The Hunger Games – What the Author Meant

commentary on the hunger games, talking about our society

The Hunger Game’s trilogy is decent writing, but a better story; the impact it made on me wasn’t in Collins’ literary prowess but in the contrast of the Capitol and Americans.  Whether you have or haven’t read the book, I’m not giving anything away here – so don’t worry!

Meet Katniss – citizen of an outlying district, kept in poverty for generations by a strict and oppressive ruling elite hundreds of miles away in the Capitol.  Katniss’ father died when she was young and she grew up perpetually on the brink of starvation and had to resort to black market trade and poaching in order to get enough to feed herself and her family.

Flash forward a hundred pages and we see Katniss riding into the Capitol on a train: chandeliers, golden ornamentation, a complete excess of food and luxury.

A hundred more pages and we’re at a party thrown by the Capitol for the powerful citizens to meet the “tributes” of the hunger games.  They have spent countless amounts of money on their clothes, dying their skin, reshaping their hair, tattooing themselves and changing the way their bodies look in hundreds of ways.  They eat, and when they’re full they drink something that makes them throw up so they can eat some more.

Katniss is disgusted, and so are we.  We’re thinking of her sister, of her father who died because of the Capitol.  We see these images come on the screen of completely ridiculous styles the Capitol citizens think are so important; they are so self-focused they don’t see or don’t care about the suffering of everyone in the districts.  We want to slap them and get them to wake up and open their eyes.

Maybe that message wasn’t lost to you.  I think most of us have some of the Capitol in us, but want to do something to help.  But what to do?  And what kind of an impact can we actually make?  We have to work, and drive, and get that new thing we’ve been looking forward to for so long.

And soon . . . we’re in our golden years, and all we can give is our money; we’ve missed out on one of the greatest journeys we could have had: helping those in need directly. 

“But collective thinking is usually short-lived.  We’re fickle, stupid beings with poor memories and a great gift for self-destruction.  Although who knows?  Maybe this will be it, Katniss.”

“What?”

“The time it sticks.  Maybe we are witnessing the evolution of the human race.  Think about that.”

(Mockingjay)

Millions of Americans went to see The Hunger Games on its opening night.  I hope they picked up on the message, and who knows?  Maybe we’ll remember this time, and live a little differently.

1 thought on “The Hunger Games – What the Author Meant”

  1. Awesome, Jeff! I seriously hope that there are some young folks out there that see some message other than ‘Team Hot Guy vs. Other Hot Guy”. But, hey, David and I have been inspired to go to volunteer.org and find something we can do with our kids so they can realize how good they have it.

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