Guest post: Hungry for Hope
Editor’s note: We asked several of our regular Resource Book writers to share their thoughts on this weekend’s release of “The Hunger Games.” This post is by Jeff Bachman at Rock Harbor in Costa Mesa, California
As the sun rises on yet another day where young men and women are going into battle and the odds are stacked against them, we see our hero muster up the strength to be more, to overcome, to defy the naysayers. Sound like a book you’ve read? It is, but it is also a typical day in the life of teenagers. Which is what makes The Hunger Games so ripe for students to read, enjoy, and associate with.
Sixteen year-old, Katniss Everdeen is the main character in this three-part story. She starts as an angry rebel that lost her father. She provides for and adores her sister. She tolerates her mother. Katniss’ sister is chosen at the yearly tradition of taking two tributes (kids 12-18 years of age) from all twelve districts into an arena where they fight to the death. Katniss volunteers as tribute in her sister’s place. What unfolds is a story of survival, rebellion, fighting for what is right no matter the cost, and unconditional love.
In the first section of the book, we are given a beautiful parallel of Christ’s unconditional love when we see Katniss scream at the top of her lungs, “I volunteer! I volunteer as tribute.” Literally stopping her sister’s death sentence. This book not only points back to the redemption of Christ, but also speaks directly to the heartbeat of many teens, who wrestle daily if they can rise to the difficult occasions that life hands them. For a moment, they see someone who can and does.
Ask your students what they love so much about this book. They are looked down upon. Told they can’t. We see a young lady who has been told her whole life that she can’t and yet she does. It is a story of hope to a generation who often can’t find any. Is there a better hope for our students than a fictional teen? Absolutely – and we have the opportunity to make that connection.