TheHungerGames

All posts tagged TheHungerGames

When reading books such as The Hunger Games and Little Brother in class, I noticed a common theme of teenage defiance, which got me thinking. What if middle schoolers read Little Brother and saw Marcus as a role model? What if they started poking around the dark web? These kids could get into some non-fictional trouble fast.

From there, I started thinking about authors’ intended messages in young adult dystopian novels and whether or not middle schoolers are really picking up on these deeper meanings. To figure that out it is important to figure out who is reading this book and how it is being read. For example, a college graduate politician is going to read and understand The Hunger Games much differently than a middle schooler at the beach.

I wanted to know how the readers who understood the author’s intended commentary responded. Were they so disgusted by the corrupt government in Little Brother that they started working for NSA to fight the system from within? Or did they get disillusioned with the world and decide to hide away in the woods?

Based on the research, I formed a thesis: Young adult dystopian novels, if presented correctly to their audience, have the potential to inspire teenagers to have a passion for social justice; however, if left to their own devices many will only read the novel at face value.

I will then launch into examples from novels with poignant commentary on society, and the way that it is often misunderstood. My first example is The Hunger Games. While Suzanne Collins intended for the novel to be a criticism of capitalism and consumerism in developed countries, it was published so soon after the Twilight phenomenon that the teenagers were still wrapped up in love triangles, and thus “Team Peeta” and “Team Gale” were born. It seemed that the movie producers and the internet users had grossly over simplified this novel and glossed over the sheer horror of the games. Ironically following the example of the capitol. In my presentation, I will highlight two other examples: Divergent and The Red Queen in which novel’s commentary on society was also derailed.

I go on to argue that most young adult dystopia novels could also be classified as coming of age novels. This means that as protagonist loses their childhood innocence and struggles to come to terms with the unfairness of the world, teenage readers are as well. Because the protagonist often refuses to accept the flaws of the world, they are serving as a role model to the readers. Therefore, even if teenagers are missing the author’s intended message, they are in fact learning to question the world around them and notice the injustice.

To back up this argument, I then cite references I have found throughout my research and explain their arguments. I will also reveal the results of the twitter poll I took last week. Get excited!

 

Sources:

https://imgflip.com/tag/hunger%20games%20meme

http://howardyoung.info/lsithkey-hunger-games-meme-peeta.html

http://dilbert.com/search_results?terms=Security

https://webpages.scu.edu/ftp/zlee/littlebrotherhome.html

10 Hunger Games Memes That Reflect Our Lives

What I consider fascinating about a large portion of dystopias is how they play with the definition of a dystopia. In a lot of young adult dystopias, the author will often include a region, or class, that has a ‘utopia.’ What purpose does this bubble serve? Does it have to do with defining a dystopia and/or a utopia, or does it serve as a contrast?

In Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, The Capitol serves a dual purpose. The first purpose is easy to see; as the residents of The Capitol lead an easy and luxurious life, they are considered the utopia by the residents of the districts. However, what only a few Capitol residents understand is that their utopia is, in actuality, a dystopia. The incredible amount of government surveillance and manipulation could not allow for The Capitol to be a utopia.

Similarly, Lauren Destefano’s Wither contains a significant class distinction. The richest members of society seclude themselves from the chaos of a world ridden by genetic disease, and kidnap young women from outside the walls of their immense properties to provide themselves with wives. The hidden power struggle, however, is between members of the First Generation (those who live endlessly long lives due to genetic manipulation) and their children. The dystopia within the elite class is showcased through the actions of the First Generations. Those who remain exert immense control the lives of their children. In Wither, Linden Ashby has no idea that the world outside his bubble is in ruin: his father, a First Generation, keeps every possible imperfection away from his eyes.

What I also found quite intriguing in Wither, specifically, was the impact of dystopian and utopian elements on the progression of age. As soon as a woman can bear a child, she may be kidnapped to be married off and do so. Furthermore, those who manage to escape the clutches of the Gatherers live quite a hard life.  Finding food and safety is a constant struggle, which leads to premature maturation. Since individuals are forced to enter adult roles earlier (as there are virtually no adults), they mature faster.

 

Before English 1102, I had never really been exposed to dystopian literature. The most I knew about it was that it was the opposite of utopian literature… I had only read The Hunger Games, and that was since 8th grade.

Me before learning about dystopian literature

 

After having read The Hunger Games again, in addition to The Knife of Never Letting Go and Little Brother, I’ve realized that women tend to play significant roles in dystopian literature. More specifically, they use their leadership aptitude to lead oppressed members of a society. This is what’s most interesting to me about dystopian literature: the fact that women are represented as strong individuals who lead society in the search for freedom from oppression.

In The Hunger Games, for example, we know from the start that Katniss is a strong and driven character. She plays what would traditionally be known as “the man of the house” role by taking care of her younger sister and her weak mother. She then displays her courage by volunteering as tribute. It’s interesting that Suzanne Collins chose to make a female the one to volunteer; she’s definitely making a statement. Although some may argue that this was out of instinct, Katniss proves them wrong by further demonstrating her courage and bravery in the Games. One of the most significant parts of the book is when Katniss does the “three finger salute” because she inspires the citizens of District 11 to rebel against the guards at the screening of the Games. This is only one of the few instances in which we see Katniss’ leadership inspire rebellion.

As is the case with The Hunger GamesThe Knife of Never Letting Go and Little Brother also include strong female leaders. Although Marcus is the main protagonist in the book, Van is sort of the reason why he feels the way he does. A lot of his ideas stem from Van’s thinking, so Van still indirectly leads the oppressed through Marcus’ actions. Additionally, Van courageously stands up to Marcus when she disagrees with him. In The Knife of Never Letting Go, Viola is the book’s Katniss. Since she’s literally the only girl in a society consisting of only men, she plays a significant role. Todd, the main character finds himself in troubling situations many times, (to avoid spoilers, I will be very general) and who do you think saves him? Viola.

In all 3 of the books I have discussed, it’s evident that the authors strive to make a feminist statement; strong and independent women can successfully play the roles of leaders.

Propaganda was prodigious in The Hunger Games. The capitol of Panem has used propaganda to control the country. The capitol of Panem has made false claims to get citizens on their side. The Hunger Games is a story about 12 districts all located in Panem. Each year two people are chose by the “The Capitol” to represent their district in the Hunger Games by fighting till death. President Snow used live streaming, fashion, interviews, and drama to cover up the brutal reality of what the Hunger Games actually was. The Capitol made sure every household had a television no matter their place of living and also had TVs around just in case you were not home. All of these examples were used to persuade people in the country to believe and watch the Hunger Games as if it was a positive event for Panem. It made the games look as if it were more of a competition to the world.

Katniss became very popular in the Hunger Games. The celebrity and fame of the Hunger Games that was televised to the rest of the country showed a different image of what really occured. That was President Snow’s plan, to not show everyone what the real cause of the Hunger Games. It was shown similar to a reality show in the real world today. An example of propaganda in the Hunger Games was that Katniss and Peeta were acting as lovers. This made the audience more and more interested in the games. It also gave the audience mixed emotions because it was only possible for one them to win. Another example of propaganda in the Hunger Games was how they televised the games. It made it seem as more of a sport than a war. This made the games appear interesting and fun to be a part of while the people of Panem watched.

 

http://www.latimes.com/topic/entertainment/movies/the-hunger-games-ENMV0011405-topic.html

Winchel, Beki. 7 crisis lessons from “the hunger games.” 24 Nov. 2015. Web. 7 Feb. 2017.