Monday, June 4, 2012

Safe and sound: the Hunger Games

I finished the entire trilogy of the The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins over the weekend and watched also the movie.

For some reason, they struck chords in a way deeper than I imagined. An unknown dystopian future, where people are unjustly oppressed, mercilessly tortured and children (CHILDREN!) fight to their deaths for the pleasure of the "elites". A mix of Greek/Roman mythology with shadows of other stories with similar genres (1,2), the characters and story kept me wanting more. Perhaps it's the melancholic (with a tinge of self-deprecating humor) narration by protagonist Katniss Everdeen, that brought out the imperfections and complications of human nature. The perplexity of being human.

I particularly like the characters Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark; their relationship with Haymitch Abernathy and their love story. Also, Primrose Everdeen, the story embodiment of 'delicateness and goodness', she is arguably the most important character in the story. I feel also that Suzanne Collins gave her some of the best lines. I wonder if it's these poignant pieces that make me connect and resonate more with the series.

In any case, it's not an upbeat book, even till the end, it feels more like a beginning than the end. But it got me addicted and constantly reminded, that choices come with sacrifices and that people are forever the victims of circumstances. And that scars fade, but never totally.

For some reason, the juxtaposition of the Capitol and District 13 reminds me of Singapore.
“Deep in the meadow, hidden far away
A cloak of leaves, a moonbeam ray
Forget your woes and let your troubles lay
And when it's morning again, they'll wash away
Here it's safe, here it's warm
Here the daisies guard you from every harm
Here your dreams are sweet and tomorrow brings them true
Here is the place where I love you.” 
― Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

Don't you dare look out your window darling
Everything's on fire
The war outside our door keeps raging on
Hold on to this lullaby
Even when the music's gone. Gone. 
Just close your eyes
The sun is going down
You'll be alright
No one can hurt you now
Come morning light
You and I'll be safe and sound
 Taylor Swift, Safe and sound

"My children, who don’t know they play on a graveyard. Peeta says it will be okay. We have each other. And the book. We can make them understand in a way that will make them braver. But one day I’ll have to explain about my nightmares. Why they came. Why they won’t ever really go away. I’ll tell them how I survive it. I’ll tell them that on bad mornings, it feels impossible to take pleasure in anything because I’m afraid it could be taken away. That’s when I make a list in my head of every act of goodness I’ve seen someone do. It’s like a game. Repetitive. Even a little tedious after more than twenty years. But there are much worse games to play."
― Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games, Epilogue

Unfortunately, humans can't seem to break out of this ("repetitive") game.

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