Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Last time I decided to read what all my students were reading I ended up going through the Twilight saga. While I feel they weren’t entirely bad (don’t judge me!), they weren’t quite the substantive read I would hope my students would choose (although reading something is better than nothing I suppose). I noticed recently that there were quite a number reading Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (as well as the sequels) so figured I would see why there was all the interest. The synopsis seemed engaging enough and Cori even recommended it, so why not delve back into another series that my students are obsessed with.

I was very pleasantly surprised by both the plot and the characters. The story was quite intense (that’s what happens when kids are battling to the death…) and dealt with a number of difficult issues: strength, loneliness, independence, friendship, oppression, violence, murder, sacrifice, and politics (among others). The first person narrative gives insight into the mind of a 16 year old girl, Katniss Everdeen, who is trying to survive (in a number of ways) in a death match. Her thought process is well written (contrary to the almost inane inner workings of Bella) and insightful.

As Cori mentions, it would be nice to see more discussion or development of the issues of children killing other children and the torment that must go along with that. They are being forced into these violent situations and that must change them at the core. I imagine that the sequels will have to deal with this in some way; they couldn’t stay the same after their ordeal.

The scene that impacted me the most (spoiler ahead) was not the death of Katniss’ new found ally, Rue, but shortly thereafter. It was only so meaningful to me because of how the relationship between Katniss and Rue was developed. I quote it here (yes, it made me cry, but out of context, it probably won’t be as meaningful to you…):

I’ve no idea where to go. The brief sense of home I had that one night with Rue has vanished. My feet wander this way and that until sunset. I’m not afraid, not even watchful. Which makes me an easy target. Except I’d kill anyone I met on sight. My hatred of the Capitol has not lessened my hatred of my competitors in the least. Especially the Careers. They, at least, can be made to pay for Rue’s death. [...]

I’m about to haul my packs into a tree to make camp when a silver parachute floats down and lands in front of me. A gift from a sponsor. But why now? I’ve been in fairly good shape with supplies. Maybe Haymitch’s noticed my despondency and is trying to cheer me up a bit. Or could it be something to help my ear?

I open the parachute and find a small loaf of bread. It’s not the fine white Capital stuff. It’s made of dark ration grain and shaped in a crescent. Sprinkled with seeds. I flashback to Peeta’s lesson on the various district breads in the Training Center. This bread came from District 11. I cautiously lift the still warm loaf. What must it have cost the people of DIstrict 11 who can’t even feed themselves? How many would’ve had to do without to scrape up a coin to put in the collection for this one loaf? It had been meant for Rue, surely. But instead of pulling the gift when she died, they’d authorized Haymitch to give it to me. As a thank-you? Or because, like me, they don’t like to let debts go unpaid? For whatever reason, this is a first. A district gift to a tribute who’s not your own.

I lift my face and step into the last falling rays of sunlight. “My thanks to the people of District Eleven,” I say. I want them to know I know where it came from. That the full value of their gift has been recognized.

I know that was lengthly, but I feel speaks volumes.

The book is a fairly easy read, it is, after all, “Young Adult,” but is also quite enjoyable with a variety of relatively deep themes. It’s worth checking out. Now, on to book two: Catching Fire!

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