The Hunger Games – The Power of Good Fiction

This weekend my wife and I went on a date. It was a breath of fresh air from the normal grind of having young children. We love them and were very eager to get back to them but, as some of you who have children know, it can be wonderful to eat in peace and actually have a warm meal to boot.

We visited Olive Garden and then went to see the new film The Hunger Games based on Suzanne Collins’ best selling novel. I was not sure what to expect but I was intrigued that droves flocked to see it making it one of, if not the biggest, opening of all time.

Now, there have been piles and piles written, filmed, tweeted, and Facebooked about how great this film is. Many of you reading have most certainly watched it already so you may ask yourself, why flood the market with more thoughts on it? Good question, please keep reading.

This post is in response to a review and a conversation. These both likened The Hunger Games story to, and I quote, “a lot like the Twilight movies”.

If you have seen the film or read the novels I hope you stand up and shout WHAT! like I did. Because they are different, unequivocally separate.

Granted they both have the teenage love triangle, however, that is where the similarities come it a firm halt.

The Hunger Games is about oppression. It’s about a society living sprawled on its back while another, more powerful, has placed a boot on its chest so securely that there is no way of removing it. The subservient society lives only because their masters allow it. The conquerors allow enough room to breath, but little else. If the powerless race tries to move they stomp, reminding the lessors of their place in the world.

Then, to make matters worse, the powerless have to watch as their children are called to a lottery. One that, if won, guarantees them certain death. And, there is nothing their parents can do about it. Nothing.

Cheery right? Why would you watch a film so grim and grotesque which toys with the lives of young children like the ancient tales of the Minotaur? Because, sometimes it is good to feel uncomfortable. Not because of crassness or the simple fact of pushing the boundaries of what is decent but, because it make you think things that normally stay far from the thoughts of our cushy lives.

It makes you think of the murders in Mexico.

It makes you think of the atrocities still happening in the Middle East and North Korea.

It makes you think of drug cartels and their tole on families and the most hushed and uncomfortable topic of people trafficking.

Things that happen right now, this minute, and the powerless that suffer because of it.

Sometimes I tell people that I don’t like to read stories that are sad. I say this because I know people who are suffering, just like you do. But, living in denial and being encouraged by a happy ending are two very separate things. 

Some of you are looking for some grand ending, but I have none. I have no way of instantly stopping these atrocities that are happening or advice on how to contribute to their demise.

So why write a post like this, right? Why even bother? Because that is what fiction can do. It uses story to inspire us to be better, to want to be and to think differently. Whether Fiction or Non-Fiction, hearing stories of people who fight when odds are hopeless, when things are too horrible to continue, those are the stories that stir us into action. William Wallace, Earnest Shackleton, Harry Potter, or little Frodo Baggins, it matters not. We watch, read, or listen to a great story and we want to act, to fight for the oppressed, for the injustices we see regardless if they are true happenings or fictitious tales of an old dusty book.

This is power of a good story.

The power of great books and movies.

The power of fiction.

What are your thoughts?



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