A Young Hunger Advocate’s Take on The Hunger Games
When my best friend finally finished her copy of The Hunger Games -- the first in a trilogy of young adult novels by Suzanne Collins -- I jumped up and down for joy. I finally had the book in my possession. I locked myself in my room and stayed in bed all day until I had finished the last page and sat back with equal amounts of breathless wonder and immense annoyance at the cliffhanger leading into book two. A book has not captured my attention so completely since high school, and I am excited to see the film version of The Hunger Games, which comes out March 23.
Adults may shrug at The Hunger Games and dismiss it as just another young adult fad, much like the Twilight series, but I believe there is value in The Hunger Games beyond mere entertainment. This book addresses deep social issues such as hunger, poverty, government oppression, violence in entertainment, and more.
The setting is a future America that has endured a failed civil war, leading to the emergence of the Capitol -- the controlling entity of 12 districts the citizens live in. Katniss, the main character, lives in District 12 – one of the poorest districts in America.
Katniss knows what it is like to go hungry, and she is often the sole provider for her mother and younger sister. (Her father died in a coal mining accident.) She is able to occasionally hunt for food, illegally, but other times, her family must go without. Katniss's primary goal in life is to provide food for her hungry family.
The people of District 12 live in constant fear – fear of hunger, the strict rules of the Capitol, and most of all being picked to participate in "the hunger games," in which one child from each of the 12 districts fight to the death in an intricate arena with rigged challenges until there is only one survivor standing.
The book is indeed violent, but at its core is a message of survival, love of family, and the fight against injustice. I applaud any book that causes youth to confront these serious issues, and hopefully it will spur them, and myself, to fight injustices in our world.
We have a responsibility to fight hunger. As we step out next weekend to watch "The Hunger Games" in theaters, let’s remember to put all of the passion we feel into making a difference in this world we live in.
There are many ways you can get involved here at Bread for the World to advocate against hunger. Learn more about how you can make a difference, and, as they say in The Hunger Games, “may the odds be ever in your favor.”
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