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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Discussing Published Hooks & Books » The Hunger Games vs. 1984

   
Author Topic: The Hunger Games vs. 1984
RyanB
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I just recently saw Catching Fire and boy does it pack an emotional punch. Unfortunately I don't have high hopes for the third film. I remember being thrilled with the first two books and let down by the third.

My chief complaint was Collins stuffed the viewpoint character in a compound away from the action. And even when the heroine stormed the gates at the end, the fate of the war didn't exactly hang in the balance.

OTOH, I found the book quite realistic. It doesn't matter whether the rebels or the empire wins in the end. The people who hunger most for power and are willing to do the most ruthless things are ones who gain power either way. War makes life miserable for everyone.

Ultimately it didn't satisfy.

Contrast that with 1984. The empire is more powerful than you ever could have imagined. There really is no hope of defeating it. It's also more irrationally brutal than you imagined and the viewpoint does not shy away from the horrific details.

I'm still trying to put my finger on the exact problem with Mockingjay, but here's where I'm at now.

- Harry Potter wins but the "good guys" pay a great price. We witness it all in a gloriously epic final battle. Satisfying.
- Winston Smith loses. Completely, utterly loses. You witness things that will give you nightmares for the rest of your life. Satisfying.
- Katniss loses. Or maybe she wins. Who knows. The camera pulls away from the bulk of the action. Unsatisfying.

Collins should have killed Katniss at the end.

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Robert Nowall
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Hard to say...haven't read (or seen) two of them, but one is all too familiar. (You can guess which are which---you'd be right, too.)

The problem I've always had with dystopic visions is that the characters seem to lead lives that are unrelentingly grim. "If this goes on" leads to "horrible world." (One reason I liked the second "Back to the Future" movie was the "future" part of it wasn't so grim---life for them seemed a lot of fun, actually.)

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legolasgalactica
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I felt like mockingjjay was just thrown together to finish out the story line--that the author kind of abandoned it or at least didn't care at the end. That's what put me off the most, but you're right about the uncertainty of the ending: Who won? Does it matter?
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Corin224
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Yeah, Mockingjay truly disturbed me for a very long time . . . which I think it's supposed to do.

Legolas . . . I don't think Mockingjay was thrown together to finish the storyline . . . for me, it felt like it was the entire point of the series. This is the book where she really digs into what people will do to hurt each other in the name of winning a war. How far are you allowed to go in terms of horrifying deeds for the sake of the 'right side' winning?

And RyanB, She COULDN'T kill off Katniss . . . it defeat the whole purpose of the story . . . demonstrating just how thoroughly it's possible to break even the strongest survivor, and how willingly leaders of ALL sides will do just that in order to win.

If she dies, she becomes a heroic character who's no longer in any pain. As it is, she's broken COMPLETELY, lives in perpetual torment, but still survives . . . and willingly decides to perpetuate the same atrocities that were inflicted on her . . . one last time. THAT is the point of the story . . . and it's terrifyingly grisly, and I think perhaps true to life.

The camera pulls away from the action specifically because part of her challenge was having to deal with being a figurehead, prominent, respected, and still ignored and out of the loop. She's so accustomed to dealing with her own survival, but she's in over her head when it's someone else's survival at stake. That's a theme from the beginning. When she tries to protect Rue, it breaks her a little bit when she fails. She goes through massive convolutions to keep Peeta alive, again to her own MASSIVE detriment. The execution in district 11, the death of her sister . . . these are all more damaging to her than any torture she endures personally. What better way to amp up that torture than make her responsible for an ENTIRE REVOLUTION, but leave her powerless to do anything at all?

It's very unsatisfying and very disturbing. But . . . it felt very authentic to me. So much so I had a hard time sleeping for about two weeks after reading this series.

And please don't take these arguments as trying to convince you to like it. I'm not sure I liked it. I appreciate the message, and I'm pretty sure it got through, but there are reasons to not enjoy the book for both artistic and philosophical reasons. But I think part of the reason it may be so unsatisfying is that at the end . . . there's no good guys left. Everybody's a bad guy. EVERYBODY!

Same reason I get tired of Game of Thrones. Who do you root for? Who's the hero? Who's the villain? Nobody??

Then how do I know if I'm disappointed or delighted with the plot twists?

Maybe that's just me.

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RyanB
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quote:
Originally posted by Corin224:
Everybody's a bad guy. EVERYBODY!

Except for Peeta.

Which is important because of the love triangle angle.

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