Hunger Games: Blog 6

Write a reflection on one of the following 2 topics:

  1. Describe how the Hunger Games Trilogy can be seen as Dystopian fiction. Make sure to incorporate the required reading (Chapter 6 by Henthorne) and the lectures by our two guest speakers.
  2. What is the relationship to/ influence of text/ television on society? Make sure to include the reading (Chapter 5 by Henthorne) and the guest lecture in your reflection. Blog is due by Sunday, March 2, 8 p.m.

 

Topic 1

 

The Hunger Games fits well into the sub-genre of Dystopian fiction for a variety of different reasons. Our first speaker on Tuesday, Michelle Woshner, talked about sex as a means of control in Dystopian Societies. She applied it to The Hunger Games in a bunch of different ways. One of the most obvious was the character Finnick, who is turned into a Prostitute and a sex object by the Capitol. They used his care for his family as a means to control him and to force his compliance because they threatened to kill someone he cared about every time he disobeyed them. Another example of sex, or at least relationships, being used as a tool in Panem was through Katniss and Peeta trying to convince the districts that their decision with the berries was motivated solely by love for each other.

Finnick as a Sex Object

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Another interesting point that Michelle brought up in her presentation was the value of stability in Dystopian societies. This parallel is quite apparent in The Hunger Games series, most of the decisions made by President Snow with regards to Katniss were aiming to retain stability and normalcy in the districts. For example, when Katniss was in the 74th Hunger Games, Snow warned Seneca Crane that giving the people a little hope was a powerful too, but too much hope and it would become a problem. Katniss also threatened the stability of Panem with her kindness to Rue, burying her and showing care for a district other than her own. When Katniss and Peeta threatened to take the berries, they were both permitted to live, but when revolutions began breaking out, Snow wanted Katniss killed as quickly as possible. Plutarch slowed him down by suggesting she needed to be killed in the right way, so that she would not become a martyr.

 Balance of Hope and Fear, mixed with the Glamour of the Games

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Another interesting point about the status of The Hunger Games as a Dystopian fiction was brought up in the article by Henthorne. The article brings up a couple of key points about Dystopian literature; environmental devastation, mass media and social control, the politics of scarcity, the desire for social change, and more. All of these ideas are incredibly pertinent to plot of The Hunger Games. For example, while the book does not dwell on the destruction of the environment, it is implied on multiple occasions that the environment is significantly degraded in many areas. Also, at one point, Katniss makes a comment about how the previous generations did not act with any care about the their future generations when they were dealing with the environment. Mass media is also a huge point in the Hunger Games. President Snow uses the spread of information to control the people, and he also controls what information is shared. He uses fear of the effects of the previous rebellion, and the alleged destruction of District 13 to keep people afraid of the Capitol so that they would not rebel. Further, the choice to force people to watch the Games kept them fearful, but also let them root for someone (the people from their districts). Another point that I found interesting in the article was the comments about scarcity. In the Capitol, there was so much excess that people were throwing up just so that they could eat more. However, in most of the Districts, food is hard to come by and people have to put their name into the Games for extra food. Essentially, the distribution of resources created the scarcity even though there was likely more than enough food to go around. This forces the people in the Districts to live by the rules if they want to have enough food to survive, even if they may not agree with the rules.

 Panem: Consider How Much Food Went to the Capitol vs. 12

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The second speaker, Becky Carpenter, talked about the eight main parts of a dystopian piece. Of those, two rules particularly stood out to me in regards to the relationship with The Hunger Games. Her fifth point talked about the three themes of dystopian literature – the gap between the haves and the have nots, environmental destruction, and technology. I have already talked about the environmental issues with the Henthrone article. The gap between the haves and the have nots was also addressed, but in a less obvious way. I talked before about the created scarcity on the part of the Capitol. However, it also is shown through the differences between the Career districts, which are also relatively well off, and the outlying districts. Further, the gap between the haves and the have nots is shown through the flashy, carefree attitudes of the people in the Capitol, whereas people in the Districts have to work their whole lives to barely survive.

As for the technology, that is a huge point in the series. For example, the medicine of the Capitol can save people from almost any kind of injury, but because the Districts do not have access to that technology, there are a lot more fatalities from simple injuries. Further, the Capitol uses technology to document peoples every move when it suits them, because they can use the information they gather to blackmail and threaten the people. For example, President Snow makes it very clear to her that he knows that she is fond of Gale because of their activities in the woods. They also use technology to find new ways to torture people in the Games, such as the mutated dogs, tracker jackers, and the use of jabberjays to repeat back screams.

Her eighth point talked about how the government controls things in Dystopian literature, and was followed with a question on why the Hunger Games were able to exist successfully for 75 years. In this series, President Snow uses a variety of the methods that I mentioned previously. For example, the illusion of scarcity, a balance of hope and fear, and threats and blackmail to keep public figures in line. However, there was also an element of control over the minds of the people, through control of information and creating situations in which they could not prosper. Many people in the series did not think there was anything to do except accept the Capitols rules until Katniss shows them that the Capitol can be challenged. Without that spark, who knows how many more Hunger Games would have occurred in Panem.

Pictures Found at DeviantArt.com

Hunger Games: Blog 5

Which one of the three books did you like the most or least? Why? You must be specific  and elaborate on why you liked/disliked the book. What did you like about it? Character development, storyline, ending….

My favorite book of the Hunger Games series was by far the second book, Catching Fire, although I enjoyed all of the books in the series. There were a lot of reasons that this book appealed to me more than The Hunger Games or Mockingjay.

I thought that The Hunger Games was a fantastic book. It had a great cast of characters and a strong plot that engaged its readers and made them care about different characters. The author spent a lot of time developing Katniss, and as a result she is an extremely well developed character. Her relationships with the other people in the story was also developed extensively through her thoughts and actions toward them. The author also developed Rue and Prim well, even with their brevity in this book, and the readers care very quickly about what happens to them. However, there were parts of The Hunger Games that spent too much time on introspection and the reader often lost track of the other major characters. This was a stylistic choice on the part of the author, and it made the storytelling effective and compelling. However, it also made it harder for the reader to develop an attachment to Peeta in the first book because of how often his motives were questioned. Furthermore, while the reader is given plenty of reasons to dislike the Careers and several other tributes, if the author had spent a little more time developing them; it could have enhanced just how tragic the Games truly were and how the Capitol forced these children to become monsters. If she had developed their characters fully, then the spirit of the rebellion might have overcome the readers, as well as the Districts in the book.

The Tributes of the 74th Hunger Games

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http://boywithantlers.deviantart.com/art/Tributes-of-The-hunger-Games-Wallpaper-295671611

Mockingjay was also a great book, although not quite as good as The Hunger Games in my opinion. The first part of the book in District 13 was well developed, although a little slow and it was nice to learn how another District in Panem functioned. Before this point, we only had extensive knowledge about District 12, and some cursory knowledge about the others from the Victory Tour and a few other details. I felt that the author did a fantastic job of developing Katniss’s hurt and anger that Peeta was not saved, as well as her own inner torment about her role in the rebellion. Also, I think the interactions between Peeta and Katniss after he is finally rescued were tragic, but also very realistic based on what he had endured. I appreciated the author’s willingness to show their personal struggles, and also how they slowly started to grow back together despite those struggles. My biggest complaint about Mockingjay as a book was that the end of the book seemed incredibly rushed. We did not get to see Katniss’s trial, the continuation of Peeta’s treatment, or much that happened after Katniss returned to District 12. Further, the reader doesn’t get to see how Paylor turns out as a leader, if a new Hunger Games actually happened, and if Katniss was ever able to return to the other districts after her treatment. I felt that the book needed at least 2 or 3 more full chapters to appropriately end it with the detail the series deserved.

Katniss as the Mockingjay

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http://photoshopismykung-fu.deviantart.com/art/The-Mockingjay-291697646

As I mentioned before, my favorite book in the series was Catching Fire. There were a lot of different reasons that I loved this book. First of all, the book developed a lot more of the tributes and allowed the reader to care a lot about them. The author continued to develop Katniss, Gale, and Peeta; but she also developed Wiress, Beetee, Finnick, Johanna, and Mags into characters that the reader loved and cared about, no matter how quickly they were killed in the books. Further, the reader got to see Katniss and Peeta rekindle their relationship and start to develop real feelings for each other during the Quarter Quell. The relationship gains a lot of credibility as Katniss and Peeta fight to keep each other alive (even though they frequently disagreed about which one of them should go home). This book also shows a much softer side of Katniss, as she wakes up happy and confused by that happiness when she wakes up after she and Peeta kiss. The increase in the amount of character development created a higher sense of urgency and pain as the different deaths sadden the reader and increase Katniss’s inner torment. Overall, I felt that Catching Fire achieved a better balance between character development and plot movement than the other two books.

Katniss Dress

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http://xskiesrbluex.deviantart.com/art/The-Mockingjay-267654330

HNMUN 2014

During this past week, I went to Harvard National Model United Nations in Boston. For anyone who doesn’t know, this is a United Nations simulation where college teams represent specific countries in the different committees and talk about 1-2 topics and try to pass resolutions about the topic. My team arrived in Boston on Wednesday so that we would have time to get settled before the conference officially began on Wednesday. We arrived at the hotel around dinner time and we unpacked after everyone was assigned their rooms. Phil (my boyfriend) was also a member of the team and after that, we and several other members of the team went to get dinner at a local shop, Au Bon Pair. The restaurant is a lot like a Panera Bread, but a bit tastier and a smaller shop. After that, Phil and  I went back to the hotel and relaxed for the evening. On Thursday morning, about 11 of the 22 members of the team went to tour at the local Samuel Adams facility. The people over 21 were able to sample a few different beers and then we went to lunch at Doyle’s. However, it was incredibly snowy, so the walk from the T to the Samuel Adams factory and from there to the bar was very cold, so a lot of us had stuff like clam chowder for lunch to warm up before taking the T back to the hotel. Then, we returned to the hotel and got dressed and changed for opening ceremonies. The opening ceremony was very nice, we managed to get one of the balconies and fly our countries flag. After the opening ceremony, we had a break for dinner and then our first committee session. I was in the Legal Committee, with my classmate Koshin Ono. Our first session selected our topic (Multinational corporations and international law) and we began pretty general discussion of the topic in moderated caucuses. On Friday, we had two committee sessions, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. I started working with the person representing Honduras to draft a short working paper to get out our more unique ideas. The idea wasn’t to get the paper passed, but to use it in order to convince larger blocs to include our ideas in their draft resolutions. By the end of the two sessions, working papers were being discussed and issues and mergers were being discussed. We were able to get our ideas put into the two bigger blocs – headed by Canada and the United States. The United States took the entirety of our ideas, so we allied our group with their paper.

On Friday night, there was a cocktail hour and a international bazaar. I went and spent time with Phil and the delegate from Canada, Mike.  I got to try foods from Mexico, Uzbekistan,  and many other countries; and I got henna done by a member of Pakistani team.  I had a lot of fun, but I was definitely tired when I went to my room to sleep.

On Saturday, our bloc was working on finalizing their draft resolution and we attempted to merge with the working paper submitted by Canada. However, that merger failed at the last moment and our paper was submitted alone. In the second session of the day, draft resolutions were discussed and debated. Also, anyone had the chance to submit possible amendments to different resolutions.

That night, my team went to Fire and Ice, a Mongolian place for dinner.  It is a fantastic place where you gather all your ingredients and they grill it in front of you. The food was absolutely fantastic and it was fun hanging out as a team.

On Sunday, we voted on amendments and the resolutions. None of the resolutions passed in my committee, which was sad, but it was still a great conference and I got to meet a lot of fantastic people that I will never forget.

Hunger Games: Blog 4

As with the Hunger Games book, there are a lot of differences between Catching Fire, the book, and Catching Fire, the movie. 

A most interesting change in the movie, in my opinion, was the addition of President Snow’s granddaughter. She is not present at all in Catching Fire, the book, but she was added to the movie. I can see two good reasons that she was created as a character. For one, she seems to be used to tell the voice of the people in the Capitol throughout the movie. One example of this occurred when Snow asks her why she is wearing her hair in braids. Her response is that “everyone in school is wearing their hair this way, Granddad.” In another case, she talks about how much she would like to have a love like that of Katniss and Peeta. She truly seems to look up to Katniss, and in many ways, it serves to show just how little effect the Capitol’s attempts to destroy her are having. However, an alternative purpose for President Snow’s daughter is to show that even President Snow had a family to care about and to show that he does have a few good qualities underneath his despicable dictator personality (I really do not like President Snow).

President Snow and His Granddaughter 

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http://thehungergames.wikia.com/wiki/President_Snow’s_Granddaughter

One of the first major differences I noticed between the book and the movie, very early in the movie, was during the party at President Snow’s mansion. When Katniss and Plutarch are first introduced in the book, he is wearing a watch and she sees a Mockingjay disappear on it, which she later remembers while she is in the games and the clock design of the arena becomes apparent. Plutarch’s watch is one of the first things that makes her realize that Plutarch may not be the Capitol slave that she originally believed him to be. I truly believe that this symbol should have been included in the movie, because it makes it much harder for the viewer to understand the behind the scenes Plutarch. Furthermore, it takes away a major chance for the movie to foreshadow Plutarch’s involvement in the rebellion. However, to be fair to the makers of the movie, it would have been a hard image to capture and do well.

Plutarch and Katniss Dancing – with the watch

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http://leabharlann.deviantart.com/art/HG-quot-It-starts-at-midnight-quot-210198008

A final important change that I want to talk about is the lack of Twill and Bonnie. In the book, Katniss runs into two runaways from District 8 in the woods outside of District 12. They fled their district after their families were killed in a factor explosion. Katniss gives them the food she packed for herself and they tell her that they are heading for District 13, which Katniss and most of the people in Panem believed was completely destroyed in the war that started the Hunger Games. However, Twill and Bonnie tell her that they have been using the same footage as the “Live” footage of District 13’s remains for years. She eventually watches for the footage and sees the Mockingjay wing and realizes that they could be right, although Haymitch tells her that she is looking to believe because she is desperate. The movie completely cuts Bonnie and Twill, thus removing this piece of information from the viewers. 

Twill and Bonnie Fan Art

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http://www.deviantart.com/art/Catching-Fire-Runaway-Bonnie-from-District-8-300795972

Enobaria

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http://www.popmythology.com/katniss-everdeen-and-true-strength/

Another major change to the plot is in the scene where Katniss was fighting Enobaria in the book. In the book, Katniss had just realized that Finnick and Johanna were no longer her allies (or at least she thought). She was ready to kill Enobaria and fight to survive a little longer, but she remembers Haymitch telling her to remember who the real enemy is, implying that she needs to fight the Capitol and not the other tributes. However, in the movie they replace Enobaria with Finnick. At first, this choice did not make a lot of sense to me, but I read up on it because it bothered me. The main theory I found was that they replaced Enobaria with Finnick to show her anger at his perceived betrayal; and also because at Finnick is a much more strongly built character in the movie. The people watching the movie cared more if Finnick survived than they would have with Enobaria. I have to admit, once I thought about it more, it made the scene more intense and Finnick was a much better developed character than Enobaria in the film.

Finnick

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http://www.deviantart.com/art/Finnick-276598494

There were many other changes between the book and the movie, but those are some of the most essential. Another change includes the fact that once again, the Avox of the movie was deleted – Darius from District 12, who helped save Gale, was turned in Avox and forced to serve Katniss and Peeta in their tributes quarters. Further, in the book, Gale is whipped for being caught with a turkey from beyond the fence. In the movie, he is whipped for defending someone else in District 12. The movie also neglected to talk about the bread that Finnick and Johanna received as a warning of when they should be ready to escape – type of bread for the day and number of rolls for the time of day. Also, interesting to note, Peeta has his leg in the movie. He definitely has a prosthetic in the book, and also couldn’t swim. Nevertheless, there are too many differences to talk about each one, so that is where I will close for now. 

Hunger Games: Blog 3

 In this Blog entry, please compare and contrast the first book with the film. You can either focus on a few similarities and differences between the book and the film or on one aspect of both, either storyline, characters, staging, portrayal of capitol and district 12, etc. 

The Hunger Games is a compelling story that draws the reader or the viewer in very quickly and allows the story to progress with a mixture of introspection and action. However, the book and the movie had a couple of differences that made a major impact on me when I watched the movie for the first time. While most of these changes do not fundamentally change the feel or the emotions that the book elicited, I certainly do not understand why some of the moments were changed.

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One of the first differences that I noticed was the origins of the Mockingjay pin. In the movie, Katniss asks a shopkeeper how much the Mockingjay pin would cost on the morning of the Reaping, and the shopkeeper gives it to her. However, in the book, Katniss receives the pin from the Mayor’s daughter, Madge, which starts one of her first moments of introspection about who her true friends are and if she has any. This change eliminated Madge entirely from the story in the movie. Further, in the book, Katniss is allowed to wear her pin as her token from her district into the arena. However, in the movie, Cinna hides the Mockingjay pin underneath her suit. The changes to the Mockingjay pin may seem minor, but they actually made me really angry when I first saw the movie. The Mockingjay becomes a pivotal symbol in the series, and it did not make sense to me to change its origin and slightly its significance in the movie. The main reason I can see for the change in the origin of the pin is because it makes it seem like a connection between Prim and Katniss, but in my opinion, her doubts about Madge’s friendship sets the stage for many of her other trust issues and adds additional support. However, a movie cannot always take every detail from the book, or it would be simply too long.

Another change I noticed in the movie was that the Avox girl never appeared in the Capitol. In the book, when Katniss sees the Avox she is startled and it leads to her memories about her being captured and the boy that was with her being executed in the woods outside of District 12. It shows part of the reason she was afraid to leave District 12 before the Reaping with Gale and it also shows the depth of the Capitol’s cruelty to those who are defiant. Further, Katniss wonders if the Avox girl would be glad if she died in the arena, which shows that Katniss feels responsible for what happens around her, even when it was really not within her control. In my opinion, this change took away a lot of the viewer’s insight into who Katniss was outside of her skills and talents in the arena. The viewer rarely gets to understand why Katniss is so unwilling to trust, other than the basic principles that her mother let her down and she is in a game where everyone could kill her.

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http://www.hggirlonfire.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/avox-girl.jpg

Another major change that I noticed today, when we viewed a portion of the film in class, was the difference in how Thresh is killed. In the book, several aspects point to Cato as the ultimate demise of Thresh. Thresh killed Clove and right before she died she called to Cato for help. Further, the book implies that Cato caught up to Thresh and killed him in the tall grass. However, in the movie, the wild dogs spawn right before you hear screams and Thresh appears in the sky after the cannon blast. In all honesty, this change did not affect me as much as some of the others because it was lost in the end of movie theatrics in the movie. However, it is interesting that the director would chose to imply that the dogs killed thresh. The only theory I have as to why would be to make the dogs appear more menacing; especially since in the film, the dogs having the dead tributes eyes and the collars were lost.

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http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/the-hunger-games/images/22639188/title/thresh-rue-fanart

            One last set of major changes was the visits before Katniss and Peeta left for the Capitol. In the movie, Katniss is only visited by Gale, Prim, and her mother and they are touching scenes, but also very harshly ended. However, in the book, Katniss is also visited by Madge (the mayor’s daughter) and Peeta’s father, who gives her cookies that she later throws out because she doesn’t understand the reasoning behind it. Peeta’s father offers to help make sure that Prim and her mother are okay, and she doesn’t understand why until later in the book when she learns from Peeta that his father was in love with her mother; but her mother chose Katniss’s father instead. This draws an interesting similarity to the issues between Peeta, Gale, and Katniss later on, but it wasn’t a major plot point during the first book.

            There were several other changes as well between the book and the movie. I am not going to go into detail on all of them, but the pin, the loss of the Avox girl, and Thresh’s death caught my interest the most. Another major change was showing the start of the rebellion in the movie, when in the book Katniss’s knowledge of what goes on in District 11 is very limited. The movie also fails to delve into why Katniss connected with Rue, other than the help with the tracker jacker venom. In the book, it is a huge deal to Katniss that she was able to step in for her sister, but no one volunteered for Rue and it leads her to want to help Rue and protect her.