Cover of "The Hunger Games"

Cover of The Hunger Games

Ever since the latest American blockbuster exploded I must confess its success has been Greek to me. Author Suzanne Collins and the marketplace would agree. Here’s the story:

  • The Amazon sales page for The Hunger Games calls it dystopian literature, so I grabbed my Oxford Dictionary. ‘Dis’ means the expulsion from something and ‘utopia’ is a place so perfect it does not exist. Could it be referring to the American dream?
  • As a child Collins loved Greek mythology. The story of Theseus and the minotaur clung to her mind. He was the son of the King of Athens, who was being bullied by Minos, the King of Crete, who lived across the strait. Every time he got bored he sent his Navy to attack the Athenians.
  • Unwilling to put up with this any longer, the King of Athens proposed a deal. He would send seven healthy girls and seven healthy boys to King Minos every nine years so he could feed them to his pet minotaur. The offer was accepted.
  • Prince Theseus knew it was wrong to send small children to be eaten by a monster even to stop a war. He also knew a deal was a deal so he told his father he would go as the seventh Athenian boy the next time.
  • With the help of the princess and the doomed children he got into the heart of the labyrinth and found the minotaur’s lair.
  • In The Hunger Games, a 16-year-old girl, Kateniss, and a boy, Peeta, live in a country called Panem (formerly North America) where the people had rebelled against the Capitol. Each year since then, in revenge, the rulers demanded a girl and a boy from each of the 12 districts take part in games on live TV, fighting to the kill until just one survived.
  • All citizens were required to watch. Like Theseus, Kateniss saw that what was going on was wrong and made up her mind to do something about it. When her younger sister was chosen to go, she took her place.

Collins’ words may spark the conversation of a generation. Have we become an entertainment society? Is it too violent? Are the people the rulers of the American democracy? As audience and fans, what power do they wield? Is reality TV the villain?
It’s a relief to know that Theseus did kill the minotaur, so maybe Kateniss and Peeta, who are very brave, will win too. This is just the beginning of a trilogy and I hope the suspense won’t kill us all.

Thank you for spending some of your precious time reading this post. Please browse around from tip to toe and, if you like, write some comments.,,,,


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