~ Let the games begin ~
Katniss Everdeen is a badass. And so is Suzanne Collins, the author of The Hunger Games, in which our heroine is a 16 year old fiercely protective big sister, futuristic female Theseus, and a strong young woman with a mad skill for archery. The books are all the rage with everyone from my 12 year old daughter to the intellectual critics for the New York Times. And, having just started reading it myself…I can see why. The story is wildly entertaining and very well-written. The Hunger Games seems to go a step beyond the popular wizards and vampires stalking the bestsellers these days. And I’m pretty sure it’s because it’s subject matter is so timely, so vital…and though it is seen as a complete extrapolation into a Orwell/Bradburyesque dystopian world…it’s main theme of hunger is as real as this very present day of March 23rd, 2012. And that makes me immediately love this book and it’s female author. For the very essence of the book for me is the struggle of man vs. nature…order vs. chaos…or the age old Joseph Campbellian way of seeing it feminine vs. masculine. In this case Katniss is a modern day Diana the huntress, strong and untamed, protector of the woods. She’s mother nature with a bow and arrow, and she’s ready to fight for her survival and for the protection of what she loves.
I also am a big fan of Suzanne Collins, because she was a theatre major, and actually started her career writing plays for adults. She gravitated towards children’s stories and wrote the popular series Underland Chronicles. Eventually she wrote the phenomenally popular young adult series starting with The Hunger Games. But, you can see from her background, she is a great dramatic storyteller, and the book definitely follows a very theatrical structure, almost as if it were a 3 act play. Which of course, being a theatah person…I totally dig.
But, what I love most about this book and it’s author is that she is bringing to light some very heavy issues that should be sensitively brought to the attention of every young adult. Not only the issue of world wide hunger, but also the harsh realities of war. When asked what inspired her to write this book, she says it was the result of the juxtaposition of watching a reality t.v. show and the Iraq war coverage at the same time. Collins says:
“I was channel surfing between reality TV programming and actual war coverage when Katniss’s story came to me. One night I’m sitting there flipping around and on one channel there’s a group of young people competing for, I don’t know, money maybe? And on the next, there’s a group of young people fighting an actual war. And I was tired, and the lines began to blur in this very unsettling way, and I thought of this story. “
“It’s crucial that young readers are considering scenarios about humanity’s future, because the challenges are about to land in their laps. I hope they question how elements of the books might be relevant to their own lives. About global warming, about our mistreatment of the environment, but also questions like: How do you feel about the fact that some people take their next meal for granted when so many other people are starving in the world?”
Ms. Collins and Lionsgate, the producers of the movie, knew that the title of the fantasy film aimed at teens and young adults would bring to mind the problem of hunger in the real world. In a groundbreaking, socially conscientious marketing move, the film has made an official partnership with The World Food Program (WFP) and, in the U.S. the charity Feeding America. A special website, www.wfp.org/hungergames features a brief video with “The Hunger Games” stars urging the film’s fans to fight hunger. The site also features a “hunger quiz” and ways to click and donate online. They seek to bring attention to the fact that hunger affects 1 in 7 people…nearly 1 billion people worldwide. And in the U.S. alone, 1 in 6 Americans, nearly 49 million people face hunger. These are astonishing statistics. But, the organizations are not all doom and gloom. They leave us with the fact that, unlike in the world of Panem in The Hunger Games...there is indeed enough food for all of us here on this earth.
“This partnership will help us spread the word that hunger is the world’s greatest solvable problem,” says Nancy Roman, WFP’s director of communications. “We want to tap into that excitement…. We are deeply grateful for the support of Suzanne Collins [the author of 'The Hunger Games' books,] who writes as though she understands hunger in the world, as well as Lionsgate and ‘The Hunger Games’ cast – who have the power to change lives as they feed people worldwide.”
But fans are also spreading the word themselves.Imagine Better, an effort that originated with fans at the Harry Potter Alliance, has begun a “Hunger Is Not a Game” campaign, calling on fans to donate to Oxfam America’s Grow project, which emphasizes helping people around the world grow more of their own food, rather than relying on imported food aid. Also on local levels communities are organizing their own food drives at showing of the film in places all over the United States. Jennifer Lawrence, the film’s heroine is also lending her voice to a local charity in her hometown in Kentucky. Bellewood A nonprofit agency that cares for abused and homeless youth and families. You can see her message here:
So, read the books…go see the movie and follow Katness Everdeen’s example of compassion, protection, and provision for those in greater need. Because if hunger is a game, together we can kick it’s a**. And may the odds be ever in our favor.
Thank you, Suzanne Collins for your empowering, entertaining book.
Keep up the heART work!
The Hunger Games Movie, World Food Programme and Feeding America want you to join them in the fight against hunger.No matter where you live, hunger isn’t as far away as you think…often it is right around the corner. By teaming up we can build a better future for hungry children and families all over the world. Are you in? Watch the video of the Hunger Games cast:
~ the cast of the Hunger Games joins the fight against hunger ~ (article written by Christine Armand, images courtesy of Lionsgate’s film The Hunger Games)