Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hunger Games in Review: Twilight Part 2?

Dystopia or just another emo teen drama? 

I’ve heard both ends of the spectrum and have been contemplating it myself a lot lately.  Is The Hunger Games a true satire of dystopia or is it just another stupid love triangle that feeds a young girls fantasy of being fought over?  There certainly is a bit of a love triangle woven through the pages of the novel and many young women have turned the two male characters into another version of Jacob and Edward in the Twilight series by forming “Team Gale” and “Team Peeta” groups, but in truth, the love story is rather peripheral in terms of purpose. 

As a reader myself, I was much more consumed with the greater elements of the story, such as the horror faced by the families and their children, the condemnation of entertainment at another’s expense, and the overindulgence of our own society mirrored in the attitude of The Capitol than I was with the love story.  And while this is most likely due to the fact that my major in college was English and I love writing and analyzing literature and art, this does not take away from the intention of the author.

The more I’ve thought about the book and movie and the questions surrounding the two, the more I realize that questioning the purpose of the book is really not a valid question at all.  The topic, the content, everything about the story lends itself to good discussion and consideration, and there is value in doing so.  Rather than questioning the books intentions as the writer of the article above does and honing in on the reason its audience (mainly Jr. High and High School aged girls) actually reads it, we as parents and mentors should really be encouraging discussion.

In the article from the NY Post, the author argues that the youth reading or watching The Hunger Games do not view the situation as horrific and rather see it as a grand adventure with the opportunity for fame and glory.  This is one of his main reasons for criticizing the story.  Maybe he’s right, maybe this is the way youth read the story, maybe they read and simply miss the point (for the record, most of the youth I’ve spoken with were fairly discerning about the content), but that can be true of just about any novel or work of art.  In my opinion, rather than bemoaning the fact that the point has been missed, as parents and mentors we should be encouraging discussion and challenging any shallow view the youth in our lives display. 

If our purpose on this earth is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, then His work of redeeming His creation is our work as well.  I’m not, of course, saying that everyone should read or go see The Hunger Games; it’s not for everyone and it’s definitely not for younger viewing audience, what I am saying is that we can and should use this as an opportunity for good conversation and discussion.  Let’s learn how to be good debaters and conversationalists, let’s strive to flee from the emotionally driven and illogical conversations that pepper the comment sections under articles on the internet.  Don’t follow the mob, take a beat and respond rather than react.

P.S. Especially in light of this post I welcome good discussion on my blog and really don’t just want to hear the sound of my own voice.  Don’t just comment if you agree, I want to hear if you disagree or see things from another perspective.  But keep it cool and appropriate or I will delete you. 

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