The idea of the scapegoat is still alive and well. Middle-schoolers are regularly assigned Shirley Jackson’s 1948 short story “The Lottery,” about a small town that sacrifices one person at random every year for the sake of a good harvest. Similarly, the Hunger Games book and movie series depicts the scapegoat system at work in the selection of tributes (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v98Rh9qzmPs). As the book explains, “In punishment for the uprising, each of the twelve districts must provide one girl and one boy, called tributes, to participate. … Whatever words they use, the message is clear. ‘Look how we take your children and sacrifice them and there’s nothing you can do’” (Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games [New York: Scholastic, 2008], 18–19). Panem places the punishment for all people upon the tributes.
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