Friday, February 27, 2015

Hunger Games as Dystopian Fiction (Dr. Carpenter Lecture)

The Hunger Games trilogy can be classified as dystopian literature in many ways. Dr. Carpenter defines a dystopia as a utopia gone wrong. This is evident in many ways with Panem. The idea of organization and structure is set in the government system, but it has led to a huge wealth disparity and a structure where only people in the Capitol benefit from the way the districts run.The government of the Capitol values stability above all else. This is an element of dystopias, and is evident in the way President Snow uses peacekeepers, the games, and the elements of fear and intimidation to maintain the repression of the districts. The qualities that the people must sacrifice are the assured safety of their children, plentiful food, knowledge of the history of Panem and the government's secrets, unification among districts, and their individuality. Their identities are given to them according to their district; they are not able to choose their jobs freely. The element of propoganda is common to dystopian works, and the mandatory broadcasting of the Games and the glamourized events like the interviews and coverage aim to subtly instill hopelessness in the districts and justify the games to Capitol citizens. The propoganda is so constant that the Capitol citizens do not even realize the moral wrongness of their entire power structure since they are not directly affected and they are more immersed in the "fun reality tv" aspect. Henthorne also describes how Collins alludes to environmental damage in the past without making it unrealistic in relation to Katniss' story. Starvation, unequal wealth distribution, and the large role of mass media is clearly emphasized in the Hunger Games, and the reader can relate these  issues to modern life. This inclusion of contemporary issues gone wrong in Panem also relates to Dr. Carpenter's point that dystopian literature makes the reader think about the depth of the issues in their lives, or how "we may already be living in a dystopia." Henthorne emphasizes the art of how Collins paints Panem as an awful place through Katniss' actions, such as her distaste with bringing her own children into the world and her poverty stricken lifestyle. Collins also uses emotional appeal to indirectly show the negative state of the dystopia; she uses Prim's death and the emotional repercussions of killing tribute,s and going through romantic heartbreak because of the Game,s to highlight the effects the system of government has on the citizens.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Favorite book in trilogy

Out of the three books in the Hunger Games series, my favorite book was the first book, the Hunger Games. My second favorite is Catching Fire, which was almost tied with the first book. I liked Mockingjay the least.

The Hunger Games was my favorite book because Katniss' motivations and actions were the most raw and honest. She just acted according to her gut, which she does in the other two books also, but in Catching Fire and Mockingjay, she is more calculated and strategic. She is more naive in the first book and she considers her decisions even less than later on, which makes her decisions more powerful. The Hunger Games book is the story of how Katniss started a revolution without even meaning to. I think the first book has the most plot, and is the most interesting and original because it sets up Panem and all the characters so effortlessly. I did not pick the second book as my favorite because there is more focus on Katniss' confusion and feelings over Peeta and Gale. I would rather read about her actions than her thoughts and feelings on the two men. I chose the first book as my favorite instead of the second because the fact that there is another Hunger Games seems too similar to the first one; it seems repetitive. The idea of the arena of the Hunger Games and the capitol really caught my attention in the first book, but was reused in the other books, and nothing new intrigued me in Catching Fire or Mockngjay. The third book is interesting politically, but is not as well written as the first two books. I also did not like the ending to Mockingjay: I thought it was too sudden and too much happened.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Catching Fire comparison btwn book and movie

There are several differences between the book Catching Fire and the movie. More of the parts that were in the book were left out or altered in the second movie; whereas much of the first Hunger Games book to movie translation was kept the same. Much of the book scenes are left out in the interest of time for the movie.
At the beginning of the movie, it starts off with Katniss in the woods to meet with Gale. In the book, there was some buildup to that scene in the woods where Katniss and Peeta re-acclimated to District 12 first. The scene where Katniss shot a turkey and had a PTSD triggered panic attack was portrayed the same in the book and movie.
One main difference was in the book, the Peacekeepers had already arrived in District 12 by the time Katniss returned. In the movie, we see the new Peacekeepers make a dramatic entrance. This scene does not happen right away in the movie. The part where the Peacekeepers visit her house after she jumps over the fence hunting is entirely different. In the book, Katniss returns from the woods to find the fence's electricity is turned on and she stops at the market before returning home to cover up the fact that she was hunting. In the movie, rather than coming home to Peacekeepers, she finds President Snow has come to threaten her. They seem to combine the Peacekeeper scene and the scene where Snow tells her to try harder to overact her love for Peeta.
Katniss meeting Bonnie and Twill from District 8 is completely omitted. She finds out about rebellions by seeing a screen at the President's mansion rather than seeing the screen at the mayor's house. The mockingjay wing included in the District 13 footage is not covered and the movie doesn't go into detail about the other district's rebellions.
The book and movie cover the wedding, tributes, and mockingjay symbol well. Although, since the movie doesn't have the meeting with Bonnie and Twill in the woods, instead of Katniss finding about the mockingjay symbol on the bread, she sees it spray painted on a train tunnel wall. Plutarch Heavensbee does not show Katniss the mockingjay watch or tell her "It starts at midnight." This was another crucial plot point in the book not in the movie.
There are scenes added into the movie that weren't in the book whose purpose is to explain the plot more easily than including the many small details that reveal plot in the book. For example, Heavensbee meets with Snow in an attempt to instill fear into the districts and increase floggings by Peacekeepers. There is no evidence that Heavensbee thought of this in the book.
A large difference between the book and movie was the reason Gale got whipped for. In the book, Gale is caught with a wild turkey he shot, rather than saving a townsperson from a Peacekeeper. Also, in the book, Katniss doesn't arrive until after Gale has already been severely whipped and passed out, but in the movie she is right behind him and prevents him getting severely injured.
When the tributes go to perform their skills for the Gamemakers, Peeta's painting of Rue is left on the floor for Katniss to see, rather than being washed off in the book.
Katniss and Peeta watching Haymitch's victory tape and the significance of his defiance toward the Capitol is ommitted. Katniss and Haymitch getting drunk on the night Katniss finds she has to go back to the arena is also left out.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

differences between the first book and movie

There are several differences between the first Hunger Games book and the movie. Many parts in the novel are shortened in the movie for the sake of time, and the game commentators serve as narrators instead of Katniss’ internal thoughts. Instead of Katniss’ brief explanation of the history of Panem and the Hunger Games, Seneca and Caesar start the film out by discussing the history of the games to serve as background knowledge for viewers. There are also short films about the war that the districts are required to learn about and watch which serve to set up historical context in the movie. Later in the movie, Caesar announces to the viewers that the careers have mines set up around the food. This narration lets the audience know the situation without having to explain how Katniss figures out the mines.
An interesting moment in the film is the fact that Katniss sings the same lullaby for Prim at the beginning of the movie, and sings the same song when Rue dies. This repetition the song emphasizes the similarities between Prim and Rue that Katniss sees without Katniss having to directly tell the audience.
In the book, Katniss gets her Mockingjay pin from the mayor’s daughter, Madge. The pin is an heirloom in Madge’s family and the fact that it is a gift shows that District 12 supports and roots for Katniss in the games. However, in the movie, Katniss gets the pin at the Hob when she randomly finds it in a bin. I think the way the book did it was better because it gave the mockingjay pin more emotional significance than just being a token that caught Katniss’ eye.
When Katniss shoots the apple out of the pig’s mouth in front of the Gamemaker, she is upset and worried in the books that this action will have serious consequences. She cries herself to sleep that night. However, in the movie, Effie is upset about Katniss’ actions and becomes distressed, while Katniss is calm and confident. These opposite reactions portray Katniss in totally different ways; movie Katniss is defiant and rebellious, but book Katniss considers her family’s safety and questions her actions.
Some of the events in the games are not fully elaborated on because they involve a lot of Katniss’ internal dialogue and days of her hiding and hunting. In the movie, Katniss finds the lake right away rather than taking days, because this speeds the film along and is more dramatic. In the suspenseful fight scene between Cato, Katniss, and Peeta in the Cornucopia, Cato does not suffer all night in torture, instead Katniss shows him mercy quicker. The movie also does not explain what the muttations significance is to the remaining tributes. Their human like eyes are not shown.
After Rue’s death, in the movie, Haymitch is shown talking to Seneca Crane in an attempt to get Peeta and Katniss sponsors. Seneca Crane then tries and fails to convince President Snow that everyone loves an underdog. Both scenes where the head gamemaker talks to the President are not part of the books, because the books are written from Katniss’ perspective.

Lastly, in the book, Peeta’s leg injury is mostly unhealed by the end of the Hunger Games. Katniss has to drag him up on the Cornucopia and uses an arrow as a tourniquet. When the hovercraft takes them, Katniss is hysterical over Peeta’s health. In the book, the hovercraft comes just in time to save Peeta’s life. In the movie, Peeta’s leg has healed and he is fully capable of walking and fighting.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

I chose to take this class because I read the Hunger Games series a few years ago and enjoyed it. I have more recently seen the movies as they have come out and noticed differences between the book and movies, a dilemma with any page to screen hit. For instance, I originally pictured Katniss as darker toned, younger, and thinner; more like a tough girl than Jennifer Lawrence's mature look. I chose this class because I am interested in hearing other people's theories and observations into the book, to see if any of them are similar to my own observations, and to learn new insights into the background of Panem and the characters in Collins' books.

My favorite character until recently was Haymitch, for his comic relief and darker, more realistic view of the games. Haymitch was a survivor and winner of the games, so he has talents that he chooses to stifle as he tries to drown out the harsh realities. He cares for Katniss and Peeta and provides them with very clever and unique ideas and perspective. I more recently also came to appreciate Cinna. Cinna is a smart man and takes calculated risks. His risks may not seem as extreme as some of the rebellions that happen, but without his vision for Katniss, the symbol of the mockingbird as hope and a new beginning would not have spread as it did. I also appreciate that he does not turn to violence to rebel and make a statement.

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