Hungry for The Hunger Games?

Massive box office smash. Best selling books. What’s the appeal of The Hunger Games? My take is that boys love the action. The girls love it as a romance. The guys love it as a video game/reality show mashup with not-so-virtual violence. The girls love the idea of being torn between and pursed by two courageous, honorable hunks, especially as that is played out more in the second and third books.

Some object to the premise, which of course is pretty gruesome: A dystopia in which two dozen teens are locked in a multi-square-mile “arena” with thousands of cameras to broadcast all the action around the country as each of the “contestants” attempts to be the last one left alive. Gruesome, yes. But it is a vehicle for highlighting the evil of the regime in power that constructed such a terrible scheme.

A lot of my well-read friends are enamored with the series. To me the characters in the books are interesting but two-dimensional. The plot line is full of action but the themes are not very deep. Entertaining? Sure. Make me a better person? Not so much.

But, hey, I haven’t seen the movie yet. Just read the book. What’s your view?

Author: Andy Le Peau

I've been an editor and writer for over forty years. I am passionate about ideas and how we can express them clearly, beautifully, and persuasively. I love reading good books, talking about them, and recommending them. I thoroughly enjoy my family who help me continue on the path of a lifelong learner.

5 thoughts on “Hungry for The Hunger Games?”

  1. Jadell:

    Positively, I think you can say that Katniss capture’s the adolescent mind well in all the ways you mention. The problem is that the adolescent mind is not an model to emulate. Katniss has many positive qualities, of course. But the things you mention are there too. I haven’t heard my friends address these issues. They are good questions. Maybe others have some insight.


  2. I am blogging my way the book. Maybe this is a stretch and is not even true to the text (or “exegetically” or hermeneutically” sound to apply those terms, but here goes …)

    The Hunger Games debuted in many theaters around the nation on Thursday evening, March 22. While I read the book and derived much enjoyment in the process, I won’t be going to see the film, however faithfully adapted it was. First, I want to bask in my enjoyment Collins’ craft. Second, I have picked up on several warnings from a respected Children’s Literature student regarding the cinematography, motion sickness and otherwise weak stomachs. I guess some flicks aren’t for the faint at heart. While am I am teased about my penchant for dystopian fiction, I believe that embedded in much of it are strong life lessons. In The Hunger Games, North America has been devastated by war and has been divided into 12 districts. There is never enough food; so annually, each district must send 2 young people – tributes they are called to the Capitol to compete in what is called The Hunger Games. The last two standing will receive food for their district for the coming year. Katniss comes out the coal mining District 12; Collins mentions Appalachia in her depiction of it, one might sense that it is an allusion to West Virginia – the tributes who represent the area are poverty stricken, lower class, gauche, not well trained, and hapless … until Katniss. Perhaps it is her sacrificial love, for it was her younger sister Prim who was to go those dreadful title games, but Katniss knew she would never survive –so she voluntarily took her place. Reason one I love dystopian literature so much – one can begin to juxtapose the gospel story so clearly. More on Katniss and Christ (if I am not regarded as blasphemous … she is rather falle) later. Considering … the depth of love in a fallen world even in imperfect characters.

  3. Cathie–you are right about the theme of sacrifice, one taking the place of another doomed to die. It’s noble and portrays the best humans have to offer–while also echoing Christ’s own sacrifice for the world. I still haven’t seen the movie, so can’t confirm or not what you’ve heard and read from others about it. But certainly portraying scenes of violence visually can be a totally different experience than reading it in a book. What we see can stick with us much more intensely than what may be described in a sentence or two. Andy

  4. There’s a certain numbness to the books. I don’t know if it’s intentional or not; part of me looks at it as uninspired writing, while another part of me wonders if it’s just a reflection of the premise that this has been ostensibly going on for 75+ years—unless President Snow is an octogenarian, nearly ever character mentioned in the books has been aware of these games their entire lives.

    The movie turns out to be a fairly good depiction of the book, with only a few minor changes to simplify the storytelling.

  5. Well I was ralely ralely hoping they would choose someone that LOOKED slightly like Katniss so, if they don’t dye her hair, I’m gonna be very annoyed. I must admit; she looks kinda, uh, dreamy, to be Katniss, but, um, we’ll see, I guess. (Although I was going for Hailee Steinfield (she’s a good actress (Nominated for an Academy Award at 14?) and looks like a Katniss) or Emma Roberts)

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