Thursday, May 7, 2015

Reflecting on the Semester

After reviewing my blog posts, I see that I have learned so much about the Hunger Games just based on many different disciplines. I have learned how to analyze the novels and movies in many ways and how to really look in depth at the book. I think this semester I learned a lot about other disciplines I may not have thought could have been applied to the Hunger Games series. I especially liked our lecture on Gender Roles by Dr. Sara Raley.

I really enjoyed all the material we covered in the class and I thought it really made me think critically about the series. The class discussions and lectures made me think about all the different ways the book scan be interpreted and also how these problems apply to the real world. Sometimes, we got into some pretty heated discussions about issues in our world today. Sometimes it would relate to what was happening in the novel but other times we just went off on tangents.

I think this course was pretty challenging as I had to learn about several other disciplines I was not familiar with. Then having to apply them to a novel made it pretty difficult too. It was interesting but it definitely was a challenge for some of the assignments. I think I learned a lot from the readings and they allowed me to get examples from the Hunger Games books and comparing to the real life problems we face in our world today. The readings offered some very detailed descriptions of a concept or idea and really went deep into it which helped me really learn everything I had to about the topic.

Overall, I really enjoyed the class and I thought it was interesting. I originally took this class because I loved the books and thought this would be an easy and fun class to learn about the books. Little did I know how in depth we would go into the books and learning all about them. Lets just say I will never forget any part of this book ever again because we talked about it so much and constantly were refering back to the books and movies.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Is the World Truly Evil?

From the moment we are born we are taught right from wrong and what is bad and good. Sometimes even with that people can still be evil or they can turn out well. I think we can all agree that President Snow in the Hunger Games trilogy is evil(or is he?), but could we include Coin in there? How about Katniss? What exactly defines evil?

According Dr. Baron's lecture, someone who is evil gets "individual pleasure from causing harm to others which can be as a result of vice or extreme apathy toward others' humanity." During his lecture we talked about different Philosophical Morals of Being Good. Each of these employed ways in which a person can deal with situations in different perspectives on how to make the right choice. One view called Utilitarianism is described as the right actions is the one that maximizes utility. An example from the Hunger Games we looked at was at the end of the Hunger Games when it was only Katniss and Peeta left. The Gamemakers announced there could only be one winner then they try to commit suicide with Nightlock berries which causes the Gamemakers to declare them both the winners. In this situation, as a utilitarian, we must look at what the Gamemakers and Katniss were thinking. Are Katniss and Peeta thinking about what is best for them? Everyone? In order for this situation to make anyone evil, Katniss, for example, would have to be doing this for herself instead of the greater good. She the berries because she wants to benefit her life and not worry about anyone else. In this case, Katniss nor Peeta is evil but what about the Gamemakers? They changed the rule at the last minute. So was that to benefit them which would make them evil? Or is it to benefit everyone and prevent the start of a revolution?

Panem is a country filled with evil everywhere. The Hunger Games themselves, created by the government after the Dark Days, are truly evil. The games themselves are not evil as much as the creators of the games are. In "The Nature of Evil" in The Hunger Games Companion by Lois Gresh, she talks about what specific aspects of Panem are evil. The big group of evildoers she discusses is the adults in Panem. Gresh makes the argument that the "adult leaders of Panem in The Hunger Games are indeed evil, as evil as can be"(129). This group consists of President Snow and his Gamemakers and Peacekeepers and probably other high powered people but not as important as the three mentioned. She later goes on to say "[m]urder of children is almost universally accepted as evil[...]President Snow and his cronies-clearly plan and intend to torture and kill children in the most excruciating and horrific ways possible. They know and delight in the fact that the children will suffer immensely. They have no shame"(134). With this description of how Snow is evil, we could include the entire Capitol as they watch they games and cheer and are betting on children's lives.

The world is filled with evil and we see it everywhere. From serial killers to robbers the world just functions with evil because there is good to counteract it. There are varying definitions of evil but for most people we define evil in the same way. Evil is something we are born knowing just as we know the difference between right and wrong.

"The Hunger Games Companion" by Lois Gresh, Chapter 7 "The Nature of Evil"

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Gender Roles in the Hunger Games

Gender roles are social norms and behaviors that a society accepts as normal for the specific genders. These can be very different depending on the culture as the culture and people are different and have different beliefs. The Hunger Games trilogy shows examples of breaking gender roles and how Katniss even is forced to be in her gender role when she gets to the Captiol.
According to our society, females are usually perceived as weak and always needing a man to do things and be there for them but they are also usually shown in the media and text as a sexual symbol and always on the chase for a man. In the Hunger Games trilogy, Katniss is not seen in this frame of femininity as she is strong and does most stuff by herself. After her father dies, she steps into the role of provider for her family, which is usually reserved as a male role. She goes hunting and sells in the black market called the Hob. In their essay "'Killer' Katniss and 'Lover Boy' Peeta," Ellyn Lem and Holly Hassel say "[Katniss] steps into the void left by her father[...]her willingness to take up hunting was essential to the family's survival. The reverse side of this independence  and autonomy is her resentment at having to accept help."(Pharr and Clark,123). We have all heard about people complaining about men never asking for directions or trying to do things on there own and that is exactly how Katniss is. She is stubborn and does not want to accept help because it might show that she is weak.

 Even though she may seem as the very masculine character, Katniss also maintains plenty of feminine qualities. During Dr. Sara Raley's lecture, we listed many of the qualities in which Katniss posesses and placed them into masculine and feminine categories.Some of the qualities under the feminine category were that she is attractive, quiet, small and fragile, a caretaker, and that she uses a bow and arrow. In total, the masculine and feminine qualities were fairly even ans showed that Katniss has a good balance of both gender roles. Katniss becomes more feminine as they remake her in the Capitol when they are preparing her for the parade. They shave her legs, pluck her eyebrows and make her into the ideal female beauty figure. After her and Peeta win the Hunger Games the first time, the Capitol almost gives her a boob job to make her look more feminine and presentable to the people of Panem. This emphasizes that women are sexualized in the media and how even though Katniss is not the picture of femininity, they try to change her to fit into the feminine "box."
Gender roles are something that we should think about but it is not necessarily something that we have to conform to as Katniss shows us. She adjusts her ways as to what is necessary for the survival of her family and herself. She could have stayed in the female gender role along with her mother and Prim but then they probably would have died and then the whole trilogy would be way different.
Image result for Katniss capitol
In the Hunger Games, there is romance but it is not the main focus of the entire series. Amanda Firestone analyzes the Twilight series and the main character Bella with Katniss in the Hunger Games series in her essay "Apples to Oranges." In the essay, she discusses how the Twilight series is focused around this relationship between Edward and Bella and in the Hunger Games series, the romance is on the side. Firestone mentions Pamela Regis' romance novel conventions which are "'Society Defined', 'The Meeting', 'The Barrier', 'The Attraction', 'The Declaration', 'Point of Ritual Death', 'The Recognition', and 'The Betrothal'"(Pharr and Clark, 211). Twilight fits all of these criteria yet The Hunger Games does not. Basically, the romance within Hunger Games should not be the focus because it is not the genre that the book is in.

"Of Bread, Blood and The Hunger Games: Critical Essays on the Suzanne Collins Trilogy" by Mary F. Pharr and Leisa A. Clark.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Music in District 12

Through out the Hunger Games trilogy, Katniss mentions songs her father used to sing and that Katniss would eventually pick up. Music becomes an important part of Katniss' life as she even mentions "We may have been the smallest district in Panem, but we know how to dance" (Mockingjay). This relates to the Appalachia region where District 12 is supposedly located in the futuristic Panem. Music is very important to Appalachian people, as Mr. Walt Michael explained to us in his lecture. He explained a specific type of song very popular in the Appalachia region called ballads. We see examples of these in Katniss' songs she sings through out the trilogy.

A ballad is a story but as a song, a song that tells a story in other words. One of the most famous Appalachian ballads is "John Hardy". Mr. Michael played it for us during his lecture. It is a story of the historic figure John Hardy who shot someone in a card game and ran away. He was later captured and hanged for his crime. His hanging was quite the spectacle in the town as most of the town showed up to see him hanged. The song goes into detail about his escape and how he was captured which makes it an interesting way to tell a story. It also becomes a fun and easy way to learn history.

One of the songs Katniss sings is called "Deep in the Meadow" and it is also a ballad similar to the ones from the Appalachian region. The song goes:

Deep in the meadow, under the willow
A bed of grass, a soft green pillow
Lay down your head, and close your sleepy eyes
And when you awake, the sun will rise.

Here it's safe, here it's warm
Here the daisies guard you from harm
Here your dreams are sweet and tomorrow brings them true
Here is the place where I love you.

Deep in the meadow, hidden far away
A cloak of leaves, A moonbeam ray,
Forget your woes and let your troubles lay
And when again it's morning, they'll wash away.

Here it's safe, here it's warm
Here the daisies guard you from every harm
Here your dreams are sweet and tomorrow brings them true
Here is the place where I love you.

The song is a story about slowly drifting off and saying that when you awaken, everything will be better. Katniss sings this to Rue as she is dying but she had also sung it to Prim whenever she was ill. The Appalachian songs tend to tell full length stories about troubles or historical people but Katniss' sing is still a story.
Katniss does not really mention using any instruments for their celebrations. She only mentions singing and dancing. Appalachian music tends to use Banjos and Guitars as Mr. Michaels told us. He even brought one of each out to play the songs for us. I imagine that for Katniss' songs similar instruments would be played.

Song Lyrics: "The Hunger Games" Pages 221-222

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Totalitarian Regimes in Our World and Panem

In a totalitarian government, the power is all in the government and they control everything in the state where the government is. They control everything from the media to the way of living. Through out history, we have seen many totalitarian regimes and even in today's world we see some. In the Hunger Games trilogy, it is definitely present.

In "The Hunger Games Companion", Lois Gresh discusses economic states and how it relates to the Hunger Games and other dystopian novels. In our world today "the top 1 percent of all households controls 43 percent of the wealth and the next 19 percent owns 50 percent (Gresh, 11). How is this related to totalitarian governments? Well, if there is a huge wealth gap then the top of the money ladder have all the power. As many people say, money means power. The Capitol has all the power in the Hunger Games. They have luxury items that the other districts can only dream of owning. The districts make the items and yet they do not get to keep them. In fact, if they try to take some of their hard worked items, they are severely punished. This is how the Capitol keeps all the power in the Capitol, by controlling the wealth and making sure that they get everything. This is also shown by the actual Hunger Games. Every district gives two tributes except for the Capitol. In "Of Bread, Blood and The Hunger Games," the essay "Absolute Power Games" by Anthony Pavlik describes how this works. "Pitting district against district in a death match also reflects the way each district is dislocated from others, through a political strategy of divide and conquer the maintains the Capitol's elite position" (Pharr and Clark, 31). President Snow controls how the districts communicate. The strategy is that they do not and no one is allowed to travel to other districts either. So, when the rebellions start in "Catching Fire" Katniss stumbles upon it in the Mayor's office and hears about it from Bonnie and Twill. The first time Katniss really sees the other districts though is during the Victory Tour where she realizes that all the Districts are as oppressed as her's is.

Gresh describes several aspects of a totalitarian government which are "government control over citizens, harassment of citizens, erosion of civil liberties, penalties for invoking freedom of speech [...] repressive regimes face rebellions" (Gresh, 25). We see examples of these through out our history in many of the totalitarian governments we've had. For example, we have Stalin, the dictator of Russia for many years. Stalin ran a Communist government system. Anyone who did not follow his ways, was shipped off to Siberia, never to return again. Under his rule, many people starved to death and he was the one who starved them. Gresh goes on to say how he "tortured people, imprisoned them, exiled them, starved them" and goes to show us that Stalin was quite a brutal dictator (Gresh, 23). In the Hunger Games, we have President Snow who is the main dictator in the series. His policies are strict and it keeps the districts in order. Rue even mentions in the "Hunger Games" that they are not allowed to eat the crops is District 11. If they do "they whip you and make everyone else watch" (Collins, 202). This is an example of how totalitarian governments will show their power. They will show punishment in front of everyone in order to shame the "criminal" and to show that the government will show no mercy.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Looking at Other Blogs

Nicki's blog was appealing as it is a different color than most of the blogs. I thought having the purple color was really cool and the design with the birds was unique as well. She also uses so really good fan art that is unique and has found some other great pictures. In her posts, she also includes some very good information I had not thought of before reading the post.

Becky's blog had great titles to her posts which really captured my attention. From her blog you can also tell that she loves the character Johanna because she talks about her and even includes some really great pictures and gifs of her from the movies. She also includes some bolded words to draw attention to the important ideas in her post.

Lissy's blog had a great header photo and it looks amazing. In one post she posted pictures of how she imagined some characters not included in the movie would look like. I thought that was really interesting as I hadn't thought about that. There are a lot of pictures on her blog which really add a lot to the blog. The pictures are interesting and unique so they are really cool.


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Media in Society

Media is an influence on everyone's life as it is every where we go and everything we see and hear whether it be on television, radio, or magazine covers and more relevant in our time, the internet. In The Condemned and The Hunger Games Trilogy, media is central to the main ideas of the movies and books.

The Condemned is entirely focused around a show and how it is trying to attract the world's attention. The premise is that the world wants entertainment and the way they view entertainment is through violence. So, they have convicts on death row from around the world fight to the death on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Violence seems to be everywhere in our society today whether it be in video games or in our favorite movie and Tom Henthorne goes to say that "popular programs desensitize people to violence and conflict"(95). I mean I myself like some action in my television shows and movies but it can cause us to react as we should if a tragedy shown similar to in the programming becomes a reality.

Throughout the "game" the convicts are playing, more of the players die but more people are also watching. In order to watch, you have to pay with a credit card. The producer does not care that there are people fighting to the death, only that he is getting the money. The people watching though, have a different reaction. The Hunger Games depicts a similar ideal as they send children into these arenas to fight to the death. The Capitol and the other elites, do not seem to care that these young children are fighting to the death, because it is entertaining for them. Meanwhile in the districts, they are cheering for their tributes to come home but the families of the tributes are sitting wondering how and why this continues to go on; why they have to risk their children's lives for the sake of the Capitol's power.

Tom Henthorne goes on to say how reality television shows are similar to movies and books such as The Condemned and The Hunger Games. Programs such as Survivor are based on surviving in conditions just as they had to in the both the movie and books. Reality television today is not reality at all, as people may seem to be real but they are always playing a role. In The Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta were constantly playing the role of the "star-crossed lovers" (even though it was more Katniss playing than Peeta) and people believed that their love was true. Which shows how the games are Panem's reality television. In The Condemned, there did not seem to be any manipulation at first but we later see that one of the contestants was being favored and given advantages throughout the games.

Based on all of these sources, we can tell that reality television is very not real and the media depicts so much and can even desensitize us to what is the reality. The media is also heavily controlled in most of the sources discussed and even in today's society it is regulated just not as heavily. 

Tom Henthorne Approaching the Hunger Games Trilogy: A Literary and Cultural Analysis
Chapter 5 "Real or Not Real"


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Best in the Trilogy?

Out of all the books in the Hunger Games trilogy, I personally like the second book, Catching Fire, the best. I think it really gives us a good look at Katniss and her life and how the Hunger Games affected her. Also, it shows Katniss' character developing a lot into the Mockingjay she will become.

We could tell from the end of the first Hunger Games book that Katniss was a rebel from the way Peeta and her were going to eat the berries because it was her idea. In the second book, we see how her actions have affected the Capitol and how they are taking it out on her. We see that President Snow pays her a visit, telling her that she is under careful observation and that they do not believe she did her berry act for true love. Under the Capitol's watchful eye, Katniss is still trying to rebel in her own small ways. She joins hands with the other victors at the interviews before the Quarter Quell and her dress even turns into a Mockingjay during the interview.

In the second book, we also see how the symbol of the Mockingjay is becoming the symbol of the rebellion. It has become a fashion statement in the Capitol yet, the Districts all use the symbol as a sign of rebellion to take down the Capitol. Katniss first sees it as the sign of rebellion when she meets Bonnie and Twill in the woods. They were running away from District 8 and had a cracker with the Mockingjay stamped on it showing that they were for the rebellion. I think Katniss seeing that shows how much of an influence she is on the people of the Districts and that she has given them the courage to start the rebellion. When we first meet Plutarch Heavensbee, we see that he has a watch which shows the symbol even though he is supposedly on the Capitol's side of the whole battle (we later learn he is not).

Generally, I also like the plot of the second book. I enjoyed how it focused more on Katniss and her dealing with struggles in her hometown and not focusing on the games like the first book did. The second book was more taking place in District 12 and how Katniss is adjusting back to her "normal" life after winning the games. There is the Quarter Quell but that is not even mentioned until much later in the book. In the book, we see a love triangle developing between Peeta, Katniss, and Gale which I really enjoyed. It was nice to see Katniss' internal struggle dealing with her love issues and the other problems surrounding her.

Overall, I enjoyed the second book the best because it gave us more of an inside look into Katniss' life and all the struggles she is dealing with after the games. The second book also has some very good characters and some great character development for Katniss. The ending of the book gives a very good lead into the final book Mockingjay which I thought was also very interesting.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Catching Fire: Movie vs Book

Catching Fire is probably my favorite book in the series. The book and they movie are very different in a lot of ways.

We start at the opening of the movie where we see Katniss hunting in the woods with Gale. In the book, we start off in the woods but with Katniss just sitting there drinking tea instead of hunting. The movie shows Katniss shooting turkey and picturing it as Marvel, the boy from District 1 in the last Hunger Games. Katniss freaks out and Gale has to calm her down and bring her back to realize she is not in the games.They showed this in the movie to show that Katniss has PTSD from being in the games and that there are some things she will never get over It also shows how much of an impact the games can have on peoples lives even after they win.

In the movie we see a lot more of President Snow and we even see some shots of him with his granddaughter. These scenes were not mentioned or included in the book but I feel that these scenes are important. It shows how Katniss is inspiring the next generation and leaving her mark on Panem. Having Snow's granddaughter wearing her hair like Katniss does and wanting a love like Katniss and Peeta have shows Snow how much of an influence Katniss has on everyone. It also makes Snow realize how much of a threat her influence is to him and the Capitol.

When she goes for individual assessment in the training center, in the book, Katniss simply sees a mat covering up whatever Peeta did so she can't see what happened. In the movie though, Katniss can see that Peeta painted Rue laying there surrounded by the flowers as Katniss did for her in the games. In both the book and the film, Katniss does the same thing for her assessment, which is "hanging" Seneca Crane, but in the movie she looks much more hostile since she has seen what Peeta painted. It makes her realize that the Capitol is to blame for all of this and she shows her frustration by doing the "hanging."

There are a lot of important scenes in the book that should have been included in the movie and if they had done that the movie probably would have been like 5 hours long. Overall, I think  the movie got most of the major points but missed some little things that could have made it better. I thought the book was so much better than the movie (as is per usual).



Saturday, February 7, 2015

Movie vs Book (Which Do You Think Is The Best?)

We would all like to think that the movie would be the same as the book in keeping with the story line and main points. Unfortunately this is not the case and the Hunger Games book and movie show many differences but also similarities.

A noticeable difference between the movie and the book is the scenes shown of Seneca Crane, the head game maker, and President Snow. These characters are not mentioned in the book much to hardly at all yet they are some of the important characters in the film. We see many scenes in the film of Seneca and President Snow talking about the games and how they can become more interesting and even how to run the games. Most scenes with Seneca Crane involve him in a room with other game makers changing the arena. He and the other game makers see when tributes are far away and try to drive them towards other tributes in order to keep the games moving along and interesting. In the film, we get to see the technology of the Capitol and get to see how they control the arena. Overall, the film did not really add or remove any of the modifications made to the arena except the rain and drying of the stream. Allowing us to see the inner workings of the Capitol during the games gives viewers a look into why and how the Capitol does what they do and how the games are all just for entertainment and to keep the districts from rebelling (even though in the film we see that does not exactly work).

One of the differences that really makes me upset is how Katniss gets the Mockingjay pin. In the books, Madge, the mayor of District 12's daughter, gives it to Katniss when she goes to see Katniss before she leaves for the Capitol. The film shows Katniss finding the pin in the Hob at a vendor's station and the vendor gives it to her for free. Madge is not even a character in the film! I think that she is a good character to have as Katniss almost sees Madge as one of her only friends at school.

Similarities between the film and book are fairly easy to find but when I went to think about it I had to actually really think about it because it was not as easy as I thought it was. The reaping is the same as in the book for the most part (the checking in part with the blood sample was not in the book), but also the way characters act in the book is exactly as they are in the film. The main similarity I want to focus on is the portrayal of district 12. In the book and the film, District 12 is one of the poorer districts and the part that Katniss lives in is called the Seam. It is the poorest part of the district and it is described in the book and very dull and full of grey and black colors due to the coal dust from the mines. In the film, we see those colors and it seems to be a very depressing as most of the people in the Seam are poor. Even when they go to the reaping, there are some colors like in their clothes but even then they are very dull colors and reflects the feeling overall in the district.

Overall, I thought the book was much better than the film. The book goes into much more detail about the characters, the pre-Hunger Games preparation, and the games themselves. The film did a fairly good job of showing the main points of the book but there is more that could be added in order to make it better and give a better view of the Hunger Games.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Why the Hunger Games?

There are a couple reasons why I chose this class. Of course one of them is for the credit but also I really enjoyed the Hunger Games books when I read them. I enjoy reading books that take me to another world, yet these books take where we live and takes it to the future. It also gives us a dystopia which is scary but there is a strong hero who ends up victorious. While reading, I remember thinking about how our lives would be affected if suddenly our country became just like Panem and it would definitely be frightening.

In this class I hope to achieve a better understanding of the books. They are good reads but there are probably some symbols I have missed or hidden meanings I had not thought about. I also wish to understand the trilogy from the perspectives of many different disciplines such as History and Psychology. It will be interesting to see how the different disciplines interpret the books and the events that occur.

My favorite character is Katniss Everdeen because she is a strong person. She stays strong throughout the games and even after to lead a rebellion. She stays true to her beliefs and ideas no matter what people tell her. Even as a child she knew things were messed up and even spoke it sometimes, even if it got her in trouble. Katniss is also a great provider for her family and is always there to make sure they are safe. Even while she is fighting in the games she has people to check up on them.