Blogging A to Z Day 9: The Hunger Games

I first read The Hunger Games just after they released the U.S. paperback editions. I had some time over the summer to do some light reading, and I’d been hearing so much about the series that I decided to buy the set. I read them in less than a week, and I probably would’ve read them all in one sitting if I could’ve–I’m a sucker for dystopias and for well-rendered, badass female characters.

I knew from the second page of the book that Katniss Everdeen was going to be One of Those. She’s is stalking around outside her district, trying to hunt food without being caught. She is followed by a mountain lion, and she thinks of this creature as a friend for a while. But then the creature starts making too much noise, and she kills it. This is on the second page of the book.

This is a girl that we do not often see the likes of in literature. She is flawed, but she is strong. She’s strong enough to be a little frightening, and we know this immediately.

And then there was the society itself. A post-apocalyptic world with a vaguely familiar geography an exaggerated class stratification, a place where children fought one another in a frightening arena. The class differences were so obvious when they were pitted against one another, when children who’d gone hungry all their lives and never held a weapon had to fight children who’d trained like Spartan warriors for the day they’d volunteer for the battle.

And then it was televised. The death of 23 children every year, forced to fight one another. And all this a reminder  Panem, we find out in Mockingjay, is derived from the Latin panem et circenses-literally bread and circuses, but figuratively the cultural exchanges that happen when elaborate entertainments are used to pacify and to distract citizens from major problems.

Katniss changes things, though. She doesn’t do what the ringleader demands of her, and the circus begins to fall apart. The beauty of The Hunger Games lies in being in the center of the ugliness without actually being there. You’re looking in from outside—and then you realize that you’re in the place of a Capitol citizen, watching (or reading) vicariously while the horrific action unfolds around you.

Advertisements for the films, especially for the two-part Mockingjay conclusion, are very conscious of this framing. Fashion ads for the districts were published in magazines as promos for the film. Trailers aired in first-person-shooter. The marketing reinforced the panoptic feel of the series, and with stunning effect.

Mockjay Part 2 is due out November 1, and since I missed seeing Part 1 in theaters because it came out during my exams, I’m making sure to see this one in theaters. (And I’ll probably read the books before then, too!)

This post is by @parttimemonster of Part Time Monster and Sourcerer contributor. For more A to Z geekery, check out Part Time Monster!

Weekend Music, with Hunger Games video

No live performance is available, but this is too good not to share, and the video is nicely edited. Lorde covers “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” a Tears for Fears song from the 80s.

I really must watch The Hunger Games movies, and the books are on my summer reading list. I’m tired of not knowing what it’s about first-hand, and wondering if it might be good to write about.

Everyday blogging is a crazy thing. When I have posts scheduled for three or four days, it makes the rest of my social media activities feel like ballet. When I’m so low on content I wake up in the morning wondering what I’m posting the next day — or god forbid, without a post for that day ready to go — it’s like bailing water. In either case, though, blogging does me good. And when I lose a day because of work and family responsibilities, I don’t worry about it. I don’t lose very many days.

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Roundup: #Friendly #Bloggers

So, I passed out early last night and didn’t write anything for today. Here’s a roundup of recent posts from my “Friendly Bloggers” Twitter list, and a a few remarks explaining what that list is all about.

CompGeekHolly has some thoughts on the appropriation (and misappropriation) of works from the popular culture for use in advertising. It includes a fabulous discussion of a Big Brothers/Big Sisters ad that uses The Hunger Games in a way that makes you wonder if they know what the story is actually about.

Our friend Lyn at Lazy Lady had a nice post earlier this week from New Orleans Comic Con with a lot of awesome photos.

My Wild Surmise reflects on Valentine’s Day, dorm life, and Walter Egan, and wins this week’s award for most amusing headline.

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Time for me to read The Hunger Games?

I am thinking, yes. Yes it is.

I tend to not read fiction when it debuts. Usually I read it once people I know start saying interesting things about it. I’ve seen several posts about Catching Fire over the last week or so that have convinced me to read these books so that I can join in the conversation about them. Here are my very favorite ones:

Comparative Geeks – GeekHolly responds to an NPR article about Katniss’ relationships, arguing that whomever wrote the piece doesn’t know the source material and bases their argument on flawed assumptions about both Katniss and about the way relationships work:

The not-reading-the-source-material is important, but the basis of the argument is extremely problematic, in my opinion. The groundwork for their argument is that by Katniss only choosing one -either Gale or Peeta – that she is having to give up one side of herself. Apparently with Gale she would have to become more feminine and let him take care of her. Then with Peeta she would be the male and take care of him. Just writing those statements down bugs the hell out of me because when the hell did Katniss ever give up anything?

Part Time Monster – Diana reads Fennick as a hooker-with-a-heart of gold and shows a couple of interesting ways in which this trope is inverted in the story. Eventually, I want to come back to this part and pick at it a little with a post of my own, because I think it deserves further exploration:

Finnick is the most popular of the Capitol’s Victors (we know flat-out that he’s not the only Victor that Snow’s sex-trafficking). So Collins has taken this young man and put him into a situation we rarely hear about-male prostitution and sex-trafficking, and then she’s made him the most popular prostitute, one who can traffic in secrets of high powered officials, in a dystopian city that has parties wilder than any that Gatsby ever planned. It’s no wonder that he makes Katniss uncomfortable.

So now I am fascinated, and will probably read these books in the next month or so.