Saturday, March 17, 2012

Hunger Games

Okay, I don't know why this has been bugging me so much, but it has. Last week I bought "The Hunger Games" and read it in one day. I'm not exactly sure why I thought it was a good idea.

If you haven't read it, basically it's like Survivor, except with kids and that they have to kill each other to win. A group of kids aged 12-18 are put into an area and the last one alive wins. And it's all on live television to their villages.

I know there is a ton of hype around the book and movie and so many people seem to love it. But, I don't get it. Maybe it's the topic of death is just too fresh for me. I finished the book feeling disturbed. The idea of an author using the death of children as entertainment leaves me very unsettled. I know, I may be overreacting a little, but it just really troubled me. And so many people let their kids read it, too. And they are buying tickets for a midnight showing to go see the movie the day it comes out. I don't know about you, but there doesn't seem like anything worse than going to see a movie where children are put in an arena to fight each other to the death. I just don't think I could stomach it. And also, this just seems like a "let's imitate this" situation waiting to happen. I know there are (obviously) tons of people who loved the series. Maybe someone can explain to me what I'm missing? If you read it, what did you think? Did you let your kids read it?


  1. It's disturbing Jana, because it was intended to be.

    I haven't read the book yet, though I borrowed a copy and it's sitting at home somewhere. But I've heard the general gist of it - it sounds a little messed up, but that was the intent.

    Fiction - in any medium - is, inherently, a look into the human soul. Whether that's love, hate, pain, sickness, loss, grief, joy, et cetera, it's all there.

    Of course, humanity also has a black pit of darkness in it's collective soul, and a great many books seek to explore that part of it. As I said,I've never read this book, but from what I understand of the plot, it's about our greed and lust for violence.

    As for the topic of using children for these "games", that was an explicit choice by the author - for the vast majority of mankind, the thought of a child in pain is the most horrible thing we can imagine. But whoever wrote this book wondered what would happen if humanity had lost it's regard for human life - even the life of a child.

    Anyway, just my thoughts. Sorry for the essay - it's just a topic I'm invested in.

  2. I read the whole series and yes the death of the children is disturbing, but I couldn't help but keep reading. It gets better throughout the series. I read this article in the Seattle Times and I think it sort of describes why young adults crave the story so much.

    Don't know if that helps, but I thought it was interesting enough to share.


  3. I too haven't figured out why it's "all the rage". I read it. I read the whole series. I found the general premise of the book twisted. I didn't hate it. I didn't love it. I enjoyed it, found it strangely captivating like an episode of Dateline (which I'm embarrassed to admit I sometimes watch). You won't find me at the midnight showing. I may get around to it when it comes out on DVD. There you have it.

  4. Hi Jana, I have not read the book, nor do I intend to after finding out more about it. I think you are pretty smart to determine this is desturbing. I leave you with 3 things:

    1:Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praisworthy--think about such things. Phil 4:8 NIV.

    2: Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious--the best, not the worst, the beautiful, not the ugly, things to praise, not things to curse. Phil. 4:8 the message.

    3: A Cherokee Teaching.

    An elderly Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life...

    He said to them, "A fight is going on inside me, it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.

    One wolf is evil -- he is fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, competition, superiority, and ego.

    The other is good---he is joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.

    This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too."

    They thought about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

    The old Cherokee simply replied: "The one you feed".

  5. Thanks for your input everybody. Jimmy, I guess it makes sense if the author's intention was to disturb people. It worked for me!

    Katie - that was an interesting article. This quote was interesting, "We're the generation that's obsessed with reality television and watching other people's tragedies for entertainment, watching people's lives fall apart while we eat popcorn," said Lawrence, 21.

    Thanks for the input everybody!

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  7. Read it (twice), enjoyed it, and felt it was very thought-provoking...even if I still have a little PTSD from the final book. Finish the entire series and I think it will shed light on why the author choose children (it's attention-getting and is an effective model for contrasting the extremes of innocence and oppression) and what she ultimately thinks of war. It is a captivating social commentary on poverty, starvation, government and war. Can't say I agree with how she ended the series (believe, as the reader, are equally punished for finding any entertainment value in the Games), but it does point out that perhaps the misery of others shouldn't be used for our amusement...that we, as a society, cannot afford to lose our humanity...and maybe that there are things in this world still worth fighting for. Give it a try; you might just be surprised.

  8. Wow! This has been so always I am out of the loop, but I had been wondering what this was about, I even Google it the other day but never got around to reading what I found :) so thanks!!

  9. I haven't read this. It doesn't sound like something I want to read, but I'm just curious if it is meant to be an allegory or satire. I taught high school English, and we read "The Most Dangerous Game." It sounds similar. We also read a short story about a village stoning a woman to death (I can not think of the name). Both were meant to be satires showing the evil in mankind. It sounds like the premise is the same.

  10. I read them all. They were quick and easy reads. I found the first two most captivating... the last got a little too political, feel-good for my taste. The author is trying to make a point about war, the government, etc. I'm not sure I agree with her logic, but the writing is superb, being a book for teenagers.

    And...I will be one of those people at the movie this weekend.

  11. Thanks all for your input! It's been interesting :) I guess maybe the author had some kind of message she was trying to get across that I must have missed...although if these are books for young adults, I don't know that they would get these messages either (about governement, humanity, etc.) For one reason or another, I chose to read the first book just like everyone else. I'm not sure I will be reading the rest though. I will be interested to hear what you think of the movie if you go see it!

  12. I understand your being disturbed, as I was too after I read the series a couple months ago (and still am). I didn't find any "entertainment" in the games themselves - it was the overall story that was compelling. I read the books addictively but I can't say I "loved" them in the sense that I enjoyed them for their entertainment value. I "loved" them because they made me think and challenged my own ideas about war and violence. I do think she was trying to make a statement about war, violence, the innate "goodness" and/or "evil" in mankind, and reality television. Whether you agree with the statement is up to you. I think until you read the entire series you can't really make a jugment call one way or the other. That said, I've yet to figure out what my "jugment" on the book series is. And, as a mother, the books were much more difficult for me to read than they probably would be for a young adult.