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May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor

Last night was the midnight premiere for The Hunger Games movie, which I was not able to attend (insert frowny face here).  But it was also the night for #figlitchat hosted by Figment and the topic was oh so appropriately The Hunger Games books.  Fans of the series joined together to discuss the works and world of Suzanne Collins and it was interesting to hear what people had to say.  It goes without saying, if you haven’t read the books I wouldn’t read on if I was you.

The Love Triangle

The topic of love triangles comes up a lot these days in teen fiction because they are omnipresent.  As many chat participants pointed out, the love triangle did in fact exist before Twilight.  Not everything is about Twilight people.  For me, the love triangle basically worked in THG.  Gale was a childhood friend who genuinely knew and had spent a lot of time with Katniss before the games.  And after the games, Peeta is now the only person who really understands Katniss, what she has been through and what it has done to her.  As far as triangles go, this one makes sense.  Katniss has a before and an after and you would want to be able to come back to the life you led in the before, but you can’t because the games change you; war changes you.

Katniss

The moderators asked if Katniss was a likable character, and most people said no.  I had never really thought about whether or not she was likable but as someone in the chat pointed out, once she steps in and volunteers to save her sister she has a nobility that is hard not to root for.  Plus, in a story about Katniss versus the Capitol readers are going to choose Katniss.  I feel that the question of likability is a moot point; these are a group of people who are barely surviving, they are not concerned with friendship and character – they are concerned with not dying, trying to find enough food to get through the day.  Most people felt that Katniss was flawed and realistic and that THIS is what made her a great character.

World Building

Without a doubt, one of the areas where Collins succeeds is in the building of the life in Panem and the Capitol.  Life in the districts, the contrast between the districts and the Capitol – these all become a character of its own in the novels.

Plot

Since Figment is an online writing community, the question was raised as to whether or not Collins did a good job of creating a tight, sustainable plot throughout the three books in the series and the answer was almost unanimously no.  Most people felt like the story unravelled over the course of the three books and for reasons that I have never understood, most people continue to loathe Mockingjay.  I, however, did not and felt that Katniss’s time in a drugged stupor was a reasonable response to being a teen and having killed others and faced death not once but twice.  I think it is important to remember that Katniss is in fact a reluctant hero; she didn’t sign up for a revolution, she was simply trying to save her sister.  At points, in fact, you could even say Katniss is being used and manipulated by those trying to overthrow the Capitol.

What Makes The Hunger Games YA?

Now this was an excellent question and the most excellent response was this: the characters are disenfranchised and feel a complete lack of control over their lives.  This is also, I think, what makes The Hunger Games such a powerful novel for our times.  In today’s world we live in a constant fear that the economy if failing, more wars are coming (because 3 in the last 10 years isn’t enough), the terrorists are coming, and we continue to lose civil liberties left and right in the name of safety.  Never before in my lifetime has there ever been such an assault on women and their bodily integrity.  And the media is used by those in positions of power to control the populace by controlling access to information.  Now more than ever we need to be a people who stands up and says that we are all a part of this nation in this together and that we will not be controlled.  And I think it is important that in The Hunger Games, it is a woman who eventually does it.  Girls need strong role models (as do men).  There are enough Bella’s in our world, we need more woman to be like Katniss who will ultimately decide to take a stand for what is right and true in this world.  That is our only hope for the future.

Share your thoughts about the #figlitchat in the comments.

For more information, check out the following:
The Hunger Games and Revolution at Galley Cat
Be Your Own Katniss
Occupy the Capitol: Engaging Teens in Politics

Figment is an online community for teens and young adults that focuses on writing.  Here you can share your work and have it critiqued by others.  Figment also provides daily writing prompts.  You will want to visit and be involved because it is a very cool community. There is a #figlitchat on a new topic each Thursday evening at 9/8 Central.  It is a fun and informative chat to be involved in.  They will have a more complete recap of the chat on their website soon so check it out.

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