Monday, December 5, 2011

My thoughts on The Hunger Games: Part 1

Can we talk about The Hunger Games, ya'll? I mean, can we? Because I have FEELINGS about these books, and I need to write about them.

I am pretty sure that my BFF Q was the first person to recommend these books to me. When she described the general storyline to me, I remember thinking, "That sounds about as interesting to me as watching snow melt", and was certain I would never read them. Finally, after months and months of hearing about these books everywhere, I finally broke down and bought them. To say that I loved them is a gross understatement. To say I psychotically loved them and am now awaiting the movie with something bordering on obsession is closer to accurate.

So, if you have been living under a rock and don't know what THG is about, here is the general storyline: in a sort of post-apocalyptic world located in what used to be North America, the nation of Panem is run by a corrupt government that controls its people rigorously, resorting to violence on the regular. Every year, to remind the people how large and in charge they are, The Capitol holds an event called The Hunger Games. Each district in Panem (there are 12) holds a Reaping where they draw the names of one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to be the tribute for their district. These tributes are sent into a huge arena where they fight to the death. The story is told from the perspective of 16 year old Katniss, who volunteers as Tribute for her district after her little sister's name is drawn.

There are so many things about these books that I find striking. They are incredibly well written. They feature a totally badass female heroine who is not obsessed with any boy. They address a lot of  themes that it is a good idea to get people to think about: oppression, injustice, the role of government in those things, and staying true to oneself in the face of adversity. What I want to talk about, though, is the thought that I couldn't drown out as I read that first book: Could this happen in our society?

The simple answer to that is no. I don't think it could, at least not now, in this day and age, or even in the near future. I do think that if The Hunger Games are the proverbial Emerald City, we are definitely on that yellow brick road, if you know what I mean. "What?" you say, "No way! We would never parade people on television just to get entertainment out of their misery!"


Sure, current reality TV is a far cry from forcing children to kill each other. Reality TV stars sign up for this. They give up their privacy and emotions voluntarily in exchange for the promise of wealth and/or love. And fame. You have to admit that this happens because we, the public, EAT IT UP. Now, imagine in a few hundred years, after we have been through wars, famine, and natural disasters, after we as a people have seen it all, what will entertain us then? I am not saying this will happen, or that it's even likely. I have more faith in humanity than that. I'm just saying that if you really think about it, it's not that much of a stretch.

Stay tuned tomorrow for part 2 of my thoughts on The Hunger Games, which I have tentatively titled, "B-b-but THE VIOLENCE! OMG, the CHILDREN!!!" That could change, though.

Do you think that our society could ever become this heartless? LMK in the comments.


Anonymous said...

As a grandmother, educator and (even though I live in the deep south) a civilized human being. I adored The Hunger Games. Couldn't put any of the books down. Was fortunate enough to read one right after the other. It was perfect! Do I think that our society could ever become this heartless? Sadly, haven't we been heading that way?

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