Skip to comments.Hunger Games — Vanity
Posted on 03/15/2012 7:45:47 AM PDT by SampleMan
My 13 yr old started reading the Hunger Games series and I picked up on the underlying theme of personal liberty, as she was telling me about it. I decided to read it this last Saturday, so that I could discuss it with her in depth.
I just finished the third and final book of the Hunger Games series and I think everyone here needs to know about it. It is a strong and powerful presentation of the evils that follow placing group needs above individual liberty/dignity.
Its aimed at kids and is wildly popular with young teenagers. Freepers need to read this series and be able to discuss it in-depth.
I put this in the same category as Orwells 1984 and the Gulag Archipelago, accept written for a 13-18 yr old.
Im not going to run through the plot, but it is a portrayal of the evils of subordinating personal liberty/dignity to the needs of the group. And it makes it clear by the end that it doesnt matter what the intent of the government is, the effect is the same if the means is the same.
The end result of marginalizing the individual is demonstrated (not stated) throughout the series.
I have no idea what the movies will be like, except that I just cant see Hollywood telling this story without changing the underlying plot, so you must read the books to help spread the message. You need to read this, so that you can intelligently discuss it with friends and family, and perhaps counter Hollywoods take. (but I hope it goes over their heads and they just follow the books).
My recommendation to all fellow Freepers is read these books, and then buy them for you your children-grandchildren.
No sex, no profanity. Violence is brutal and harsh, but not gratuitously described.
In my opinion, it is suitable for most kids 12 and up, but not if theyve had personal trauma/loss or are emotionally less mature.
—I have no idea what the movies will be like, except that I just cant see Hollywood telling this story without changing the underlying plot—
Remember the first Death Wish movie? The original author was very upset with the ending. In his book, our hero started shooting people indiscriminately becuase of the way they looked or the music the played.
It was a completely different message from the movie. The exact opposite, actually.
I don’t know if this will be as bad, or even can be done with the story line though.
Interesting to read your take on this. The movie (and book) has been getting so much hype recently. My default any time the media gets behinds something is: “This cannot be good.” Perhaps it’ll be different this time. I’ll look closer. Thank you.
This book gets the wallcralwr approval as well.
Easy, fast read since its written for younger audience but interesting enough storyline for adults.
Also, the Legend of the Seeker series get my approval for individual freedom vs group think mindless controlled sheep.
“My recommendation to all fellow Freepers is read these books, and then buy them for you your children-grandchildren.”
I second that recommendation. About $7.00 ea. on Kindle. The only problem I have so far with the movie: casting Woodhead Harrelson as Haymitch.
My soon to be 14 year old daughter has read the trilogy and I have never seen anything she read prior to these books spark such a passionate response. And I agree totally with you about the underlying message of freedom and the dangers of the liberal authoritarian impulse to centrally plan and control society. After reading the novels for myself and seeing how popular they have become, I find the fact that this message has resonated so strongly with young people to be very reassuring.
I’ve read the trilogy as well and agree wholeheartedly!
Big thumbs up from me as well!~ Loved the books and the message. However, I think Hollywood is too stupid to even realize the message of the movie.
My 13 year old loved the books so much that he insisted that I and his mother read them. I agreed to do so as a parent. I’m glad I did so as a fan. They are smart and well paced reads that deliver a powerful message of self-reliance and liberty.
Very excited to see the movie come out next week.
I note, too, that the Hunger Games books consistently pop up at the top of my Kindle list when I’m perusing. There must be something that’s attracting so many folks.
My 10 1/2 year old grandson just finished reading the trilogy and loved them. He’s also a big fan of Rick Riordan’s books.
My 15 year-old daughter loves the book. It was required class reading by her highly anti-socialist, pro-constitution history teacher (yes, there are still a few at public schools).
LOVED the books, have told everyone i know about them, including my kids. My 23 yo read them all, my 18 yo will have to wait for summer vaca because she has too much school work during the school year. The liberty theme is VERY strong, and that’s why i think it’s a great book for conservatives. We are very psyched for the movie.
I read all 3 and loved them as well. I saw it on my Kindle app’d EVO for a long time and wondered what the heck it was, probably some chick thing wifey, the publisher/editor, put on. Since I ran out of new stuff to read I opened it and the first few pages told me it was sci-fi or something else I don’t like, but by page 5 or so something clicked and then I was hooked.
They are about $7 each on kindle - Written for teens but honestly it is pretty hard core considering it is teens in a death match. I think they speak to conservatives because we fear the government taking over and see the characters in this series as fighting “our fight” against big government.
My 28 year old daughter has been talking about The Hunger Game for the longest time. She keeps saying she can’t wait for the movie. She brought to book to me a couple of weeks ago so I can read it. She wants someone to talk to about it. I guess I’ll have to read it now and see for myself.
Sometimes the left in this country doesn’t recognize the message. Look how popular “Firefly” (the series) and “Serenity” (the movie) are. They have the “live free or die” theme. I pray that, somehow, the truth gets into their mushy skulls.
“Its aimed at kids...”
I totally disagree. While the characters are mostly teenaged, the work itself is simply good fiction. I’m 56 and totally enjoyed the story.
And while I agree with your description of the theme being about individual freedom, since reading the trilogy I have often wondered if the author intended that, or was she just writing about good guys and bad guys and it happen to fall out that way — not that it is relevant to you and me and how we interpret the story. Again, I’m just curious as to whether she intended to write “Lord of the Flies” or was she writing “Twilight” and stumbled into something more worthy.
My wife and I homeschool (actually, mostly my wife, I just jump in during the evenings from time to time), and we read the books. I agree with your assessment; the books are very much against a strong central government.
Yet we did find it odd that there is no mention of any religion that I could read. I cant understand why. Generally, those who spend a lot of time in nature will reflect on Gods creation eventually.
However, I am skeptical of a Hollywood slant in the move. Woody Harrelson is a liberal activist, and another lead actor seems to be a gay rights activist.
The author tapped into several themes.
It’s as if American Idol contestants were given weapons and told to fight to the death. They have groomers, advisers (`mentors’) and sponsors.
Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” in choosing the “tributes.”
A harsh, arrogant, decadent `Capitol’ surrounded by sullen, angry, virtual-slave districts. (Gee, lemme think on it...)
“Survivors”: Katniss Everdeen forced to hunt to feed her family, with her male friend Gale—equals—using forbidden weapons—with the penalty for poaching and invading the Capitol’s forests—death. (A little Robin Hood?)
Katniss is a high-powered model as well, with Capitol fashionistas at her back and call. Not wanting to marry, worried about her own children having to enter the arena. Torn between two male friends, Gale and Peeta. Trying to figure out who she is, what she stands for, what is important. Scholastic is behind it. It’s for kids, and the kid in all of us.
Underlying it all, the struggle to live, and to live with a modicum of dignity. Hunger is a constant theme. Hunger for what? Begin.
I think the lack of religion is also a message. One of many, many personal things that have been stripped away. The characters are not made right, but shown as they have been damaged.
My liberal sisters reading this right now.I may have to point out how her ideology is similar to the government controlling the food supply.
Starship Troopers, if you listen to the idiots commentary he equates the government in that movie to what he was seeing happening in the US, and what he saw as a child. Not in regards to liberals, but what conservatives were doing. Idiot couldn't equate being a "citizen" to what being a "citizen of the world" that libs espouse.
Equilibrium they made it emotions and art as victims. What two better characteristics of focus for liberalism are there? The government there was given religious overtones. Funny when you consider so much of the great art in history has been created for religious purposes. Somehow it is okay to have a big government that is theirs.
My point was just to let the adults here know that the book is through the eyes of a 16-17 yr old girl. Yes, it is very much a good read for adults, as well.
I thought the writing was simpler (no bad) than books aimed at adults, and there is no profane language. Sex is only discussed matter-a-factly, not graphicly, e.g. “He was sold to the highest bidder to satisfy their appetites...”
Read the series and just gave the first book to my oldest so he can read it before the movie comes out.
The writing was simplistic (written for teens) and in the first person. But it was well done considering it’s not Tolkien.
My only gripe is that the actors in the previews don’t look like I thought they would... whoever did the casting was trying to get Twilight movie look-alikes. And the people from the Capitol don’t dress as freaky as I had envisioned.
I read all three when they first came out and my sons were into them. Loved them all.
Interestingly, my younger son just finished reading it again (this time for school) and he commented on the socio-political aspect of the books. He said it is really cool how he is noticing the higher level ideas now. When he was younger it was just an action/adventure book. I sure hope the movies follow the books. She is such a rebel.
“I have no idea what the movies will be like, except that I just cant see Hollywood telling this story without changing the underlying plot”
Well since Woody Harrelson is in it...I know I won’t spend a dime on it
Seperation of Church from State.
If you are free from the State - you are free.
You might - instead - reflect on why you would think it should be there.
My two boys have devoured these books. I’ll have to read them. My oldest son and his Robotics team are primed for the midnight showing on the release night.
Sort of a team tradition.
Read the books and enjoyed them (although, I feel that the third book could have been twice as long. I felt that the author rushed through it, especially the ending).
Another important theme to this book that is quite obvious is that their government has absolutely no value for human life. Seeing that the setting was based in the future it wouldn’t surprise me that their devaluing of human life began in the womb. Sound familiar?
Would you suggest them for a 12 year old girl and an 11 year old boy? We are careful to monitor what they watch and read.
Starship Troopers was definitely an interesting read. The book was much better than the movie.
My daughter has read the trilogy - and thought they were
She is 24 years old, and told me she thinks I should read
them as well.
I had just steered my sister away from The Hunger Games for my then 11 year old niece. That was bases only on a quick read of the synopsis of the story. It just did not seem appropriate for that age. Based on your warnings for emotionally less mature 12 year olds, I think I’ll stand by my recommendation. Its sad what a divorce does to the emotional well-being of a young child.
I would not suggest them for a 12 and 11 year old. It’s a bit violent and emotional (without giving away the story, and this is explained early on in the book, of course: the basic premise is an event where a bunch of teenagers enter an arena and fight until only one remains).
You might - instead - reflect on why you would think it should be there.
You might, instead, reflect on why you are so quick to post a snide comment. Who’s talking about a state religion? You?
Quite possibly. Hey, Lord of the Rings first became wildly popular when hippies fell in love with it.
With its message of duty, honor and sacrifice, it is about as contrary to the hippy ethos as can be imagined.
I’m not sure that comment was meant as snide.
The total lack of God was one of the elements in creating the totalitarian nature of Katniss’ world.
However, one could surmise that the morality that still came through had to come from somewhere, and that ‘somewhere’ would be the Holy Spirit.
The godlessness of the books is peculiar to me. And it ruins the ending, I decided today.
It would be impossible to erase the idea of divinity from the human mind. As long as people can look up into the night sky, they’re going to wonder who arranged the stars.
But all mention of God, even in language, is absent. This is intentional, and it’s what makes the end of the trilogy so unsatisfying.
Perhaps you've missed the point of the books. The story isn't about redemption, its about being irrecoverably damaged. Its survival, not triumph. Triumph is possibly an option for the next generation.
What form do you suppose God takes for North Koreans who have known nothing but the Kims from infancy? And that regime has only been in place for 60 years.
I think the stark absence of a practiced religion is a strong statement completely in keeping with the underlying tone and hopelessness of the story. Totalitarian regimes aren't big on competition.
No. I would not recommend them for a 11 and 12 year old. My son is 13 1/2 and I kind of hesitated to even let him read them but his dad lets him do combat type video games so I felt he could handle the violence. I told him he could read them but he just put the books aside and hasn’t done so yet.
The first book is, imo, very violent. The second book not so much. Like another poster mentioned, there is no vulgar language or sex other than mentioning that Katniss is viewed naked while being prepared for battle and there are some fleeting mentions of using your body to get favors or for survival.
We home school, too, but on a 1-10 scale of home school protectiveness we are about a 5. 1 being people who don’t watch any tv and wear dresses, 10 being people who home school but are worldly-wise on the same level as public schoolers.
Hippies liked LOTR? I can’t imagine hippies having the drive to finish a book(s) like LOTR.....
Hippies dug it.
Misty woods, pointed ears and little people smoking pipeweed.
What’s not to like?
Of course, as I said, it is at its core a story of the nobility of pain, suffering in a battle against evil. Not to mention self-sacrifice to save one’s friends and the world.
Which doesn’t fit well into an ethos of changing the world by getting high and screwing around.
(You may be able to figure out from this that I’m not a fan of hippiedom. Not then or now.)
Me either...I was just a bit young for the hippie generation and of course now I’m just too smart for it.
Perhaps I have.
Though I believe I said that people wouldn’t forget the concept of divinity, not wish for the old days in the country church. Practiced religion could believably be absent. Katniss is able, though never excited, to both perform and witness violence. It’s only once the final violent act happens that she “snaps” into despondency. There was never a need for redemption because Katniss was not the sinner. But the final violent event does leave room for hope—for something to survive for.
What’s the point of survival if there’s nothing on the horizon, nothing over the hill, nothing to live for? That thing begins as her family, becomes the cause, then ends as nothing. Perhaps the epilogue encourages us to believe it’s her family once again. But the nothingness is unsatisfactory.
I doubt all North Koreans are ignorant of God, and most (going only from a single documentary I watched, so I’m an expert) are told that the Kims are divine. I’d guess that some of the people in their work camps are there for saying that the Kims aren’t gods. Or that another god exists.
The Capitol never tried to be anybody’s god, just the boot on their necks.
I took the point of the hunger games to be the reinforcement of a sense of helplessness and total submission to the state.
Such a system would not tolerate a Christian faith. It is too much of a threat.
How many Christians are ther in Mecca? They have done thorough job of eradication.
Thanks for your review, these books were completely off my radar screen until I read this thread. Now I will give them a go.
I’m glad to hear FReepers give it good reviews. I just ordered it for my almost 14 year old daughter today, but I might read it first to see if she can handle it. I see it is a top seller in the Kindle downloads, so there must be something good about it.
I agree. Great books!
FYI: a couple of links to other discussions of the Hunger Games: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2852446/posts
Gosh, SampleMan, I’m talking about the idea of divinity. Not Christianity. Just the idea that we’re not purposeless and alone. That’s absent from the book and it bothers me.
I have no idea about Christians in Mecca, but I’d bet there’s at least a few.