Sunday, March 29, 2015

Music in Appalachia and the Hunger Games

Music is a big part of the Hunger Games trilogy and in real life Appalachia. Although music is not common in District 12 because the people have no luxuries, Katniss knows a few songs that her father taught her when she was younger. After her father dies, Katniss does not sing anymore except for Prim's sake and when Rue dies. She first starts to think about music again after her father's death when she becomes aware how important music is in District 11. Katniss whistles a simple tune used in District 11 orchards and uses the mockingjays to replicate the tune in order to signal to Rue in the arena in the first Hunger Games. 
The song "Deep in the Meadow" is a lullaby Katniss used to sing to Prim, and she sings it again when Rue is dying to comfort Rue. This lullaby would have been common among District 12 children and the lyrics and melody would be warm and relaxing, showing that even though poverty and tragedy is rampant among District 12, they have ways of retaining their humanity and coping. 
"The Hanging Tree" is a song Katniss learned as a child, but she does not realize the meaning of the song until she is older. She sings it in the books/movies during a propo. The effect of this haunting song is that it unites the people of the districts against the Capitol because they can relate to viewing death/suicide as an alternative to the unfairness of living in Panem under the Capitol's rule.
The music in Appalachia is soulful and country sounding. Bluegrass and banjos are popular in Appalachia. Some of the ballads have similar subject matter to the ballads in the Hunger Games. For instance, the song about murderer John Brown being hanged is similar to the hanging tree, which is also about the death of a criminal and its effect on the town. 
A difference between Appalachian songs and District 12 songs would be the instruments. Appalachian ballads were often played on guitars or banjos, whereas the people of the Seam did not have the money for instruments and seemed to rely more on their voices. Both the music of the Hunger Games and the music of Appalachia had lyrics about their geography. Both peoples love their forests and mountains. The people of the Seam sing about valleys and forests, and the people of Appalachia sing about their mountains. 
Image sources:

Monday, March 9, 2015

Totalitarian Government Today and in the Hunger Games

It is possible for us to have totalitarian regimes in today's time due to several government strategies and economical, political, and social factors. We have had totalitarian regimes such as Stalin's regime, oppressive regimes in the Middle East (like Libya), and Hitler's regime. These real life examples can be related to President Snow's ruling in the Hunger Games, as well as President Coin's ruling.
Characteristics of totalitarian regimes include "antidemocratic actions," political and economical rule by the elite, monopolistic control of mass media, military forces and weapons, and policies of systematic violence and terror against those depicted as enemies. Terror tactics are used to oppress the rights of the common people who rebel. Propoganda is shown to the citizens of the regime, brainwashing many into being desensitized to their oppressive situation. Governments of totalitarian regimes try to "keep a close eye" on the people of their country/region. One way the U.S. has witnessed this governmental control is with the passing of the Patriot Act, the Terrorism Information and Prevention System, and the Total Informational Awareness Act.
The Hunger Games Companion says five key factors lead to rebellions in the Hunger Games, and often in real life. The first factor is that the majority of the population is extremely frustrated and unhappy with the government. In many real life situations, and in Panem, the government uses their power to keep the elite class in a better situation than the majority of the population. This wealth disparity is evident in the Capitol's wealth compared to the poverty of the districts. The unfair conditions are also present in the U.S. as indicated by our huge wealth disparity: 1-10% of people own 90% of the nation's wealth. However, America has a defined middle class that does well enough, but is not rich; Panem seems to be more deeply divided: the Capitol's luxury vs the districts struggling for food. These environmental conditions along with Snow's use of Peacekeepers and violence to maintain order, and the Hunger Games are characteristic of oppression in totalitarian regimes.
The second factor is that the majority of the population (regardless of social or economic class) agrees that the only solution to their issues is to overthrow the government. Another factor of rebellion is support for the rebellion by intellectuals and the upper class. In the Hunger Games, some of the Capitol citizens join the rebel cause. In order for rebellions to succeed, a crisis must prevent the regime from using oppressive force to tame the people. Major rebellions may also become a definite action if other countries do not intervene to help the oppressed population.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Reflection of other blog posts

  • I love the background and how it contrasts with the writing
  • great format for the pictures and lots of pictures and gifs
  • phrased very professionally (good writing skills)
  • good bibliographies for sources
  • gifs are relevant and add to the overall appearance and effect of the content
  • great eye catching titles
  • simple, clean layout looks very professional
  • the sources have links, which is convenient
  • lots of pictures and gifs, large enough to catch attention 
  • good use of bold print/sub sections within the Haymitch article. It is divided into different specific thoughts and makes it easy to read
  • great organization of ideas in blog posts (for instance, the Dr. Carpenter lecture post)
  • lots of pictures keep interest
  • clean, organized format/layout
  • pics are very large
  • I like the picture at the top of the blog (cover pic?)
  • interesting choice of pictures. good variety