Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Hunger Games

I find it surprising where I often find what might be considered tactical/self-protection information.  Take the books I’m reading.

I’m reading the trilogy by Suzanne Collins called The Hunger Games.  Set in the future this dystopia is the result of a botched revolution.  North America is now a dictatorship and the people are cruelly punished for their past deeds.  Every year children, chosen by lottery, fight to the death in televised gladiator-style games.  The population is forced to watch the games as a reminder of the central government’s power.  These children kill each other until one is left and then the survivor is forced to assist in the training of future chosen tributes.

I should mention this is a young adult novel, which means there isn’t blatant sex, sexual violence or excess gore.  The violence is all in your mind as the heroine, 16 year old Katniss, describes the poverty and iron heel the government uses to grind the people down.   I found it deeply disturbing.

The author and other reviewers find relationships to Greek mythology, reality TV, religion and God-only-knows what else.  Try Wikipedia if you want to read more.

Me?  I find the story a fast read and completely frightening and repulsive.  But I can no more put the books down than I can breathe water.  To me it’s a story about a government out of control, whose citizens have no legal way of changing it.  The government purposely impoverishes the people to keep them sickly and on the edge of starvation to make them docile.  It is a precautionary tale for our time.

The only weapons Katniss has to kill food for her family are a bow with arrows and snares, both of which are outlawed.  Impoverished, weaponless, and uneducated, the citizens are virtual slaves to the government who kills anyone for the slightest sign of resistance.  They can’t read your mind but they’ll kill you if your body language is wrong!

Depending on your child, you should see the movie or read the books with them and then sit down and talk to them about what can happen when limits are removed.  In Katniss’s world, what keeps the government in check?  The answer is nothing.  What keeps our government in check?  Independent people with the will and ability to resist.

Is my analysis too "out there" in goofball land?

I don’t think so.  I remember the besieged presidency of Richard Nixon.  I was and remained convinced he was on the verge of calling out the National Guard to protect the population and dismiss Congress and the Supreme Court for their protection from “outside agitators.”  I had visions of being in a grubby slit trench trying to shoot President-for-Life Nixon’s troopers.  It is quite possibly that only private ownership of guns put backbone in the people who convinced Nixon to resign.

I wish the above story was “out there.”

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