Thursday, March 27, 2014

Blog Entry #8

Dr. Telhami was an incredibly knowledgeable and articulate speaker and he made some extremely interesting points about the Arab Spring that were relatable to the Hunger Games series. One important point that Dr. Telhami made was that when asking people how they identified, they first identified as Muslim or Arab before associating themselves with their specific country. While I do not think that people of Panem would list themselves as part of a large community first, they did see the similarities between the oppression of all of the people in the districts which allowed them to band together and rebel against the Capitol. Another important point that was made was the fact that the Information Revolution allowed for the people of the Middle East to communicate much more effectively and allowed for a lot of the rebellions to take place. In the Hunger Games series, the communication methods are much more subtle but they rallied the districts together. For example, Katniss’ wedding dress that turned into a mockingjay dress showed the people in the district that she was their beacon of hope, which in turn helped create the spark which lit the fire of rebellion in the districts. Dr. Telhami also discussed how the people of this area would become frustrated with the regimes in control and they would work together to rebel against the government and create a system more conducive to the life they desired, even though it took them many years to do so. The question often asked is: why didn’t the districts rebel sooner? I feel as though the answer lies in a statement made by President Snow, that the only thing stronger than fear is hope. Before Katniss, and before the Information Age in the Arab world, hope was not as prevalent and people did not have a rallying point that allowed for rebellion. This is the most important similarity between the Arab Spring and the Hunger Games.

Blog Entry #7

Appalachia is known for its music and dance. The culture of Appalachia is rich and allows the people of that area to express themselves when there is no other outlet. The importance of communication through song is also relevant in the Hunger Games. The people of District 12 are oppressed and unable to share their opinions on all matters political or social, much like the people of Appalachia. Through songs like the Hanging Tree, parallels between the two regions become clear. In Appalachia many years ago, many people came from all over and watched hangings, much like the song depicts. John Hardy was a black man that was hanged and over 6,000 people came to watch, when only 300 people lived in Welch, the town in which he was hanged. Also, through dance the people of both Appalachia and District 12 are able to share in a cultural activity that unites them as a community. Song and dance are traditionally passed down through the oral tradition, which allows for people that are illiterate to contribute to their culture and society. Often times people in Appalachia did not, and still do not, receive the level of education that they deserve. In District 12, because of the oppression of the districts by the Capitol, the people do not receive an education so the ability to pass on traditions and stories allows for a continuation of the culture. District 12 and Appalachia are similar on a level more than just location; they share the same level of appreciation for their culture and traditions.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Blog Entry #6

Dystopian literature has recently become increasingly popular. Personally, it is my favorite type of literature and I have read many series that are categorized as dystopian. The Hunger Games series is undeniably dystopian, but I think what makes it different than some other series I’ve read is that it extrapolates upon many flaws in society rather than one or two like most series. For example, in Margaret Atwood’s dystopian series Oryx and Crake, corporate greed is exploited and used as the ultimate downfall of society. In the Hunger Games, many issues we see today are taken to the extreme. For example, many people are hungry and live in poverty while the people of the Capitol have everything they could ever need and then some. This is an extrapolation of the enormous gap between the haves and the have-nots in our society, even here in America the rich are very rich, the poor are very poor, and the middle class is slowly dying, much like the slightly wealthier districts like one and two. Another example is that of the Hunger Games and what we find entertaining like reality television. There are so many shows today that exploit people and force them to battle it out for a prize that tends to be monetary. While none of our shows have escalated to the level of children killing others for a prize and a political goal, we do watch many shows where people must try to survive in nature in order to receive a prize.  The Hunger Games is clearly a dystopian series and it should be used to teach us all to be more introspective about our society.