Millennialism and Apocalypse in The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games occurs in a post-apocalyptic world, where the reader is unsure exactly what led to the current state of affairs. Either Panem is the only country remaining or there is no communication with the outside world. In addition, the environment has been severely degraded and the Capitol subjugated the Districts for many years. The reader does know about the Dark Days, where a rebellion led to the death of many and the creation of the Hunger Games, but outside of that, the author gave the reader very little concrete information about how the world ended. In Appendix A of Gresh’s book, The Hunger Games Companion: An Unauthorized Guide to the Series, the author discusses some of the possibilities that could have created Panem as it currently stands. The author ruled out genetic warfare because the people themselves are not mutated, she also ruled out alien invasion, and much more. She looked at the possibility of nuclear war, chemical warfare, and biological warfare in depth, but still did not think those were the most likely cases. Gresh’s conclusion was that the post-apocalyptic society of the Hunger Games was most likely caused by global warming that led to environmental issues and eventually war. Based on Katniss’s thoughts about the state of the environment in District 12 and the remembrance of the Dark Days, the text supports Gresh’s theory of events, although it does not outright confirm it.

Panem vs. The United States  – Blue Dots Represent the New Coastlines as a Result of Global Warming

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However, regardless of how the world was created, it is clear that Katniss resides in a post-apocalyptic world. On Tuesday, we had a guest lecture with Dr. Krebs, who talked about the differences between millennialism and apocalypse and how they applied to the Hunger Games. She described both as end of the world theories, but apocalypse theories tend to have religious or divine reasoning, although there is overlap between the two theories.

The Rapture Imagery

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We also talked about the different kinds of Millennialism: avertive (we can stop it), progressive/post-millennialism (doesn’t require the world to end, they just want to make it better), catastrophic/pre-millennialism (catastrophic event leads to a new world order), Christian Dispensationalism (God will smite the world but Christians will be okay), Hierarchical v. Demotic (demotic – revolution from the bottom about justice and equality), nativist (colonial powers influence on indigenous groups), and environmental.

Environmental Disaster Effect – Global Warming

PS: Does it make those new coast lines from the image above stand out more?

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Several of these different groups of Millennialism can be seen in the Hunger Games. The Avertive Theory is constantly practiced by President Snow. He coerces people into serving him and following his rules and regulations because of the fear of catastrophe if they do not. Snow sells the idea that by following his rules, people are averting the end of the world as they know it.

President Snow Talking to Seneca about the Dangers of Hope

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Catastrophic millennialism is implied throughout the book when Katniss, and other characters, talk about how Panem became the way it is. That includes the vague comments about environmental damage and how previous generations did not take care of the future, the talk of the Dark Days, the alleged destruction of District 13, and much more. Most of the people in Panem have accepted that the Hunger Games and disparity is simply a fact of life in the new world order of Panem.

The Dark Days

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The idea of Demotic Millennialism is also clearly shown in Mockingjay, when the rebellion is working to try and create a better system in Panem. Coin’s motives may not have been pure, but many of the members of the rebellion simply wanted a system that would allow the people to survive and thrive instead of suffering. People hoped for a better government that would allow the Districts to grow, to expand on their industries, and to have an open relationship with the Capitol and the other Districts. Whether or not this is achieved by the end of Mockingjay, the reader does not know for sure. However, with the death of Coin and Snow, the reader is left with the hope that President Paylor will allow a better system to form. In class, we also talked about a couple of different real world movements – the Taiping Rebellion, the Raelian movement, the Turner Diaries (in that they influenced some of the movements) and more. I see a lot of similarities between the Taiping Rebellion and the Mockingjay Rebellion.

Taiping Rebellion

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The Taiping Rebellion was led by a man who claimed to be the younger brother of Jesus, and he and his followers led a massive civil war in China. He was trying to create the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom in Southern China, and at the height of the rebellion, this movement led 30 million people. However, where I see most of the similarities between this and Mockingjay was in what it sought to accomplish. The rebellion sought common property, equality for women, and also freedom to practice Christianity instead of the accepted Chinese religions of the time. In Mockingjay, the people are seeking less disparity between the Districts and the Capitol and more freedom to work and live in different parts of Panem. In both cases, the rebellion also sought to overthrow a system that they saw as corrupt and to instill a different type of governmental system.

Mockingjay Rebellion

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After that, we talked about cults and how charismatic people cannot choose to be charismatic, people have to choose them and believe that they have something to offer. The survival of their movement is dependent on their ability to deal with challenges, such as explaining why prophecies fail if they do, being able to create and maintain an alternate lifestyle, and dealing with conflict from the rest of society. This aspect is also quite relevant in the Hunger Games series. Snow is clearly a charismatic leader, he uses his charisma to keep the people from questioning the system, but when it starts to fail, he grasps at his power and charisma to try and retain control. However, because so many people no longer followed him, he was unable to maintain his charisma, and therefore, he was unable to kill the rebellion or stop it before it started.

President Snow

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Coin, on the other hand, lacked charisma in many ways. Her power was centralized in a District that was desperate for a leader and tightly managed to keep control. However, she did not possess the ability to inspire people to fight or to lead without tight control and military power. Because of this, Coin perceived Katniss as a threat to her authority and power and did not want her to have any real power in the rebellion. She designated her the role of figurehead because she needed her to consolidate power for Coin, but the book indicated that she hoped that Katniss would be killed once the rebellion was strong enough to survive without her.

Alma Coin – Fan Art Interpretation

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Katniss had a lot of charisma, although she never really saw it or acknowledged it. The people of Panem were inspired by her rebellious acts, even though she was simply trying to survive. She claims in the Hunger Games that she doesn’t know how to make people like her, and that was quite true, but by refusing to try and instead just fighting for what she believed was right, much of the nation of Panem learned to love and respect her. If she had been able to hold any real power in the rebellion, she would have made Coin obsolete. Even after she realizes that Coin is just as bad as Snow and kills her, Katniss is still well respected, which is why instead of punishing her, she is found to be mentally ill because of all that she went through and simply sent back to District 12 to live a quiet life, which is all she wanted in the first place.

Katniss Everdeen!

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After seeing all three and reading the books, which would you initially think would be the best leader? I am guessing most people would pick Katniss or Snow.

The Three Leaders

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PS: Check out the photo challenge posted earlier this week  and see if you can figure out what drink goes with what Hunger Games Character!

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Photo Challenge! Hunger Games

Drinking challenge (Large)

Here is the challenge – figure out which Hunger Games Character each drink was designed for….
Some will be easy, some will be more difficult! Best of luck!

Here are the characters we drew from – Annie, Beetee/Wiress, Buttercup, Caesar, The Careers, Cinna, Coin, Effie, Finnick, Gale, Haymitch, Johanna, Katniss, Mags, Paylor, Peeta, Plutarch, Prim, Rue, Seneca, Snow, Thresh

Note: I have not made all of these drinks, so these recipes may be tweaked by the final version, but the names are set!

Hero’s Journey and the Hunger Games

The Hero’s Journey in the Hunger Games

 

In our lecture with Dr. Mazeroff, we got to look at The Hunger Games from a more psychological approach and from the idea of the Hero’s Journey. He briefly talked about Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell, who developed the Hero’s Journey. Jung started its development by studying fairy tales, myths, national epics, and more. Then, we went over the main steps of the Hero’s Journey – the departure, initiation, and the return. At each stage, there are various decisions that people can make to propel their story forward. They can decide to work with the other people in the tale, make allies, refuse to move forward, get stuck, or even fail on their journey. We went over some of the other possible elements, and then we applied the Hero’s Journey to The Hunger Games.

 

“…the hero is symbolical of that divine creative and redemptive image which is hidden

in us all, only waiting to be known and rendered into life” – Joseph Campbell

 

One of the first points that got brought up was whether or not Katniss was actually a hero. In my opinion, she definitely is, although she has trouble throughout the story. However, there are other heroes who face their own journey through the books; including: Peeta, Prim, and more.  Nevertheless, we did focus primarily on Katniss as the main character of the story. She goes through most of the stages of the Hero’s Journey, and in some cases, she has to face the stage several times.

The Departure

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The first stage of the Hero’s Journey is the Departure. Katniss entered her journey the moment she volunteered to take Prim’s place as the tribute from District 12. The Departure stage of a Hero’s Journey includes the following steps: the call to adventure, self-awakening, crossing the threshold, and more. She answers the call by volunteering, although she does not know the consequences of her actions right away. She also answers the call later in the story when she agrees to be the Mockingjay, even though she initially refused. The first image of crossing the threshold occurred when she is going into the Capitol, and again as she is rising into the arena. Her participation in the 74th and 75th Hunger Games represents her time in the Belly of the Whale.

Entering the Games

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The second stage of the Hero’s Journey is the initiation, which includes the road of trials, apotheosis, the ultimate boon, and more. Katniss faces a series of different trials while she is in the Games. She is forced to defend herself to the point of having to kill other people in order to survive. She forms friendships and alliances in this phase, in the first Games with Peeta and then Rue; in the second Games with Peeta, Finnick, Mags, Beetee, Wiress, and Johanna. While she is reluctant to have the allies in the second Games, they repeatedly help her survive. Katniss is driven through the road of trials by her desire to get home for her family, because she takes care of them. Atonement for the Father is another major step, she has to take care of her family because of the death of her father. In the Apotheosis stage, the hero moves beyond their self to success. Her moment of clarity occurs when she pulls out the berries as a potential way to survive. At this point in the heroes journey is the ultimate boon; the winning of the game and the ability to go home should have offered her that. However, instead she is thrust back into the Games because of her decisions along the way.

The Return after the 74th Hunger Games

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The third stage is the Return. For Katniss, her initial return to District 12 is happy; but she is confused about her life with Peeta and she is forced back into a bad situation when she is informed that if she and Peeta don’t convince the world that they are in love, her family is in danger. The 75th Hunger Games and the rebellion started another cycle through the Heroes Journey for Katniss and many other people she knows. A lot of people fail their journey, or never return home. Prim and Finnick are both killed and Gale and her mother never return to District 12.  Her mother refuses to return in Mockingjay because of the painful memories that returning would evoke. Katniss needs help to return after the war, she is forced to return because of her exile from the Capitol. In my opinion, she does eventually master the two worlds (another stage), when she and Peeta are able to create a decent life in District 12, even though they both still have emotional and physical scars from the rebellion.

Children of Men vs. The Hunger Games

Children of Men vs. The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games is a dystopian novel series, with film adaptations, and many people enjoyed reading and watching this troubling story. In Panem, society is surviving but it is far from thriving. People are at risk of starvation, beatings, and death if they do not fit into the regime. When the rebellion sparks, it is only breaking a system that was already set to self destruct. Haymitch informs Katniss, at one point, that the rebellion was brewing for a long time; they were simply waiting for the right face to lead it and the right conditions for success. However, it was by no means the first popular dystopian film in created in the modern day.

Children of Men was released in 2006, and it has a very different plot, but it is still a dystopian society that faces serious problems. In Children of Men, the world is facing a huge problem; humans have lost the ability to reproduce and humanity is a single generation away from extinction. At the start of the movie, the youngest person in the world dies at 18 years old, creating a hug sense of impossibility for recovery. Britain declares that all immigrants are illegal and will be deported, in order to preserve their own country and Theo, the main character, is nearly killed in a bombing. Theo is abducted by a group called the Fishes, including his ex-wife Julian, because they need him to help them get the papers required to travel. They are trying to transport Kee, a woman who managed to conceive in this world.

Movie Advertisement

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They are attacked on the road and Julian is killed. After Kee decides to stay with the Fishes until the birth, Theo is up late unable to sleep and petting the cat when he hears a commotion outside. Theo finds out that the Fishes orchestrated her death because the people who arrived were members of the group that killed Julian and his eavesdrops on their conversation. As a result, he leaves the Fishes with Kee and her nurse. Theo connects with an old friend, who agrees to help Kee get to the Human Project, a group that is trying to restore people’s ability to have children. However, the Fishes follow them and kill Theo’s friend.

They escape, but as they approach the detention center, Kee goes into labor and her nurse has to pretend to be crazy in order to prevent her from being caught. The nurse is hooded and dragged away, but Theo and Kee make it to Bexhill safely, and her daughter is born. They meet Syd and Marichka in Bexhill, but Syd wants to turn Theo in for a reward and the city is in chaos as the Fishes and the national guard are fighting. The Fishes find them, and Luke is killed and Theo shot, but Marichka helps them get to the water to go into the harbor to meet the people from the Human Project.  At the end of the movie, Theo is either dead or at least unconscious and the boat from the Human Project has arrived. It kind of reminded me of the scene from the Titanic, where Rose is finally saved but her love is already dead in the water.

A State of Unrest

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Overall, the basic plot of this story is very different from The Hunger Games. However, there are many similarities between the two stories as well. For one, many of the people are rebelling against the government in Britain, because it is discriminating against immigrants; much like how Snow discriminated against the people in the Districts. Further, the people need a figurehead or a reason to have hope. Katniss provides that in the Hunger Games, but when the people in Bexhill see Kee and her baby, many of them stop fighting to start praying and it helps Theo and Kee escape. Kee shows them that there may still be hope after all, although the fighting eventually continues in Bexhill.

Katniss as a Symbol

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Kee as a Symbol

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Also, much like the ending of the Hunger Games, Children of Men leaves the viewer with a lot of questions. In the Hunger Games, the reader really doesn’t know what kind of government is formed after the rebellion or if the Hunger Games is re-instated in the end. The reader knows life is at least somewhat better, based on the epilogue with Katniss’s children, but how much better the society actually is and if it is only a temporary fix is unclear. Children of Men is even more unclear in its ending. Does Kee manage to create a breakthrough that can restore the ability to reproduce? Does Theo even survive to see the outcome? If Kee and the Human Project do manage to have a significant breakthrough, how will the world survive? Will the population be able to recover or is it to late? What regulations will be put into place to restore the population, if only certain women can reproduce, how will they be treated? Will the people in the world revere them or the government turn them into slaves, like the women in The Handmaiden’s Tale.

Victory Tour: Travel Scene

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A third similarity is how people are treated. In both cases, citizens who are out of favor with the government are starved, beaten, and generally mistreated. In Children of Men, Miriam is dragged off, hooded, and her fate is unknown. In the Hunger Games, Katniss remembers when a girl was captured for trying to run and later she finds out that the girl had her tongue cut out and was turned into a slave for the Capitol. Travelling between areas is restricted in both populations, although in Children of Men at least some people are able to get a permit to travel. In the Hunger Games, it is only during the Games Selection, Games, and Victory tour that anyone is given the opportunity to see other Districts; and then it is only the tributes, mentors, and then victors. Even in those cases, they are limited on where they can go in the other Districts. Who knows what other similarities we would find, if we had been able to get a more complete image of society?

 

PS: Not sure what I thought about the fake blood spatter on the scene in the fight scene in Bexhill or the bombing at the end….

Blog 9: Hunger Games

Write about “Gender Relations and Romance in The Hunger Games” (women’s capabilities and potential, taking on traditional male tasks, subversion of traditional gender roles, gender transgression, etc.).  Make sure to include the lecture by Dr. Raley and Chapter 11 from Pfarr & Clark  in your reflection.  See also the article in The Nation: http://www.thenation.com/article/167182/hunger-games-feral-feminism/  

 

Gender is a complex issue in The Hunger Games Series. The author balances the traditional gender roles with necessary changes to make Katniss a capable competitor in the Games. She creates an interesting dichotomy of gender differences with Katniss and Peeta, where Katniss plays the role of the protector and Peeta plays the role of the romantic “girlfriend.” In our discussions with Dr. Raley, she talked about some of the differences between our perceptions of gender in modern society. We also looked at how people market their products to each gender. We looked at a variety of products, such as razors, deodorant, and protein bars and how their design and names varied based on their target demographic. After looking at basic ideas of gendering in society, we talked about how we distinguish gender, such as dress, behavior, hairstyle, facial hair, and more. We looked at a bunch of different pictures and decided what aspects made us decide what gender they were.

Dove for Men vs. Women

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In our discussion with Raley, we only talked about the Hunger Games briefly, which was the idea of Peeta as a movie girlfriend and Katniss as a male protagonist. Peeta is the softer, more caring character; whereas Katniss was the hunter and protector. In her private interview with the Gamemakers, Katniss scores higher than any other tribute, including all of the male tributes. Also, Suzanne Collins give female characters real roles, with real, individual personalities. However, Katniss is still expected to dress and act femininely while in the public eye before the Games, in order to try and win more sponsors.

Wedding Dress Katniss wore for her Interview, at President Snow’s Insistence 

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In the article we read in Chapter 11 of Pharr and Clark’s book, it talked more about these warped gender roles. It talked about how society tried to gender people from a young age with clothing and toys, and how people in media are often portrayed in more gender typical roles. However, it also talks about how some modern shows have begun bending the gender roles to be more inclusive of people with different personalities, such as Sam on iCarly. It talks about how in many literary and media works, boys are encouraged to be strong rebels, whereas women are in domestic roles. The article addresses Katniss’ male qualities, such as her survival skills, but it also talks about the fact that she has been forced to take this role because of the death of her father. She was a reactive character, making decisions based on her circumstances. Her emotional moments are more often angry than upset or soft, although an exemption to that arises from the death of Rue. Nevertheless, the article does also talk about how many of the other female characters do conform to more traditional female roles, such as Prim’s sweet and innocent nature in the first book, her fragile mother, Effie’s as a typical vain woman, etc. In the final article, on thenation.com, it also talks about Katniss’ more masculine aspects and Peeta’s more feminine personality. This author does make a couple of additional points, however. For example, he attributes much of her success as a strong female character to her moral values – she tries to kill only in self-defense and she stays true to the person that she believes she is to the best of her ability.

Katniss, Normal Image

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Over all, the Hunger Games creates an interesting dichotomy between traditional gender roles and Katniss’ decisions that are very contrary to it. Katniss is a strong female character, reactive or not, who is put into situations that she has to be harsh in order to survive. How much of that idea created her more masculine sides, or if it was just her base personality, we have no way to know. 

Blog 8: The Hunger Games

Politics is an essential part of the Hunger Games, and the lecture by Dr. Leahy and the Guest Lecture by Dr. Telhami both showed a different aspect of how the Hunger Games and politics interact. Dr. Leahy’s lecture focused on the different aspects of totalitarian regimes and the methods that are employed to control the people. At one point in the lecture, she quoted Arendt, a German-American political theorist, with the phrase, “The aim of totalitarian education has never been to instill convictions but to destroy the capacity to form any.” This quote was very pertinent to the Hunger Games for a variety of different reasons. For one, Snow employed this idea very widely in his treatment of the people in the Districts and in the Capitol. In the Capitol, he surrounded them with excess so that they would never think to question the Games and turned the Games into a form of entertainment to dehumanize the Districts and prevent people from wondering about the humanity of the Games. Among the Victors, Snow destroyed their convictions by threatening the lives and safety of the people that they cared about. In the Districts, people were only given a very basic, propagandized version of what history was and what proper behavior was so that they never considered trying to withhold their children from the reaping; and they were forced to watch as their children died year after year. In addition, Snow controls information and people through spying and technology. He watches everyone who could be a threat through different forms of surveillance to make sure that they never step out of line or ignore his orders.

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Another major theory that Dr. Leahy brought up in her lecture was the idea of control of resources in totalitarian systems. These resources include the military, economy, and actual physical resources. The people in the Districts have been forced to specialize their economies, and they are required to supply different things to the Capitol. In return, they are sent basic food supplies to help everyone get by. However, it is never enough for food to be plentiful, even though people in the Capitol eat in excess, and children in the poor Districts often had to take tesserae to help their families survive. In addition, Snow controls the Peacekeepers, which are essentially the only military force of Panem. Peacekeepers are in charge of maintaining order and the borders of the Districts, to prevent interaction, illegal hunting and gathering outside of the District fences, and more. In addition, people are encouraged, and even rewarded, if they turn others in for potential violations.

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Another interesting point that was brought up in this lecture, and in the lecture about Dystopias, was the control of information. Totalitarian governments limit media, free speech, and what is taught in order to control the perspective of the people. In the Hunger Games, people are given virtually no information about the other Districts or the world outside Panem, if it even still exists. Katniss is shocked when she sees how huge District 11 is, and realizes that the video of the Reaping must show only a portion of the population present. On top of that, the Districts have very little way to communicate with one another, they are fenced in with no real media to tell the other Districts about what is going on. In District 12, Katniss only heard about the rebellion in District 8 on the television in the Mayor’s house. No one else had access to that information.

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Dr. Telhami’s talk focused on modern day politics in the Middle East. When I arrived at the lecture, I wondered how it was pertinent to our class on The Hunger Games, but he actually made a lot of relevant points. For one, he talked about the expansion of knowledge as a catalyst for the Arab Spring. In The Hunger Games, Peeta uses the claim that Katniss is pregnant to try and make the people of the Capitol realize the inhumanity of the Games – to bring knowledge to them that Snow took away with his propaganda and his bread and circuses. Snow disassociated the Capitol people with the people in the Districts, but the knowledge that they could lose the Victors that they loved made a lot of the people in the Capitol angry and upset. In addition, when knowledge of District 13’s survival came to Katniss, it was one of the first times she seriously considered the possibility of the full scale rebellion.

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Another point that Dr. Telhami brought up was the idea of a sense of identity. Snow destroyed the sense of identity and solidarity between the Districts by cutting them off from one another and not allowing the District’s to know much about one another. There was no sense of community, so any District that thought about rebelling expected to be alone in that fight. When the Districts actually had a figure head to stand behind, in this case Katniss as the Mockingjay, it finally made them realize that it was more than 1 district that had rebellious thoughts and it gave them something to stand for. The people could unite under their hatred of Snow, their starvation and poor conditions, and much more. When Cinna turned Katniss into the Mockingjay with her dress, it became apparent that even some of the elites of the Capitol were on the rebellions side.

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A final segment that Dr. Telhami brought up was the idea that public empowerment does not always mean that they will define policy. The different political figures and leaders will reach agreements that will allow for stability. In the Hunger Games, there were only a select few people that were in charge in the rebellion. Coin was meant to be the new President, and she would have advisors from throughout the leadership of the rebellion. Paylor became the President when Katniss killed Coin, but even so the end of Mockingjay made it clear that Panem would have a long way to go before true democracy could be found. Stability, however, was a much more achievable goal. 

 

Blog 7: The Hunger Games

Blog 7: In Chapter 16 of Mockingjay, Collins writes about District 12 “We may have been the smallest district in Panem, but we know how to dance.” Discuss the importance of music and dance in The Hunger Games compared to Appalachia. Make sure to talk about at least one of the 3 songs mentioned in the trilogy: “Deep in the Meadow,” “The Valley Song,” and “The Hanging Tree.”

In The Hunger Games, music and dance is portrayed as a major part of the culture of District 12, even though they spend the large majority of their time working and trying to make a living. Mining is an integral part of the history of Appalachia because it led to many jobs, but also to the destruction and eventual desertion of their land. The companies set up a system where the miners were not being paid enough to even pay back the company for their living expenses and they eventually became essentially slaves to the companies. When miners unionized, in an attempt to get fair pay and a way out of debt, the mining companies brought in more equipment in order to limit the number of people required to mine in Appalachia. This led to a severe shortage of jobs, more destructive mining practices, and more. Music and dance are a major component of the Appalachian culture, and it is a source of inspiration. Songs about mining, family, religion, and much more fill the air in a style that is fairly unique to the Appalachian region. Appalachian music expresses the idea of nature, healing, peace, and escape; but it also expresses poverty, struggle, and the harshness of the coal mining world contrasted with the beautiful landscape in some parts of Appalachia.

In District 12, working in the mines is one of the only ways people can even have a chance to feed their family. However, much like in Appalachia, music and dance help lighten their lives and give them reasons to hope. One of the primary songs in The Hunger Games series is called Deep in the Meadow, which is the song Katniss sang to Rue as she died.

Deep in the Meadow

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http://ruetris.deviantart.com/art/Rue-Dying-305610633

This song is very reminiscent of the themes in Appalachian music because it talks about the beauty of nature and the peace that it offers. The song is beautiful, and also bittersweet as it is used as a dying lullaby. In the movie, the viewer can actually hear the lamentation as Katniss watches her only initial friend in the arena fade before her eyes, but the lyrics alone portray how sad she is and how much she hopes that Rue is moving to somewhere better.

The Valley Song also talks about the beauty that is present in nature, but there is a lot more to it as well. It also talks about love, loss, and moving on. This song has a special significance in the story, because Peeta tells Katniss that the first time he really noticed her was when the teacher asked if anyone knew “The Valley Song” and her hand shot straight up. The song is generally thought to reference Down in the Valley, a folk song from American and many different recording of this song have been made. 

“So, that day, in music assembly, the teacher asked who knew the valley song. Your hand shot up in the air. She stood you up on a stool and had you sign it for us. And I swear every bird outside the windows fell silent.” (pg. 301, The Hunger Games)

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http://hannna-k.deviantart.com/art/The-Valley-Song-323977402

Down in the Valley

Down in the valley, the valley so low

Hang your head over, hear the wind blow

Hear the wind blow, dear, hear the wind blow;

Hang your head over, hear the wind blow.

 

Roses love sunshine, violets love dew,

Angels in Heaven know I love you,

Know I love you, dear, know I love you,

Angels in Heaven know I love you.

 

If you don’t love me, love whom you please,

Throw your arms ’round me, give my heart ease,

Give my heart ease, dear, give my heart ease,

Throw your arms ’round me, give my heart ease.

 

Build me a castle, forty feet high;

So I can see her as she rides by,

As she rides by, dear, as she rides by,

So I can see her as she rides by.

 

Write me a letter, ‘Send it by mail,

Send it in care of Birmingham Jail,

Birmingham Jail, love, Birmingham Jail,

Send it in care of Birmingham Jail.

The Hanging Tree is more reminiscent of a different kind of song prevalent in Appalachia – the ballad style. In Appalachian music, these songs often tell of folk tales and stories that talk about specific people in history, but they also teach lessons and offer insight into the history of this region.

The Hanging Tree

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http://lizzomarek.deviantart.com/art/Hunger-Games-The-Hanging-Tree-no-8-285889266

Are you, Are you

Coming to the tree

Where they strung up a man they say murdered three

Strange things did happen here

No stranger would it be

If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree

 

Are you, Are you

Coming to the tree

Where the dead man called out for his love to flee

Strange things did happen here

No stranger would it be

If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree

 

Are you, Are you

Coming to the tree

Where I told you to run, so we’d both be free

Strange things did happen here

No stranger would it be

If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree.

 

Are you, Are you

Coming to the tree

Wear a necklace of rope, side by side with me.

Strange things did happen here,

No stranger would it be,

If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree.

 

This particular song reminds me a lot of the story of John Hardy, which we heard about in class. He was a railroad worker who was hung because he killed another African American. According to the professor, thousands of people showed up to watch this gentleman hung for his crimes. While the main reason they are similar is the subject matter of hanging, there is also an air of tragedy to both songs because the men both wanted a better life.

Fan Created Version of the Hanging Tree

A Version of the John Hardy Murder Ballad

This song is also really significant to Katniss because her father taught her this song before he died in the mines. Her memory of it is very vivid, because her mother got very angry with them for singing it, as it was a forbidden song. However, when she sings the song in Mockingjay, it is a cathartic moment for her, and she continues to use music as a healing tool later in the book.