Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Hunger Games

I just finished reading The Hunger Games Trilogy. For those who may not be familiar with the basic plot click here. At times I got a little irritated with the Katniss's boy troubles. It just seemed that if you grew up providing for your family and now the world collapsing around you, you might not be thinking quite so much about choosing between two boys. Katniss does not engage in any premarital sex but Peeta is often sleeping in bed with her. Peeta is in love Katniss and Katniss is unsure of her feelings about Peeta. It seems like if this type of situation were to occur in real life that more than sleeping would be taking place. While I appreciate the lack of premarital sex the book could lead teenage girls into thinking that you can have extreme forms of intimacy without having to worry about any actual sexual intercourse. Sometimes the books seem to over-explain. Rather than Katniss just being amazed at the amount of food in the Capitol, Katniss seems to keep having to explain that they do not have much food in her district.

Overall though, the trilogy was well-written and very enjoyable. The author is a Roman Catholic but the books make no explicit references to religion whatsoever. Religion seems noticeably absent from this futuristic society and may in fact explain some of the utter hopelessness in the book. The Capitol is definitely evil but so is much of the leadership in the rebellion. The Hunger Games create an environment that encourages people to put their own survival above everything and anyone else.

Although there are no explicit Christian messages in the book there a number of Christ-figures in the book who sacrifice themselves for others. Katniss sacrifices her life for her sister. Finnick also sacrifices himself on a number of occasions. Finnick's devotion to Annie is especially interesting. Annie went mad after winning the Hunger Games but Finnick remains devoted and faithful to her. This stands in stark contrast to the attitude of the world and even many Protestants like Pat Robertson who think that if someone has lost his or her mind he or she is no longer a real person.

But Peeta is probably the most obvious of the Christ-figures. Throughout the books, Peeta remains faithfully devoted to Katniss even though Katniss often appears to have no love or concern Peeta. The relationship between Peeta and Katniss can often be seen as a picture of Christ and the Church. There seem to be allusions to the Eucharist with Peeta's bread. In Peeta's initial encounter with Katniss, Peeta suffers great personal harm for giving bread to Katniss. Through the bread Peeta gives life to Katnniss's family and hope to Katniss. After receiving the bread Katniss sees a dandelion and understands it as a symbol of hope for new life. Peeta spends three days "dead" in a cave only to have a sort of resurrection. Peeta is the only character who refuses to return evil for evil.

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