Hunger Games: More than just entertainment

BY ELIZABETH WONG

In her open discussion about “The Hunger Games” on April 13, Barbara Nicolosi, founder of Act One and guest speaker at Franciscan University, explained that the books follow classical storytelling methods, and expressed a curiosity to why today’s generation is attracted to this young adult trilogy by Suzanne Collins.

“I’m interested in why this story has worked with this generation and how we can see it as a seed of evangelization,” she said.

After scrutinizing it carefully, she said that she believed the stories follow the basic principles of classical storytelling. This includes high stakes, a relatable character, multi-dimensional and supplemental characters, the appropriate use of spectacle and a universal theme.

“The things (the characters) want and are afraid of are the things the reader wants and is afraid of,” she said. “This is something that people of all times and places can relate to.”

Nicolosi also addressed some opposing views toward the books, such as the objection that there is too much violence. She said that when investigating violence in books and movies, the important thing to keep in mind is whether it wallows in gratuitous violence — such as making a spectacle of the death of a human being — or uses it appropriately. She contended that Collins does not overuse it, since the story is tough subject matter to begin with.

“It’s like saying we let The Passion of the Christ be ‘R’ because Jesus suffered,” she said. “But not one else (does)?”

Another opposition to “The Hunger Games” that Nicolosi addressed was that it is thought to be the same as the “Twilight” series.

“This is not an erotic story at all, it’s a love story,” she said, emphasizing that the protagonist sees her male friends as people, not as things that she has objectified.

She said she was also intrigued by the many blatant themes in the books, such as the celebrity culture being a sham, the devastating loss of childhood innocence and the commentary on the making of a totalitarian society.

One crucial theme she found was that “the way to save your soul, when the entire world has lost its mind, is through self-sacrifice. The hero is actually the one normal person in the room.”

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