|This thesis is about female characters and gender in two dystopian novels, The Handmaid’s Tale and the contemporary phenomenon The Hunger Games, and how they relate to each other and to men. The larger focus will be on individual freedom through gender performance through the references to the romance plot, thus emphasizing gender as a social construct. Further this work explores how the gender performance we see in both works emphasizes an exaggerated female gendered persona, but in completely opposite ways. The Handmaid’s Tale is a story where women’s rights have been revoked, and thus women are back in gender roles taken to the extreme, with no rights, no opinions, and no cosmetics or beauty products of any kind. A once independent woman is turned into an object, a ‘vessel’ whose sole purpose is to bear children to save the population. Meanwhile, The Hunger Games exaggerate today’s Hollywood-glam oriented society, and thus the female role that the narrator has to perform is a traditional girly, made up, and lovestruck teenager, where the focus is on her looks to distract from her personality. I have used existing criticism to see whether or not Katniss is a hero or a ‘shero’, whether her supposed ‘male characteristics’ makes her a ‘shero’ or just a “man with breasts”. We will see how performing traditional forms of gender, including going into romantic and/or sexual relationships, is a means of survival for both narrators. For this part about performativity, I have used Judith Butler’s work as the theoretical groundwork in addition to a couple of essays by various authors. In addition to gender, this research focuses on sexuality and heteronormativity within the works, especially the one geared towards the younger audience. The conversation is grounded not only in how gender is expressed, but also in the presentation of the different romantic and sexual relationships in each novel. One interesting aspect of the “Hunger Games” series explored here is how it has been perceived by large portions of the mainstream audience as a love story with a girl struggling with choosing between two handsome suitors, when this ironically buys into exactly what the Capitol in the novel tries to enforce upon its citizens: namely a distraction from the horrors and corruptness of the society they live in.