Friday, 9 August 2013

Analytical Review of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games (Analytical Review) WARNING: SPOILERS!
Click here for regular review
Series:  The Hunger Games #1
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre:  YA, Dystopian, 
Release Date:  September 14th 2008
Pages:  374
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased for school
View/Purchase:  Goodreads | Chapters/Indigo.ca/KOBO | Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository
Rating: 


Reason chosen:  

This was a reading requirement for school

Summary taken from Goodreads:

Winning means fame and fortune. Losing means certain death. The Hunger Games have begun... 

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, the shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before--and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

Review:


An analytical review of The Hunger Games?
...I can not believe I am doing this. “Why?” you say. Well for starters I re-read The Hunger Games because it was a part of my class readings. I know how awesome is that?
Greatest class in the world! 

But, you can analyze the crap out of this book. 

I’m pretty sure we kept finding out new things about The Hunger Games every single class. 
Every. Single. Class. 

My book ended up looking like this:
And that's only because I ran out of tabs. 

At first I was going to colour co-ordinate things. LIke blue was for a references to one thing, pink was for awesome quotes...that did not last long.

So, if I end up missing something please forgive me. I actually wrote a three page paper on it. It was pretty awesome.  Now, this review isn’t going to be anything special...hell its probably going to be long enough that I’m not going to review it. Sorry, but it is what it is and I hope that you come to see the similarities and references that I saw.

In The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins creates a culture that emphasizes the diseased and negative aspects of our current culture by making references to not only our present, but our past. She depicts our obsession with fashion and popular culture through the capital, and our love for “real” fighting through The Hunger Games themselves. The Hunger Games allude to both our past and our present. It reflects out love of live fights but incorporates it with our past; mainly, the Hunger Games alludes to the original Olympics, the time of the Gladiators, and the time of Greek and Roman culture. 
Instead of grown men fighting for a way to pay their debts or attempting to remove the shackles of slavery we are introduces to a world were children fight to the death for glory or survival. But, its not them who owes a debt; it’s the whole of Panem. Who do they owe the debt to? A dictator...the capital and specifically President Snow. And here is where more greek and roman mythology comes into the story. The children becomes sacrifices...but there is no mention of gods in this story. So the government/ President Snow becomes the god. The sacrifice of children (the innocent) are being made to him and the capital. President Snow isn’t the only god that the children should be afraid of. The majority of the novel takes place in a world inside of a world. Specifically the arena. In there the children are led to believe that they have control over their fate (the strongest will survive), but they don’t. They aren’t in charge of their world. Their world is manipulated by the Game Makers through the use of fire balls, and the ability to give and take water; they have becomes the gods of their world. 
Then there is Katniss herself. She can be seen as the goddess Artemis. While relating to Artemis mainly through her hunting skills with a bow and arrow Katniss also finds herself more comfortable in the wilderness, at ease with the animals, a protector of young girls (all things Artemis is goddess of). Oh and did I mention Artemis is mainly depicted with a braid? Usually rolled up into a bun, but still...you can see the similarities right?
Not enough?
How about we get back to the sacrifice thing? Alright...during the time when Greek and Roman culture was at its peek a simply offence like stealing could land you the death penality; however, the least severe punishment was the loss of a limb. Can you see where I am going? Katniss and Peeta stole something from the gods/the Game Makers. They stole power. The beat them at their own game...so their punishment? A loss of limb. Now, of course, Katniss is the main character of our book and couldn’t very well be punished like that...but Peeta? The truly innocent person of the two paid the price and lost his leg. 
And, what I think is the cherry on top, the beasts at the end of the games. They were creatures created by the gods/Game makers to do their bidding...but, their partially human. In Greek mythology(maybe Roman. I can’t recall 100%) the gods were famous for manipulating humans. The story of the minotaur comes to mind. The minotaur is half-human half bull created when the gods cast a spell on a queen as revenge and made her fall in love with a bull. The creature was later placed in the labyrinth to kill anyhow who believed they could make it through safely.
That’s enough about Greek and Roman culture lets look at the capital, which is a reference to our culture state of culture.. The capital is filled with people wanting to be individuals, but ending up all being the same. They are greedy, frivolous, and materialistic. They wish for the best of the best, and from what we read, barely have to do anything to get it. They see others suffering and the deaths of others as entertainment. They like their mahogany, their different wigs daily, their brights colours, their silver handles, and the best food money can buy. But, the biggest connection I saw is how they WORSHIP the winners and the tributes. The tributes and, more specifically, the winners become celebrities. People begin to wear their hair like Katniss’. They wish to follow their every move and can’t get enough of the star-crossed lovers of District 12. Collins reflects on our society’s need to know about celebrities and almost become them or feel like they are apart of our lives. 
Now, lets look more specifically at Katniss. Katniss can be analyzed for quite sometime, but I’ll shorten it up for you. Katniss is de-feminized in the book. This is done to help bridge the gap to other readers (of the male variety). She is also the ‘adult’ in her family and has been for some time....this too bridges the gap to older audiences. Then there is the fact that she becomes emotionless and seen more as intellectual...to a fault. I’m not sure if this reflects on our society...it probably does. I mean more people care about their technology and becoming more powerful these days than they do about the innocent people who lose their jobs and have to go to a soup kitchen daily. Or how about even just the children of third world countries? Anyhow, Katniss is against the games and the worship of the winner, but when it comes down to it she manipulates anyone and anything to become a winner (don’t get me wrong after she becomes friends with Rue she does start to become more emotional), but after the games she becomes the very thing she hates: she becomes a celebrity. She plays nice for the cameras to survive and to keep those she loves alive, even though her actions bring other innocence into harms way. She is, after all, the catalyst for what happens in the second novel. Katniss is so messed up shes doesn’t believe in kindness. She believes in the greediness and selfishness of society to the point where she cannot recognize, nor determine, Peeta’s kindness. She thinks everything he does is strategy. She even sees Gale as a friend, but as a great hunting party who aids in her hunting and she in his. They are mutually beneficial to each other.
I’m not bashing on Katniss, because even though she is abrasive I still actually like her. See Katniss also represents the part of our society were kids have to grow up sooner than they should. Katniss barely ever had a childhood, she was always the adult, and the entire time she is doing what she thinks is best for herself and her more importantly...her family. In fact is should be noted and really observed that they a CHILDREN going into the games. Even though the hack each others heads off and set traps they are all children...even Cato recognizes that at the end. So why children? Well...if you are a parent or were or might be what would be your biggest fear? What would you do anything for? You kids, right? So if the government told you to do what they say...to comply or your kids will be sacrificed you would probably do it. They story wouldn’t have the same ring to it if it were adults, the story plays on a parent’s greatest fear...maybe even society’s greatest fear in general: the sacrifice of innocence and our youth. Its something that happens every day. Kids have sex young, have babies, and even join gangs, instead of going to concerts, hanging with their friends, or, god forbid, doing their homework. 
Now, lets look at Panem as a whole. We are informed that Panem is the remains of North America. Panam is....the world in this book. But, do we ever hear about the actual rest of the world? Nope. Wanna know why? Because we North Americans generally believe that the world revolves around us. Some of us think that North America is the world. We have fortune 500 companies, the majority of billionaires, and the largest imports and exports. Sadly, we have a pretty big say in the politics of the world. Sorry if people disagree with me, and I’m not saying I’m right... I’m just saying the novel plays on that idea of our society.
To be honest out of this entire novel the most unrealistic thing, to me, is Peeta. How does someone like him even get created in a world like this? He’s parents are awful (specifically his mom, but I don’t exactly see his dad doing anything for him either), he’s not poor but not rich, his brothers obviously don’t love him enough to sacrifice themselves for him, and the girl he loves never really knew his name, and is using him. Oh, and he looses a leg! The fact that he gets out of bed every day a nice guy seriously amazes me. Maybe his mother inadvertently humble him while beating him with burnt bread?
And how about Haymitch...he’s a drunk. That is the cure for PTSD apparently. Did you know that in the last decade the government, in both Canada and the U.S, wanted to cut back on the treatment offers for not only soldiers, but other suffering from mental disorders? Now, I’m not saying that the book references that the government doesn’t care about it soldiers, but many people don’t understand how to cope with things like that and simple turn to drinking. It also references substance abuse in general.
Some other quick things:
  • There are districts= the seperation of the masses to prevent uprising
  • There is a clear definition of hierarchy, and the rich and the poor. Simply being born into a richer district gives you better odds
  • Oh...and the whole “May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor”... obviously everyone gets thats a big joke, because the odds are actually against them. 
  • Genetic manipulation=

On a lighter note: this book rocks my world. There is adventure, romance, suspense, and a cliff-hanger of sorts. It blows my mind away how it can be read simply as an adventure, but can also be dissected down to its word usage.

There is so much more, but my brain currently hurts just thinking about it.

And I can’t exactly copy and past my essay here...my University would not like that. But for those of you that always said you don’t like The Hunger Games you should re-read it with the idea of dissecting it and I bet you’d be amazed at what you find. I’m not saying you’ll enjoy it because its just not for some people, and I’m not saying shame on your for not liking it because...really, what business is it of mine? And, to each their own! I’m just happy that you’re reading in general lol. 

If there is anything else that you can think of please feel free to comment or shoot me an email...I would love discussing this book (or others) with other people.

Good:

The story line-- It hits on our corrupt and diseased society that is obsessed with TV, ‘real’ fighting, and the lives of celebrities. 

The characters--they are extremely well crafted

Bad: 

I honestly cannot think of anything.

Overall (Writing style, story line, and general):

Overall I think its a brilliant read whether your reading it for the adventure, the romance, or for school. 

I loved the constantly moving plot. I love the difficult to understand Katniss, the can’t help but fall in love with Peeta, and the unforgetable (and we feel sorry for him) Gale. I found it extremely easy to follow and I had no difficulties remembering people or recalling information previously given at the beginning of the book. And yes I’ll admit it I loved the rush that you get when reading about the deaths and the games! 

And dear lord how I am in love with The Boy With the Bread.
This is quite appropriate.

In relation to the movie:

Many people said they didn’t like the movie. Hey to each their own. I personally loved it. I found that it followed the book pretty well. Now it wasn’t perfect...sorry but fitting two weeks prior to the games and the two-three weeks of the games in a two hour movie just can’t happen. Did I miss the connection that you could really feel in the book between Katniss and Peeta? Ya I did. But, hey I could still feel it in the movie too, just not as big. Cato was pretty devious in the movie just like in the book, same with Clove and Glimmer. I will tell you the one things I really missed:
Right after the announcement about their being allowed two victors Katniss says Peeta’s name. In the book she shouts it. When I read that part...I cried. It added to their whole star-crossed lovers thing, but in the movie it wasn’t loud enough for me. I wanted her to shout it and then be afraid that she was too loud. 
Oh an I expected Peeta to be ripped. Like Kellan Lutz or something.

Quotes:

Click here for some my favourite quotes!

Next in the Series:

Catching Fire (#2)-> Click for regular review
Mockingjay (#3)->Click for review

Viewer Type Recommendation:

If you love YA dystopian that has a whole lot of metaphors, allusions, and one heck of a story than this is for you.

If you liked this you'll probably love:

Divergent series by Veronica Roth, The Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines.

AND...
Did you know that Suzanne Collins wrote a series for children? Its filled with the same writing that you can not only enjoy but analyze the hell out of. Check out the Underland Chronicles.



Read Completely: 
Yes


Trailer:





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Author Info:

Author Website/Blog:  http://www.suzannecollinsbooks.com
Twitter: @suzcollins1


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