Thursday, May 8, 2014

Final Blog

I learned a lot this semester about not only the hunger games and the lecture topics, but also how each optic can be expanded to apply to more than I would initially think. I did not expect to be able to make meaningful connections between all the topics and The Hunger Games. It was challenging at times to go deeper than the obvious connections and similarities to the hunger games. It was also challenging to keep improving the blogs each week and add more media, like pictures, gifs, and videos. The required material of the companion books were very helpful, and it would be very interesting now to reread the Hunger Games trilogy after having the knowledge from this class and the books. I bet I would notice a lot of new symbols and connections. I wrote my blogs on:
Dystopian Future
The Arab Spring
Gender and Romance
The Hero's Journey
Children of Men (film)
The End of the World
The Nature of Evil/Holocaust
I found Appalachia's connection to the Hunger Game sot be the most interesting to learn and blog about. Now knowing the similarities between appalachia and District 12, they seem so obvious, but I had no idea before. I learned so much about Appalachia itself in current times, which allowed me to understand the nature of District 12 so much more.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Gender in the Hunger Games

Due to the gender of the protagonist of the Hunger Games and her stereotypically mismatched characteristics, femininity becomes a popular topic when discussing the trilogy. Danielle points out the distribution of power among genders and the situations in which gender plays a big role or does not.  In District 12, gender does not affect education or chances in the reaping, but it does dictate clothing options and most likely career path, with men in the mines and women in the household or making medicine with herbs. In the Capitol, the power belongs to men, President Snow, Seneca Crane,and Plutarch Heavensbee. But fashion in the Capitol is not dictated by gender at all. People in our current world would most likely evaluate their fashion as defying many gender stereotypes. The use of hair dye and make up is very common for Capitol men. Bright colors, ridiculous amounts of time spent on appearance and gaudy outfits is socially acceptable for both genders. Rugged manliness is a style choice reserved for the lower districts and exemplified by Gale Hawthorne. The sexualization of Tributes by the Capitol targets both genders as well. The setting in which gender influences are most absence is District 13. uniformity outweighs any gender differences, with similar duties and the same uniforms for men and women. The leader, President Coin is a woman, but her team and confidants consists of both genders.

Peeta and Katniss are easily likable and relatable characters because Suzanne Collins, unlike many other authors, incorporates traits typically associated with both genders into their personalities. The same cannot be said for Gale, who is stereotypically masculine. Danielle showed this by using online polls and comments about the reactions to and descriptions of the three main characters.

This topic was very interesting and easily relatable. Danielle was very effective in her transfer of information and incorporation of the audience.

Nature of Evil

The Evil in the Hunger Games trilogy seems fictional and unimaginable. Killing children, mass torture and altering people's bodies against their will are all actions taken by the Capitol. However, genocide exists in our current world and perhaps the most horrifying genocide and most shocking violation of basic human rights happened around 70 years ago.

The Holocaust was devastating, with horrors going beyond what anyone would think a human could do. The horror of the Holocaust can never truly be compared to or matched by anything, but doe details form this atrocity were used in the Hunger Games. The people Hitler viewed as lower class citizens, were dehumanized and turned into nothing but numbers, with numbers literally tattooed onto their arms. At the reaping, District citizens are turned into nothing but a number in the chance of the drawing. The readers do not even learn all the tributes names, some are just referred to by their gender and home district number.

Millions of people were forced into concentration camps, which odds are meant death and were not even afforded the chance to say goodbye to their families. In Catching Fire, Katniss does not get to say good by to Prim before entering the Arena, which it is likely she will not return alive from. Unfortunately, in both Panem and Hitler's Germany, children were not treated as too young to witness or suffer from the inhumane treatment. Teenage men and women were subjected to horrible treatment. With such unimaginable cruelty occurring in Panem and our own world, the only thing we can be sure of is that evil persists.

But was every Nazi in Hitler's Germany born evil? Were each of them systematically turned evil? Or were they good people who just did evil things? A popular saying, easily applicable to the Holocaust says "There are two kinds of evil people in this world. Those who do evil things and those who see evil things and don't try to stop it." So is either type of evil worse? Is Hitler more evil than the man who released the dogs to tear concentration camp prisoners to shreds? Is President Snow more evil than the Capitol spectators who take delight in the hunger games and provide its demand? Evil is an extremely complicated concept because everyone has the potential to be evil but everyone also has the potential to stop evil.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The End of the World

I believe in the end of the world, but not the Earth, necessarily, just the world as we know it. I believe the human race will be wiped out, providing a more natural environment for the rest of Earth's species to thrive in. I do not believe in Apocalypticism, which involves a divine agent or force, like Jesus or God. I believe in millennialism, a collective, total transformation of our world. I think it will encompass many strains of millenialistic varieties, including catastrophic, progressive, avertive, and environmental.

Catastrophic because it will be huge, wiping out all the humans and the civilizations and infrastructure we built.

Progressive, not for us but for the earth's entire population, because eliminating the ignorance of and damaging effects of humans will make the world a better place.

I think at one point it was avertive, but that period has long passed. The culture of the Native Americans to not only respect but celebrate nature, keeping the Earth in mind when making decisions, could (mesh) with the new world. However, the current culture of pollution, unnecessary overdevelopment and destruction, and a sense of entitlement to use the Earth as human's own personal canvas makes averting the end of the world a thing of the past.

Environmental because the unpredictable and unstable condition the earth is currently in. Destructive natural disasters and extreme weather patterns are a given recently.

In the Hunger Games, the apocalypse merely gave the human race a chance to start over, but they made the same mistakes as the first time. They exploited the ores of the Earth by mining constantly. They disregarded the costs of pollution, creating huge buildings, trains, hovercrafts, and The Capitol.
They even missed the opportunity to start a new way of treating each other, humanely, equally, progressively. This series is an example of why the new healthier world order does not include the human race.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Children of Men

Both stories occur in a futuristic dystopia with a totalitarian government, where citizen’s lives and bodies are not their property but property of the government. Violence is prevalent and children’s safety is not guaranteed. In Children of Men, the continuation of the population is threatened by the infertility of women, while in Panem, it is threatened by the mass killings of children each year in the Hunger Games combined with the extremely poor living conditions in some of the districts.

President Snow aims to control Katniss’ life and symbol of hope and use them to manipulate the public and Theo is afraid for Kee to reveal she is pregnant because he does not want the government to use her condition for their own selfish goals. The Fishes in Children of Men and District 13 in the Hunger Games are both underground anti-governmental organizations that the protagonist is central part of. However, the leader of both of these underground organizations wish to use the female protagonist for their own personal gains as well. Luke of the Fishes and Alma Coin of District 13 are both deceptive when they appear to be putting the safety and wellbeing of Kee and Katniss first.

Though Katniss “pregnancy” is a hoax, both her and Kee are with child. Peeta tries to convince the Capitol that he and Katniss are pregnant with their first child, in hopes of the Capitol and government feeling sympathy for a newly expecting mother and canceling the Third Quarter Quell games. In Children of Men, very few people go easy on Kee for being an expecting mother as well.

Katniss’ coveted trait is her ability to act masculine, shutting out female vulnerability and weakness. However, Kee‘s coveted trait is her ability to experience perhaps the most feminine thing possible: pregnancy and birth.

The Hero's Journey

The hero's journey is a set of steps most heroes go through that can be applied to most movies and books. The major steps include the departure, the initiation, and the return, but each of these steps includes detailed sub steps along the way. In addition to these steps, Dr. Mazeroff spoke about the power of fate, destiny, and archetypes.

Fate is what must happen, while destiny is how people react to fate. For example, Prim's fate is to die a premature death and Katniss is destined to postpone that death and then avenge it. Prim escapes fate when Katniss volunteers as tribute to take her place in the 74th Hunger Games. The chances of Prim winning those Hunger Games would have been slim to none. In the off chance that her and Peeta could have worked together to survive like Katniss and him did, then would not have likely survived the Quarter Quell either. Though Prim was afforded the opportunity to live longer, fate displayed its inevitable power when she died along with many other children due to the bombing in Mockingjay.

According to psychiatrist Carl Jung, archetypes are models of people, behaviors or personalities organized by the collective unconscious. The cat is an archetype for femininity. Katniss struggles with her femininity and she does not get along with Prim's cat, Buttercup. He disgust with the cat and desire for it to be out of her life is a metaphor for her wish to dismiss all the complications associated with being female, including vulnerability. Buttercup parallels Katniss in many ways- watching over and protecting Prim, disliking the Victor Village, and mourning the loss of Prim.

Another archetype prevalent in The Hunger Games is the Phoenix. This "bird on fire" goes through a constant cycle of death and rebirth. They die when it is their time and are reborn from the ashes. Katniss is also characterizes as "on fire." She is trapped in a constant cycle of battles and games. Katniss and all her hope die when her home is destroyed, but a new life for her and Peeta is born from the ashes of District 12.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Gender, Relations, and Romance in the Hunger Games

Suzanne Collins has been recognized for portraying a strong female protagonist in a way that no other author successfully has. She managed to create Katniss as a strong, independent yet still emotionally vulnerable young woman. Katniss shows many traits and abilities that seem exclusively male. She hunts with a bow and arrow, can be emotionally reserved, and is essentially the "man of the house." However, she has a soft spot for her younger sister Prim and her ally Rue.

A huge aspect of gender expression is appearance, including make up and clothes. Katniss wears only grey and dark clothes and no makeup in District 12, but she is styled to be "on fire"in the Capitol.  Katniss does not feel empowered or even comfortable when Cinna and his style team make her look beautiful in the eyes. She feels most confident when they make her look powerful. Because they are of the highest social class, Cinna even being a renowned fashion designer, Capitol residents do not subscribe to the gender and dress expectations that apply to the rest of Panem. Cinna wears gold eye liner and all capitol men put a lot of time into their grooming.  This parallels high class people now, like celebrities, who are socially allowed to dress in clothes that may seem feminine or masculine.

Another proposed aspect of being a girl, according to media and teen fiction, is a preoccupation with love and men. The Bechdel test, a test used to determine if a movie is sexist, applies to an alarming number blockbusters, but not the Hunger Games. This test has three simple criteria: Are there two females in the movie? Do they talk to each other? Do they talk about something other than a man?
Katniss shatters the stereotypes if obsessive teenage girls. She has much more to think about than boys, despite the efforts of Gale and Peeta to win her attention and her love. Some may switch this stereotypical girl characterization to Peeta, viewing him as "the movie girlfriend." He loves Katniss more than life itself and needs her to rescue him multiple times.