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.