THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins

I think that many readers– myself included– fall prey to the common misconception that there are two distinct categories of literature. The first of these categories could be considered “hard literature” (I don’t know if these names already exist– I’m completely making them up on the spot). These are the texts we are often forced to read for literature classes, including the classics that sit on our dusty shelves until we eventually feel guilty enough to pick them up and crack open their stiff spines. An obvious name father opposing category would be “soft literature,” which encompasses those books that we willingly read for pleasure.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsOne of the greatest distinctions between these two categories in our minds is our purpose for reading them. The former, we read to analyze, think critically about, and learn from; the latter, we read to be entertained. While I have never been a resolute believer in this concept, until recently it has had at least a slight influence on the way I read. I didn’t realize this, however, until I was assigned to read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins in my Introduction to Literature class this past semester.

I read The Hunger Games a few years ago and loved it, but I hadn’t read it since then because the end of the trilogy had kind of put a sour taste in my mouth– but that’s a topic for another day. When I read books like this one I tend to view myself as a fan, but my professor was asking us to read this novel as both a fan and a critic. Intrigued, I was eager to experience the story from a different perspective than when I first read it.

What my class found through close reading and thought-provoking discussions was honestly extraordinary. I never imagined that there were such interesting, controversial undertones apart from the obvious themes involving insurgency, the proliferation of the media, and the ignorance of many people in modern-day society.

For example, we talked about how up until the Reaping when she is forced to wear a dress, Katniss does not necessarily have a clear, definitive gender. She hunts with Gale, wears masculine clothing and even takes on the role of the father figure in her house by providing for Prim and her mother. In contrast, Peeta embodies a much more feminine role compared to Katniss. As the son of a baker he is a very skilled cook and painter, both of which are generally considered to be feminine talents. These observations caused some people in my class to wonder whether or not Katniss was actually gender fluid. While I don’t particularly agree with that claim, it is nevertheless very interesting to think about.

Not only did I discover several deeper layers within this story that can be endlessly analyzed and contemplated, but my overall feelings towards the characters also changed in this second reading. When I first read The Hunger Games years ago I was a firm opponent of Peeta for some unknown reason. In my mind Gale was the more suitable partner for Katniss, and perhaps in some ways that is true. However, after having read the book again I have come to really appreciate and admire Peeta. He’s just an average, innocent guy trying his best to survive, and he has to deal with Katniss’ conflicting emotions regarding himself and the Games. People definitely don’t give him enough credit for his cleverness and ability to strategize. After all, he’s the one who furthers their “star-crossed lovers” image, which is essentially what allows them to survive. He also balances out Katniss emotionally, much more so than Gale. So I must admit that I’ve had a change of heart: I now believe that Peeta, not Gale, would ultimately be a better match for Katniss.

Overall, rereading The Hunger Games has reminded me of all the reasons why I loved it the first time around. It’s one of those books that you can’t help but get caught up in as soon as you start reading it. The concept of the story itself is absolutely brilliant, and I was glad to see that it was still able to excite me even though I knew how it would end. While it will never top some of my personal favorite books and series, it is still evident that Suzanne Collins has written a fantastic novel that will surely continue to captivate readers for years to come.

My Rating: :0) :0) :0) :0) 4 out of 5 smileys

Would I recommend it to a friend?: Yes! To all of my friends! (And maybe even to a stranger or two… it’s SO good!)

What are your thoughts on this book? What do you think about the concept of “hard” and “soft” literature? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins

    1. That’s why I love writing reviews so much– not only do they allow me to organize and keep a record of my thoughts, but it’s also really interesting to see how my opinions change.

      (I wish I was a Peeta fan from the beginning. Looking back, he makes so much more sense than Gale)

      Happy reading! 🙂

      Like

  1. Really interesting things that you came up with- especially about Katniss being “gender fluid”. I mean, I don’t remember Katniss being forced to wear the dress at the beginning of the book, but she definitely doesn’t like being made up for the show that they put on later (obviously) but that has more to do with their treatment of her than anything else- I mean, they’re sending her to her death, but they expect her to look pretty and play a part- it’s seriously messed up. So I don’t really think that Collins was commenting on gender as much as how sick the world of reality tv is. Sorry for going on, your review had very thought-provoking stuff 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, arguing Katniss’ gender fluidity is kind of a stretch, but nevertheless fascinating to think about. It’s one of those things that makes me wish I could get inside the author’s head and figure out what she was thinking and aiming for while writing it. How cool would that be?!
      Anyways, thanks for commenting! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! I felt the same way when we discussed The Hunger Games in class– usually people leave all the analyzing for classic literature, but this just goes to show that there can be deeper meaning found in any work of writing. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s