File Size: 2488 KB
Print Length: 245 pages
Publisher: McFarland; 1 edition (July 6, 2012)
Publication Date: July 6, 2012
In anticipation of the 2012 release of the film, a number of books about The Hunger Games three set hit the market - much to my nerdy joy. So far as academic amounts go, Smart Pop's most excellent THE GIRL WHO WAS ON FIRE was one of the early emits (later updated to include several chapters on the film), followed by THE PARTICULAR HUNGER GAMES AND PHILOSOPHY: A CRITIQUE OF GENUINE TREASON from The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Tradition Series; OF BREAD, BLOODSTREAM AND THE HUNGER GAMES: CRUCIAL ESSAYS ON THE SUZANNE COLLINS TRILOGY (part of the Critical Explorations in Science Fiction and Illusion series); APPROACHING THE FOOD CRAVINGS GAMES TRILOGY by Mary Henthorne; last but not least THE PANEM COMPANION, written by fan/academic V. Arrow. I was lucky enough to win a duplicate each of OF BREAD, BLOODSTREAM AND THE HUNGER VIDEO GAMES and APPROACHING THE FOOD CRAVINGS GAMES TRILOGY from Library Thing (and still wish to snag a backup of THE PANEM COMPANION on its blog tour! ).
Though written by academics - not a few of whom use papers previously presented at academic conferences as jumping off points - OF BREAD, BLOOD AND THE FOOD CRAVINGS GAMES can be enjoyed by everyday fans and serious scholars alike. While academic pop culture album run the risk of obtaining as dry and even a little tedious, OF BREAD, BLOOD AND THE PARTICULAR HUNGER GAMES is neither. With few exceptions, the authors are engaging and insightful. Where jargon shows up, it's thankfully kept to a minimum.
In comparison to many similarly-sized academic anthologies - which usually feature twelve roughly documents - OF BREAD, BLOODSTREAM AND THE HUNGER VIDEO GAMES contains a whopping twenty-one essays! As a effect, each piece weighs about just eight to ten webpages. Though I was often left wanting more, this is more effective than the alternative - namely, nodding off in the final few pages of the piece, even as you wish for the author to get to the point and wrap it up already! Perhaps the personal essays' short lengths is actually helps to keep OF BREAD, BLOOD AND THE PARTICULAR HUNGER GAMES feeling so fresh, concise, also to the point.
The twenty-one documents in OF BREAD, BLOODSTREAM AND THE HUNGER VIDEO GAMES cover a range of topics, from crisis economics to food as a cultural metaphor and the shifting boundaries of human being and "other. " Reality tv rears its oft-ugly head, and art, fashion, and propaganda also make for common subjects of dialogue.
While an existing knowledge of THE HUNGER VIDEO GAMES trilogy is assumed, when the texts are discussed in relation to other works - THE RUNNING MAN, the Harry Knitter series, TWILIGHT, BATTLE ROYALE, ENDER'S GAME, and William Shakespeare's Henriad all make appearances - the writers do a good job of explaining the important details (that is, at least given the room allotted).
Perhaps unsurprisingly, many of my favorite pieces examine gender in the trilogy. In her contribution, "Of Queer Necessity: Panem's Hunger Games as Sex Games, " Jennifer Mitchell makes the argument that Katniss - who is able to transition between assertive and feminine gender functions with relative ease, sometimes exhibiting "male" and "female" characteristics simultaneously - are at her core a genderqueer protagonist. Likewise, Ellyn Lem and Holly Hassel ("`Killer' Katniss and `Lover Boy' Peeta: Suzanne Collins's Disobedient of Gender-Genred Reading") start to see the trilogy's blended genres (romance vs. war story) as a way to "bridge the gap" between young adult literature that, traditionally, has been stratified along gender lines. Peeta, the gentle, caring, and peaceful baker, exists opposing the "male-identified" Katniss, having her morally accountable for actions. This mixing and flipping of gender functions offers a much-needed contrast to traditional YA fiction (the history of which Lem and Hassel summarize neatly for the reader, in a highly enjoyable and informative intro).
As an atheist, We expected to hate Tammy L. Gant's "Hungering for Righteousness: Music, Spirituality and Katniss Everdeen" - indeed, the first few webpages are filled with mad scribblings - but We quickly came to love it. Largely absent from THE FOOD CRAVINGS GAMES `verse, religion has been replaced, in part, by music. "The ubiquitous occurrence of folk songs, lullabies, and songbirds suggests that Suzanne Collins uses audio to fill the room meant for religion in Katniss's life. " Not necessarily because religion is important - rather, the human coronary heart needs hope and a sense of meaning (spirituality, if you will) to take trip.
Also intriguing is "Apples to Oranges: The Heroines in TWILIGHT and THE PARTICULAR HUNGER GAMES. " Amanda Firestone asserts that it can unfair to compare Katniss Everdeen's feminist merits to the people of Bella Swan, because the two are born of completely different genres (post-apocalyptic/dystopian fiction and romance), each of that are governed by different rules and conventions. While her argument is compelling, I couldn't help but come away with the conclusion that, if Firestone is correct, romance is inherently (or at least traditionally) misogynist and thus much more poisonous to young women (and men! ) than the violence found in THE HUNGER VIDEO GAMES and its ilk. At the very least, the romance genre is in need of a extreme overhaul.
Given the whitewashing of the film(s) - see, e. g., the tumblog Katniss is Olive-Skinned - I'm a little let down that not one of the essays looked at the intersection of race and class in THE HUNGER GAMES. Although it's true that OF BREAD, BLOOD AND THE PARTICULAR HUNGER GAMES only discusses the trilogy, these are important enough subjects of conversation to merit a mention on their own, even absent the film's whitewashing. Indeed, there's even one essay that talks about the story's physical setting - "Coal Dust particles and Ballads: Appalachia and District 12″ - in which a look at race and class would have been right at home.
Also annoying: while several authors mention Katniss's early insistence that she remain childfree, simply to eventually succumb to starting a family with husband Peeta, not one note that he seems to have coerced - or, at best, pestered - her into accomplishing this: "It took five, five, fifteen years for me personally to agree. But Peeta wanted them so poorly. When I first sensed her stirring inside of me, I was consumed with a terror that sensed as old as life itself. Only the joy of holding her in my arms could tame it. Carrying him was a little easier, but not much. "
While this is perhaps intended to be charming or even inspiring, I find a lack of value for a woman's physical autonomy anything but. Pregnancy and childbirth can be a trial even in the best of times. Begging your wife who, as a survivor of multiple death games and a war on top of that, is recovering from PTSD and not keen on birthing and parenting kids, to do it anyway? "For me. inches That's just plain terrible. If you want children and she doesn't, perhaps you aren't that suitable after all., Every now and then a work of fiction marketed to young grown ups takes hold of the public awareness. Fans of all age groups link with each other to dissect and discus the tale beyond the mere narrative. Suzanne Collins' Hunger Video games trilogy is one such example, and therefore warrants a better, more critical evaluation.
Of Bread, Blood and the Hunger Games, edited by Mary Pharr and Leisa Clark, is a collection of scholarly documents aimed at exploring the larger themes from the three books. The writing here is readily available in contrast with similar publications though casual fans of the story may still find it challenging. In my viewpoint, the strongest essays are the ones that focus on the subjects of fact TV entertainment versus gladiator-style voyeurism. Good examples of this are normally found in Part III, "Resistance, Surveillance and Simulacra. ", It is a very helpful collection of academic but quite accessible articles on the Hunger Video games trilogy. I learned something from every one of them, and even though some rather overlapped (how much can one really say about elements of reality TV and issues of gender? ) and a piece that focused really clearly on the mythological and historical elements of THG would have been welcome, this is a very useful quantity for people who want an academic/theoretical account of this popular trilogy - it can not written for young adult fans of the series, who have plenty of other materials.
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