Saturday, May 19, 2012

hunger games: a reveiw, pros, and cons

I've seen some ill-informed and opinionated posts about the Hunger Games book series by Suzanne Collins and the accompanying movie, and I felt that the blogging world should be a little better informed. I have read all three books in the series and watched the movie (all quite recently) and enjoyed them. I'll start with an overview of the book. Then I'll move on to the moral benefits of the story plot, how you can be negatively affected by the series, general arguments, and my personal opinion on the book. This is going to be a very long post, so bear with me. 

*SPOILER ALERT!* The endings to all three books are given in this review. If you have not finished the series, do NOT read the overview!  If you are not planning to read the series, read the overview before reading the rest of the post.

The Hunger Games book series is about a futuristic America which is under a dictatorship. There have been many wars and the USA is finally divided into 13 sections which are called "districts" and a Capitol. Each district mass produces something that benefits the entire country. 74 years previously, District 13 tried to overthrow the Capitol and its dictatorship. Because of this, the Capitol completely obliterates District 13 and vows for this situation to never happen again. In order to keep the population in its place, every year one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 are chosen to battle to the death against 22 other children from the other districts. There is only one winner, and he/she gets eternal glory in their district. The Hunger Games are treated like a holiday in the Capitol. People exchange gifts and the Games are watched on television like an in-home movie theater. It is a source of entertainment for the Capitol. As for the districts, this is a time of great sorrow for the families of the children who must compete.
For the 74th annual Hunger Games, Primrose Everdeen (12) is chosen to compete in the arena for District 12. Fearing for her sister's life, Katniss, her older sister (16), volunteers to fight in her place. Peeta Mellark (16) is the chosen boy. The Hunger Games arena is a forest, which is an ideal situation for Katniss who hunts regulary in her local forest. The Hunger Games are brutal, forcing young teenagers to kill each other. In the middle of the Games, the gamemaker announces that there can be two winners, a boy and a girl pair from each district. Peeta and Katniss make it through to the end, when the gamemaker then decides that there can only be one winner. Katniss and Peeta can't live without each other, so they start to eat poisonous berries. The gamemakers intervene, and both are considered the victor. 
The 75th annual Hunger Games is special, and the previous victors from each district must compete in the Games. No new children are chosen. Peeta and Katniss are traumatized from their previous encounter in the arena, and are terrified about whether they will make it through this time. In the middle of the Games, the arena is sabotaged by an anti-Capitol association and they try to take Peeta and Katniss away for safety. Katniss is taken, but Peeta is left behind accidentally. 
In the third book, Katniss is taken to District 13, which is still up and running, but underground. They are fighting to overthrow the Capitol (because of its dictatorship system). In the end, they prevail and President Snow and the Capitol are overthrown. 

Positive elements
Because this is a future fiction book, I think there is a good moral to the story. It just goes to show that our warring and bad choices can affect our future government and personal situations. 
As for Katniss, she risked her life to save her sister. That is a great sacrifice. As much as we would like to say that we would make a sacrifice like that, I think many of us can use such an example in our lives. 
The districts had no way of knowing what life was like before the Hunger Games. They were essentially powerless to do anything about thier dictatorship government. By entering in the Hunger Games, Katniss experienced firsthand the cruelness of the world and knew that something needed to be done about it. This also reflects on our lives. We often don't realize that something is so terribly wrong until we experience it first hand (i.e.: bullying). This shows us as people that when something isn't right, we need to look into it and see what we can do to prevent it. 
The extreme poverty in some of the districts is disturbing, and shows that we need to help the less fortunate. 

Negative elements
 My mom had a really hard time reading the books. As a mother, it was hard for her to process teenagers killing other teenagers and being traumatized. It is really hard to read about massacres like this, and if you are a sensitive person this could give you nightmares. The extreme poverty of some districts can also open our eyes to what's going on around us and make us feel uncomfortable. The way that the Capitol treats the Hunger Games like a fun holiday can also ingrain fear into our minds about reality television. These are all valid reasons not to read the series.

 General aruguments
Many people have been making these points online, and I want to give additional information on them.
Why are children fighting to the death and not adults? It's so cruel!
--Yes. It is absolutely cruel, but this is the way this government works. Teenagers/children are the ones chosen to fight to the death because it plays on the emotions of the population. If it was adults fighting, there would not have been as much of an emotional impact on the adults and perhaps would have tried to overthrow the government anyway. Knowing that their children would be in danger if they tried to fight kept them in their place.
Parents should be monitoring what their children watch and read the reviews! This is horrible for children to watch!
--As for parents monitoring what their children watch, I totally agree with this! But what parents let thier children watch are their business, not ours. I can tell you, my mom read lots of reviews and read all three books before she let my younger sister and I watch the movie. My parents are extremely careful with what we watch. 
Suzanne Collins should have let all the tributes stay alive, instead of just Katniss and Peeta. 
--Death is a part of life, and is doesn't matter what a book says, nothing is going to change that. Do you really think people would read books if everyone always lived happily ever after? Do you think Katniss would have seen the cruelty of the government if everyone lived? No. So there's your answer. 

My personal opinion
I think that this is a well written series that is fun to read and has a good moral to boot. It is worth reading, but not something to get over excited about. I think the hype that everyone has about the Hunger Games is a little bit much (it's just a book series), but everyone is entitled to their opinions. 

In conclusion, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I just wanted everyone to be well informed about the Hunger Games series before making rash opinions without having a true basis for these opinions. This post was not a personal jab at ANYONE, so do not feel offended. Other than the paragraph about my personal opinion, this post was meant to be neutral and objective. If you find that the overview or negative and positive elements were too opinionated, let me know how so and I will do my best to correct it. 

In your comments below, please be careful to express your opinion without being offensive.


Love, Lena


  1. This is a very helpful post, thank you Lena!
    But I must say, this kind of dying isn't a normal part of life.
    But don't you think that if all of the Tributes absolutely refused to fight, year after year, that THG wouldn't happen anymore? I think that would work.

    1. You are completely right, this mass killing isn't part of life. But it is a part of war.
      Because of the way the Hunger Games is set up, they cannot fight against it. If the tributes fight against it, the Capitol just finds a way to hurt them even more than if they stayed in the Games.
      If you had the basis of the book series to go back on you might understand a little better, but I know you aren't allowed to read them, and I understand. :)

  2. But... this isn't war. The people who are fighting are not soldiers. They're innocent children{teens} who are being exploited for the sake of the sick entertainment of evil people. The books seem horribly sad. But it seems to me that if the people would rebel, even if their kids would get hurt, their kids would die in THG anyway.

    1. It is war. The second book is about preparing for war, and the third book is war. The first book is just a build up to the real war and the districts gaining freedom from the dictatorship.
      The teens are now being exploited for the sick entertainment of evil people, but it was originally to keep the adult district members from rebelling. All this time, District 13 has been preparing for this war to overthrow the government.
      Another point, not all children are killed in the Hunger Games. Only 2 out of thousands of children are chosen from each district every year. The choice is to have one or two children killed in the Games every year, or rebell against the government and have another whole district wiped off the map, just like 13. Essentially, it's a choice between the death of 2 or 1 million people.

  3. But the Districts and the Capitol aren't in war{yet}. But they are not soldiers! It's kids! It doesn't count! They're doing something that Suzanne Collins really didn't need to put in there. It's gruesome. We get it. Evil governments are evil. I'm just confused as to why Suzanne Collins wants kids{8-18}to read a book like this. It desensitizes them. And there is very little chance of this actually happening in the world. And the morals of, 'well if our evil government says it's ok to murder my peers because they're going to kill me, I will!' That isn't the best moral in the world, I don't think. It reminds me of the gladiators in Rome. But that wasn't children brutally murdering children. It was Christians who prayed for their murderers.

  4. I'm sorry if I was being argumentative. Let's just not talk about it anymore, k?

    1. Yes, that's fine. Though I do love a debate every once in a while! Sorry I didn't reply to your last comment, I've been awfully busy and haven't had much time to be on the internet. :/