Friday, April 16, 2010

The Hunger Games/Catching Fire

In the past couple of days I have been in a couple of conversations about the two books The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, in two totally different contexts as well.

So, if you have not read the two books, I offer you fair warning that there may be spoilers. So tread carefully.

Apparently I over-analyzed the books, because I was texting Alexandria while I was reading Catching Fire. Which leads me to the first context to which the books were referred to as; when I was explaining to my roommate John what the Hunger Games were. As I started explaining, another roommate Craig and his fiance chimed in. Did we talk about the romance? No... We essentially compared the book to 1984 and Brave New World, talking about the totalitarian regimes in each book and how they placated the masses. So I probably should be shamed at that count, because I had not focused in on the romance, but at that time I had not finished The Hunger Games yet. So hopefully I am granted clemency on that aspect, of post American/Big Brother government. 1984 had their loving big brother minute, Brave New World used the assembly line as a cloning process and sex to control the masses, and Panem in The Hunger Games used the Roman/Crete model of gladiator battles to sate the masses, and keeping the people down with hunger, and keeping them isolated. I honestly could talk about the many aspects of this, especially in book two because it was easy to that at that time the President Snow (Assuming President Snow isn't a title and that there have been many who have been 'President Snow') and the government underestimated their own people in how they would react to the annual hunger games in Catching Fire. But I digress, that is only one part of why I like the books, and if I expound more, well, I fear I will be shanked.

Anyways, in the background of the story there are rebellions going on, districts revolting and all. But the main character Katniss is only vaguely aware of what is going on in other districts, and concerned with surviving. Due to a desperate act of survival, and a treacherous act in the eyes of the government, she now is pitted in a romance as a show of control by the government. Katniss will have to decide between her best friend, Gale, who she would have married eventually without the interference of the hunger games, and Peeta, a local baker who was pitted in the games as well, loves Katniss and has saved her life and helped her selflessly many times. His story of unrequited love, of supposed betrayal, of giving his heart 100% to a woman who he thought loved him the same, and still sticks around after finding it not to be so. Who is now held captive by the government.

While many would see that the capture of Peeta as something awful and undeserved, I see it as a way for Katniss to earn her place with Peeta if she so decides. As she is the face and inspiration for the rebellion, the capture of Peeta will not only propagate the insurgency and downfall of Panem Government as she seeks to rescue him, but she will have time to determine who she loves more and wishes to spend her life with; Peeta or Gale.

Which is why I view the capture of Peeta as a good thing, or a positive thing story wise. As much as their romance is central to the books, if Peeta had been rescued as well, then Katniss would not be able to see how the loss of Peeta affected her, she would not be able to determine her true feelings for either Peeta or Gale. And also, she would probably run off to escape both the rebellion and the government, causing a morale problem with the insurgency, so her desire to rescue Peeta will be the morale needed to further propel the movement forward.

So those are my thoughts on the books. Please don't shank me.


Alexandria said...

Oh I am shanking you. Peeta being captures is NOT a good thing. You are such a boy.

Lauren said...

I cried when they took Peeta BUT I do like your thinking that Katniss is going to get her crap together and do some Peeta loving. I guess I was to devastated over the thought of no more Peeta that I didn't think of it like that.

Punk said...

I agree with you that Peeta's capture may have been an inevitable plot device. How else do we expect Katniss to actually get off her butt and get involved rather than simply being a figure-head for an all but metaphorical rebellion? This is her story, after all.

I'm far too invested in this story arc. I'm dying to see how Suzanne Collins spins the rest. The release of the 3rd book cannot come quickly enough.

Kate said...

I actually don't find anything in this post incendiary, even to a fangirl like me. I think you said some very astute things, some that I've thought myself (Brave New World for comparisons, oh yes.) (Have you read "The Lottery"? The beginning of HG reminds me of it so strongly.)

I'm not happy Peeta is captured, but I can see your point. I do want Katniss to choose Peeta, not to just accidentally end up with him. She needs to realize how strongly she feels for him and that she loves him back.