In which I discuss the Hunger Games controversy

You know what irritates me?

When people have an opinion about something they know nothing about.

Mainly, the Hunger Games.

I’ve read so many reviews of the movie/books this past week my head is spinning, and I know the only thing to do is go and SEE the movie. (I am, later this week, if all works out). I read the books and, while I loved 1 and 2, I felt a little disappointed with 3 – but as a series? I love them. Now, I’ll let you know some of the things that majorly, majorly irritate me in reviews I’ve read.

Calling Cinna a homosexual. He is NOT, people. Does this look like a homosexual man to you?

It’s like people are LOOKING for anything they can to tear apart about this series. I mean, do I love it? Yes. Do I think it’s perfect? NO!  People who haven’t read it look at it and say “It’s all about kids killing kids and it’s gory and there’s NO WAY I’m reading that.”

Don’t you even realize what Suzanne Collins is saying? She’s giving us a WAKE UP CALL! We could *easily* become the next Panem – as scary as it is, it could resemble our future.

Why do parents who let their children read classical Greco-Roman literature about gladiators as part of ‘Christian homeschooling’ have a problem with this series? It’s the SAME THING! Even the names of people in the Capitol – Caesar? Flavia? – are Greco-Roman! It’s a clear parallel, not just something tossed up for twisted entertainment.

Suzanne Collins, as far as I know, is not a Christian. These books are what can happen to the country without God, and to me, that is very, very clear. My mother recently read a rather frightening, post-apocalyptic/dystopian novel called Something-Seconds Later that had the same principle.

There are several reasons I root for this series, and one is that it’s a wake-up call for teenagers, and they’re DEVOURING it. It’s creating deep discussions and political awareness.

As a book series, there is very little swearing and/or sexual content; next-to-none, in fact. Violence? Yes, of course there’s violence. I would even go so far as to say they’re the most violent series I’ve ever read – but it is not MINDLESS violence. Go read Fox’s book of martyrs and see if the Hunger Game still botherse you.

 (Note: The third book seemed to hold some violence that was gratuitous just for the sake of being gross, but it was also the darkest in the series and focused on full-out war.)

I have not seen the movie, but from what I hear, it’s pretty close to the books, and I’m looking forward to seeing it so I can tell you my thoughts and give you my highly-opinionated review.

Tip: Parents, don’t take your six-year-old to see the movie, but don’t be afraid to let your 16-year-old see it. In fact, it would be an EXCELLENT discussion-maker.

This is a very controversial series, and I can understand it. But people, at least READ the BOOKS before deciding to have an opinion!!!!

With much enthusiasm and emotion,

Mirriam

Advertisements

32 thoughts on “In which I discuss the Hunger Games controversy

  1. There’s nothing new under the sun. That’s for certain. I don’t like the Hunger Games for several reasons, and I might blog about it later, I don’t know.

    I do know that Fahrenheit 451, George Orwell’s 1984, and several other dystopian books have predicted rather frighteningly, where we are today. And they were written back in the 1950s. Interestingly enough, they were devoured by readers and talked about, and chewed on, but no one took the warning seriously. How do I know that? Because of where we are today.

    I will say this, The Hunger Games are hitting a nitche market with nearly 70% of their fans being female. This is due in great part to the addition of the romantic element which other dystopian novels, (see above) lack.

    Is this a good thing? I think anything that makes you think, make a choice, and then ACT can be a good thing. But if this generation rolls over and goes back to sleep, as the ones that read Ray Bradbury and George Orwell did, then all that can be said about the books is that they were a new twist on an old warning.

    I will caution Christians of all stripes and ages from claiming anything in The Hunger Games as “Christian” because as far as I can see, it isn’t.

    It uses Universal Truths (love is greater than hate/sacrifice of self for loved ones/sacrifice of self for friends/sacrifice of self for goal) and stirs the soul, but there is a great deal of secular humanistic mindset in the books. There was the same in 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 too, and I, Robot.

    In closing, read them if you like, enjoy them, talk about them, but please, please do more than talk. Please, go and find a copy of Indivisible, and read it. The time to fight is now. The time to stand up is now. It’s not as exciting or glamorous as fiction but your time, talent, and voice is sorely needed in the battle.

    • I will agree that there is nothing distinctly ‘Christian’ in the book, unless you take values of self-sacrifice, love, etc. I think 1984, I, Robot, the Hunger Games and other books/movies like them are very interesting and worth reading/watching. I also agree that a lot of female readers forget the whole political aspect and just go “Team Peeta!” or “Team Gale!” like it’s the new Twilight – but as for me and my friends, we don’t. =)

      • They are worth it, as long as you keep your filter UP. I guess that’s the danger I see. I mean I read/watch Star Wars which has an agenda and other stuff too 😀 but I’m mindful of it. And those things, love, sacrifice, aren’t Christian in that they fall under the category of “Universal Truth” Buddhists, Muslims, and several other groups will claim some of those same ideals. Personally, I see them as the lingering remnants of the moral compass that the Lord gives us all, but the literary term is Universal Truth. They stir what is noble in us. But they aren’t “Christian” as we don’t have proprietary claim to them.:D

  2. Ack. Mirri! I feel the same way and I’m so frustrated by this debate… Like I said in a comment on another blog with a post like this:

    “When I read the books (and loved them!) I knew that they weren’t perfect, but I had no idea until the film came out that they were so controversial. Before the film, people who read the books discussed them together, but now that the movie’s out, it seems like everyone thinks that they’re a Hunger Games expert and take sides either for or against it.”

    We should chat soon, sis!

    Love,
    Cassie

  3. I certainly agree about having your head spin from all the reviews/talk about The Hunger Games. 😉

    You make some really good points here. I read these books about two and a half years ago (except for the last one, which I read a year and a half ago). I’d never noticed the Greco-Roman parallel before, and that’s actually really interesting. And terrifying. If we have already had a society that thought sending people into a ring to kill each other was okay, could it happen again? Yes, it’s possible. And so we have to think about this. And take it as a warning.

    And personally, I quite liked the movie. This is rather off-topic, but something I’ve noticed, is people being furious that Cinna and Rue (and Thresh, though people aren’t as mad about that) are black. I actually imagined Cinna being black. How did you imagine him, when you read the books? Rue and Thresh looked like I imagined them as well.

    -Sofie

    • I never imagined Cinna black; but I think Lenny Kravitz makes a good Cinna anyhow. I imagined Rue black, and Thresh could have gone either way. I think the whole ‘racism,’ ‘multicultural paranoia’ thing is SO stupid. People are people – ALL of us, no matter what we look like.

  4. I see you did decide to write your thoughts on the series; very good. So this wasn’t in response to my poorly-written (and still not entirely finished) analysis? Oh well. 😛
    On second thought, you might not want to read my “mini-review” because it’s so poorly written…if/when I develop half-decent writing skills, I’ll let you know.
    But even though I don’t write well, am not an expert on the books by any means and have probably missed a lot, do I get any points for simply noting several things I both liked and disliked about the series rather than condoning/recommending or condemning it?

    Well now, I must really have missed something: I didn’t picture Cinna as a homosexual, but I was thinking of him as a white guy…oops.

    Anyway, thanks for posting your thoughts on the books, even if my post wasn’t what what prompted it. 🙂

    • *facepalm*
      Oh, Max, my scattered brain – I DID read your post; the day you sent it to me, in fact! But we’ve been so busy over here with moving my sister and all I just totally forgot.
      I was VERY pleased that you took a non-partial stance and looked at the thing as a whole – and it wasn’t badly-written, I must add. I want to read the finished version, if you ever get it up!! And as for the homosexual thing, there’s an article going around written by Christians saying that Cinna, the only ‘sane’ person in the capitol was homosexual. NOT true!!!

  5. @scarletdippedscribe,
    You make a great point about “Universal Truths” and I think your thoughts are very well thought out – you seem to write quite well. Thanks for sharing your views; I found them interesting and thought provoking. 🙂

    @Mirriam,
    I’m certainly not furious some of the actors being portrayed as being black, but I wasn’t expecting that either, especially with Cinna and Rue; I thought of Thresh having tanned skin (maybe not “white” but not black either). I think the only characters I imagined as being black were Beetee and Wiress, in the third book, because of something that was said about them.

    As for the language/violent/sexual content: Interestingly, I can’t remember catching any “strong language” and maybe not even any “mild language” either…
    I’ve read books that had considerably more graphic content (which in some cases I found rather disturbing), but I don’t remember any graphic violence in this series I’d consider as too graphic or gruesome – provided the reader is old enough and can handle it. As for sexual content, you’re right that there is next to none, but it should be mentioned that there is a relatively small amount of nudity as well as the fact that Katniss and Peeta sleep together (even though they only slept next to each other and didn’t do anything else, that’s still inappropriate, is it not?). I’m still not recommending or condemning the series; they are thought-provoking and may be helpful to some and not to others, but I’m just trying to maintain somewhat of a balanced approach…

  6. Oh, I see; that’s totally understandable. Thank you for saying you don’t think it’s badly written. 🙂 I hope to keep working on it when I get the time…
    I didn’t know you were moving – that definitely keeps things busy, as I know from personal experience quite a few times.

    Don’t worry; I haven’t read any of those reviews (I haven’t read any reviews of the series other than yours and my own, actually), and other than the fact he wore a little bit of gold eyeliner (and the majority of the Capitol citizens wore much stranger things than that) and designed women’s fashion clothing (which I certainly do not view as evidence of being a homosexual – I might even like to design women’s clothing), I saw nothing to suggest he is/was a homosexual, so I’d have to see some very convincing evidence to be convinced otherwise.

  7. I would have to disagree. Yes, there are similarities between Greco-Roman history and the Hunger Games but it is a HUGE difference between a child killing another child and an adult killing an adult.

    Also, there are other ways to warn people about what is happening to us without putting it in the form of entertainment. It bothers me how much people LOVE the series when it is about children killing each other for entertainment. It is a very sad and depressing story! And to watch it and read it, greatly rubs me the wrong way. How can you LOVE that? In some ways, I think the Hunger Games promotes violence instead of hindering it.

    I guess I don’t get it. I am an odd duck. 😀

    • I think the thing is, is that Hunger Games doesn’t promote violence, nor condone it. Throughout, killing is always seen as something horrible. In the first book, you see Katniss and Peeta’s aversion to killing, and the second is all about how the first arena affected their lives. Characters like Peeta never lose their aversion to that aspect of the series.

      The Games are all about brutality. They were created by an evil government in an attempt to exert control over the rest of the population. That’s the whole point of the series–that the Games are evil, that forcing teenagers to kill other teenagers is heinous and wrong and that it needs to stop. The end backs this up even more, with the whole situation with President Coin. It is very clear in the series that the Games are wrong, that killing is wrong. That’s the whole point.

      • I see your point and I would agree.

        I am still not entirely convinced. There is just something about how enthusiastic people are about the HG that doesn’t sit right with me. It is not so much the story but what people take from it. I mean, we are actually watching people kill each other (children, in fact!) and to hear people say as they walk out the movie theater, “Oh, that was a great movie! I love it!” Something just doesn’t feel right about it.

        Maybe I need to think more upon this and actually formulate an opinion instead of just rambling. 😀

        • That could be said about any movie. People go to watch movies like the Bourne trilogy, and what do they come out of the theater saying? “Oh, I loved that!” Whether it’s a movie about espionage and brutal murder or not, they say the same thing. The same is true of any movie–Star Wars, Star Trek, ad infinitum.

          The messages of any movie are things that must be thought about and stewed over before they ever find expression in words. So yes, people will come out of the theater and will, at least at first, dwell upon the superficial side of it. They’ll talk about how much they loved Rue, or how beautifully the cave scene was rendered, or how the perfect actress was chosen for Prim. But the idea, the central tenet of The Hunger Games will eventually be discussed…at least by most people.

          Yes, there will be some people who won’t realize that message, and won’t discuss it. But does that mean the message isn’t there or that the movie is bad, just because some people don’t get it? Of course not. So there’s my two dollars and change. 😉

  8. Interesting post and I agree with you. I can’t remember what made me decide to read this book but I think part of it was Christian friends suggesting it to me and easying any worries about inappropiate material. I am causious about what I read because there is so much I have interest in but so little time and don’t want to spend it reading something I’m not going to like. But I would NEVER put up a review without reading, or seeing, something first because you don’t know what the content is inside. I use to judge Harry Potter because of their being magic in it and things I heard others say but then realized I couldn’t make an accurate judgment because I hadn’t read it. I have only read book one but it was pretty good. And lets just consider something about the Hunger Games. Yes, it has kids killing kids, but it doesn’t glorify the killing, it actually does the opposite, with you feeling horified at what they are made to do and how some of the kids do enjoy but the protaganist doesn’t want to kill and respects life. And for the swearing and sex junk, there isn’t any which is a plesant surprise for me after reading several non-Christian books last year that had that stuff in it that was meant FOR TEENS. The Hunger Games is a book I would recommend to any Christian friend. Thatnk again for sharing your thoughts and feelings about this. It is something that needs to be said.

  9. Seriously these are books that contain so much to discuss and ponder
    I must say that although the commenter above talks about ‘universal truths’ as someone form a Christian back ground they do speak of Christian values in a huge way.
    I agree with Mirriam they are powerful books and could be our future unless we turn around. In fact I wrote about it myself too. (who hasn’t 🙂
    Of course the books should be a wake up call to how we view human life and they do not promote violence but I think seem to say ‘take a good look at where we are headed”
    I think the movie does not do justice to the books, but mainly through lack of time. I think it would have been better as a mini series as you just cant get the depth of character or the relationships build up in the movie which are very integral to the story.
    I enjoyed going to see it with my daughter Autumn (who comments above) but think the books are so much better.
    Blessings
    Gae

    • It’s awesome to see a Mom joining the discussion, even if – as in my next post – I admit I could have handled it better and with a cooler head. I agree that movies tend to lose something in translation due to lack of time; it’s more relevant to a TV-show type format, but I think the idea of 3 movies will (hopefully) work, since it did with Lord of the Rings. (Side note: THE HOBBIT! *squee!* Ahem). Well, okay, technically it was SIX movies… hm… but the books were very good, and I think I saw them for their political side because I’m a homeschooler. It’s irritating how many kids read them just because they want to be on ‘team Peeta’ or ‘team Gale’ and don’t actually see the seriousness of the whole thing.

  10. I absolutely loved the books! And yes, I agree with you the third book was my least favorite. The movie, in my opinion, was good but not great. Perhaps because it didn’t fully capture the book. I actually did reviews for all three books but I don’t think I will be doing one on the movie. I’m trying to make sure that all my posts aren’t about The Hunger Games. lol Anyway I cannot believe people think that Cinna is a homosexual! That’s crazy! lol
    God bless!
    -Bookworm

  11. This is a must see for all teenagers, I agree. But the current racial controversy misses the point. People, you are focusing on the messengers rather than the message. #1 – A massive, all powerful Federal government has no need to respect the districts or the indivuals who live in these districts. Everyone becomes totally dependent upon the central government and their submission to the will of the State is total. Teenagers of America, how would you like having to live with your parents for the rest of your life while they continued to treat you like a 3-year old? Hmmmm? . #2 – There is no right to bear arms. Why do you think this was placed into the Bill of Rights, secondmost in importance only to the RIght to Free Speech? Did you see the way the Distric 12 population was marched like sheep to a slaughter? DIng, Ding, Ding! Does this ring a bell? #3 – There is no belief in the sanctity of life. Disagreements with the “Capitol” can be punished by immediate execution or slow starvation. The State may have promised you food, a place to live, employment, medical care but only in exchange for your passiveness and complete cooperation. Young people of America, read the U.S. Constitution. Its role is to prevent this country from becoming Panem. Get involved in politics. Educate yourself so you can identify those who would strip you of your freedom. This is not a game.

    • That was an excellent comment, Cernavrana. I can see you’ve done a lot of thinking about HG corresponding with politics, and it was very well thought-out. =)

  12. I hated this movie. A movie about blood lust and children killing children? Really? Can no one come up with a better movie to get our planet through these difficult times? And who let their kids read these books and watch this movie that the sales have been so high? Obviously, parents aren’t monitoring their children’s entertainment. It’s a very sad commentary when the MPAA gives this movie an PG-13 rating and gives a movie where people are having sex an R rating. Our youth is being desensitized to the gravity of killing through violent video games and movies like this. Plus, what lesson does this teach about civil unrest? Revolt and potentially subject yourself to living in a society where you are hungry and are sacrificed for the sake of entertainment. I think that we, as a society, have to decide what consciousness we want to have. I certainly don’t want to live in a society where movies like this or SAW, for example, are what audiences think is entertaining.

  13. Thanks for posting the article. I totally agree! It’s like Harry Potter all over again. I hate when people criticize without reading or just going off the focus on the family opinion. I also agree that it is a great thought provoker.

Got something to say?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s