Love and The Hunger Games

Love, Love, Love.
Love, Love, Love.
Love, Love, Love.

This song by The Beatles popped into my head as it was percolating.  It just seemed to fit so well with a tale I had finished reading the day before.  A wonderful song to fit a wonderful book.

Because Love is what wins The Hunger Games.

There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done.
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung.
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game.
It’s easy.

This very complex story is, at it’s essence, about how a young couple’s Love fatally damaged a dictatorship.  Everything else is simply extra.

But first, the foundation for this tale, where True Love wins over Insurmountable Evil.

Nothing you can make that can’t be made.
No one you can save that can’t be saved.
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time.
It’s easy.

In the beginning, several great disasters have caused the reformation of what was once North American society into a brutal dictatorship.  In order to keep the population in line, every year teens from across the 12 districts are chosen by a lottery to compete in The Hunger Games.  To the death.  On live television.  With betting ongoing.  And sponsorships attained.  This sick practice is institutionalized and coveted by the wealthy, despised and dreaded by the poor.  Class warfare at its most extreme.

Into this world is born Katniss Everdeen.  She is the narrator of her woe filled life.  Living in a coal mining district, destitute, her father passed away years before, her mother despondent, her younger sister to care for, and the spectre of The Hunger Games following them.  Her survival is attained through illegal hunting trips into the forest and by trading food for more lottery tickets to the Games.  The first year her sister is eligible, she “wins”, prompting Kat to volunteer to take her place.  She and the boy “winner” (Peeta) from their district are feted, interviewed, made over, and trained over the next several days.  And even fall in Love?

All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.

All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.

The players are then thrust into the Games and casualties are immediate and mounting.  The Gamesmasters, to make it more entertaining, force natural disasters onto the participants.  Some deaths are seen, some are not.  Some are peaceful, some are horrific.  Some Kat causes, some she does not.  Children dying for the entertainment of the masses and the sick pleasure of the government.  And then the twist.  A surprise to make the Games more interesting, but completely backfires onto the government.  An ending that is actually the beginning.

Catching Fire and Mockingjay are the other two books in this series (neither of which I have read, a situation I hope to rectify soon).  These continue the spark of rebellion to full on revolution that Kat’s simple act of love and defiance caused.

Many thoughts crashed through my mind while I was reading this epic journey.  At first I was struck by the parallels with The Diary of Anne Frank.  Many might find that comparison sacrilegious, but  feel it is apt.  The story is about the feelings of a 15 year old girl just trying to survive inside a corrupt system, a love for her father, a hatred for her mother, and winning the hand of a boy she is trapped with.  Instead of a pen and paper, Kat uses a bow and arrow.  Kat and Anne share a high intelligence and ingenuity, which help both out immensely.   Kat uses these gifts to survive and is a fictional character.  Anne Frank unfortunately did not survive World War II and was quite real.  If you have not read The Diary of Anne Frank yet, please do.  You will be a better person for it.

Nothing you can know that isn’t known.
Nothing you can see that isn’t shown.
Nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be.
It’s easy.

I was also struck by Kat’s first act of intolerance towards the Games and the dictatorship.  When another participant, whom Kat has grown close to, dies, she gathers flowers to put around the body.  The simple beauty of this gesture, to bring grace to the senseless, is done to honour the deceased.  The disobedience of the act, to protest the brutality, is to accomplish a statement.  Kat knows what she is doing and does not care.  She feels and she wants them to feel too.

Imagery flashed through my memory, leading me to realize what they scene reminded me of.  In the 1960’s during an anti-war protest several hippies put flowers into the gun barrels of National Guard soldiers.  Meeting weapons with flowers became very symbolic of the peace movement.  This was not the single act that stopped the war, but one of several.  Kat’s flowers has the same affect.

All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.

This idea is put forward to make you realize the turning point Kat had passed.  The love of life, the love of a peaceful existence so far out of reach, and the love of Peeta, keep her going through all the adversity.  But the flowers are the human spirit within her refusing to lie down and die.  Kat goes from survival mode to winning mode.  With Peeta helping, she plays the most outstanding Hunger Games ever.  She wants to be with him.  And no challenge, trick, or deception the Gamemasters throw at her will stop her.  She is now the main propeller of the Game and they know it.

All you need is love (All together, now!)
All you need is love. (Everybody!)
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need (love is all you need)
(love is all you need) (love is all you need)
(love is all you need) Yesterday (love is all you need)
(love is all you need) (love is all you need)

This idea and others are visualized with the use of language throughout by writer Suzanne Collins.  Much is conveyed in a single sentence.  In many ways her style and sense of story remind me Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.  A scene or tone is set with an efficient economy that move you along.  And the page turning chapter cliffhangers feel like Twillight Zone twist endings.  Someone has done their suspense homework.

Yee-hai!
Oh yeah!
love is all you need, love is all you need,love is all you need, love is all you need, oh yeah oh hell yea! love is all you need love is all you need love is all you need.

This works wonderfully with the Love story main thrust.  The tension is relieved by the feelings Kat and Peeta have.  The story of the goat towards the finale bring the couple closer then ever before and is told in a very straightforward manner.  We believe in them because the writer does.  No tricks, no fancy wordplay, just Collins showing us a Love blooming.

And it blooms.  Kat and Peeta move us.  We feel for them and so does the citizens watching The Hunger Games.  Their Love is enough to start the downfall of a dictatorship.  That primal force topples another primal force.

Because All You Need Is Love.

Scoopriches

Follow the continuing journey of Katniss in Catching Fire, then read my review here.

Finish the tale of Katniss in Mockingjay, then read my review of the finale here.

P.S.  The Hunger Games is written by Suzanne Collins.  It was published by Scholastic Inc and is copyright 2008.  The cover is copyright Scholastic Inc.  It is 374 pages in Trade Paperback.  The movie is due to be released March 23, 2012.

P.P.S.  “All You Need Is Love” is performed by The Beatles.  It is copyright 2011 by Apple Music.  It was released as a single in July 1967.

P.P.P.S  The picture of the Hippie Girl with the Flower and the Guns is by photographer Marc Riboud.  It was taken on October 21, 1967, at a Vietnam War protest at the Pentagon.    The girl in the picture is named Jan Rose Kasmir.  Copyright 2011 to Marc Riboud.

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About scoopsmentalpropaganda

Married to beautiful wife. Always learning a ton of stuff. Geek with too much useless knowledge. fb page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Scoops-Mental-Propaganda/192314550819647 twitter & twitpic: Scoopriches AboutMe Page: http://about.me/paulriches This site is an @Scoopriches production
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3 Responses to Love and The Hunger Games

  1. I was also struck by how little Collins can say, but to such a great effect. Very stark and yet one of the most moving series I’ve ever read. I just did a full re-read for the first time, and i’m pretty sure Mockingjay broke me again.

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