Archive for the ‘The Hunger Games’ Category
Year 10 are reviewing the themes of ‘The Hunger Games’ to help them create their visual texts and a helpful site is GradeSaver. They have produced a study guide to the novel and one of the themes that they discuss is identity. Here is what they have to say on the theme:
One of the central narratives in the novel is Katniss’s shifting identity. At the beginning of the story, she considers herself thoroughly a “girl from the Seam.” She finds dignity in her poverty and her ability to survive it through her hunting and gathering skills. While friendly with several members of the merchant class, she identifies herself most strongly with Gale, also the child of a deceased poor miner. The stoic strength this identity has given her provides the philosophy she thinks will help her succeed in the Games.
However, through the adventure, Katniss is forced to question both her identity as a “girl from the Seam” and her stoic detachment. In terms of the former, her relationship with Peeta, a boy from the merchant class, and her attraction to the luxury of the Capitol make her question whether she might belong somewhere different. And as she grows more and more indignant as she observes the brutality of the Games, she is forced to make many ethical decisions. She ultimately shows that deep down, she is a caring and empathetic person who disdains causing suffering (even to the antagonistic Career tributes), as opposed to being only a stoic hunter. This theme is reflected in a running conflict of passion vs. reason.
Go here to find the full guide.
Year 10 have finished studying The Hunger Games and are now creating a visual text based on the novel. Panem Propaganda is a site that has produced fan produced propaganda posters and they have some great images. There are also other really interesting images to check out, here’s a sample from http://marazzo.deviantart.com.
Cinna, Katniss’ stylist, is a young man, and this is his first Hunger Games. Katniss believes he was assigned to District 12 because of his lack of experience; Cinna, however, informs Katniss that he requested District 12. Unlike most of the other stylists, he dresses simply and chooses to highlight his looks with only a bit of makeup. He connects with Katniss almost immediately, understanding that the wasteful and luxurious ways in which the people of the Capitol live must sicken her. He has a sharp eye and knows how to style Katniss to help her win the crowd over. His first dress, the one that he sets afire with fake flames, earns Katniss her title of “girl on fire.” In stressful times, Cinna maintains a calm and level head. Before Katniss’s pre-Games interview, he tells her to pretend that she’s talking directly to him, to a friend. He is also the one who returns Katniss’ mockingjay pin to her before entering the Games. He is a true friend to Katniss and is highly skilled at presenting Katniss in just the right look, whether it’s to win an audience over, or, later, to convince the Capitol that she is a naïve and innocent young girl who acted out of the blindness of love.
We have had some great discussions about the HG movie and how it compares to the book. I read this blog post that compares the two and I enjoyed reading it and I thought you might too. It discusses the adaptation, the acting, the violence and the “extra” stuff in the film. Here’s a taste:
The Extra Stuff:
By extra stuff, I mainly mean, the introduction of other points of view. While books can have a first person POV, movies are pretty much entirely 3rd person, with a few incredibly rare, artsy exceptions. With The Hunger Games I loved it – it still followed the story, but it gave us something new to look at and think about. My biggest frustration with the Hunger Games trilogy is how, with Katniss’ limited POV, we end up missing a lot of the important rebel actions, but here we get a taste of it, in five important ways:
Seneca Crane’s scenes. As the Games go on, we see the head Gamemaker managing the game with his crew. He’s a producer, and he’s producing a television event, and it’s fascinating to watch how he manipulates the board and why. I would have liked to have seen how he censored or tampered with Tribute footage to ensure it toed the Capitol party line, but it was still interesting watching the very Truman Show-esque manipulation going on behind the curtain.
The commentators: Toby Jones and Stanley Tucci set a very satirical tone as cheery commentators for the Hunger Games, and serve as an incredibly effective Exposition Device to explain things to the newbies without intruding on the story.
Haymitch’s wheelin’ and dealin’: Haymitch manages to smuggle in medicine and food to Katniss during the Hunger Games. We never see how he does this in the novel – again, Katniss’ limited POV. In the movie, however, we see him negotiating, making alliances and coming out of his shell in order to get Katniss and Peeta the items they need. This was great – we actually got to see how Haymitch could interact and sell himself to other people, and just how far he was willing to go out of his comfort zone to help his tributes.
The rebellion scene from District 11: While we don’t get the bread-gift scene in the film, we do watch as members of District 11 lash out against the Peacekeepers in a violent uprising as a reaction to Rue’s death. I don’t think this happened in the books, but it was an excellent early indication of the significance of Katniss’ actions. I was also caught by the racial symbolism – both District 11 tributes are black, and District 11 is shown to have a higher black population than the Capitol or District 12, and the Peacekeepers eventually put down the rebellion with high-pressure water hoses. I wondered if this was an intentional invocation of Civil Rights Movement imagery.
President Snow. In the first novel, he’s more an impending menace than an actual one, but here, we get scenes of him voicing his concerns about Katniss and the significance of keeping the districts under control. I liked this – it gives Katniss’ actions a far-reaching impact that connects the Hunger Games to the rest of the series. It also clearly establishes Snow as the central antagonist even if he only meets Katniss is person once.
I know lots of you are revising The Hunger Games at the moment and if you want to use a study guide to help you, try Cliffs Notes. It has chapter summaries and analysis. You will find the guide here.
Examiner.com has given fans of The Hunger Games their first look at the official map of Panem, the fictional version of North America in which the books and movies take place.
The map, released as part of “The Hunger Games Adventures” interactive game on Facebook, is the first one released by a group officially affiliated with The Hunger Games series.
President Snow said, “hope is the only thing stronger than fear”. In this scene from the film he says this while tending white roses in his garden. Note that unlike the people in the districts that he has the freedom to garden. In his life he has the freedom to enjoy life’s possibilities for abundance and beauty.
We were talking about the controversy about some of the movie’s casting decisions today so you may find this article at Jezebel interesting.
A Character-By-Character Guide to Race in The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins’s book The Hunger Games deals with a dystopian society, and takes place in the fictional nation of Panem. Panem — most likely derived from the Latin phrase panem et circenses, which literally translates into “bread and circuses” — exists in the same geographical space as the current boundaries of North America, but was established following the destruction of modern civilization. (You’ll also notice that many characters have Roman names.) This futuristic country is not all-white. It is diverse; there are many skin colors and hair colors, and in The Capitol, citizens dye their skin, and use surgery to alter their features.
While some fans were shocked to discover that black actors were chosen to play the characters Cinna, Rue and Thresh, they should not have been: It’s all right there in the books. Suzanne Collins very specifically described a world in which the blonde people were wealthy and the olive-skinned and brown people were poor. Race was built into the structure of the novels, and those who “skipped over” the part about Rue and Thresh having dark skin missed a huge part of the story.
Read more about the characters here.
I have pointed students towards this 2010 article in The New Yorker before but it is worth posting about again. We have been discusses dystopian fiction in class and this article discussing examples written for the young adult reader.
Rebecca Stead chose to set her children’s novel “When You Reach Me”—winner of the 2010 Newbery Medal—in nineteen-seventies New York partly because that’s where she grew up, but also, as she told one interviewer, because she wanted “to show a world of kids with a great deal of autonomy.” Her characters, middle-class middle-school students, routinely walk around the Upper West Side by themselves, a rare freedom in today’s city, despite a significant drop in New York’s crime rate since Stead’s footloose youth. The world of our hovered-over teens and preteens may be safer, but it’s also less conducive to adventure, and therefore to adventure stories.
Perhaps that’s why so many of them are reading “The Hunger Games,” a trilogy of novels by Suzanne Collins, which take place at an unspecified time in North America’s future. Her heroine, Katniss Everdeen, lives in one of twelve numbered districts dominated by a decadent, exploitative central city called the Capitol.
Read more here.