The Hunger Games

An Essay By Madeline // 8/30/2012

Hehe--what a daunting subject to tackle. Or maybe not. A few of you seem to have read it and have seen the movie...so yeah! Ahem. Here goes nothing. I've recently re-read the series (which I tend to do) so everything is fresh in my mind. Yay!
-Homey :)
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I didn't know what The Hunger Games was about until someone told me. Even then their explanation was very vague, just enough so that I knew it wasn't about vampires (which, pardon me, was my original belief). So, this girl, Katniss Everdeen takes the place of her sister in The Hunger Games, a fight to the death...it sounded interesting enough, if not a bit confusing.

Let me begin by saying this is my favorite series ever. Which is surprising. It wasn't mythical, it wasn't filled with fairytales or happiness or tons of romance. This book is definitely not a everything-will-be-okay-of-course-it-will kind of story.

The book drew me in at once. And from then on, I could not put it down. I fell in love with every character. They were dynamic, they were each their own. Every single one of them had a place. And towards the end of the book--I stayed up until four in the morning to finish it--my heart was pounding. It was unsettling, wince-worthy. I could not sleep for quite a long time after finishing it.

These books are popular. Extremely so. There's already been a movie (and I will get to that later). People might ask, Who would want to read a book about kids killing kids? The truth is, it's about a lot more than that. It explores so many different topics--self-preservation, survival, independence, courage, fear, suffering, friendship, love, and hate. There's several others as well.

In the Hunger Games, you start it with the knowledge that people are going to die. It's the fact that you don't know who that keeps you turning pages; that keeps you on the edge of your seat. And that suspension is accompanied by a sense of dread and foreboding, because you also know that people you like are going to die. That's what I felt with--SPOILER ALERT--Rue, who I liked. Eventually I found myself just wanting to get it over with. I was relieved when it did.

--SPOILER ALERT--But Cato's death scene, at the very end, is what bothered me most. It was vicious and brutal. But that's how Suzanne Collins writes. She's not going to pretty things up.

Now, while the book was one of my favorites of all time, the movie was a bit different. I initially came home from the theater complete satisfied, even thrilled with the outcome. But seeing it a second time (and recently, a third, after the DVD release--go ahead, laugh!) gave me a bit more perspective. They did not do all they could have. Important scenes, at least what I found to be, were cut short or made silly by the script. A great example of that would be Katniss's two "d-word you!"s to Gale and Peeta.

And the beginning of the movie felt forced. Not necessarily the scene with Prim, because that was okay. But the second Gale came onscreen, even the first time, my hopes sank. Because the acting is terrible. Not that I'm the best judge, but yeah. It was. It seemed horribly stiff and unnatural. So that was a bit disappointing. I actually deflated a little in that scene because I thought, "Oh dear. So this how it's going to be the whole movie?" But no, they picked things back up.

And Buttercup--Prim's cat, who dislikes Katniss--was all wrong. At least in my mind. I'd pictured him as orange.

Then there was the part with Peeta throwing Katniss the bread. There was no backstory whatsoever on the part, and I think there should have been. Plus, they should have used lookalike kids to portray them. The scene made less sense showing them as they already were.

And all that brings me to the cave scenes, which was perhaps the biggest let-down. They didn't go into the more meaningful conversations which took place in the book. That whole part of the movie was short. I wish they'd done more.

Overall, it was a good movie. It didn't quite live up to the book, but they tried, so that was good.

Now, to veer completely off-subject: A lot of people seem to think the book holds deep political messages. Ah, I'm not very good with politics. But, to me, it's just a book. I don't think of it as anything that could ever happen in our future. And I don't see the government in the book relevant to ours at all. But, like I said, I don't have an interest in that sort of stuff.

I loved this book. I loved all the books. I liked them way better than Twilight. (GASP. GASP. Go ahead, gasp at me. If you've read my previous Twilight posts, then, uh, you'll find that shocking).

I'd recommend The Hunger Games to anyone. I think a lot of people could find something to relate to in it. Be it the characters, the emotions, the actual Games--this book has something for everyone.

Comments

:)

I thought Hunger Games was well done, drawing you in very well and building characters (though I was often confused at Peeta, since it's from Katniss's point of view, we never really get into what his motives really are or what he's thinking). I wrote two reviews on my blog, one of the book that's in depth at the political aspect and also ethical aspects, and then one on the movie that's shorter.
I didn't love the book so I wasn't super picky about the movie, and thought they did a good job - and was glad they cut out some of what was in the cave, it being so romantic.
I'd agree that there's a lot you can take away from the book besides kids killing kids, but what I've found is that in that people ignore the ethical issues of killing in self defense.
It's one of those interesting books - like you said, you want to get it over with - but you're also very much enraptured and wanting to read it. That's a hard line to be on as an author because people could also throw the book down - so you have to keep them interested even through the tough spots so they'll keep reading. She did a good job with that.

Kyleigh | Sat, 09/01/2012

Good review! I lovelovelove

Good review! I lovelovelove THG. I liked the movie, although I was upset about the Peeta-leg-thing, the shortness of the caves, and Cato's dramatic speech at the end. But since the books are written so strongly in Katniss's narrative, I can see how hard it would be to portray the flashbacks, etc.

THG definitely does carry a strong political message too, I think, because this has happened before in Rome with all of that gladitorial (is that a word??) business. In a way, it's an exaggerated reality show. We take enjoyment out of things like Mixed Martial Arts, boxing, wrestling, and other physically abusive sports. Of course I don't think that it will ever come to this point, but I think that what Suzanne Collins was trying to say this that history can repeat itself. At least, that's how I interpreted it.

The books pack a very brutal punch, and parts made me mildly nauseous, but the emotions and the love (or hatred. I hated Gale. A lot.) that you feel for the characters makes the experience totally worth it.

Great job with the review!!! THG is definitely a daunting subject, since there's so much to describe and explain.

Erin | Sun, 09/02/2012

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

Kyleigh--She did do a good

Kyleigh--She did do a good job with that, I agree. I doubt anyone else could have pulled it off. I haven't read her other books but so far she seems like a great author.

Erin--YAY!! Another person who can't stand Gale! At least, I couldn't the first time. The second time reading it he was a bit more bearable. ;) And the cave scenes, when I look back on it, were completely disappointing. :P And the fact that they left out the leg. (-_-) Like I said, I have no idea what I'm talking about when it comes to political stuff, so I never really got into that aspect of the book. All I know is that their government was the worst! Gah! And I was always surprised when reading that the parents hadn't put up more of a fight.

Madeline | Mon, 09/03/2012

everything was better when/you would call and I'd be like/yeah babe, no way

Ha, and I'm not the only one

Ha, and I'm not the only one who liked him better the second time either! Which is weird, considering I actually know what he did now. I think that The Hunger Games was such an intergral part of society by that point that they didn't really think about putting up a fight, if that makes sense. Lol, I could talk Hunger Games all day. ;)

Erin | Tue, 09/04/2012

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

The Hunger Games was alright

The Hunger Games was alright at first, until I started to think, "Hey, this Katniss chick is either actively killing other kids or standing by while other people kill each other, just so she can survive. Why are we supposed to think she's any better than the other 23 murderers in here?"

a | Tue, 09/04/2012

   I have to agree with

   I have to agree with Leinad.

A good review of the movie can be found here.

I seem to be having problems with comementing, so I will just add to this comment:

   I didn't know that Katniss found injustice in it. I shouldn't of even commented, because I haven't read the book or seen the movie. Please forgive me.

Arthur | Sun, 09/09/2012

"My greatest wish for my writing is that it would point you to the Savior."

I don't think any of the kids

I don't think any of the kids were murderers...and several, if the whole series is read, didn't want to be. :) The ones who were eager to fight were trained their whole lives, with no moral compass. They were made to think that something like that was okay. :)

I also don't think Katniss was any better than them. But she's the only one of the kids who found injustice in it and tried to do something about it. :D And I guess that might be redeeming.

But....this is a book. Not worth getting into a debate over. LOL! None of it is real and, like I said, not likely to ever happen in reality.

Thanks!!

Madeline | Mon, 09/10/2012

everything was better when/you would call and I'd be like/yeah babe, no way

No Moral Compass?

I don't really want to argue either, but I have to take objection to that statement at least. I don't think you can justify someone's murderous actions because of the way they were raised. Everyone has a moral compass; it's called a conscience.

And this stuff does (or did) happen in real life. Gladiator combat in ancient Rome was when they sent two unwilling slaves to fight to the death. Not that different.

a | Mon, 09/10/2012

:)

I wasn't going to post this, but since the discussion is going that direction, here is a link to my review of the Hunger Games:
Book - http://drumofadifferentbeat.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/the-hunger-games-a-...
Movie - http://drumofadifferentbeat.wordpress.com/2012/06/24/the-hunger-games-th...

Kyleigh | Tue, 09/11/2012

I really don't want to argue.

I really don't want to argue. :-) I stand by my opinion. I want to add that I do know there was Gladiator combat, and stuff similar to that. I believe the author modeled some of her story on that. But I'm speaking specifically on America. Although we did have children who fought in the Civil War (and I'm sure others) way back when, I don't think something as specific as The Hunger Games could/would ever happen HERE. :) In the present day, or our future. It's a bit far-fetched, so I don't take the book completely seriously. It's Fiction.

Madeline | Tue, 09/11/2012

everything was better when/you would call and I'd be like/yeah babe, no way

I'll just say that I love le

I'll just say that I love le Hunger Games and the only probs with the movie was this:

1. Leaving out the Avoxes.

2. Katniss's coat was supposed to be big (but who really cares. Jennifer Lawrence was AWESOME as the role!)

3. They could've done a lil backstory with the Bread scene.

4. The camera was a lil shaky.

5. She's supposed to be DEAF in her left ear.

6. SPOILER ALERT!SPOILER ALERT!SPOILER ALERT!SPOILER ALERT!SPOILER ALERT! Marvel was supposed to kill Rue by plunging the spear into her stomach, not throw it at her like a javilin.

All in all, I REALLY liked the movie. I can't wait till the second comes out in a few weeks! :D

j. Glen pollard | Sat, 11/16/2013

"The trip is a difficult one. I will not be myself when I reach you."-When I Reach Me.

Agreed! I forgot about the

Agreed! I forgot about the Avoxes, though. They definitely should have included them. Oh, and another huge one: they COMPLETELY ignored Peeta's amputated leg! Haha. People pointed that out afterward when I was reading through some comments on the movie and I was like, "Oh yeah!"

Anyway, thank you for your input! :)

Madeline | Sat, 11/16/2013

everything was better when/you would call and I'd be like/yeah babe, no way

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