequently this problem occurs. “The martials conquered Scholar lands five hundred years ago, and since then they’ve done nothing but oppress and enslave us” (5). This sentence expresses Laia and her family’s hatred for the Empire, and also the cruel things they do keep their city in line. It also communicates what the Empire wishes for from the citizens, which is slavery and labor.
The exposition of The Hunger Games takes place in Panem, a nation that lies in the ruins of North America. In the middle of their nation stands the Capitol, and surrounding it are twelve districts. The Capitol is unforgiving and cruel and does anything they desire to keep the twelve districts under control. Any act of rebellion is punished with execution that is broadcast to the entire city. The protagonist of the story, Katniss, lives in the poor side of District 12 with her mother and sister. District 12 is a poor, coal-mining district where men and woman with “hunched shoulder” and “swollen knuckles” (4) live and work to provide for the Capitol. In both texts, the protagonist lives in poor conditions. Serra and District 12 are both the worst living conditions in the nation/country. “In theory, it’s supposed to be electrified twenty-four hours a day as a deterrent to the predators that live in the woods that used to threaten our streets” (4, The Hunger Games). “We can’t own property or attend schools, and even the mildest transgression results in enslavement.” (34, An Ember in the Ashes). These sentences show how less the Capitol really cares about their citizens. The rulers of the cities/districts were one of the many aspects where An Ember in the Ashes and The Hunger Games are alike. They both don’t are for their health, education, or safety. All the Empire/Capitol desires from the citizens are the products and services they provide to make their lives more enjoyable. Additionally, both Empires are punishing and merciless towards their citizens. Any act of revolt is punished with death. Public executions are methods that both nations use to threaten their citizens. “Taking the kids from our districts, forcing them to kill one another while we watch – this is the Capitol’s way of reminding us how totally we are at their mercy” (18, The Hunger Games). “Usually, the Empire raids in the heat of day. The soldiers want Scholar mothers and children to watch. They want fathers and brothers to see another man’s family enslaved.” (5, An Ember in the Ashes). Based on these segments, I can infer that both Empires are frightened of rebellion from their citizens. They are unsure if they can withstand the power of it. Consequently, they make sure their citizens don’t have the courage to start a revolt by constantly threatening them. The Capitol and the Martial Empire both try to act invincible to hide their uncertainties.