Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Blog Entry #5

Being asked to choose my favorite book from the Hunger Games trilogy is extremely difficult, but if I were ask my least favorite that would be simple. I was not a fan of Mockingjay because I felt as though it was rushed and hurried to stay within the page count. I was also slightly disappointed in the fact that Katniss, a strong stable female protagonist ended her story in a stereotypical female role of wife and mother. The entire series, Katniss defies gender roles and fights in one of the biggest wars of their time and then her story is wrapped up in a big bow and everyone lives happily ever after, but I would have preferred it to be more realistic. That being said, I think my favorite book is Catching Fire. Although I loves The Hunger Games, now that I have read the series I feel as though it is slow and so much action comes after it I become bored with the story now, even though I loves it when I read it for the first time. Catching Fire has more action, and because of this it is a more riveting read. The depth of the plan to rescue Katniss from the games so that she could rally the troops for the war is my favorite part. This is the first time we see people from the Capitol rebelling against their government, like Plutarch Heavensbee, who happens to be one of my favorite characters because of his bravery and determination to change the way things are. Another reason I love Catching Fire is because of the Quarter Quell. The arena, the players, and the way the Capitol reacts set the stage for the rebellion. The arena was so well planed out and full of mind games that the reader was forced to figure things out with Katniss, which kept me engaged. Also, Beety, Wiress, and Finnick are introduced and they each add a sense of depth to the story because the reader begins to see the long-term effects of the Hunger Games and the previous victors. Before Catching Fire, there isn’t much mention of the previous victors but during the novel we find out Haymitch’s story and how he came to be the way that he is. Overall, I loved the entire series but Catching Fire will always be my favorite.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Blog Entry #4

In my previous post I discussed how I was able to watch The Hunger Games with an open mind because I had not read the book, but by the time that Catching Fire came out in theatres, I had already finished the entire trilogy. This totally changed the way I approached Catching Fire. Throughout the entire movie I was looking for everything I had read which made me much more critical of the things that were missing or added. Even though it is sometimes frustrating to watch a movie based on a book because there is no way for a movie to capture the pictures you created in your mind while reading, a movie does have its benefits. The biggest benefit of a movie version of a book is the ability to see what other characters are doing. In the books, we see the world through Katniss’ eyes and that alters the story that the reader receives, but the movies allow for a piece of everyone’s story to be told. In the movie we see much more of President Snow’s private life with his granddaughter, as well as his interactions with Plutarch Heavensbee. Although the addition of Snow’s story was nice, one story that was missing from the movie was that of Haymitch. One of my favorite parts of Catching Fire was reading Haymitch’s story because it really provided insight into why he is so troubled, and it also laid the groundwork for Haymitch and his eventual rebellion against the Capitol. When Katniss and Peeta are watching the films of previous victors, they are able to see just how difficult it was for some of the other winners, like Haymitch, and this allows them to form an alliance against their common enemy. I think that omitting the powerful story of Haymitch’s win and subsequent struggles from the movie is a disservice to people that did not read the book, even though they really should read it. The other story omission was that of Bonnie and Twill, which is important because it causes Katniss to question everything around her. Throughout Catching Fire, a million little things begin to come together to form a rebellion over 75 years in the making and because of this, small stories are important to include.

Blog Entry #3

Before The Hunger Games really started to gain popularity, my friend recommended that I read them, but I already had a list of books to read so I decided to hold off. Then The Hunger Games movie was being made so I decided to see it without having read the book. When I saw the movie I was not analyzing it to see if the characters matched what I had created them to be in my head, nor was I looking for lapses in the plot. I think this gave me an advantage because I was able to truly appreciate the movie the first time around, and then I decided to read the book. Suddenly things that did not make sense in the movie started to come together and the holes in the plot were filled in. When I went back and watched the movie the second time, I was able to make sense of what was missing from where, and what was exaggerated in order to make the movie a bit more entertaining.  One thing that really angered me was the fact that Madge is not in the movie. I feel as if she plays a major role in planting the idea of rebellion in Katniss’ head. Madge is the one that gives Katniss the mockingjay pin, rather than Greasy Sae as depicted in the movies. Another omission that angered me was that of the Avox, this is yet another example of the capital’s oppression that angers Katniss and furthers her desire for change. I understand that movies would be outlandishly long if they were to include every detail in a book but I don’t necessarily understand why important details need to be changed, like with Madge and the pin, it wouldn’t have been too difficult to have Madge give Katniss the pin in the movie. The last difference I feel is worth mentioning is the omission of Peeta’s father’s visit with Katniss before she leaves for the game. When I watched the movie before I had read the book, I definitely did not get the sense that there was any relationship between Katniss and the Mallarks, but upon reading the books it is made clear that Peeta’s father is a good man that always bought Katniss’ squirrels for a good price, and he was willing to make sure Prim and Katniss’ mother did not go without food once Katniss was gone. He also brought Katniss some cookies, which she later ends up throwing away but the gesture is sincere and kind. Overall, I feel as though the movie did a great job depicting the plot of the book, with just a few omissions here and there.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Blog Entry #2

After watching a piece of Suzanne Collins' interview in which she discusses how the Theseus-Minotaur myth inspired her, I went home and decided to look up the rest of the interview. Collins was clearly influenced by multiple sources, such as the reality television competitions that force people to battle for a prize juxtaposed with the news showing pictures of the war in Iraq. When one combines the sources of inspirations like the aforementioned example, combined with the Theseus-Minotaur myth, suddenly it is easy to see how Collins formulated the Hunger Games. In the myth, seven boys and seven girls are to be sacrificed to the minotaur every year for nine years because of the poverty and war that the people of Crete fell victim to. This is obviously extraordinarily similar to the games. Each district, poverty stricken and war torn, must offer up two tributes to battle to the death in an enclosed arena in order to punish the people. Children are targeted because it is such a deep level of evil to kill the children as a punishment, since children represent purity, and hope for the future. The differences between the myth and the Hunger Games are also clear. Katniss is much different than Theseus in terms of her family life. Additionally, in the myth all of the children die but in the book there is a victor and while Katniss is definitely the most important piece of the rebellion, she is assisted by multiple other victors and citizens of Panem. I think that Collins took the myth and combined it with her opinions of the world around her, and the result is the Hunger Games.

Link to the interview: