Monday, January 16, 2012

Thoughts About The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games is a trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I read all three books about 8 or 9 months ago. The first book was ultimately the best and the third book ultimately the worst. The middle book: Catching Fire just sort of existed. Hard for it to stand on it's own without the prior book and solving nothing on it's own without the third book. I can't say I'm a BIG fan of the books but more about that later.

Why am I blogging about the books many months later? Well our minister likes to pick themes for his series of sermons and the current series is called The Hunger Games. Of course, there's lots of great comparisons there like "bread of life" and right and wrong and getting through tough situations. So his choice of theme made me start thinking about the series again. I'd tried to just forget them. The ending was so dissatifying for me that it sort of soured the whole series. I see now there's going to be a movie (of course). Will I watch it? Possibly so....perhaps hoping the movie rectifies what I see as some fatal flaws.


I'm not stuck on happy endings. I know life is not all about happy endings. Sometimes its about the lessons learned from unhappy endings. Yet the tragic ending of this series was disheartening to a level of being really distrubing. I've sort of blocked myself from thinking about why and what nerve it struck inside me until now. I'm not sure I can put it into words...but I'll try.

The whole series centers around Kat stepping up to enter the Hunger Games in place of her little sister, whom she loves dearly. In the end, the sister dies anyway. You might say this is true of life. And so it is. But woven into the books are a sense of justice and yet what we end up with is the biggest injustice of all. What is entangled in the books is a challenge to your idea about what is right and wrong and yet in the end you come away wondering which is which. Embedded in the book is a sense of despair and you end up with the same sense of despair at the end.

Oh I know there will be those that argue that Kat ends up with the "right guy" and that they still have children and continue life. And that the districts are no longer ruled by the Capitol and are becoming independent. Those things are true but they do little to pacify the sense of despair and lack of control. We all know life can change at a single moment. We all know that choices we make along the way can direct our lives. Some of those are outside our realm of control. Yet this series takes that idea and cuts to the bone.

I believe that light always trumps darkness. I believe good always triumphs over evil.  I'm not naive. I know that life has much darkness and much evil and both might reign for long periods of time but always contained within are elements of light and good...they are never snuffed out. Perhaps the author meant to weave this into the story and there are tiny slivers here and there. The bread sent in a time of need at great cost to people in the district. Yet the overpowering darkness of the books seem to cast shadows on even the good. 

I also believe in a higher power. I believe in God. I repect other people's beliefs about God because he may present himself to them in different ways, with different faces. This I don't know so I respect different beliefs.  This series is pretty devoid of God or any spiritual belief. Or perhaps buried in the despair I missed it. I do remember one part where it states something like that no one prays because they have learned that no one answers. (Those aren't the exact words but the feel that I got from what was written). How sad. Yet I know there are people in today's world that feel this way. To me a series with so much evil should have contained God in some way.

You don't have to agree, it's just what I believe. It's like another movie I watched called Case 39 where the girl is God in that movie can you have a demon without God? That's just not right. Evil without Good?

Perhaps what I find most disturbing is this..."are we headed there?". Not so much the idea of districts and hunger games but the sense of despair, the idea of darkness being the overwhelming presence in the world. Overall people are not kind now days nor are they overly generous. (I know that's a generalization, there are many good people and good things happening). BUT when will we reach the point where the despair is predominate? When will the world cycle into a time of darkness that seeps into all areas of life? When will people become so caught up in just surviving and taking care of themselves that humanity changes?

If the series is meant to be a commentary on social discord then perhaps the author hit the mark more than I give her credit for. Most classic literature does just that. Catcher in the Rye comes to mind. Yet this series does little to dispell the feeling of darkness and leaves one with an emboding sense of doom, and a pervasive sense of sadness even though the ending tries to wrap it up with Kat's family and the value of "remembering" the dead who fought the battle to provide a better life.

REMEMBER: These are my thoughts at this particular date and time. You don't have to agree with them. They just are what they are!

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