Sunday, February 23, 2014

Best/Worst Book?

I most enjoyed reading the Second Book in the Hunger Games series, Catching Fire. The first book mostly consisted of an introduction of main characters, the politics of Panem, and the nature of the game, while the third book was mostly fighting and relationship conflicts. The second book included Katniss' personal issues and the bigger problems of Panem. I enjoyed Mockingjay the least and many other fans and critics share my opinion.


The last book was a bit of a disappointment in the plot development and the ending. I found the plot development slow and boring while trying to cram too many small details into one book. Some of the deaths seemed unnecessary and unfair. Though I understand Prim's death was a very emotional event that really affected Katniss, I did not find it essential to the plot and feel that they could have conveyed how horrific the violence being done to children was in a different way. The ending also seems contradictory to the object of and praise received by the series. The strong female lead character ends up married, with children. Not that her and Peeta don't deserve their happiness, but they act as though they live in a worriless world, despite the continued horror occurring in Panem and especially the Capitol.

The second book was a perfect combination of the Games, Katniss' relationships, and an evolving rebellion. This book was the most exciting to read because it switched back and forth from the calmer troubles, like the choice between Gale and Peeta and learning how to go back to normal life, and the exciting emerging problems of uprisings and Peacekeeper brutality. The arena for the 74th Hunger Games was very intriguing. Unlike the obstacles of the games in the first book which seemed a bit random, these games had a puzzle to figure out which potentially fatal challenge came next. It was fun to read along as the tributes slowly pieced the puzzle together. Suzanne Collins developed very likable characters, making it nearly impossible to not feel sympathy for Mags and Gale. Unlike in the last book, when it was harder to feel sympathy for anyone but Prim.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Compare and Contrast the Hunger Games and Catching Fire

Though both books show the cruelty of the Hunger Games and the Capitol, Catching Fire focuses more on the politics and the injustice of the system, while The Hunger Games simply portrays the tragedy of the games. The enemies of Katniss and Peeta, in their first book, are the other tributes, while their enemy in the second book is the capitol. Catching Fire feels more hopeless, with Katniss fighting against something much bigger than herself and all the victors being played with like chess pieces. In the Hunger Games, the games are an unfortunate yet inevitable part of the society in the districts. No one can escape them and though it is sad that Katniss must enter the arena, readers can take joy in the fact that Prim is safe. However, in Catching Fire, everyone is in danger at all times and everyone seems like they are losing. The Hunger Games briefly mentions the districts and some of their exports and resources, but mainly focuses on District 12. The next book gives a much more detailed account of not just the districts, but also the hard times their inhabitants are facing. The main conflict of the books transitions from District 12 tributes versus the rest of Panem to the districts versus the Capitol government, which ends up as the main conflict of the series. 

While the Hunger Games tells a brief description of the characters, politics and geography of Panem, Catching Fire lays a foundation for the revolution to come. In Catching Fire, Katniss analyzes the strength of the system when she tells President Snow “it must be very fragile, if a handful of berries can bring it down.” This statement is made shortly after the Capitol kills Seneca Kane. During Catching Fire is the first time that the Capitol is shown betraying its own people and multiple Capitol residents, like Effie, receive amicable traits, like compassion and sympathy.
The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Most Horrifying Aspect? Relates to Society?

Though they are tragic, the most horrifyingly cruel aspects of the Hunger Games aren’t the age range for tributes, or the required viewing of the arena, including watching the death of one’s own child. A child’s love of life, optimism, virtue and innocence are all stolen from them if they are chosen as tribute. Even if they escape with their life, they must live with the guilt of killing other children and the nightmares and trauma of being in the arena. Their parents and siblings are forced to watch their children either die a hero or turn into monsters.

The Hunger Games seem too horrific to be true. We dismiss them as the horrors of a future dystopian society, feeling comfortable with our “civilized” current world. However, our world is far from perfect. The Children soldiers in Central Africa and South Asia suffer through a situation that parallels the situation of tributes in the Hunger Games. According to Child Soldiers International, the definition of a child soldier is “any person below 18 years of age who is, or who has been, recruited or used by an armed force or armed group.” Many are forced into the army against their will at a young age. Most child soldiers are male and many are forced to see their homes raided and their sisters and mothers raped. Child soldiers lose their innocence at a very young age, being forced into violent behavior and murdering.
A less horrifying but similarly upsetting aspect of the Hunger Games is the alterations the residents of the Capitol make to their bodies. Suzanne Collins makes their skin and hair dyed odd colors sound unbelievably unnatural and unnecessary. The lengths people now go to in hopes of improving their appearance are just as shocking. Plastic surgery, Botox, and tanning seem so normal to us. Some women even go through the intensive procedure of altering their eyelids to make their eyes seem bigger, something that seems straight out of a dystopian novel.

The truly most horrifying aspect of the Hunger Games trilogy is how similar it is to our current society.

Which one is scarier?

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Write an analysis of the parallels between the tributes in the arena and the gladiators in old Rome.

Gladiators in old Rome came from different social classes and chose to pursue the gladiator career for various reasons. Some lived to compete in the arena, training their whole lives to pursue the fame and fortune of being a truly skilled gladiator. Other less fortunate men choose to become a gladiator in hopes of escaping a life of hard labor as a slave. This parallels the different socio-economic classes in the Hunger Games created by the districts. The Careers in the first and second district train for the games their whole life. While poor families like the Everdeens in District 12 must enter their children's names in the reaping multiple times just to keep food on the table. Though entering the gladiator arena is a more direct way of chancing your life than entering a name in the reaping, both are a last resort to improve quality of life.

Though it seems the participants' entire fate depends on themselves and their opponents, the audience and added obstacles such as wild animals can affect the game in huge ways. In the arenas of the Hunger Games, forms of yellow jackets, birds, and baboons physically and mentally attack the tributes. In the gladiator arena, lions and tigers are brought in to kill groups of prisoners. In the gladiator arena, the loud cheering of the audience scares off the animals who were brought to eat and kill those prisoners brought into the ring. Indirectly, the audience is saving or postponing the end of their lives. In the hunger games, sponsors can also save or postpone the end of tributes' lives by sending them food, medicine, and more.


In the story of Verus, the fellow gladiator he trains with and becomes closest to is the one he must fight against publicly. This unfortunate match up is similar to the situation of Peeta and Katniss. During such a hard time from home to throughout training and all the preparations, a bond has formed between Peeta and Katniss and between Verus and Priscus. The controller of the arena's events, either the head Gamemaker or the emperor, finds entertainment in pitting best friends against each other. Fortunately in both cases, both fighters become victors.,-Antonio/Gladiators-Fighting-Animals-In-The-Circus-At-Pompeii.html