Guest post: Hungry …
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 Mary Wilson with Unkommon Media in Macon, Georgia.
“So, you’re supposed to give us advice,” I say to Haymitch.
“Here’s some advice. Stay alive,” says Haymitch, and then bursts out laughing. I exchange a look with Peeta before I remember I’m having nothing more to do with him. I’m surprised to see the hardness in his eyes. He generally seems so mild.
“That’s very funny,” says Peeta. Suddenly he lashes out at the glass in Haymitch’s hand. It shatters on the floor, sending the blood-red liquid running toward the back of the train. “Only not to us.” – The Hunger Games (pg 56)
Tonight’s the night! Okay, I’ll admit it: I’m excited. I devoured the books. I am so envious of my son who has D-Box MFX seats to the midnight preview tonight (D-Box MFX seats move and vibrate like a virtual ride at Disney.).
Why did so many teens and I get hooked on this series? The heroine, Katniss Everdeen, for starters. Katniss is a rebellious sixteen year old tomboy who can shoot a bow better than any grown man. Not only does she keep her family alive after her dad’s death by hunting in the forbidden woods with her best friend Gale, but she volunteers (offers up her life) as her district’s female tribute in the Hunger Games to spare her little sister, whose name was drawn in the annual lottery. The story centers around teens ages 12 – 18 who are forced through this annual lottery to take part in a grim and barbaric, not to mention fatal, reality show—teens against the world. And, there is growing romance—a love triangle—as Katniss is confronted with her feelings for fellow tribute, Peeta, and her best friend Gale, whom she left behind.
The Hunger Games is full of analogy, parable, and metaphor—moral dilemmas and choices ripe for the teaching. Katniss offers her life sacrificially, for her little sister. Then, Katniss struggles with fighting against Peeta, who saved her family from starvation. Peeta sets on a course, to his own demise, to ensure that Katniss is the victor. Katniss forms an alliance with Rue from the eleventh district and risks everything to honor her in death. Although the author has taken heat for the brutality of the games, that is not what you remember or take from the story. The Hunger Games is an archetypal story about the true meaning of love, sacrifice, and staying true to yourself in the midst of a national system that is evil and demoralizing.