Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Hunger Games

Last Sunday, I spent all day in bed reading.  I haven't allowed myself to do that in ages.  I don't even think I turned the television on.  Saturday night I didn't get home until 2:00am so I slept in on Sunday, rolled over and remembered there was a book on the nightstand.  I should have known then that if I wanted to get anything done that day, I should have ignored it.

I read the first two Hunger Games books not long after they came up.  For whatever reason, I never got around to reading the third.  A few weeks ago I borrowed what I thought was the third (clearly we'd had one too many cocktails by the time we were discussing the book) and discovered the next day I had in fact brought home the first.  So of course, I reread it.  Considering how much I enjoyed it the first time around and the fact that the movie comes out in just over a month, I figured it was a good use of my time.

The first book is so incredibly engaging.  You have to wonder what you would do in the same situation. 

What if you were forced to put your own life on the line to save a family member?  I certainly hope that I would do the same thing that Katniss does.  But what if, like in the books, it was an annual occurrence?  By saving her this year, that does not ensure she will be saved in the future.  I know that when we were children, my baby sister would have stepped up to take my place any time and I know that I would do the same.  In fact, she's probably more equipped to deal with a situation like the Hunger Games than I am.  But I cannot imagine subjecting her to the torture and not stepping up to take her place.  But again, we say that now, in a world where chances are I'll never have to make that decision.  What if I had to potentially make that decision multiple times in one year?  What if that were hanging over your head constantly?

Could you, really and truly, hunt other human beings in order to save yourself?  To make your family's life better?   I really don't know.  There are characters in the second book that very much step up so that others do not have to die.  They are not there to kill, however.  What would I do?  Could I kill an innocent on purpose to save myself?  I hope that I would, again, be like Katniss, who really only kills when necessary.  She is not a hunter while playing the games.  She is a survivor.

If given the opportunity, knowing that people in power could make your family's lives so horrible, would you rebel against the situation in any way?  Again, I don't know what I would do.  I can't help but think of the many times in our history that people were just swept along into a situation and couldn't do anything once they realized it was wrong (slavery, Hitler, pretty much every war).  What do you do when doing the right thing could get everyone you love killed?  I'd like to think I'd do the right thing.  But even that isn't so easy because what is right and wrong in a world where the norm is so obviously unethical?  And what if you unknowingly started the rebellion?  Do you try to stop it in order to save yourself, your family?  Do you keep the momentum going?

These books make you ask yourself so many questions.  So after rereading the first book, I couldn't wait to get through the second and third.  I will say that I was a little disappointed with the third book - it just wasn't how I saw the series ending and I think it was a bit of a cop out - but I still read it in one sitting.  From 11am-11pm on Sunday I laid in bed and read both two and three.

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