Hunger Games: The Ultimate Reality TV?

Enjoy this guest post about the Hunger Games. I admit that I didn’t think I’d like the book, but I got into it. I have yet to see the movie, but from what I’ve heard, it’s pretty good.

Books and movies about a world after the collapse of civilization (Dune, Farenheit 451, Soylent Green) hold a consistent nihilist appeal, but Hunger Games adds a new modern twist to the theme: citizens in this post apocalyptic world are forced to fight to the death on what must surely be the ultimate reality T.V. show.

After an unsuccessful revolution to oust the leaders in the “Capitol” (modern reality once again?) who have brought the nation to the edge of ruin, the citizens of the rest of the United State haves been defeated and subjugated. The country is divided into 12 districts, and each district must send two young contenders to fight in what is known as the “Hunger Games”, where their fellow citizens are entertained by watching these contestants fight to the death. Sixteen year old Katniss, after her younger sister is chosen as a contestant in a lottery, volunteers to take her place. Katniss is from a tough, poor mining region of Panem, as the new United States is now known.

Katniss is determined to survive, and yet, despite her coldness and nerves of steel, her vulnerability makes her extremely likable. Her teammate, Peeta, refuses to lose his humanity despite the inhuman conditions, but Katniss recognizes that in order to survive, she has to disconnect from her normal human emotions and become a survival machine. In an interesting comment on the superficiality of the games, and most especially of the audience that watches them, Katniss has to be made over to be more photogenic for her T.V. appearances, despite the fact that her death is the ultimate goal. She rises above her emotions towards the game organizers by removing their humanity in turn, looking upon them as odd little pets. There is no way to prepare for these games, since the methods, locations and circumstances change with each contest. And the contestants must not only win the games (survive) but also the approval of the audience. In an age-old theme, Katniss and Peeta are the underdogs, fighting against opponents who are stronger and better trained than they are.

The book and the movie are gripping and tense, with characters who will appeal to audiences who now understand the dynamics of reality shows: surviving and remaining strong while accepted and popular by the group. Except on this island, they get more than voted out.

Since this is the first of a series, it is inevitably a cliff-hanger, with all of the unresolved issues hopefully to be addressed in the sequels.

If you are fascinated by post-apocalyptic worlds and stories then you might want to consider hiring someone to help you write about one.  You should use the best background check available as well as ask your partner to sign a non-discloser and copyright agreement before you hire them.