The Hunger Games – allegory for our world? (part 1)

By | January 6, 2014 | 0 Comments
I have been wanting to have a conversation with my friend Oscar who is 12 and quite a Hunger Games fan, but he is quite busy with life these days – so alas, I have to take my questions and observations out on the blog.
Over my winter break I read The Hunger Games and watched the movie.  For the record, as usual, the book is much better and more dimensional than the movie. I thought the story was so interesting and provides such a great commentary on American Society today.  My next few blog posts are going to be based on lessons from Hunger Games – I hope you enjoy.  This week’s is about—1) reality TV and its hold on the US.
Upcoming posts will be:  2) the story as a metaphor for personal challenge and lot that we have in life ; 3) the distinction between common sense learned from applied learning and that which comes from “training;”  4) the separation within and between regions, cultures and communities

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Katniss Everdeen and The Duck Dynasty—flip sides of the same coin?
What is the difference between the corporate selling of TV programs and The Hunger Games?  On reality TV individuals compete against each other in inane settings, or show their supposed day-to-day lives which are highly contrived and hyperbolic examples of their “beliefs” or ambitions.  As if the programs are not ridiculous enough, they can become fodder for political or social movements.  Katniss
The Hunger Games, which we are to believe are a fantasy world, have the same reality TV element and are a government-sponsored enterprise, to commemorate an uprising in the country. In Hunger Games, tributes are rewarded by commercial sponsors for actions and behaviors that garner greater viewer engagement. What are we telling 14 year olds when they are rewarded for kissing people?  The more they kiss the more rewards they get?  Ick.  And likewise, where genuine feeling and nice gestures (Rue’s funeral scene) are condemned and even personally dangerous?  How do we feel about the fact that subverting authority for the wellbeing of those you care for may garner retribution?  Obviously the story is fiction, but I see it as an allegory that bears discussion for the millions of young people who have watched it.  Likewise, it bears reflection for all of us who might be drawn into any reality TV series where we look at the commercial messages behind them and consider what is motivating the competition

 

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