The Hunger Games

Given the fact that I have yet to be officially employed by a school (a situation potentially to change soon), I’ve had a lot of spare time on my hands.  While this has included everything from Walmarting to chilling by a pool to watching that Olympics, many of these hours have been consumed by reading the Hunger Games trilogy.

The first book I finished before I moved down to NC.  The second and third I just finished in about 3 1/2 days.  Here’s my conclusion:

The books are good and well-written.  It’s a good story with some challenging themes and choices that the characters must make.  Definitely a giant leap up from the Twilight “saga”.  I’d even venture to say that they are better written than the Harry Potter books, even if not as developed of a world as the wizarding one.  In terms of diction and writing quality, they surpass HP, in my opinion.  But I think that’s also because there’s a little more depth to them. Honestly, I would put them on the scale of a book like The Giver.  Not up there with Narnia, but there were definitely echoes of The Giver’s qualities that I could see throughout the books. I think they would be great in a classroom–there are a lot of simples, loads of irony, and a slew of controversial decisions that reveal things about human nature.  There are a lot of good lines in it.

But I do have to say, when I got to the end of the story after three books, I was a little bit disappointed.  I was kind of prepped for this.  Many people had told me the third book had been their least favorite.  A high schooler told me they’d gotten to the third been and felt let down.  I felt a little bit of the same way.  [Okay, if you’re planning on reading the books and haven’t yet, you might not want to read on…]  I wasn’t disappointed because so many of the characters had been killed.  I’d long since realized that this was going to happen in the books.  But I was disappointed by the fact that not many things had changed by the end.  There didn’t seem to be a real conclusion to it.  Life just went on, and Katniss did not really seem to learn anything.  She hadn’t grown.  Moreover, her original goal for joining the Hunger Games was rendered moot because the eventual war had destroyed what she was trying to protect.  Even worse, in my opinion, it seemed that nothing in society had actually changed.  Panem was still run by a single president, even if she was better than the original.  Katniss’ final actions were never fully explained.  The country is still divided into districts that seem to not really have a say in the government.  What was the point of the rebellion?

But then, I suppose that might be what the author’s point is.  I supposed she leaves the book open for society to be better, but there’s not promise of that.  Does the author really think humanity has this bleak of a future?  In a sense, she leaves the conclusion up to the reader, trying to empower them to take ownership of their actions.  But since the main character never did that, what example do the readers have to follow?

I think I’ll stop before I try to read too much into the author’s view of history…

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