Thursday, May 8, 2014

All in all, what did this semester of looking at the works of Suzanne Collins bring?

The trilogy she has adeptly put together seem to be more than just books. They are windows to the world that we see today, only in a different light.

For example, we can see the advancement of technology going sour and ultimately leading to unjust uses, such as for surveillance and oppression. There is a clear boundary between an evil act and an evil person, and that could classify some characters in places which we would not normally expect them on the good to evil spectrum. Haymitch may fall over the stage in the masterpiece of a novel, yet the director may cut his glorious act from the media representation.

This view has also taught how some actions taken by the characters lead to the reactions by others and overall building of the plot. For example, Katniss' statement about Rue and her performance in the Games may mean something psychologically to their family, but it can also mean something political to Snow and his reign over the Districts.

Ultimately, as Haymitch would say, 'Cheers!' (or more realistically, 'realize the inevitable finish of your blog-writing... then take a drink.')

Saturday, April 26, 2014

"All that it takes for evil to flourish is for a good man to do nothing."

"Now, that homework assignment was just pure evil."

"This sandwich tastes like evil."

The term evil is tossed around lightly nowadays. People seem to have lost the meaning of it as time passed and more laws were put into place and enforced adequately.

However, there is no 'one definition' for the word evil. There are evil acts and there are evil people. As Dr. Joshua Baron discussed: "To perform an evil act is to perform an act that causes harm to others.To be an evil person is to perform these acts as a result of extreme apathy toward others’ humanity."

So, who can be classified as truly evil within the Hunger Games trilogy? The obvious answer is President Snow. He hates the humanity of his citizens, mainly because that would give them the power to rise up and overthrow the already fragile system he has in place. (Quote the movie: "They're holding hands. I want them dead.")

(And this guy is supposed to be the tiny master of evil)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Do I personally believe in an apocalypse, or an event of the sort occurring? Yes, yes I do.

Now why is that? I believe that our usage of resources at the rate at which we are will deplete the planet of its ability to sustain us, and thus fall into a state of barren wastelands. In turn, the human world will disintegrate as people fell into anarchy over supplies and goods... similarly to the scenario presented in the Hunger Games, albeit not as extreme.

This is known as a type of millenialism called environmentalism, where the problem would grow from either natural disasters or a disparity within our needs and the resources our surroundings.

As we continue our current usage of materials, especially when focusing on luxury and what we want rather than necessity and what we need, more people will need more resources with the population exploding. After that, prices will rise gradually, but to a great extent, and the amount of people who are able to buy goods and services will diminish greatly. There will be rising complaints in regards to the prices until people are out of the run in affording supplies like food and water until riots occur. Then, government will disintegrate and someone with military force will have to take the reins until... The Hunger Games takes place.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

In the movie Children of Men, the focus is on a former activist (Theo) as he escorts and protects a pregnant woman (Kee) across the U.S, a country at this time barren and deep into chaos as infertility has dimished the human population for 18 years. The U.K seems to be the only functioning nation where most go to escape the violence, thus this was their goal. While they do reach the base, the fighting comes to them as they prepare for embarking the Tomorrow, and Theo is shot. Finally, Kee gives birth to a baby girl, who she names Dylan. This shows light and hope amidst a storm of chaos and war.

So what might seem similar here to the Hunger Games? Dylan seems to be the Mockingjay here, where she is the symbol of hope and retribution, even moreso, the symbol of the rebirth of what seems to be the remnants of planet Earth. While Dylan is only born once, Katniss goes through numerous 'rebirths' to become the symbol of the rebellion that she became by the end of book 3. The fact that both characters exist creates beacons of hope in their respective stories, where Dylan signifies the end of Human sterility in the otherwise barren world Earth became, and Katniss signifies the end of Human oppression in the ravaged, post-apocalyptic world that Panem became.

There are quite a few themes throughout literature that have stood against the tests of time. One could be the the animal familiar, who through all events would faithfully follow the main character until the end of time or its untimely demise (whichever comes first). Another could be the theme of wearing the enemy's skin, to delve into their world and attempt to analyze why they do what they do, possibly to be a set-up for playing the devil's advocate.

Suzanne Collins includes quite a few of these within the Hunger Games series, starting with the shapeshifter. One really never knows which side he or she will be on, so how can one rely on their status? Plutarch Heavensbee fits this description, because he is working under the control of President Snow as the Head Gamemaker for the Hunger Games... however, it seems that what he tells President Snow could both kill and help Katniss at the same time... which one would he be? (of course, we find that he is on the side of the Rebels).

There also two wildly different worlds, involving a clash between the two. This seems awfully fitting for the world of the Capitol (panem et circensis, or bread and circuses) and the Districts (frigida re vera, or cold reality). The whole conflict of the series seems to grow from the differences between the two worlds, as well as the class struggle caused by them.

Lastly, we have a dark night of the soul, where a decisive moment occurs that shapes the character's life thereafter. For Katniss, it is in Mockingjay, where she makes the decision to kill President Coin first, rather than President Snow. This was after realizing the animosity that she had shown her own rebels, as well as the strict dictator-y way of handling power and authority (seriously, she needs to loosen her corset and take a drink). She decides to stop what would seem to be a repeat of the tyranny that Panem faced under Snow's reign.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

What truly makes a leader? Is there a specific formula? Is it easy or hard?

Luckily, Dr. Casey, President of McDaniel College, was able to help us answer those questions.

One of the main traits of a successful leader involves the ability to take a fall and recover. Not only recover, but also to learn from their mistakes. If we take a look at a few leader-figures within the Hunger Games trilogy (namely, Snow, Katniss, and Coin), we can clearly see that Snow and Coin, the dictatorial figures, have a tendency to fear failure, as it would potentially result in the relinquishing of their power. The successful leader, Katniss, seems to make mistakes and pay for them dearly; however, while she does seem to fall to a low every time, she can pick herself back up and keep rising to the occasion.

Another important trait would involve a large amount of stamina, which means the ability to go about daily life whilst assuming your role of authority any time you would be required to. As Haymitch said, "you NEVER get off this train" to Katniss as she realized what her role as victor truly meant. A proper leader in this sense would be able to keep up with that, as in even in a grocery store if someone were to approach you with some sort of question in regards to the condition of the state (college, nation, etc.), you would be able to answer it. Katniss would be able to speak for the people as needed, especially during the propos, even when people within the hospital got blown up, which indeed struck Katniss both mentally and emotionally.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Hunger Games is not a world all it's own. It has concepts from other tales, ideas seen within modern day antics, and above all, a lesson to tell that has been repeated many times for our own common good.

In considering one prominent event that may mark these years for many decades to come, what does the Arab Spring have to do with the Hunger Games? In his talk, Dr. Shibley Telhami made some interesting points that could link the two very well.

One key ingredient in the recipe of revolution, as Dr. Telhami mentioned, is a strict government control of the flow of information. Beforehand most people within the areas effected by the Arab Spring would have mentioned that their leading source of news was government-regulated television networks and programs, which clearly do not show the people the truth of their oppression. What about the people of Panem? All they see are the countless videos of propaganda, with the so-called 'ruins' of district thirteen and the victory of the Capitol, as well as the brutality of the Hunger Games, all behind the thin, opaque veil of the contest for glory, honour, and prizes. After the Spring, most people would mention that their news came from elsewhere, as in international sources. Panem's citizens had no other nation to go to; however, it is assumed that most of the government-mandated television would be ignored or seen through.

Dignity is also the word with these two scenarios. The people of Panem want to be viewed as competant citizens who work and uphold normal lives every day, to even secure glory for themselves and be recognized within the country. This is not much different from the revolting people of the Middle East. They did not want to be seen as yet another component of their dictatorships' regimes. Instead of 'sucking up' to the Western powers, they wanted to stand on their own, much to the economic demise of nations such as ours. In this case, both the people of Panem and the people of the Spring, want karam, or dignity.

"You are what you have to defend."
-Dr. Shibley Telhami