Category: The Hunger Games

Catching Fire 4, the end

by Andrea Elizabeth

I wasn’t sure I’d read the second book after the first, cliffhanger though it was, but after a few days I figured I’d better finish what I start. It took less time to read the imaginative second. In my last page-turner experience, I kept wondering how Rowling could keep a story going just as suspensefully as from the start, same with Collins. Rowling broke ground with the death of sympathetic characters, and did it hesitantly. Even then, though, it was in such a fantastical world of magic that death by wand was almost cartoony, as realistic and well written as the characters were. The deaths in The Hunger games are much more stark. Yet I probably can compare them to the graphic deaths in the Iliad. You can see how Collins pushes the limits with the Young Adult genre. She keeps some things sacred, like virginity, but this is even compromised with the nudity. Apparently the movie cuts that part out. I don’t like the idea of young people, albeit older teens (I wont let my 11yo read it), having the graphic images in their heads, but in the first two books they are dealt with in a somewhat veiled, not dallied over way, though bluntly. Still it leaves me feeling a little violated, but so do a lot of other things, like women in pants. It’s impossible to not be compromised in our society.

I think violence and situational, briefly described nudity in books do not elicit the same passions as they do in pictures, moving or not. This is one reason I don’t want to see the movie. The lectionary Bible reading for today was pretty concisely graphic too. But the written word can carry quite a relational, emotional impact. I don’t know if this is from being brought up Sola Scriptura and thus taught to rely on the written word for all relationship, in other words an acquired mode, or if it is part of human nature from the beginning. Apparently the ancients got quite into Homer.

As to Katniss’ fickleness in relationship, I suppose it is blamed on her losing her father and the desperate circumstances in which she comes to rely on whoever is available. She loves the one she’s with. Sad, really. Or does it show the capacity of a large heart? To care deeply about numerous people sounds good, but not when it becomes romantic. That sounds unfaithful.

Nevertheless, Hunger Games #3, Mockingjay, here I come.

Catching Fire 3, who are you going to call?

by Andrea Elizabeth

Another thought about Katniss’ relationship with her mother and sister. She only confides in the three men, not any of the women. She doesn’t think the women can handle it. That she has to protect them. The men want to protect her. All women can do is worry and nourish the body and heal wounds.

The Orthodox call Mary our Protectress. The fact that a lot of women do not seem up for this role, if it is part of the essence of womanhood, seems an aberration. Were they spoiled into thinking they should only be the recipients of protection? And I don’t believe that it is necessarily military type protection that they should provide. There are other ways to shield children from harm. Katniss excuses her mother’s retreat from that role by considering her mother’s own devastation at losing her husband. Katniss doesn’t allow herself to be devastated to the point of not being able to consider her loved one’s needs for long enough for them to feel abandoned. I do believe that checking out for that length of time is a choice. Yet sometimes we don’t realize how abandoned they feel. This story doesn’t go into how her mother and sister feel about how she’s always sneaking out to talk to the men and doesn’t tell them much. Yet Katniss seems to feel that they genuinely can’t handle it – so it’s for them. Maybe it’ll give more of their point of view later.

Catching Fire 2, Wednesday before Eastern Holy Week

by Andrea Elizabeth

To page 195. Thoughts.

Why do we like reading about stress? For the boost of adrenaline in safety, I suppose.

Is it realistic to think that Katniss is the center of everything? I just heard on NPR about a North Korean ex-prison camp inmate, Shin Dong-hyuk whose every move was watched and acted upon. This is true enough in those totalitarian regimes (and amongst celebrities). It’s weird how much they care. I wonder what escaping is like and finding no one cares what you do or say anymore. I bet some part of you misses the attention.

Along with the comparison I made yesterday about the President of the Capitol being like some people’s ideas of God, it seems Peeta is the Messiah type person. Most people like N.T. Jesus, it’s the O.T. Father they have a problem with. Yet Jesus says, ‘if you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father’. So who is the one who sends bad, pain-inducing things in your unsuspecting way? Lots has been written about that. But the reason I can’t be an atheist or divorce the Father from the Son is along Job’s way of thinking, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” The causes and results of bad things can be worked for good. Fear can be negative or positive. Cooperation with evil seems the result of deception and fear. A lot does seem to depend on location. Yet everyone has a choice for which they are responsible.

Since evil is in the world, Fr. Hopko says that it’s all God has to work with. Sad state of affairs, yes. Who will deliver us from this body of sin and death? Sunday’s a-comin.

Catching Fire, positive and negative reinforcement in the 2nd book of The Hunger Games

by Andrea Elizabeth

I had it in the back of my mind during the first book, but now (up to page 29) that Katniss has met the president of the Capitol, I’m wondering if he represents some people’s ideas about God. He’s the one behind the Hunger Games and knows everything that’s going on and seems to be able to see into people’s hearts. He exploits people’s feelings, and can manipulate circumstances to achieve his own ends: utter subjection of the people in the districts in order to pamper the people in the Capitol for I don’t know what reason.

It strikes me that some could view God as doing this with the proof text of ‘all things work together for good for the sake of those who love God and are called according to his purpose.’ And the part about some vessels being made for dishonor and some for honor. But in The Hunger Games, it’s all coerced, not a reward or punishment for love. There’s rewards and punishments, mostly punishments in the districts and mostly rewards in the Capitol, for obedience. Rebellion is not tolerated.

The Hunger Games 5, have to admit I ended up getting caught up

by Andrea Elizabeth

So I’ve finished reading it. I think a jury of her peers would get Katniss off on self-defense. But Rue is more spotless, imo. The author does a good job of describing people’s different modes as instances of their different natures and nurtures. Katniss is different than Rue, so they acted differently. I don’t think I’ll see the movie (for now) because I agree with one person who said the book is criticizing the gladiatorial spectacle, so watching the movie would be hypocritical. But I think I’ll let my daughter go with her friend as I don’t think it’s the only way to look at it. The way Katniss describes how different people watch the Games is interesting. The Capital for entertainment, the Districts to see how their loved ones are faring and to learn from in case they get chosen.

The controversy in my mind over why the hesitation with this story over others is that it involves children killing other children, instead of adults killing adults. The bad teens are the Careers who’ve trained their whole lives to ruthlessly win. The good ones are the self- and others-defenders. Katniss is too resolved from the beginning to win herself, but she believes that her cause is unselfish, as I imagine many soldiers going off to war do. I can’t condemn it.

Then I started thinking about women going off to war. This made me think of the case in Massachusetts where an Episcopal Priest let his church split over the ordination of women a few years ago, if I remember correctly. He said that once you ordain women, then the door will be open to homosexuals. I thought it was a non-sequitur until it happened. I wonder if letting women fight in combat leads to letting children.

And I also thought of Susan in the Chronicles of Narnia with her bow and arrow, and the war involving the children at the end of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Maybe C.S. Lewis opened that door. I also thought of TL,tW,athW at the table scene towards the end of The Hunger Games. I think it was more gruesomely portrayed in that movie than this one will be. I think I’ll let my daughter tell me if it is.

Which leads me to another point. Apparently the children who have been raised in a 9/11 world can’t really be shocked anymore. The cat’s already out of the bag. Even though Vietnam was on the news when I was little, it seemed far away and something I could ignore. 9/11 hit a lot closer to home for this generation. I think the author nailed PTSD as well.

The Hunger Games 4, it’s also a popularity contest

by Andrea Elizabeth

To page 148. Katniss is just too happy about being made to look pretty. She also likes her stylist too much. His job is to prepare people to be the most popular so that they will win the most sponsors who I guess provide food and other necessities when the Games begin. She has no qualms about his helping her to dress and to reveal personal things in the televised interview. She feels grateful to him for his help. I wish she had more of an attitude of reluctantly using a compromised person who has made a bad choice to voluntarily participate in anything about the Games. I also don’t like the shallow fact that her attractiveness gives her an advantage.

The Hunger Games 3, grin and bare it

by Andrea Elizabeth

Page 81, coming up for air. As the killing game can be compared to more average interactions, so can the other compromises Katniss makes. Her waxing and styling treatment remind me of Dr visits and the jr high gym locker room. You do it because the authorities tell you to. These exposures are almost if not enough to justify homeschooling and denying medical care as well as airport security. But we submissively do it anyway. We put up with so much and are forced? to sell parts of our soul each time.

The other compromise on my mind at this point is faking things to suit the powers that be. Katniss feels guilty for venting to her mother – the only time she expresses her stress over her lot. The rest of the time she fights back tears and hides her distrust of everyone. Faking it is how you survive. Yet we don’t want her to go around emoting either. Stoney patience does seem the best strategy at this point.

The third thing is how she feels flattered by the crowd’s praise even though these are people she despises. She goes so far as to smile and wave at them. I wonder how she’s going to deal with that and the other crowd pleasing things she’ll do in order to increase her chances of survival.

The Hunger Games 2, justifiable killing

by Andrea Elizabeth

To page 48, hardcover version, I am feeling distanced after initially identifying with her, because she so readily assumes the viewpoint that she is going to try to be the last one of twenty-four standing, and this will involve killing people, including someone who had suffered for her in the past. But I have to consider that protagonists’ thoughts may not always be justifiable, though I hope they are understandable if not relatable. Perhaps the author’s life can provide a clue.

From Wikipedia
Collins says that the inspiration to write The Hunger Games came from channel surfing on television. On one channel she observed people competing on a reality show and on another she saw footage of the invasion of Iraq. The two “began to blur in this very unsettling way” and the idea for the book was formed.[5] The Greek myth of Theseus served as basis for the story, with Collins describing Katniss as a futuristic Theseus, and that Roman gladiatorial games formed the framework. The sense of loss that Collins developed through her father’s service in the Vietnam War also affected the story, whose heroine lost her father at age eleven, five years before the story begins.[6] Collins stated that the deaths of the young characters and other “dark passages” were the hardest parts of the book to write, but she had accepted she would be writing such scenes.[7] She considered the moments where Katniss reflects on happier moments in her past to be the more enjoyable passages to write.[7]

And from here, ” Another inspiration was her father’s career in the Air Force, which allowed her to better understand poverty, starvation, and the effects of war.[2]”

Katniss’ rationalization is that she needs to survive in order to care for her little sister, Prim, whom she does not want to lose her childhood or girl-ness as she herself did. But her mother has a job now, and two others have offered to help. Katniss also said she can’t turn down a fight. She worries about having human opponents because she only has experience hunting animals. At least she realizes that is “awful” to think of them as animals to psych herself into it. This sounds like the author is portraying the mindset that soldiers assume to help them kill monstrous enemies. But Peeta isn’t an enemy. If she really feels it will be ok to kill him for her sister, it brings up another question. What does placing our loved ones before others mean? Even pacifists admit that if someone threatened their family, they may be driven to kill. Katniss’ rationalization is a lot less direct, but it’s still the same. But it seems like pride to think her protection is what is necessary to the point of killing others to maintain it.

But before being too hard on her, how many subtle ways do we get rid of our own competition? Arguments, gossip, bribery, to name a few. Distinctions can be made, but they are the same, they just have more of a possibility of being reversed than death. Or do they?

Tha Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

by Andrea Elizabeth

My tendency is to avoid traumatizing myself, so when I read the first page plus one sentence of The Hunger Games, despite wanting to know what my daughter was raving about, I put it down. I do not like books, (somehow movies aren’t as bad, books seem more emersive, perhaps because you’re more active in paying attention), I do not like books that start out painfully describing how desperately poor the main character is. In this case how the teenage girl, starting at age 11, became the head of the family. The dad is gone and the mother voluntarily, it seems, incapacitated. Not entertaining. I couldn’t understand why this book is so entertaining to so many. After lengthy discussions with my daughter (instigated by a harsh review linked on facebook with comments that made me feel it is not right to see the movie even, because of violence to children) I am coming to believe that if you don’t identify with the character through personal experience, it’s not traumatizing to read fictional, at least, accounts.

But now a friend has asked my daughter to see the movie with her. Before I say no, I feel I have to read the darned thing with an open mind. Through page 28 (I plan on talking about content) my main thought is that it’s wrong to judge starving people. I don’t like how the real life Donner Party survivors were treated because some of them had resorted to cannibalism. Starving and extreme deprivation does something to you. Something most people don’t experience. It’s one thing to starve to death when there’s no choice, but when there’s an option, even a previously unthinkable one, it’s a different matter to turn it down. I imagine it’s like voluntarily holding your breath longer than a minute.

It’s interesting how she can’t forgive her mother. Was her checking out as desperately motivated, or was it a selfish choice at the expense of her daughter’s childhood? The dress from her mother’s glory days was so telling. She thought letting Katniss wear that was such a gift. After the unglamouous compromises to her own standing and femininity Katniss has already made in order to feed her. I have a lot more trouble forgiving that blindness too.