Feature: 10 Years of The Hunger Games
It is unbelievable that The Hunger Games debuted 10 years ago. Ten years since Katniss became the reluctant symbol of rebellion, with her bow and arrow and endearing relationship with Prim. Ten years of Effie, our Capital gal who’s as extra as they come before seeing the light. Ten years since a boy with bread stole our hearts (#TeamPeeta, where you at?). We are celebrating 10 years with a recap of why The Hunger Games is not only timeless, but timely in today’s political climate.
The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)by Suzanne Collins
Published by: Scholastic Press
on September 14, 2008
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Winning will make you famous. Losing means certain death.
The nation of Panem, formed from a post-apocalyptic North America, is a country that consists of a wealthy Capitol region surrounded by 12 poorer districts. Early in its history, a rebellion led by a 13th district against the Capitol resulted in its destruction and the creation of an annual televised event known as the Hunger Games. In punishment, and as a reminder of the power and grace of the Capitol, each district must yield one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 through a lottery system to participate in the games. The 'tributes' are chosen during the annual Reaping and are forced to fight to the death, leaving only one survivor to claim victory.
When 16-year-old Katniss's young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12's female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives. , she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.
The Hunger Games Impact 10 Years Later
How often do you hear someone say iconic lines like “May the odds be ever in your favor” or “I volunteer as tribute” in your everyday life? Well if you are in my circles, almost every week at least.
Sabaa Tahir had it right when she stated that “Katniss Everdeen Is My Hero” in her recent NYT article. I couldn’t say it better than she does (because I am not a NYT Bestselling author), but she taps into that pure epicness of how these books have sustained importance and relevance after 10 years. It blazed the path for strong, even reluctant, heroines into not only the YA world, but into all of our society.
Power. Identity. Class. Sacrifice. Are we talking about a fictitious future or today in America (VOTE)? Panem’s story is relatable on so many levels and we love Suzanne Collins’ interview with David Levithan for exploring that.
Just-war theory has evolved over thousands of years in an attempt to define what circumstances give you the moral right to wage war and what is acceptable behavior within that war and its aftermath. The why and the how. It helps differentiate between what’s considered a necessary and an unnecessary war. In The Hunger Games Trilogy, the districts rebel against their own government because of its corruption. The citizens of the districts have no basic human rights, are treated as slave labor, and are subjected to the Hunger Games annually. I believe the majority of today’s audience would define that as grounds for revolution. They have just cause but the nature of the conflict raises a lot of questions. Do the districts have the authority to wage war? What is their chance of success? How does the re-emergence of District 13 alter the situation? When we enter the story, Panem is a powder keg and Katniss the spark. See the full interview here.
Young woman have been leading and taking charge of social movements all over this country before and since Katniss became our hero. It’s not only teenagers, or young adults, who can be heroines. I was an adult when this trilogy was released and it had such an impact on me. As a young adult activist, I felt for Katniss. I suffer PTSD still to this day from the mental and physical abuse I endured trying to stand up for civil and environmental justice. To try and give my voice to the voiceless. We all can be moved by books, we all can make a difference. Books sometimes inspire, but can also heal. Doing what’s right, resisting what’s wrong, identifying how power corrupts, but how we need leaders and structure. It all resonates, it all feels real, books are important. Young adult books are important, as teens we are looking for purpose and sometimes these stories allow us to find ourselves.
Take your books in stride, but take the lessons to the real world.
The Hunger Games – An In Person Experience
The Hunger Games exhibit visited San Francisco a few years back and I got to see the beautiful costumes and explore the themes in person. It was an experience I will never forget! Check out some photos below! – Christy