Saturday, March 24, 2012

Is The Hunger Games anti-war?
(And if not, why not?)

now reading in English: Rutherford B. Hayes: Warrior and President by Ari Hoogenboom
now reading online in French: Douze ans de sejour dans la haute Ethiopie by Arnauld d'Abbadie
now listening on my MP3 player when I exercise: The Blind Side by Michael Lewis

As much as I don't enjoy reading multiple books at a time, it just works out that way when the medium is unique for each one.  I never used to listen to audio books, and I still can't stand to listen to fiction being read to me AT ALL, but I have discovered that I can listen to non-fiction. It's kind of like listening to intelligent news/public radio. So anyway, I'm making my way through these three works, at different times and in different places.

Anyone notice what I'm currently not reading? That's right, The Hunger Games. But fear not! You will be happy to know, ye of the "ZOMG!-it's-SO-amazing!" persuasion, that I am planning to read it as soon as I get to the top of the holds list at the good ol' Phoenix library. (No, I'm not going to buy it. I prefer to buy books that need my dollars more, and check out from the library something that is already a runaway bestseller and that I am not sure if I'll love.) I think I will actually reach the top of said library holds list fairly soon, as I have gone from position #236 on the holds list to #29 in just a week and a half.

So yes, I am planning to read The Hunger Games, and I will probably see the film, too, and I am not at all concerned about seeing the movie soon, because frankly there is nothing I hate more than being packed into a crowded theater, because I prefer silence with my films. I never ever ever go see movies on the days they come out. Ever. I verrrrrrrrrrry rarely go see films on Friday or Saturday at all. I like having lots of empty seats around me. Anyway, I have actually been vaguely planning to maybe read the novels for a year and a half or so, because the constant EW coverage and some of what I read in the blogosphere started to convince me they were worth a read. Of course, in 2010 when I started to become intrigued by The Hunger Games I also capitulated and read Men Who Hate Women aka in the U.S. as The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and it was so overrated that I promptly did not read the next 2 Stieg Larsson books and I went back to ignoring bestselling series for a while, but I've come back around to The Hunger Games because it's so short and YA, so how much of a mental investment can it be, really? And because it's anti-war.

I mean, I thought it was anti-war.

I certainly read about it being anti-war. In the aforementioned EW coverage for starters. I've read a lot about the book in the last two years, much of it straight from Suzanne Collins' mouth, and I have a distinct impression of an anti-war message. But today I've been following the discussion of some friends (who have actually read the books?) as to whether it is in fact anti-war. So I poked into the blogosphere a bit on this specific topic, and I think what I'm discovering is that there might be more disagreement on what it means to be anti-war more than there is  disagreement about The Hunger Games.

And I certainly don't think it is exclusively anti-war. Of course it is also anti-totalitarian evil f#&*$ in government and anti-infatuation-with-glamorized-entertainment-at-the-expense-of-real-people's-tragedies and so on. Why would those things prevent it from being an anti-war allegory?

But clearly I need to read it, because there is more to this than meets my eye. So, what do you think? WITHOUT SPOILERS, give me your opinion: is The Hunger Games anti-war?


Kate said...

Very interesting. I have not heard of it being an anti-war book. Maybe anti socialistic/communistic. Anti liberal? Maybe. Anti war? How so? Interesting. Definitely read the books. I am mixed on them myself. I didn't dislike them, but the topic is rather disturbing and they have disturbing undertones.

linda said... are they about communism? What are some examples?

Now that I've read the first one (and seen the film) I know it's anti-war. (I mean, I knew Suzanne Collins had said it's about war before, but then everyone was making me doubt myself!) Young people plucked from their homes and families to fight to the death for the benefit of some power hungry people in the nation, to keep themselves in power and keep the population believing in them as leaders, and believing that sacrifice is necessary, when it isn't. That would be war.