Metaphor, reality or illusion?
——A Book Review on The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games, which is considered as the best science fiction of the American writer Suzanne Collins, won the first place of The New York Times best-seller list. The book, which is “brilliantly plotted and perfectly paced1”, is written in the voice of 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who volunteers to participate in the Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV and has no choice but to make her own choice weighing survival against humanity and life against love. Although The Hunger Games is mostly considered as a popular science fiction appealing to teenagers and young-adults, this book exposes many insightful issues, which undoubtedly provokes both deep thought and self-reflection towards the current social order. However, at the same time, the horrific outburst of violence and the ambiguities in the affection between three characters give young readers a mixed reaction towards this book. Besides, as being allegorically rich, this book gives a bad example of offering allegorical potential because of the laziness of author’s description as well.
Though the story takes place in a dystopian future, it is not complicated for readers to imagine about. In the ruins of a place once known as North America, lies the totalitarian nation of Panem, a shining capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and it keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to death on live TV. When Katniss’s young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12’s female tribute, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against many bigger and stronger representatives. At first she regards it as a death sentence. However, survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. To win the game, she has no choice but to make her own choice that weighs survival against humanity and life against love.
On the subject of the Games' parallels with popular culture, the background of the story is an incisive satire of reality television shows. The spirit of “amusing to death” leads many television shows to challenge the limits of human principles, in order to boost viewership. Some even adopted the idea which is fully contained inhumanity and brutality. Compared with the television show created in the film of The Truman Show, this television show named The Hunger Games exposes and castigates much more mercilessly the hypocrisy and ugliness of this social phenomenon. “When I break into the clearing, she’s on the ground, hopelessly entangled in a net. She has time to reach her hand through the mesh and say my name before the spear enters her body.” (Suzanne Collins 232) This cruel game is the evil of times, but because of the author’s sensitivities and criticalness, humanity is always the melody in this fast-flowing and treacherous music of The Hunger Games.
As a modern novel, Suzanne Collins is familiar with the mentality of the young generation and knows well about the personality traits of these young teenagers. They are independent, emotionally and intellectually open. They are empowered adventurers and unabashed fun seekers. They are critical about any kinds of authority, having the conception of pursuing ego and freedom. The heroine of the novel, Katniss, is the representative of this younger generation, who has the courage to break through the traditional concepts and molds, and is willing to challenge her fate. When Katniss’s young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12’s female tribute, Katniss volunteers to take her place. This choice, breaking through the traditional rules, reveals the bravery and adventurous spirit of her generation. Besides, the romance between Peeta and Katniss also embodies the new...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document