April 4, 2012

The odds are not in our favor

I am a grown woman who read the entire Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I loved it and could not wait to see the film adaptation of the first book. The film did not disappoint, but the parents in the theater did.

In case you live under a rock, the first book is set in a futuristic United States controlled by the greedy, wealthy 1% that live in the Capitol. The rest of the country is broken into districts based on what they can produce for the Capitol. Every year, in remembrance of the districts' previous uprising, two children from each district are offered up as tributes. Tributes go on to the Capitol to compete in a reality show called The Hunger Games, where they kill each other for sport and the entertainment of the Capitol.


As a writer and reader, the social commentary of The Hunger Games is impressive. It reminds me of Junior year English class when I read Lord of the Flies for the first time. The idea about what happens to a society when its authority and self government are stripped away fascinated me then, just as the themes of The Hunger Games fascinate me now.

What FRIGHTENS the crap out of me, though is how unaware so many parents seem to the fact they are essentially playing into the Capitol's construction. When I saw The Hunger Games in the theater, I counted at least 20 children under the age of 10.

WOW! I bet most kids under the age of 14 reading The Hunger Games don't grasp the larger themes, like how the desensitization of society towards violence leads to more violence. The glamorization of the movie stars in the film and the love triangle underneath the story make kids think The Hunger Games are "cool."

Taking an 8 year old to see The Hunger Games is desensitizing him to violence before he has the ability to understand the broader concepts. I wonder if these parents read the book before taking their kids to the movie? And if they did read the book, and their children read the book, I wonder if they discussed it with them. Do parents even talk about the larger themes of books anymore?

Kids are playing The Hunger Games in their backyards. Unless they are rebelling against the Capitol and its ideologies, which they wouldn't have read about until book three, that's pretty sick. Are they PLAYING THE HUNGER GAMES? As in "I'm Katniss and you're Cato and I kill you?" Yeesh- You might as well start entering your kid for the reaping now, because we're not that far off from watching people kill each other for sport. Don't believe me? Just flip on Jersey Shore or The Bachelor or some other awful example of "reality."

It's not hard to imagine our road to the Capitol. The Hunger Games is not good fun like Harry Potter or Twilight. I think the foresight Collins has is genius and challenges parents to WAKE UP!! At this rate, the odds are not in our favor.


Paul said...

Paul and I saw a couple with their 5 or 6 year old when we saw "I am Legend"... Talk about completely inappropriate. We see it all the time here. Truly a breakdown in parenting. I know it can be hard to say "no" sometimes - especially when the film is popular, but you're right. Parent's need to A) know what's age appropriate for their children, and B) talk to them about it. I was 11 when Jurassic Park premiered. It was HUGE. All over TV/lunchboxes/t-shirts. All my friends had seen it, and I wanted to desperately. I begged and begged for weeks. It wasn't until it was about to leave the theater that my parents finally decided to take me... But not before talking to me about it. They explained the themes, the violence, the death. It still scared the crap out of me - but then again it scared the crap out of my mother as well :)

Kathy said...

I'm glad you posted this. I have not read the Hunger Games simply because the premise disturbs me. I think there are enough disturbing things happening to children both by adult hands as well as their peers' hands. I don't really want to read about children dying violently as "entertainment." I borrowed it for free on my Kindle, but haven't taken the plunge. Not sure if I will.

Anonymous said...

Dead on.Wasn't until High school that idea introduced to me that Wizard of Oz was also based on sociology-economics during time it was written. Or let's go there with Star Wars series- Judeo-Christian values? Haven't touched a book in so long that I am probably part of the mindless majority of moms-guilty! But after one yr of Kindergarten I am tempted to take my little ones to see Bully. What do ya think about that one? Peace and thanks.

MommaSachs said...

I have yet to read the book or see the movie but it is on my to do list for sure. I know several other moms who are feeling the same way as you.

I also felt the same way seeing 5 and 6 years olds in the theater during Breaking Dawn.... Ugh!