Sunday, March 25, 2012

Are We Missing the Point of The Hunger Games?

So. Maybe I'm just crazy, or maybe I'm just looking waaay too deep into things like I always seem to do. But, I don't know, I get kind of annoyed when I see tons of stuff about "Team Gale" or "Team Peeta" or just in general the obsession over the supposed romance present in The Hunger Games. I can't help but think that, by focusing so much on the romance, we're missing the point.

The first time I read The Hunger Games, I was horrified. It was horrifying to think about kids being forced to kill each other. That same feeling came back when I was watching the movie last night. Is it not sick that all these people from the Capitol are cheering, laughing, being sucked into the TV story of the Games when these kids are going in there to kill each other?? How can you not be thinking that there's something really wrong with this society,  where the main entertainment is an annual war between kids?


Source

There's a John Green quote, that's referring to the difference between lying and writing fiction, that I like. It highlights something about fiction that I like (and that I don't think my non-fiction loving father will ever understand).

"...The other big difference, I would argue, is that lies are attempts to hide the truth by willfully denying facts. Fiction, on the other hand, is an attempt to reveal the truth by ignoring facts."  (Source)

Fiction can be used to reveal the truth. I think different types of books do this in different ways. Contemporary novels, for example, can reveal truths about people and individuals. Dystopian novels have such potential in this area, I think. They have the potential to awaken people to the realities of our world today.



Yes, The Hunger Games is fiction. But today's society's obsession with entertainment and reality TV is real. Violence and war in this day is very, very real. Heck, even kids killing each other is a reality in some places around the world. Lots of dystopian fiction shows us things about our world by extremizing them, or even just incorporating realities into fiction. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, Feed by M.T. Anderson, and others.

It just makes me really frustrated. How can you read books like The Hunger Games and not think beyond the romance?? How can you not ask questions like "how far-fetched is that, really? Could it happen? How different are we really from the crazy entertainment-addicted Capitol citizens?" and then answering them with things like "You know, maybe it can happen. Maybe it is happening. Maybe we're not that different."

The Hunger Games is so, so much more than the romance, or the stupid "love triangle". Dystopians should, I think, make us wake up to harsh realties in our own reality, our own society, our world today. They should make us think. Every book should make us think. But I think (whoa, lots of thinking... haha) that the relationship in The Hunger Games, or any book, should not be our focal point.

What do you think? Are we missing the point of The Hunger Games?



11 comments:

  1. I think you're right. A lot of people do miss the point. I was horrified by the books at first and it got me wondering about how far fetched all dystopian novels are. Unfortunately, the romance is the reason I stopped reading the series after the first book. It completely pulled me out of what was happening.

    It is still a powerful message and I wonder if many people are caught up in the romance because many still have "Twilight Fever".

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  2. I do think that the romance angle has been more hyped up by publicists trying to get that fervour going that Twilight had. Most people I know are far more concerned with the issues you discuss than which boy is cuter.

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  3. Yay! I'm glad you guys agree with me. That's one thing I was so happy about with the movie, is that they didn't make it about the romance.

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  4. On the romance angle I did get a little childish and found it amusing that there was a tweet that said something about "Cheering for Peeta and Katniss! Yay Team Peeniss!" That isn't a direct quote, but you get the idea.

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  5. I totally agree and I think they did a good job with the movie by NOT highlighting the romance that much. It was there as a device just like it was in the book. When people started saying Team Peeta and Team Gale I took a step back. Did I miss something? Everything Katniss did in that first book was to survive. Even her last act. Nothing was about love for Peeta. Watching the movie I kept thinking about how those people sat at the control center and virtually killed children.

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  6. Well, I can see that all of you have obviously not missed the point. :)

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  7. Oh my goodness. I think you just read my mind. WHAT KIND OF BLACK MAGIC IS THIS?????

    *cough* My apologies :)

    But I completely agree. I loved the movie and, I will admit, squeed like a little fan-girl when they showed Gale the first time being all jealous. But I also shared your feelings of horror and shock at the Capitol's reactions to the games. I was ranting about this to my friend the other day too. Reality TV will just progress and progress until people aren't happy with the contestants just getting voted off- people will have to die for oother satisfaction. It's sick, it's wrong, but it's true. Completely true.

    This was an excellent post! Thank you for making my day! Er...night. Whatever, you know what I mean.

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  8. I think maybe we are missing the point. I would be lying if I said at one point or another I didn't get caught up in the romance or "love triangle" in the Hunger Games. But then I would be lying too if I said I didn't think about the societal implications in the book. In fact, the last blew my mind. It's just the kind of topic I want people to be aware of, to think about, to talk about.

    I'm going to do something that as a Hunger Games fan I resent but I'm going to compare it to Twilight. There is no comparison, but still I have a point to make.

    I've read both series, Twilight and Hunger Games. I've loved both series. I've seen all the Twilight movies but have not seen the Hunger Games movie (yet). And this is my thought: while reading/watching Twilight majority of my thought process revolved around the romance. Edward or Jacob and HOLY COWS WHO IS SHE GOING TO CHOOSE?

    While reading the Hunger Games, I was fascinated by the romantic interests in the book, but what really got my mind working was the society the characters were living in and the fact that it needed to change.

    Focusing on "team Peeta" or "team Gayle" we're watering down the importance of this brilliant book, because it's not a romance book.

    This is a great post.

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  9. Brittany - See, I just think that's the thing. I've never read Twilight, but from what I can tell the focus of the book is more on the relationships so it makes sense that, as a result, the readers' focus is more on the romantic relationships.

    The thing that bugs me is when people so obviously are not getting the point, especially when it's such a prominent issue in today's society. I think THG could do so much if the readers would focus on the same thing the focus of the book is on - which is NOT the romance. You're exactly right when you say The Hunger Games is not a romance book.

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  10. Seeing hundreds of shrieking girls at a Hunger Games interview with the actors who play Peeta and Gale...I can't help but compare it to the people in the Capitol, so obsessed with looks and entertainment. Did they read the books, but just not understand the message? You can't help but wonder.

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  11. This is what i have been thinking as well! It actually really annoys me that people are obsessed with the romanance and are oblivious to the important messages in the book/film.I suppose 13 year old girls can be forgiven for gettting sweept up in it, but i wish people would look beyond the surface and reflect on what we are actually being shown. I have tried to explain this to friends who really didn't give a toss. Thanks for writing this :)

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Hey there! I really treasure every comment... whether it just be a hello or a deeper thought. I love hearing your thoughts! :)

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