Mar 27 2012
Katniss and Her Friends: Why "The Hunger Games" Resonates



So every teenage girl, it seems, wants to be Katniss.

I'm not surprised.  I would, too.

The Hunger Games is about culture, and more specifically, Katniss vs. Culture. And it's our culture, of course, through the lens of caricature.  

It's our culture, and every teenage girl, it seems, would like to pick up a bow, and fire an arrow directly into the heart of it, and watch it die.

-----

In the books (I haven't seen the movie, yet) Katniss is substance, and adult culture - embodied and enforced by the Capitol - is all about appearances. It's mean, it's selective, it's heartless, it's cruel, and it pits one-teen-against-the-other.  

Katniss cares about her appearance, but not very much.  It's the Capitol, the culture, that cares very much, foisting makeup and fashion experts upon her, each charged with making her understand how important outward beauty is to her survival. They convince her: Change, and change outwardly, and extremely... or you will not survive.

Katniss has romantic feelings, but they don't control her story. It's the Capitol, the culture, that wants romance to control her story, to define her, and give her meaning.

Katniss wants to protect her younger sister from this culture. No girl, she thinks, should be drawn into this, but certainly not one so young. But to her horror, the Capitol, the culture, wants to draw in the youngest, the pre-teen, girl.

Katniss wants to provide for her family, in the absence of her father. The Capitol, effectively, took her father from her, through his work. Forced to work in mines, he was killed in an explosion.

Katniss wishes she didn't need to hunt, but she is willing to do what it takes to make it work. The Capitol, the culture, literally sets up barriers to stop her.

Katniss finds a boy/man who is flawed, but self-sacrificing, protective, warm, and committed to not being changed by the culture. He will not, he says, become a self-seeking "monster." The Capitol, the culture, is patronizingly charmed by that... as it is fully committed to changing him into a self-seeking monster.

Katniss knows truth matters. She's no philosopher, but she knows loyalty matters. She knows sacrificing for the vulnerable matters. She knows there is such a thing as Good, even if she can't articulate it. The Capitol, the culture, tries to convince her otherwise.

Katniss loves her family. The Capitol finds that quaint, and valuable only in that it adds to an entertaining storyline, since amusement is, of course, the ultimate goal. And a human, a teenage girl, only has value to the extent the Capitol, our culture, is attracted to her.

No wonder Katniss wants to kill it.

And millions of teenage girls want to help her.

Comments (52) -

3/27/2012 9:30:31 AM
Debra Masters United States
Debra Masters
And millions of grown ups want to help...Archery anyone?
3/27/2012 9:53:06 AM
Adam United States
Adam
Brant, so it boils down to legalism versus grace? If so, that's pretty awesome.
3/27/2012 10:05:55 AM
brant h United States
brant h
I hadn't thought about it through that lens, but there's very much something to that.

And I'm with you, Debra.  Through the show, I'm REALLY hoping to underscore these themes, the Kingdom themes, that are at utter odds with our culture.  Trying to figure ways to be creative about it.
3/27/2012 10:10:05 AM
Tiffany United States
Tiffany
I saw the movie, but I haven't read the book. After seeing the movie I didn't want to read the book because the premise is so appalling. However, after reading your post, I did a 180 and am going to read it. Thanks.
3/27/2012 10:11:25 AM
Darla Wilson United States
Darla Wilson
I think about the books more from a historical / sociological point of view. The regions are dependent on and compete against each other like the former USSR. The fighting teens remind me of Gladiators fighting to the death in Roman times. And the extreme waste and wealth remind me of our good ol' USA (and many other countries) where predominately city dwellers live in obscene luxury while others starve.
3/27/2012 10:12:31 AM
Debra Masters United States
Debra Masters
The books made me angry. The very PREMISE that we would offer up our children in this way to appease a government made me LIVID. But then I thought of all the young people we send off to war and I realized we are doing this already on a MASSIVE scale. And then I was just sad...
3/27/2012 10:22:18 AM
Eileen Atkinson United States
Eileen Atkinson
I was going to say the same thing as Debra Masters - a lot of young adult women as well.  I'm almost 32 and find that I'm still fighting with how our culture wants me to feel about myself.  How I'm supposed to look this way, or dress this way, or act this way.  Lately my pastor has been talking a lot about trying to fight this very thing by remembering who we are - we are CHILDREN OF GOD, we are not of this world, we are set apart because we have Christ.  We fight our culture every day just by proclaiming that.  For me, it gets very hard at times to remember that because of the constant bombardment of how the world and our culture forces us to be a certain way.  I know teenagers these days struggle a little more than I did when I was a teen, but it's truly no different for young to older adults either.  
Oh and Brant - I love your show.  It's totally unique and I can relate with it a lot because it's "real".  Thank you for being REAL and HONEST.  God bless you!
3/27/2012 10:27:43 AM
Meg Davis United States
Meg Davis
I'm going to see this tonight. Haven't read the books but am eager to. I did archery when I was young; today I use art.
3/27/2012 11:23:43 AM
Allie United States
Allie
I don't know. After the first book Katniss got on my nerves. I don't disagree with anything you've said, but sometimes her motives to me seem more selfish, especially in the third book. I keep trying to tell myself that anyone else who went through such traumatic experiences would act the same way, but part of me still isn't convinced. It's like the only reason she stands up boldly to the Capitol instead of running away or something ultimately is because she has to, not because she wants to fight for every one. Maybe that makes her humble, I'm not sure yet. I'm personally more drawn to the heart of Peeta and how he chooses to react.
3/27/2012 11:40:43 AM
Tiffany United States
Tiffany
Your post explains it so well, Brant!  I do agree with Allie, though.  I think this describes the first book really well, but in the second and third books Katniss really changed - especially in the third one.  Where she could have showed mercy and said "we aren't going to be like the Capitol" she turned around and did exactly what the Capitol had been doing, and Peeta supported her.  (How's that for being vague?)
3/27/2012 11:56:12 AM
Chuck Stark United States
Chuck Stark
Orly?!?  And my daughter wants to see it because of Josh Hutcherson.  So shallow, methinks...  Wink
3/27/2012 12:10:16 PM
Joe United States
Joe
I thought your daughter liked the books, Chuck.  So,uh... boo-ya, etc.

Allie and Tiffany, I get your point. I kinda remember thinking the same thing, late in the series.  Maybe Collins, the author, couldn't figure another way.  I don't know.
3/27/2012 12:36:47 PM
Tammy K United States
Tammy K
not a teenage girl anymore, but I want to help her too!
3/27/2012 12:44:30 PM
Dana Wright United States
Dana Wright
I haven't read the books or seen the movie, but my son 12 and step-daughter 11 have.  I too am a student of human nature and I believe what you have said about the culture and those opposed to it is right on the money.  I also believe that every time we oppose the culture in our own lives and teach our youth to do the same we are in fact shooting an arrow in the heart of that culture.  Each choice to not believe the lies of pride and image and selfishness is an arrow to the heart of that culture and kills it's ability to penetrate our own heart.
3/27/2012 12:54:07 PM
Hayley United States
Hayley
This was so insightful! Yes! I totally agree with this blog post. Katniss fights the Capitol's views of what gives girls worth - appearance (especially) and being self-seeking. She's had a gritty life with a lot of hardship and is a PERSON, while the Capitol only wants to see her as a pretty face.

Katniss vs. the Capitol is really
Substance vs. Fakeness

Girls are tired of being viewed a something to look at. We have minds, too. Katniss has depth and we're all rooting for her side to win.
This blog post made my day!
3/27/2012 1:01:15 PM
Matthew United States
Matthew
Excellent post, Brant!

On Kat's selfishness...I think it makes her human. She isn't some superhero and she isn't perfect--she is broken and hurting and often confused. Katniss represents more of who we are, while Peeta shows the grace and love we need. That's my take on it, anyway.
3/27/2012 1:03:37 PM
Arike Netherlands
Arike
I agree, Brant.

I think it's her rarity.

Katniss is one of the few young women in books who is allowed to be primarily a person in her own right, independent of her family or any love interest. She has strong ties to family and friends, yes, but they do not define her. Too often, women in books are defined by the way they relate to one of the male characters.

In today's society, women, like men, often have to define themselves, through study, career, living on their own, finding their own friendships and a place in society before thinking about a family. Our late teens and early twenties, we are alone.

What role models do we have for this? How should we behave as a female outside of the categories of "obedient daughter", "sexy girlfriend", "loving wife" or "good mother"?

A similar issue for Christian women is: who are we, left alone with God, apart from family or husband or children or parents? There are few stories in the Bible that tell us, and so they become famous, like the book of Ruth.

Katniss is a secular teenage Ruth, I guess, or something close, in that she exhibits courage and determination when the going gets tough in a way that rings true, that we can try to emulate.


(I've only read the first book, so I'm very curious now to see if she really becomes that ruthless)
3/27/2012 1:17:54 PM
coco United States
coco
My philosophical 11 year old heard your comment...would Jesus read the hunger games? She said, "No way, he wouldnt need to...He knows everything." Enough said. Smile
3/27/2012 1:19:26 PM
ashleigh United States
ashleigh
Brant,
THANK YOU!!!  You inspired me!  I wrote my own post, and included your post in it.  Check it out, hopefully it makes you proud!
http://mcmahonmunchkins.wordpress.com

Ashleigh
3/27/2012 1:19:39 PM
Sylvanna United States
Sylvanna
I havent read the books or watched the movie, but I have found that the guys around me seem to the most interested in this book series and the movie. I am wondering if the men/ soon to be men are tired of the constant battle for looking better and what it does to the female heart . I am not saying that in a sense men dont contribute to this issue , but I am saying that women blow it out of proportion more than men , and then blame the guys like it is all their fault , sorry I disagree. And I am a female! It is important for us to put forth the best version of us , but the best version of us starts with our heart , and our minds and then that will display itself on our outer shell weither we are "beautiful" by todays standers or not . some of the most beautiful and amazing woman I know of are ladies in my church that have been following God for 40+ years . And they have been in the "fight " for longer than I have been alive , And they resonate a beauty that I can only pray God blesses with me .
3/27/2012 1:20:50 PM
Teresa United States
Teresa
Not sure, since I have not read the book or gone to see the movie, whether I even have a reason to give a view point, but I will say that most of the time you "hit the proverbial nail on the head" Mr. Brant. Seems that those who attack and criticize are searching for a button that needs pushed. You never go there, it isn't about that for you, and I appreciate that as a Mom and Christian. I suggest to those who wonder what Jesus would do, invite him into your life and let Him show you for Himself.
3/27/2012 1:27:17 PM
Christine United States
Christine
I agree with most of what you said, Brant. You brought up many good points that I didn't think of before. As a single young woman in her 20s, I think the book resonated with me for many of the same reasons. The pressure to find human romance and to be outwardly beautiful, and to be defined by those things, certainly doesn't stop after a young woman leaves teenage hood.
As to your other question, perhaps people don't think Jesus would read the books because of the violence. But one of the things I found most refreshing about the books was that they did not glorify the violence, but rather showed its true nature of destruction. The Bible itself is full of violence, and teaches us the truth about it. Certainly the books are not exactly Christian literature, but they go to depths and truths that I rarely find in modern (especially young adult) novels.
3/27/2012 1:30:30 PM
Taylor United States
Taylor
I think its an interesting concept. It shows that humanities desire for power, structure and even sometimes the comfort of government are more important than food and life itself. We dotn worry about it now because we think we have an abundance of it. lets be thankful and open our eyes to not abuse what we have now. And about Jesus reading the book, of course he would, if he likes that genre and its a good book! Woould he read Twilight? no way, why? because they ARE AWEFUL BOOKS! Jesus told stories and wrote stories, and, lets be honest, there are more brutal stories in the bible that Hunger Games doesnt even come close too. There is my long-winded opinion.
3/27/2012 3:06:08 PM
cassie United States
cassie
being a teenage girl my self reading this i think you hit it right on the nail that culture wants us to become somthing we are not and just the idea that somone would fight it and win gives me hope in my own battle
3/27/2012 3:41:36 PM
beth United States
beth
Being a teenage girl myself, I agree wholeheartedly. Katniss, at the beginning of both the book and the movie, shows her hatred for the Games, but then sacrifices herself to save her sister. She promises her little sister to try and win, for her, se she can take care of her again. She says to Gale, I'm a hunter. She does not want to kill these people. Her refusal to kill Peeta and her care for Rue also paints her as selfless, protective, and loving. I think that she is a beautiful picture of selflessness that we, as a culture, would do well to learn from.
3/27/2012 5:34:24 PM
Chelsea United States
Chelsea
Yeah, that actually kinda makes sense.  I feel the same way, even out in the "adult" world.  But for me, my draw to the book was the hypotheticals of "What if we lived in that society?"  I'm always thinking in what'ifs.  What if we lived in Panem and had to watch every year as our teenagers are yanked from us and forced to die.  But then as some people have said, in a way it does happen.  The difference between Panem and our current wars though is that Panemi picks 24 youths at random.  Our wars are made up entirely of volunteer forces.  So I don't know.  I'm still more drawn to the what-ifs than the whole thing of "lets fight against society".  Then again, I've never really given too much weight to society.  
3/27/2012 6:10:43 PM
Bree United States
Bree
Being a teen girl hooked on Hunger Games, I'd say that this article is so right, especially, I think, for Christian teens struggling in this culture right now. Katniss is that sort of person we all want to be, though maybe not with a bow and arrow. Though I have no objections to learning archery.
3/27/2012 6:13:45 PM
catn United States
catn
I do not plan to read the hunger games or watch the movie. And because of that alot of people think im weird. The main basis of the hunger games is teens killing other teens and in todays society thats the last thing we need. Violence already fills tv shows, books, movies, and video games. And the hunger games makes it "ok". They try to cover it up with romance, adventure, teens against culture, ect. No wonder our society thinks violence is acceptable.
3/27/2012 7:55:58 PM
Erin United States
Erin
Wow, this is the most amazingly true thing I’ve read about the books, ever. I myself am a teenage girl that has read the books (and seen the movie), and I would like to share what I’ve learned during my Hunger Games weekend.
     The night of the midnight premiere, my youth pastor posted about how he didn’t approve of The Hunger Games because it was kids killing kids, which it is. And since at the moment I read that I was sitting in the theater waiting for the clock to strike midnight, I suddenly felt really, really bad. I look up to my pastor a lot. He’s the coolest guy I’ve met, mostly because he’s not afraid to be different from the rest of the world. (Who else would trek around the town in footie pajamas to make a Christmas rap for us?) And I felt bad because he had always told us that Twilight wasn’t good, and Glee wasn’t good, and Jersey Shore wasn’t good, and well… you get the picture, and now here I was, sitting in theater waiting for a violent, morally-corrupt movie to come on. That’s when I started thinking.
     I said ‘Hey, The Hunger Games isn’t ALL bad.’ My dad and I had a huge discussion on the themes of the books and how they relate to Christians and our society. (In the middle of the theater with the local secular radio station host running around. Fun!) It really got me thinking about how our media affects the thoughts of us teens. We’re told to do this, and this, and that, but the truth is, it doesn’t matter how we look, what boy we like, what shows we watch. At the end of our typical, drama-filled, teenager day, it matters about how we showed everyone vacuumed into that stuff that they don’t need it either.
     So we got back from the movie, I went to school the next day (half asleep), and listened to my other friends that went to see it talk about how cute Josh Hutcherson was. I didn’t really pipe up much, and maybe I should have said what I thought. I really wanted to point everything my dad and I had discussed, but I thought that my friends would just look at me funny and keep talking, which is exactly what they did when I innocently tried to point out the nice special effects. How was I going to start an enlightening conversation? Well, I didn’t try.
     Then came the Facebook nightmare that was Saturday and Sunday. By now EVERYONE had seen the Hunger Games. I had even gone back with my mom, my friend’s mom, and my friend. Now this friend is slightly different than my other friends. She is the only one I can get an in-depth, more religious, heart-to-heart conversation with. I was exciting about sharing my thoughts, but all she ended wanting to talk about were the movie’s shortcomings. Maybe I should have pushed harder there, too. Anyway, Facebook was BLOWN UP with posts about the Hunger Games. The one and only topic? Peeta versus Gale. Fights broke out over who called who. (I could start a whole other discussion about how much that bothers me.) People who hadn’t read the books went googly-eyed over Team Peeta and Team Gale. (Their secret thoughts: “Yay! More Twilight love triangle drama!”) I was overwhelmed by the fact that NO ONE gave half a thought to what the Hunger Games was about. Once one of my guy-friends (who borrowed my copy of the book over the weekend so he could have read it before seeing the movie. Extra awesome points for him!) posted about how girls must always separate love interests into teams. My comment was: Twilight has teams because that’s what it’s about. It’s a paranormal romance. When you focus only on the romantic aspect of the Hunger Games, you take away from the bigger theme.
     And then I read this wonderful, magical blog post of awesome. It has expanded upon what I have made the theme of The Hunger Games to be. Katniss is human. She doesn’t want to kill people. Not many of the tributes do. Which I believe counteracts the whole teens-purposefully-killing –teens idea. Yeah, they’re killing each other. No, they do not want to do it. (Let us leave out the Careers for now) They are being forced, and unlike Katniss, they have given in. Katniss stays true to herself. She does not kill just to kill. She sacrifices herself for her sister. She stands up for the little guy. She does not allow herself to become sucked into the Capitol’s game. The world needs more Katnisses, teenage girl or not.
3/27/2012 8:24:58 PM
Kyndal United States
Kyndal
Okay so today I was listening to this station on my way to golf practice, and I heard you talking about this, and i hadn't actually read the blog but i was thinking to myself, the reason I love it is because i would love be as strong a woman as Katniss is. Then when i read this, i was surprised to see that you basically covered exactly what my thinking was. Being 17 is tough, but this book gave me some confidence.
3/28/2012 3:02:15 PM
Ashton M. United States
Ashton M.
Thank you Brant!

I have a few friends who I consider to be strong Christian people who are dead set against this movie because it's so brutal and disgusting and some have said "evil." But that's the point isn't it? To show the control that the Capitol has over the districts and Katniss. It boggles me that there are people who just saw the story at face value and didn't see the true allegory of how our culture controls us in the same way. How the culture can control a single girl into changing herself. That, to me, is more disturbing than the brutality of the Games.  
3/28/2012 5:21:06 PM
Tina United States
Tina
I haven't read these books, but have considered reading long before hearing about the movie. I heard from a friend that the books are awesome, and to understand the movie, I need to read the books first, but I have so many books on my "to read list" that they are really far down.

It is great to know that the books do have a great point to prove and subtly do it, especially since they are so popular among our young teens and such. Thanks for righting this article. It is really good to know what to expect with these books. Right now, it looks like the movies may become as popular as Twilight, only they do have something valuable to prove. Smile
3/28/2012 11:17:54 PM
Angela United States
Angela
Right on, Brant -- as usual.

Erin, stick with your convictions and ability to see deeper into things, and don't feel guilty for liking a story for the right reasons.
3/29/2012 1:22:08 PM
kristy United States
kristy
My church has been talking about not being like world just like your post. This post helped me even more to act different from the world's culture. Thank you so much.
3/29/2012 2:07:24 PM
Ken Hagerman Paraguay
Ken Hagerman
So, in the end did she take the boy because she loved him or because she needed to save him from the capitol? Did she make her choice or accept a choice given her by circumstance?
3/29/2012 3:36:07 PM
Denise United States
Denise
@Ken Hagerman

I don't think it's either of those. No, she didn't love him, at least not in the first book. But she didn't /need/ to save him from the Capitol, for any reason other than to show the Capitol that it didn't own her. Society's expectations dictated that she fight for herself, survive at any cost. She refused to preserve her own life by sacrificing the life of another innocent, which was basically giving the finger to everything the Capitol stood for.

The circumstances actually gave her an easier alternative: she could have let Peeta kill himself for her. Instead she made her own choice, by risking her life so that they might both live.
3/30/2012 12:43:59 PM
Kate Parker United States
Kate Parker
(*Spoiler alert for those who haven't read all 3 books*) I think you are definitely right about the theme and underlying message of the first book. The superficial culture draws many parallels with our society. And that's probably the reason why all the teenage girls are attracted to the books. They see a female protagonist standing up to this and although it's easier to conform to the world's ways, they want to be different and stand for what's right. But I like the books for a different reason - the themes about war and violence in books 2 and 3. When District 12 bans together with District 13 to rebel against the government, at first everyone is sure about their purpose - they are eliminating the enemy so there will be peace. But in trying to do that, they become what they set out to destroy: controlling, vicious, and violent. Katniss realizes this in one of my favorite scenes in book 3 and tries to convince her allies and enemies that when they fight and kill each other, everything the Capitol stands for is still winning. She realizes that the answer is not to get rid of the people responsible, but to get rid of the problem. She can clearly see the human cost of war and violence. I think this says so much about our world today. When September 11th happened, we rushed to war - partly because we needed protection. But we've got to admit that more than a little bit of it was because we wanted revenge. Now think of how many people, innocent or not, have died because of this war. When we chose violence, even for noble reasons, it only hurts everyone involved. We need to fight evil itself instead of people. On the surface, The Hunger Games is about the superficiality of our culture, but I think the deeper meaning of the entire series is radical peace.
3/30/2012 12:46:34 PM
Joanna United States
Joanna
I don't think katniss ever wanted to go against the capitol until she was forced to. It was always about saving someone else. Whether that person was Prim or Peeta. I agree with Matthews comment. Katniss is just a girl who doesn't have the luxury of worrying about trivial things because sue is responsible for the life, safety, and well being of another. That is her constant motivation. Howevver I was disgusted with the ending of Mockingjay and can not reconcile what happened with the rest of the story. I do not understand why the author negated Katniss's entire purpose and in such a cold unacknowledged way.
4/5/2012 8:08:06 AM
Bridgette United States
Bridgette
Awesome.
I don't love the story but that's only because I WISH I could do what she did in her "capitol", I don't have the gall or confidence to stand up for anything I want changed in our "gov't," I also, Like Katniss, don't have much ability to watch people suffer without running away because I have a very small bit I could do to help a suffering person. Out of everything I realized I fell in love with Peeta so at the end of the story I was happy but my heart hurt for all the pain the remaining characters had been through, and the fact the their life, however good now, would never be the same, probably because my heart hurts for the same reasons in my life.

Thanks for doing the blog, It was great,
Sincerely,
Bridgette Smile
4/6/2012 9:41:06 AM
Mary Kay Laurent United States
Mary Kay Laurent
I read the first book of the Hunger Games with my 11 year old; although it was harsher then I would have liked to read to her, we couldn’t put it down.  I read the second on my own since the subject matter was too much for my daughter.  However, a year later, now that she has seen the first movie we will read the second together so I can edit as needed.
I thought the Hunger Games was a great example of communism gone evil (think Nazi Germany, Albania) where there are no freedoms, religion (no mention of God let alone Jesus) there is only an evil authoritative government whose President could be equated to the Anti-Christ.  The first district is completely entitled where everyone is beautiful and shallow and the government is headquartered, think LA. The rest of the 11 districts (each has their own purpose for the government) are harsh, deprived of food and simple material necessities.   A type of black market evolves so people can survive.  You also see how people will either use their creativity to survive or desperation.  The 13th district was decimated by a bomb 60 some years ago when the people revolted but lost.  In retaliation, the government has the Annual Hunger games where they recruit a boy and girl from each district from a lottery to play till death, the last person standing… to remind the masses that the government rules, never to revolt and keep everyone scared.
I think it is a harsh subject but can be an excellent learning tool of how a godless communistic government can inflict such horror on its people to maintain control.  Let’s face it, all Pagan societies throughout history had human sacrifices, this world is not different.
This movie shows how throughout the most horrible evil, good human nature can still exist and win out.   Katness becomes a hero by doing the right thing and ends up being the symbol for a revolution.  If you use some of the analogies, I think you can use this movie as a tool to show what a godless country becomes and how the good in mankind will win out.
4/6/2012 2:08:07 PM
Eric United States
Eric
You might be interested to see that this post got a write-up on Hogwarts Professor by John Granger, who's a fairly well-respected scholar of such things:
www.hogwartsprofessor.com/.../
4/9/2012 12:29:48 PM
Ed United States
Ed
I have read the series and have seen the movie.  It is cruel the way that the "Capitol" controls everyone.  Reminds me of Hitler and Stalin.  Yeah and our country is headed that way too.  We need a Mockingjay to unite the United States.  I agree with Mary Kay
4/14/2012 4:08:06 PM
Delilah United States
Delilah
I love the hunger games but its so scary that kids kill kids I just hate that part but that how the government today. They take kids and put guns in their hands and tell them to kill people, it's just not right. I would just hate for someone to come to my house and say take this and go kill someone, thats why I might not go see the Hunger Games because it just kinda scary for me to put the hunger games into reality.
4/19/2012 6:06:14 PM
Cathi United States
Cathi
catn,

I think that your view would change if you actually DID read the books or watch the movie.  Kids killing kids is only a part of it.  They are forced into it.  If the author had used adults in the games, it would be like any other gladiator-style movie.  The fact that kids are forced to kill kids is what shocks us into realizing what our culture has become.  The kids do not want to be there.  Katniss volunteered to sacrifice her own life to save her sister, that is Christ-like.  She also risked her life to save others during the Hunger Games.  

These books/movies are not for everyone to see, but be careful not to make judgments blindly. In fact, the movie does not portray the violence and lust that you typically see on TV or in movies.
4/30/2012 5:02:51 PM
Luna United Kingdom
Luna
OMG!!!!!
i love hunger games!
just not Katniss, Peeta, or Gale
i only like Finnick and Cinna
why would you like some lame guy that threw bread at you and cant kill a bunny to save his life? i dont get it peeta is lame
so is katniss
5/1/2012 6:58:12 PM
Elizabeth United States
Elizabeth
I love how katniss is willing to go against everything she is told to do by the capitol so she can provide for her family even if it is crossing into the words that are forbidden. Btw Peetah is HOT!!!! anyway go katniss
5/8/2012 6:25:22 AM
Kevin Knox United States
Kevin Knox
You know, the culture theme's in there but only as a subtheme. The primary theme is Katniss' inability to accept love, first casually offered from Gale then intentionally offered by Peeta. Her childhood of poverty causes her to filter all relationship through a subtle cynicism, and she keeps assuming Peeta's gaming her somehow. Katniss is broken.

Witness how she only finds safety in keeping her face completely void of anything she's honestly feeling. This is classically counter-productive. It can be interpretted narrowly as a way of protecting herself from the culture, but it fits much more perfectly as an expression of emotional filtering. She cannot connect to people.

I've not read books two and three, but I'd bet a nickel the author spends a lot of ink showing how the violence of the games cripples Katniss further, and leaves her only less able to give or receive love healthily. And I'd bet another nickel the message of the book is war kills even the victors.

The culture thing matters to the author, but this is a book about war's impact on children.
6/2/2012 1:06:03 PM
Claire United States
Claire
brant im the same as u! ive read the books just havent seen the movie and yes at school EVRy1 want to be katniss
6/27/2012 8:50:06 PM
Anthony United States
Anthony
Wow! I am very impressed with your analysis of Katniss' character and of the major themes of the book. I actually took a Studies in Fiction English class at my college last semester in which "The Hunger Games" was one of the books we read. NONE of the things or themes we talked about in class are close to what you have come up with. The struggles you have recognized are SO obvious (and powerful), yet the class failed to see them! Haha, then again, maybe I was asleep the whole semester Tong. It's also funny that you give your analysis as a means for explaining why the Hunger Games is so popular, because the main question our prof. posed was, "Why is this book so popular?" We never really answered that question. Wish I would have read this during the course. Great insights!
6/28/2012 8:39:41 PM
Hallie United States
Hallie
  I finally saw the movie a couple days ago and loved it.  Can't wait to read the books!  
  P.S.  I totally agree with Elizabeth - Love Peeta! Laughing <3
7/2/2012 10:32:34 PM
Maddy United States
Maddy
I love Hunger Games! At first I thought that I loved it just because I'm an avid reader and it was well written and I wanted to be like Katniss 'cause she was really cool and stood up for what she believed in. And now it has all been explained in one cool blog. LOVE IT!!
9/15/2012 9:08:32 PM
Addie United States
Addie
At first i read the books because it was somthing i could sort of relate to, me being an active bowhunter. But after reading the this blog, watching the movie, and finally finishing the last book, I began to realize how deep The Hunger Games really is. The Mockingjay had such a beautiful ending. I literally broke into tears. These books actualy made me rethink my life.;)  

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