Thursday, April 16, 2015

Nature of Evil

The definition of evil, what makes a person evil, and where evil comes from have been widely contested. Gresh characterizes evil people in chapter 7 as people that are not mentally insane and know what they are doing, and they enjoy what they are doing. Psychotic people do not know the difference between right and wrong and may have mental disorders; psychopaths, however, are lucid, functioning individuals in society that lack the ability to feel compassion or empathy for their victims. According to the reading, characteristics that describe psychopaths that also apply to President Snow include: egomaniac, no remorse, no sympathy for others, superficially charming and personable, sadistic, and manipulative.
Snow was evil because he killed hundreds of kids for the sake of his own cause, lacking empathy for the Districts.
Dr. Baron defines evil by psychological terms in his lecture. He compiles different ethical perspectives, and defines evil for each viewpoint as acting the opposite to the standards of that ideology. For instance, Deontology believes that one should act upon the morally right action according to duty and obligation, and should disregard consequences of the action. This ideology would want you to tell the truth in any situation, even if the truth would hurt someone, because it is your moral duty. In Deontology, it would be evil to be apathetic and not perform your duty. In utilitarianism, or performing the action that benefits the greatest amount of people, evil would be harming many lives in favor of a few, something that President Snow does with the Hunger Games. When combining the opposites of the ideologies of Utility (focus on the individual), Duty (apathy), Virtue(vice), and Care (harm toward others), Dr. Baron defines evil as "individual pleasure from causing harm to others-as a result of vice or extreme apathy towards others' humanity." Presidents Snow and Coin are evil because they knowingly sacrifice human lives for the benefit of themselves and their elite group. They lack empathy for others who do not agree with them, and make decisions to harm these people, thus they fit the definitions of evil.
Hitler was evil because he killed millions of people for his own cause, lacking empathy for their humanity.

*Sorry for the late posting of this blog, I thought I posted it Sunday, but I must not have saved it before I shut off my computer because I was on my blog today and it hadn't posted. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Gender Relations and Romance in the Hunger Games

Dr. Raley states that gender is something we “do” or perform through dress, behavior, and speech. Depictions of gender appear in the media. Katniss Everdeen is often evaluated by literary critics because Katniss defies typical gender norms. Katniss and Peeta’s relationship also contradicts the formula usually used in media of a male hero and dependent female in need of protection. Katniss displays more “masculine” than feminine characteristics. She is a protector/provider for her family. She is adept in hunting, faces danger, expresses anger rather than sadness, and she is strong, emotionally and athletically. She also has some feminine attributes like being conventionally attractive, and keeps to herself, but these are not as pronounced as her strong “male” qualities.
In many modern movies, a theme often portrayed is women abandoning their independence in favor of settling down, or a more traditional lifestyle. If the main character is male and the story includes romance, then the woman is the “prize.” Women in media are either hypersexualized or chaste, making their sexuality an essential aspect of the character. Katniss is chaste. She is uncomfortable around nudity, doesn’t struggle with sexual tension, and is inexperienced. However, romance and Katniss’ lack of sexuality does not add or detract from the story. Peeta furthers the reversal of gender roles by being the typical “movie girlfriend”: in need of saving and protecting.

Although Katniss’ “love triangle” with Peeta and Gale is an important part of the story, The Hunger Games isn’t classified as a romance. Even without Katniss’ feelings, the series would still be a dystopian fiction about revolution and the Hunger Games. The romance aspect of the story is added to appeal to young adult readers and make Katniss more relateable. 
image from