Totalitarianism - Fact or Fiction?
By definition, Totalitarianism is the complete control of the people by the state, including private and public lives.
Any government who does not go checked by a representative of each region falls susceptible to this form of government.
In the Hunger Games trilogy, as well as many of the Dystopian narratives covered in The Hunger Games Companion, the governmental systems (or outlines of governmental systems as outlined by the facts of the story) are not checked by representatives outside the initial and ultimate leader of the system.
In Orwell's 1984, "Big Brother" dominates all of the society in the story. Even the voice of the everyday person is censored to extreme measures, making any form of opposition almost impossible in the world of 1984. There is also an immense amount of propaganda in this novel that serves the purpose of intimidating the individual, making their voice seem small in the "eyes" of the government. The combination of clear and present intimidation, mixed with the unseen techniques of capturing ones voice and movement, create a world where caution is the forced perspective of the individual.
These are two major factors of a totalitarian government - not only does one need the ability to monitor a society's speech and movement, in some cases down to the individual, but must also force this ability onto the people.
I stand opinionated, of course, but in the Companion book, it mentions the Patriot Act of 2001, a law the United States put in effect shortly after the terrorist attack on 9-11. It is implied in this book, based one examples paralleled in the chapter, that Patriot Act was a form of monitoring that was detrimental to its people. While I can see the hesitation to enact a law saying the US has control and monitoring abilities over all we do, this was something that WE SAID IN CLASS: "What is wrong with the U.S. monitoring what you do if you have nothing to hide?"
In 1984, while the extreme (and also highly unrealistic) scenarios of the main character Winston Smith made his life dreary, Smith's life was more or less content before he started dabbling with the boundaries of the government, in which case he became a target for the government.
(In our the idea of resisting oppression reflects the fanciful ideas of a juvenile rebel.
While it makes for good entertainment (In our culture, the idea of resisting oppression reflects the fanciful ideas of a juvenile rebel.) I believe our government misses the element of control that the dystopian world has. The systematic oppression found in a totalitarian government is eliminated in the U.S. by representatives of House/Senate and Congress, the law by its chiefs, etc.
In stories like the Hunger Games and 1984, there is no one to check Big Bother/ Snow, the principle difference between such stories and the U.S.
However, not every country has the system of government that the U.S. has in terms of representation. This means the threat of totalitarianism is all too possible.