The Hunger Games – a review… Of sorts

If you ask a few friends of mine they would probably tell you I’m more than just a little obsessed with The Hunger Games. I’ve seen the films and read the trilogy… Twice. Actually, I’ve seen the films more than twice but let’s not delve into just how obsessed I am with the whole Hunger Games thing. Let’s just say that therapy might be a very necessary thing. πŸ˜‰Β In saying that, my obsession isn’t all bad. It’s been quite motivational really and very thought-provoking.

For those that aren’t familiar with the Hunger Games, it’s a trilogy of books written by Suzanne Collins, based in the futuristic country of Panem in what is now North America. Panem is made up of the Capitol and 13 districts. A revolt caused District 13 to be destroyed and every year, to keep alive the memory and consequences of rebellion, a male and female tribute, aged between 12 and 17 are chosen from each of the 12 other districts to travel to the Capitol and fight to the death in an arena every year. It’s much like Survivor, Big Brother and the ancient Roman gladiators all rolled into one. Katniss Everdeen who volunteers in place of her 12-year-old sister is the female tribute from District 12, the poorest and least respected district populated by coal miners and she must fight to stay alive in the 74th Hunger Games. The whole event, from the reaping in which the 2 tributes are chosen in each district, through presentations and interviews and then the games themselves are shown on tv for the enjoyment (and ultimate control) of the citizens of the Capitol and the 12 other districts.

It’s young adult fiction although I can say with 100% certainty that I am no longer classified as young adult πŸ˜‰ but I thoroughly enjoyed reading and rereading these books. 2 paragraphs stood out though which I would like to share. They are from the 3rd book so for those that haven’t yet read it, it’s not exactly a spoiler but even so, you’ve been warned. πŸ˜‰

The Capitol, like [District] 13 during the Dark Days, finds itself completely cut off from outside help as it holds the treat of nuclear attack over its enemies. Unlike 13, the Capitol is not in a position to reinvent itself and become self-sufficient. “Oh, the city might be able to scrape along for a while,” says Plutarch. “Certainly, there are emergency supplies stockpiled. But the significant difference between Thirteen and the Capitol are the expectations of the populace. Thirteen was used to hardship, whereas in the Capitol, all they’ve known is Panem et Circenses.” “What’s that?”I recognise Panem, of course, but the rest is nonsense. “It’s a saying from thousands of years ago, written in a language called Latin about a place called Rome,” he explains. “Panem et Circenses translates into ‘Bread and Circuses.’ The writer was saying that in return for full bellies and entertainment, his people had given up their political responsibilities and therefore their power.”

Ok, so we don’t send our children to fight to the death in an arena and we aren’t divided into districts that must send quotas of whichever part of the bread and circuses the capital needs but the similarities for me outweigh the differences. We do live lives of bread and circuses. We want our tv shows, our movies, new clothes (whether designer or cheap knock-off), our cheap bread, cheap milk, cheap gadgets and impressive houses. We have mortgages, overfilled wardrobes, food going off in the fridge and more.Whereas there are those in poorer countries that are the equivalent of the districts. Children in India pick cotton as slaves indentured by a debt they can never hope to repay, illegal immigrants who are hired to pick fruit or in factories and who are on paper earning a great wage but who need to pay for so many out-of-pocket expenses that their take home pay is pitiful, I’m sure there are factories where people work pushing buttons or packing boxes or feeding fabric through a machine in order to feed our bread and circuses. We are the Capitol population, ok maybe with a little less makeup and slightly less outrageous hairstyles but even so, we of the first world countries are of the Capitol.

Effie working that purple ensemble

What would happen should there be an uprising?

What would happen to us if those cotton pickers and growers in India an those sweat shop workers in China and those illegal immigrants Β picking fruit should all down tools and stop work? Ok, what if the other workers we have stopped working? The mechanical tools we have, the tractors and robotic production lines? What if we could no longer drive our cars and trucks to get groceries to the store and then to our homes? What then? We of the Capitol do have an expectation of the food we eat, the clothes we wear and of a standard of living. Who would pick up a windfall apple, cut off the bruises, or cut off the wormy or bird pecked halfΒ and eat the rest? Would you buy such an apple from a green grocers or the supermarket? Would you buy a limp carrot or a tomato with a black spot? What if the only clothes available had holes and stains? Would you buy them and patch up the holes or put a badge or pin or patch over a stain? Chances are in most cases that you wouldn’t. I wouldn’t. Expectations.

I’m not sure of the answers, nor indeed of the questions but I do know the whole Hunger Games trilogy has me thinking deeply as well as having entertained me very much. I really wanted to share that with you as well as some of the changes reading it has wrought in me. Aside from a new hairstyle I’m hoping to learn to shoot with bow and arrow, sufficiently so that I can hunt rabbits (for food, not pleasure – I can use a target for pleasure shooting!) and I can’t stop thinking about what the metaphorical Hunger Games represent in my life. Where does my life fit in? All sorts of assessment of myself an the books and deeper meaning. I guess my English teacher would finally be proud of my analytical skills, although I’m sure I’d not get higher than a B+ but even so, I am able to look behind the story and ask the questions. Proud Ms Rix? πŸ˜‰

Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence, working that sideways braid

And me attempting to do the same

And me attempting to do the same

In summing up, I highly recommend the Hunger Games, books or films or both. πŸ™‚

First day of shooting!

First day of shooting!

That's a bullseye!

That’s a bullseye!

And may the odds beΒ everΒ in your favour. πŸ˜‰

Shooting with a friend - I'm shooting with yellow fletching. Our revised target, about the size of a rabbit and We're both in the kill zone!

Shooting with a friend – I’m shooting with yellow fletching. Our revised target, about the size of a rabbit and We’re both in the kill zone!

Spanked by the string for holding the bow incorrectly. No new bruises as of last night though. Improvement!

Spanked by the string inside my elbow for holding the bow incorrectly. No new bruises as of last night though. Improvement!

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22 thoughts on “The Hunger Games – a review… Of sorts

  1. Sharon says:

    I love this post, I just read it to my thirteen year old daughter who loves the hunger games. It really gives you something to think about.

  2. Lynda says:

    I also loved the book (1st one only, so far), ho hum about the movie. Cant say i got all analytical about it but now that you have i can understand your take on this. Yes i also wonder exactly how long our lifestyle is going to last when the majority of the worlds population live in seemingly another world. I imagine our country is looking rather attractive. Are we not already becoming their food bowl with all our farms being bought up by big OS companies. We are very priviledged here in Oz but we are not very smart about our own land and resources.

    Ive just told a friend tonight that if we end up having to survive then im going to live near you. Now you are hunting or at least training too. I also love archery and suffered the effects of the string hitting my arm – how many shades of purple are there? Perhaps thats something Tom and I could do, again. Where are you doing it? Luvin the braids my hippy girl. See Ya Soon!!!

    • Come live in the eco village my friends are building! πŸ˜€ Then you can help with the skinning and gutting πŸ˜‰ Oh, and practice your archery more to avoid string whipping too. πŸ™‚
      You’re right in the lack of clevers when it comes to preserving our beautiful country. Instead of saving the resources we have to serve the people of our country we sell them off to the highest bidder. We’re canning all our eco projects and doing our best to turn our beautiful land into one giant cash flow rather than preserving what we have for leaner times. It saddens me and angers me greatly. Panem et Circenses entirely.

  3. Jo says:

    Jessie, rocking those braids, I’m sure that’s pretty much a prerequisite for becoming an archery goddess (besides, I heard Jennifer Lawrence in an interview saying how good it made your boobs look when you are holding an arrow on the string.. bonus!)
    I read The Hunger Games when my daughter did, and was struck by very much the same thoughts that you have had. It is such a fable for our times, and we ARE The Capitol. Question is (apart from taking up archery:)), what are we going to do about it? I really am starting to feel that some kind of political and moral activism is required of those of us who can see the problem..

    • Linne says:

      Amen, Jo! If nothing else, signing online petitions can bring pressure to bear. Zara just stopped producing angora clothing due to global pressure brought to bear via an online petition. (the angora they used came from china, where, instead of combing the hairs, it was forcibly ripped off the rabbits by hand; pretty horrible!)

      One example, but there are lots out there. Check out change.org or avaaz to start with.

      Now for ideas on other avenues for change . . . ~ Linne

    • We need to stage our own coup of the Hunger Games in which we live! I’m just not sure how. Any ideas? I’m not meaning to be facetious either – what can we do aside from living our lives as consciously and conscientiously as we can? Aside from vote for anyone other than our own wonderful President Snow? 😦

      • Linne says:

        Volunteering is good, but not everyone can do that; there are things we can do, though: remember the “Living Waters” quilt raffle back a few months? Pam Stahl raised enough money to donate a well to an African village. Or Jon Bon Jovi’s price-less restaurant in NYCity. People pay what they think the meal is worth or what they can afford; if they cannot afford to donate, they may do volunteer work to pay for their family’s meal: http://www.jbjsoulkitchen.org/ We can publicize work like this to raise awareness and perhaps spark more businesses that are people-friendly. We can donate to a charity; even $10 helps; imagine if a thousand people donated $10 each; that’s $10,000!!. But do your research first, of course. Raising consciousness is one of the most vital things to do; from that can come so much good . . . Blogging, talking about our choices, wearing Tshirts or buttons with a message (I remember during the two nestle’s boycotts – my button started a lot of conversations that began with “Why boycott nestle’s?” I then had a chance to explain and hopefully start others on the path of questioning instead of blindly accepting the brainwashing. I’m sure there are lots of other things we can do, too. ~ Linne

  4. foodnstuff says:

    Haven’t come into contact with Hunger Games, but think your archery is awesome! Do you need a permit to own a bow and arrows? I should hire you to come and dispatch all the rabbits here. I would love to take it up. I was a real tomboy as a kid and a great fan of Robin Hood. Made a terrific bow out of a piece of our poplar tree and Dad made me some dowel arrows. Fairly primitive, but I was a good shot!

    • Poplar hey? Poplar I have in abundance. I must look into permits required but I don’t believe so. I do know that rabbit shooting must be done with owner permission and there are location restrictions (I researched owning a firearm at one stage) but since the property owner is with whom I shoot that bridge is crossed!
      As for hiring me, I managed to hit the hay roll 17 out of 18 and the rabbit sized target once. Give me a bit more practice first. πŸ˜‰

  5. Linne says:

    So . . . define ‘young adult’ lol. From here, you are barely approaching your prime . . . πŸ˜‰

    I’ve read book 1, not gotten to the others yet. Also watched part of the first film on netflix; time at the computer to watch is a problem. Will look for it at the library.

    Archery is a good survival skill, shoyld worst come to worst (hope not, though). Doesn’t require mining for lead, etc. (or making gunpowder).

    You do that braid justice; now you need to loosen up a few tendrils . . .

    Thanks for the reminder about the books; I’d sort of forgotten. ~ Linne

  6. narf77 says:

    Never read the hunger games and most probably won’t…I fear it suffers from Harry Potter syndrome with me…when the masses love something narf7 tends to shy away from it. It also echoes many other books and movies covering the same topic so I figure I have probably watched it in another guise in the past. The message is important though because our world population has become much more closely intertwined, much more easily controlled through social media and mobile phones (have you see our zombie kids all shuffling down the footpaths slowly, fingers mindlessly tapping on screens?!!!) and population “control” isn’t far away. I read a FB post yesterday by Christi that said that 80% of the worlds “money” isn’t real…credit hovers over people’s heads and there isn’t “real” money to pay for it. Where is this all taking us and who do we owe and most importantly, what is their agenda? THAT is the scary thing. Love the plait. Steve wants a crossbow…not too sure that Serendipity Farm is ready for that but the son-and-heir wants to take up archery so maybe Steve can go with him? Hopefully he doesn’t take to wearing a long plait as the other day he picked up a pink braided fishing rod for using out in the boat and he was admiring a pepper pig backpack online only yesterday…second childhood?! πŸ˜‰

    • I was like that with Harry Ptter until one evening bored out of my brains and after a film. Philosophers Stone video (yep, the old VHS) went in and a new addiction was born.:)
      That’s a horrible figure re money. Martin calls it funny money and I agree. The scary thing is that this is normal!
      Peppa Pig backpack?! Ok, I knew Steve was a little left of centre (he’d have to be to be compatible with you πŸ˜‰ ) but really? He’ll have much company should ever you visit as my kids love Peppa Pig. I am less of a fan although it could be worse. 😦
      I can understand the crossbow thing though. Possums and wallabies deserve everything they get coming for eating your lovely trees. πŸ˜‰ No, seriously, why a crossbow?

    • Linne says:

      I dunno, Narfie7, plaits on men can be pretty hot . . . πŸ˜‰

  7. Gavin Webber says:

    Hi Jess, great post. David Holmgrem just released an update to his future scenarios paper called Crash on Demand, which does offer a solution, albeit a very radical one. He suggests that if just 10% of the global middle class lived like we do (voluntary simplicity and reject the consumer culture), then the global economic system will crash and rapidly reduce consumption and therefore climate change.

    Here is the link, let me know what you think; http://holmgren.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Crash-on-demand.pdf

    • Thanks for that Gav. 10% hey. Well, that’s not such an unreachable figure now is it. C’mon people! Let’s get started on the anarchy!!! πŸ˜€
      I’ve got the link open and I shall endeavour to read it between kidlet interruptions.

      • Linne says:

        Yes, thanks, Gavin. I’ve saved it to read when time allows. Baking to do, and all that . . . As to anarchy, lead on, Jess!! (actually, I think many of us are down that road a bit already) πŸ˜‰

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