Friday, 17 August 2012

A Hypothetical Suzanne Collins

* I wrote this several months ago but have delayed posting it. Since The Hunger Games is coming out on DVD tomorrow, I thought today would be the perfect time to publish it. Read on at your own peril; we are entitled to our own opinions but if you would like to read mine, continue on. If not, then feel free not to read any more. If you do choose to read this, please comment {politely} with your thoughts, and - Lordwilling - I will reply to you. If you want to discuss this further, let me know. Thanks! :) * 

A sequel to one of my most popular blog posts...

Over the summer, I interviewed some of my friends.  I haven't interviewed very many of them yet, but I hope to continue so as to make my information more accurate.

"Hi, can I ask you some quick questions about something?"
"Did you read The Hunger Games?"
"Yes I did!"
"Uhhh...because everyone else was reading them!"
"Why do you think Suzanne Collins wrote The Hunger Games?"
"To make money?"

Most people, when asked why they think Suzanne collins wrote The Hunger Games, reply with answers like, "to make money", "because she was a writer" and sometimes "because she thought the future might be like that".  Very few people come up with the reasons like, "She wrote it to make the world a better place."  "She wrote it to teach teens about morality."  "She wrote it to show the horrors of war."  Only when people are pushed to nailing down a reason to justify why they read this book do they start pulling out such answers.  I know it's very unpopular to compare Twilight with The Hunger Games, but I just want to say: I never heard anyone say, "Oh, I'm reading the Twilight novels to encourage my stand on purity.  I am so encouraged by the fact that Edward and Bella chose not to have sex.  Reading the books inspired me to keep my purity and I'm a better person because I read those books."  Honestly, answers like, "Twilight encourages abstinence" only come out when people are pushed to justify themselves.  (And for the record, there are plenty of other Christian books that discuss abstinence without the use of vampires).

Let's say Suzanne Collins looked at our world and saw a bunch of desensitized lovers of violence.  So she decided to write a series of books that was graphic and horrific enough to shock us out of our shells and pull the blindfold from our eyes.  Because society is so messed up, she had to write something quite tough to read in order to convict us.  She didn't write the book for pure violence's sake, nor did she write it to desensitize us.  Let's theorize and say that desensitizing us was the exact opposite of what she wanted to - instead of making us numb to violence, she wanted to disturb us to the point that we woke up and realized we live in a disturbed society.

Well, that's a noble calling, even if its a controversial way of going about to fix it.

So, has it worked?  Are all these Christians that are standing against the Hunger Games really standing against a noble cause?

I'm actually surprised some of the HG momentum has died down.  The night of the midnight showing and the weekend afterward, almost everyone was talking about the books / movies.  When I went to see October Baby, lines of families (including small children) were in line, and each said, "Tickets to Hunger Games, please."   Maybe the HG obsession has died down because, unlike the preteens in love with twilight, people who like the HG are mature enough NOT to lose their heart over a novel.  Or maybe HG affects people in a different way than twilight affected young girl's hearts.

People are obsessed with the books / movies...  not just the games themselves, but the characters, posting about Peeta or Gale on FaceBook, blogs, etc.  There are fan pages and fan groups and even HG Bible studies (to me, those words should not even be in the same sentence).  I even read an article where someone, in all seriousness, compared Peeta to Jesus.  Whaaa...?  For me, that's going a little too far.  Are people really focusing on what our hypothetical Suzanne Collins wants us to focus on?

I think one of our main  problems is today that people are not thinking. So many teens, Christians and non-Christians alike read books without considering the consequences. When we read something and let it go into our minds, it will affect us in some way or another.

I really liked what Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio said on CNN's belief blog. (I'm not saying I approve of any of her other articles oropinions, I'm just citing her because I agree with her in this case)

"[P]erhaps the great irony revealed by the film is that we are not meant to see it.  We're not intended to watch its violence, because this story, as Gale says, is meant to be protested.  Which means, ironically, "The Hunger Games' " greatest triumph would be an empty theater and streets full of people demanding the kinds of changes needed in Katniss' world and in our own.  What if we did this?  What if we didn't watch?  I like to imagine that only then would the odds be in Katniss' favor.  And in ours."  

I would encourage you to read and consider the full article here.

WORLD magazine reports Suzanne Collins saying, "[TV reality shows are] often set up as games, and, like sporting events, there's an interest in seeing who wins... Sometimes they have very talented people performing.  Then there's the voyeuristic thrill - watching people being humiliated, or brought to tears, or suffering physically - which I find very disturbing.  There's also a potential for desensitizing the audience, so that when they see a real tragedy playing out on, say, the news, it doesn't have the impact it should."

Think about it.

If you're an HG fan, do you think more about the characters, or about whatever point Suzanne Collins may or may not have been trying to make through the writing of her books?

In my humble opinion, we should not obsess over anything, even a good thing that is not the Bible.  Anything "good" that becomes an obsession is no longer good, honorable and noble.  In my mind, a warning flag pops up when anything is immensely popular, when people struggle to justify their motives for joining in, and when churches start trying to do Bible studies using secular novels.  You can't take "the world" and the "righteousness", marry them, and tell them to get along.  The world and God are enemies.  James 4:4 says, "Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?  Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." (James 4:4)  Jesus' bride isn't the secular world, it is the church.  But what happens if the church looks just like the world?

You already know what I think about The Hunger Games.  I could debate you, throw Bible verses at you, walk into your house and burn your HG books, but ultimately it's up to you.  I encourage you to come to the Bible with all personal presuppositions put away, and see what God has to say.



  1. Hey, Kara! I was really encouraged by this post. I totally agree with you that a big problem with people today is that they don't 'think' about things. As you mentioned, I know that a lot of people simply like the HG without really thinking about why they like it or whether they should like it or ot. On the other hand, I also know that many people, Christians included, 'hate' the HG without even thinking through why they hate it! So I'd like to thank you for actually thinking through your opinion and encouraging the rest of us to do that, too. And while I agree with what you wrote, I also thank you for not being pushy about it, too. Oh, and one more thing. You are a very talented writer, and it really shines through. God bless you for using your talent for God's glory. You are probably impacting a lot more people then you know. Love ya!


    1. Thanks Haley! You have lots of good points there. No problem, thanks for reading! And also thanks for your sweet compliment. Love ya too!

    2. Oh, you're welcome! This blog (and post) is definitely one that I am going to recommend to my friends. :). Keep up the good work!


  2. I agree with Haley...I have your blog button on my blog. :-)
    Keep standing for what's right!!!!

    1. Sorry for the late reply... thanks so much dear!


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