Hungry for a Story: the Hunger Games

The release of the first movie in the Hunger Games trilogy made a huge splash on the big screens. After its first weekend, Hunger Games had the third best opening of all time only behind Harry Potter: the Deathly Hallows Part II and The Dark Knight.

The film adaptation stars twenty-year old Jennifer Lawrence, an Oscar nominee.

The three part book series, written by Suzanne Collins, is a story of a girl, Katniss Everdeen, as she volunteers to take her sister’s place in a life and death reality show in a futuristic world. Although it has been compared to Twilight, the Hunger Games tells more than just the story of a love struck girl dealing with a plethora of teenage emotions. In fact, multiple ways of analyzing the film have come to fruition.

First, Katniss’s story is a parallel of the Book of Esther from the Christian Old Testament. The Bible story tells of a young girl from an oppressed minority as she is summoned to the capital. Does it sound familiar yet? In continues to show the girl competing against her peers, winning, and then simply refusing to just return to her old life and living happily ever after. Instead, she stands up for her people as revolutions begin.

Another comparison has been made to the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. Here, seven Athenian boys and seven Athenian girls were sent as sacrifices to a bull-headed monster. Other parallels come from the gladiatorial games of Roman times, television coverage of the Iraq War, and mainstream TV shows like ‘Survivor’.

A more modern comparison comes between The Hunger Games and the Occupy Movement. The plot, at its very center meaning, is a denouncement of capitalism. It is the idea that the Capitol and America’s top 1% is not doing a proper job at ruling and that this soon may lead to disastrous results.

As far as the arguments that the Hunger Games is just another Twilight, I am going to have to respectfully disagree. Katniss could kick Bella Swan’s behind over and over again. Katniss fought for others and won while Bella fought for her herself and ended up pregnant, married, and a vampire. Cole Abaius correctly noted that Bella’s “victory is only worth celebrating if you’re convinced that the culmination of an abusive and immature relationship is worth celebrating.”

The fact that so many different theories have come from these books shows the success of attracting many different kinds of audiences. However, regardless of the meaning, one thing is clear. As industry analyst Paul Degerabedian states: the film’s success marks “the birth of a franchise”.

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