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The Hunger Games

Heather is a Primary Teacher from Canada who is currently working in London through Protocol Education. Heather discusses what we can learn from reading The Hunger Games and how it can relate to the lives of the children we teach.

If you haven’t heard of the Hunger Games, you must be living under a rock it would seem, as among the top 10 grossing films for 2013 was ‘Catching Fire’ which was released in late November.

Although a sequel to the original – you can still expect another; and it won’t be a result of the insisting movie goers, the greedy Hollywood producers, or the epically suspended ending. This movie franchise is based on the trilogy written by Suzanne Collins for the ‘young readers’ who have adopted it worldwide.

A passion of mine as an undergrad was in children’s literature, so of course upon reading the books myself (before the movies mind you), I had to ask myself the questions pertaining to why the book was so appealing to that particular age group of kids – our students. One thing we must keep in mind as we evaluate this book’s appeal factor is the age in which we live. A very similar book in Japan titled ‘Battle Royale’ by Koushun Takami was released in the 90’s but had barely made a whisper on social media or in our psyches until the phenomenon of ‘The Hunger Games’ took us by the throat. Maybe it was the marketing, but let’s get right down to the core issues that are examined in Collins book that affect our students.

In a world that is ever changing, and with such a diverse culture (compared to Japan), there is a larger growing gap between those who have money, and those without. This seems to draw parallels with the characters’ own frustrations, as we see each of Panem’s Districts sparsely supplied with as much as the Capitol lavishly flaunts. Think of all those APPLE gadgets that students are exposed to on their daily commute, and how much they’ve found themselves submerged in our own lives. Most of my current students have owned apple products before I got my first last year – and still I feel the need to justify why it’s okay that I have the latest model.

Furthermore, think of the geographical issues that will have to be dealt with worldwide as this generation grows. Look at South Africa and its vast range of poor and wealthy habitants. In the Hunger Games, the ‘tributes’ chosen for the games are more likely to win based on financial support and opportunity (such as the Districts 1 and 2, where children are trained to ‘kill’). These advantages prepare students (tributes in the book) for success in their life ahead, while those without, have less opportunity and have increased risks to facing failure (death).

As each tribute is prepared to enter the so called ‘stadium’ – a place of entertainment, each is put through an aesthetically enhancing process which makes them seem more visually appealing. Looks are something all adolescents must confront at some point in their lives, and as a result of the media we seem to be innovated with false understandings of what true beauty and the realistic expectation of our body should be. Furthermore, our suffering seems to be necessary in such a competitive world where for one to succeed, another must falter. Does any of this sound familiar in grades for high schools and post graduate academia?

While there are many motives behind Collins’ works, we come to realize that the very students we work with everyday, encounter the similar realities that, although extreme, are faced in a similar way by the heroin Katniss who leads us through this series.

We would like to hear your responses to this blog. Email Megan at mparsons@protocol-education or share with us on TwitterFacebook or Google+.

Read other blogs written by Heather:

Tags: Heather, Canadian-Trained, Protocol-Education, children, reading, literature, idea,

Category: Australian Teachers

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