The Hunger Games — Suzanne Collins
For a long time now, I’ve wanted to rewrite my review of The Hunger Games, but my sluggishness has devoured me into doing so. I’m in high spirits for the time being though, so it provoked my laziness into action.
THE GIST. Panem, the ruins of which was once North America, holds its yearly Hunger Games—choosing two tributes—a boy and a girl from every district. This is a game of wit and survival—tributes must fight for their lives to outlive and surpass the others since only one tribute becomes the victor. Katniss Everdeen volunteered to take the place of her 12-year old sister, Prim, as her name was chosen in the reaping. The other tribute, Peeta Mellark, was the son of a local baker; one of the very few citizens of his district who doesn’t have to worry where his next meal will come from.
District Twelve’s Katniss and Peeta—known as the “star-crossed lovers”—will find a way—even defy the Capitol—so that both of them will survive.
INSPIRATION/INFLUENCES. Devotees of the Japanese novel Battle Royale, and folks who’ve seen the movie have been expressing their disappointments to Suzanne Collins for adapting the same plot and characters with her novel, The Hunger Games. The similarities were undeniably conspicuous, given the fact that Collins had made it clear that she hasn’t read BR yet. Katniss’ counterpart, for instance, was Nanahara, Peeta was Noriko, Cato was Kiriyama (he even volunteered just like him), and the list goes on. I know nothing of the sort as I haven’t read or seen BR yet, but there’s this global computer network called the internet, and I learn a lot of stuff from it. Haha. In addition, the Lord of the Flies by William Golding is being compared too.
However, Collins noted that the inspiration behind this came from channel surfing in the television—one about a reality show where people are competing with each other and another about an invasion in Iraq where the idea of the book was formed. The major basis for the story was from Greek mythology, when Athens has to pay their penalties for killing Androgenos. King Minos required seven youths and seven maidens, drawn by slots, and were sent every seventh or ninth year (some accounts say every year) to be devoured by the Minotaur. Katniss served as the futuristic Theseus, the person who had slain the monster. Furthermore, the framework was based on gladiatorial games of the Romans. Still, Collins loss of his father while serving in the Vietnam War was where Katniss’ loss was derived.
Sure enough, it is highly apparent that Suzanne Collins DID NOT copy BR. The above facts justify that. So doubters, back off.
PERSONAL ISSUES. Upon reading the Hunger Games, I have always dreamt myself as a tribute. *No kidding* I would always wake up in the middle of the night feeling tensed and agitated. Who would not if Clove started slicing your thigh? *P.S. Before reading it, all I can think about is food*
Politics (Governmental Control and Oppression). One can simply relate the background of the story with politics—the corrupted ways of the government; manipulation of the citizens in their own rotten designs, the increasing poverty, and the unlawful measures that they bombard on the people’s heads.
Reality Shows, TV Shows and the Spectacle. The competition was Survivor-esque but in a particularly brutal approach. Being stuck in a bizarre and treacherous spot while mastering the tactics of survival reminds me of Lost. One will assume that Cinna primping Katniss with his fabulous creations was somewhat derived from Project Runway and the Capitol’s sense of fashion were like masterpieces created by the people behind Mad Fashion. Katniss’ “playing-along” with Peeta—pretending that they were madly in love—sold huge audiences from the crowd; which is very typical in every reality shows nowadays.
Moreover, the spectacle or people’s desire to watch other people’s difficulties in different kinds of situations has manifested its influence on our society nowadays. People tend to watch reality shows as it gives real situations that provide a degree of connection to the viewers.
Overindulgence. The ridiculous outfits. The massive wigs. The thick make-ups. Plastic surgery. Capitol citizens spent huge amounts of money for primping, overeating, party lifestyle, big houses, and so on—a far cry from the difficult lives of the people in other districts. These are very evident of the people’s lifestyle today. We invest ourselves in meaningless affairs; spend bills for excessive items, not considering the fact that the money spent on a pair of flashy earrings can sustain a family’s consumption for days.
THE VERDICT. The Hunger Games unequivocally covers an entire bunch of themes that are surely crucial for one to comprehend. I can’t pinpoint everything here, but I reckon one can simply identify those things within one’s self. I just didn’t love the plot, characters, and the flow of the story but the obscured messages in-between the lines. Being a YA novel, it tackles a more ripened and mature content. Our female protagonist even, is an epitome of an efficacious activist. She desires not to please the government with their despicable ways, though inflicting her life in the pit of jeopardy will be the fruition of her ways. Our male protagonist, though reticent he may seem, will not let himself be altered by the Capitol, even in death. To be honest, juvenile audiences will benefit more from these characters rather than those shallow personas from books that they look up to.
All in all, I can never express how much I love this story. The premise, romance, action-packed storyline, and three-dimensional characters induced me to gape in awe, cringe at times, and marvel how Collins weaved such an amazing story that had really blown me away. Nevertheless, for those who haven’t read it yet, a must read for you!