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:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojfRVK4BRN4
 http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/the-hunger-games/images/33101088/title/district-12-photo

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