Still do, in many ways.
In general, I do not like to read post-apocalyptic or science fiction, so I didn’t want to read it.
But I did.
And I liked it.
I liked it a lot.
The premise of the book horrified me—a society so narcissistic and entitled, and a government so totalitarian—which forces children to kill children. I vacillated between whether or not it’s right to let my children watch the movie last weekend.
Maybe you did, too.
In the end, I let them.
And overall, I believe I made the right choice.
First, I considered many movies and books of our time: Lord of the Flies is an obvious one; Star Wars when the evil Anakin kills younglings; Harry Potter; and The Patriot, to name just a few. Others where innocent lives are threatened and defended like To Kill a Mockingbird came to mind.
Second, I considered real-life examples of children forced to kill children in our world. The Holocaust is an obvious example, in particular the Nazi youth movements and the 11,000 French children who were slaughtered in the Vel D’Hiv round-up of 7 July 1942, and portrayed so movingly in the recent novel, Sarah’s Key.
“Maybe there is a beast… maybe it’s only us,” William Golding writes in Lord of the Flies.
Finally, I considered people in our world today who choose and force children to kill each other. In our own backyards, kids sell deadly drugs to other kids, and many believe unborn babies are a choice.
And men like Joseph Kony roam the planet.
You might have heard of Kony. He’s been on the news and a frequent trending topic on social media sites like Twitter, thanks to an organization called Invisible Children, Inc. headquartered in San Diego. Their work focuses on fighting the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a militant group in northern Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic accused of widespread human rights violations, including murder, abduction, mutilation, and forcing children to kill. You can learn more about Kony and the movement to stop him at http://www.kony2012.com/.
So what’s all this have to do with The Hunger Games? Without giving away the movie, I believe its popularity comes from the knowing each of us has in our deepest parts that human beings are capable of—and indeed have committed—such atrocities.
In 1973, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote, “The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart.”
On March 22, Chuck Colson wrote, “. . . although we are capable of the most sublime acts of charity, goodness and beauty, we are also capable of the most outrageous acts of depravity.”
What’s so good about The Hunger Games is how it portrays outrageous depravity. The power of the movie lies in the the courage of the few good and innocent ones left who rise up to try and stop the evil. Who fight for each other and fight for justice. Who still have heart and aren’t afraid and make us believe the world can be changed.
“I keep wishing I could think of a way to…to show the Capitol they don’t own me. That I’m more than just a piece in their Games,” says Peeta Mellark, a main character in the series.
What’s so good about The Hunger Games is that it shows each of us has the potential to be more than just a piece.
Each of us has the potential to bring justice to the whole.