Sunday, February 22, 2015

Blog #4

Without question, when a notable series releases three dystopian novels along with three corresponding movies, all three are likely to be compared. I really had to think about which book I enjoyed the most and contrary to popular opinion, the first book will always be my favorite.

My last blog entry explained how the second book is much more in depth than the first, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better or worse.
The most unique characteristic of the first book is there is no duplication of the plot. The first book in a series is always original; it offers plot development, character development, and an introduction to conflicts and reoccurring themes. The first book in a series allows for the most imagination by the reader. Suzanne Collins introduces Katniss as a teenage girl struggling to find herself as she is forced to grow up way too fast.  Collins also introduces Peeta as a young boy experiencing his first real crush. In the second book, both of these characters change dramatically and remain dynamic throughout the trilogy. However, in the first book they are simply characterized throughout the games. Unlike in the second and third books where the central plot is still utilized, the first book allows me to think what I want about The Hunger Games and enjoy the book for exactly what it is.

In addition, the first book only focuses on the games itself and sets the tone for the rest of the trilogy. It offers in depth background information about Katniss and her family and why she is the way she is. The first book is simple and enjoyable to read. The second book complicates everything when it introduces the inner love conflict with Gale, complications involving District 13, and a controversial Hunger Games with Peeta and Katniss as victims again. Many people will argue that the second book answers all of the first book’s questions. While this is a great thing, I liked reading more about the games rather than the underlying conflicts of Panem. Stories went from action-packed with a cute side love story, to serious political corruption and travesty.

There are numerous pros and cons to why one book may be better than the other. I don’t really think it’s possible to say one is the best because Suzanne Collins intended for all three of them to serve a purpose. With that being said, the first one will always be my favorite. It contains love, innocence, and a true beginning to what made us all fall in love with The Hunger Games.

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Blog #3

After reading the first book in a series, I’m always scared to see what the second one will hold. When watching movies, I’m even more scared to spend money on watching the second one. However, Suzanne Collins didn’t let this worry cross my mind. The first book, The Hunger Games, was filled with suspense, surprise, and a love story along side action-packed adventure and obstacles. The second book brought clarity but also left many questions still unanswered.

Consequently both books revolve around Katniss Everdeen and her struggles of adolescence while living in Panem. The Hunger Games and Catching Fire are narrated by Katniss in first person omniscient so the readers know all of her thoughts and feelings. There are many reoccurring themes in the book and sequel involving love, hardships, sacrifice, revolution, identity issues, and warfare. These themes follow Katniss and her friends throughout the story and allow us as readers to experience deeper meanings while reading The Hunger Games series.

One of the main differences between The Hunger Games and Catching Fire is how Katniss evolves as a woman. In the first book she is immature and cynical with an unusual sense of humor. The hardships in her life including the death of her father, the little effort from her mother, and her duty to care for Prim all contribute to her personality and disposition. In the second book, Katniss matures as young woman and realizes her outlook on life must be very different this time around.

Another difference between the first and second book is the plot itself, especially involving the mockingjay. The second book focuses a little less on the Hunger Games but more on the history behind District 13, the Capitol, and the revolution that has taken place in the past. The main characters struggle in this chapter to plan and successfully overcome the Capitol’s harsh ways. The mockinjay turns from a simple pin to a relative symbol of Katniss and her allies. It symbolizes all that she stands for, all that she hopes to do, and all that she fights for in the Hunger Games.

The revolt against the Capitol isn’t the only thing Katniss has to worry about. She also must overcome the 75th annual Hunger Games as she is chosen again along with Peeta. This time the games take place in a clock arena with twelve sections, each known for a different unfortunate event to occur. It takes the tributes much longer to discover the Gamemakers have set this up. This setting makes the second book much more interesting. In the first book, the tributes were placed in woods with natural enemies. This new setting allows the Gamemakers to take a bigger part in the games and create new twists and turns.

Inevitably both The Hunger Games and Catching Fire will be two different books with a similar plot background. However, Catching Fire gives us a new and deeper perspective on the Capitol and the games while answering a lot of unknown questions from the first book. The second book definitely caught my attention and intensified a bigger interest in finishing the series.



Sunday, February 8, 2015

Blog #2

I made a huge mistake by watching The Hunger Games film before reading the book. The film integrates a carefully selected cast, special effects, and music, with producers, directors, and screenwriters. Suzanne Collins’s trilogy is similar, but definitely not the same as the books she wrote. The main differences are crucial intricate details that amount to much greater themes. Without these in the movie, viewers who have not read the books may be introduced to misleading conclusions.

To begin, the mockingjay is an important symbol throughout the entire trilogy. It symbolizes hope and escape from the Capitol, along with rebellion and perseverance. In the book, Katniss is first exposed to the mockingjay when the Mayor’s daughter, Madge, gives her the pin. This reassures Katniss that Madge really was her friend all throughout school. The pin reminds her that even though she must fight through The Hunger Games, her confidence must follow her until the end. In the movie, Katniss simply finds the pin. This removes the entire backstory of Madge and her relationship with Katniss. It removes the depth of the actual meaning behind the pin. Instead of symbolizing reoccurring themes in the book, the movie makes the pin seem like an unimportant object.

Another difference I noticed was between Peeta, Cinna, and Katniss. In the book, Haymitch orders Peeta and Katniss to do everything their stylists say without any objections. This includes when Cinna orders them to hold hands right before they are presented for the games. His idea is supposed to help the pair gain more sponsors. However, in the movie, holding hands during their entrance is Peeta’s idea. This makes Peeta look like he wants to hold hands for his own benefit instead of for the game, which is partially true, but the book explains the situation in depth. The movie doesn’t show the true struggle Peeta has between faking loving Katniss when he actually does. As a reader, this confuses me because it diminishes the intensity of Peeta’s inner struggles.

Both of these instances exemplify small changes in the book that leave a big impact on the themes of The Hunger Games. Although the movie is exciting, I enjoy The Hunger Games book more. It never fails to provide the reader with intimate details that make the book all the more enjoyable.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Blog #1

I was so excited choosing classes for the Spring 2015 semester because I finally had a good registration time. Looking through the list of SIS courses, I knew The Hunger Games was my first choice and I got the very last spot in the class! SIS stands for Sophomore Interdisciplinary Studies. I had no idea what this meant until someone explained it to me. McDaniel College is a liberal arts school that offers coursework in so many different areas. Most people don’t realize that the wide disciplines available are all important in their own way. Most students view the McDaniel Plan as a tedious requirement but an SIS course is supposed to prove much more. I took The Hunger Games because I was very intrigued by the trilogy. I was never interested in Twilight, Harry Potter, or The Lord of the Rings, but this series caught my attention. Why not take a class where I can incorporate my discipline of Accounting along with all the others, while studying a favorable dystopia at the same time?

I am extremely passionate about Accounting as a major and future profession, and it was kind of difficult to connect this discipline to The Hunger Games. I hope I grow as a student from this course, learn how all these disciplines connect, and learn how to analyze The Hunger Games books and movies. I also hope to appreciate the series from a new perspective. The Hunger Games has been highly recommended to me by several friends for their own personal reasons, and I would like to create reasons of my own.

My favorite character from The Hunger Games is Peeta. Peeta first caught my attention when he graciously gave Katniss bread, offering her hope and faith in one of her darkest times. He not only unconditionally loves Katniss, but also continues to come back to her time after time after disappointment. He puts aside his feelings to stand by Katniss during the games as well as through different aspects of his and her life. Peeta’s disposition reminds me that in hard times you have no choice but to put personal issues aside and push forward. His compassion is admirable and his character shows a lot about how important Katniss is to him. Peeta is my favorite because he taught me the importance of second chances and thinking the best of people: two things I don’t, but need to consider more often.