The Hunger Games and Philosophy provides an excellent springboard from which to dive into some key themes in this incredibly popular trilogy. In ”Who is Peeta Mellark? The Problem of Identity in Panem,” Nicolas Michaud uses Peeta’s post-torture persona to look at the problem of personal identity. I will do my best to adequately represent her argument, as well as provide a response of my own.
Consider Katniss’s dilemma. Peeta returns from the torture of the Capitol a different man than she knew previously. In a physical sense, he is clearly still himself. In terms of character, attitude, and beliefs, he is quite different. So is Katniss reaching out to the Peeta she knew or is she creating a relationship with someone new? It may sound like an odd question, but consider some scenarios Mr. Michaud offers to help us think through this identity crisis.
If Peeta is simply his body, then as long as his body doesn’t change, Peeta remains. Whatever is true of Peeta is true of his body and vice versa. But if Peeta had come back from the Capitol dead, Katniss would not have rejoiced that Peeta had returned. Clearly, Peeta is more than simply a body. His body may be necessary for him to exist as a human, but it is not sufficient to explain who he is as a person. [Read more...]