I’ve read the books (all three), and now I’ve seen the movie. In spite of what some people say about Hunger Games being geared toward young adults, they are just a fascinating read. Yes, the story is violent and at times gory, but there is depth in these pages and in the movie (though, admittedly, less in the movie). As I walked out of the movie theater a group of adults in front of me were talking about it, but not as I would have expected (but maybe should have?). Their comments swirled around how much money the movie has grossed, the increased interest in archery among young people, and what heart throbs the leads have become (particularly the female lead).
In the news the conversations swirl around the issues of violence and teens, and how much the movie is grossing. I continue to be amazed how little discussion there is about the commentary this series offers us living in North America, particularly the U.S. I walked away from this movie, which does take some liberties in telling the story (it’s impossible to offer the kind of depth found in most books when translated to the silver screen), I am still struggling with some of the same issues I mentioned in my previous post about this series. I’m wrestling with my part in building up and maintaining the capitol on the backs of the oppressed and suffering, though I believe my wife and I have made baby steps toward trying to become more aware and pro-active in our purchasing and consumption choices.
A friend recently told me about a conversation he witnessed about illegal immigration. One person suggested that he does not support illegal immigration, to which the other, who works on behalf of undocumented workers in the U.S., responded with something like: “Have you bought any vegetables in the past 20 years? Do you live in a house that was built within the past 20 years? Have you had a cup of coffee in the past few days? If you can answer ‘yes’ to any of these, then you have supported illegal immigration, and reaped the benefits of a lower cost of living as a result.” The point being made was that undocumented workers from Central and South America come to the U.S., and, like it or not, work for the people who produce or build much of what we take for granted and pay much less for as a result.
How are we not the capitol in the Hunger Games? How am I not one of those people who enjoys a relatively lavish lifestyle because there are those in this world who earn barely anything for their work in making the products I use and consume every day?
As I was watching the Hunger Games movie, I began to consider Katniss Everdeen, the heroin, as a sort of messiah for the 13 districts that feed the Capitol. Much like so many prophets of the Hebrew scriptures, Katniss is an unwilling player in the revolt, a messiah of sorts (Hebrew for “anointed one”), helping the powerless to discover a wealth of power within themselves. While Jesus was nonviolent, Katniss struggles with the violence she is called upon to commit, much like Dietrich Bonhoeffer‘s struggle between Jesus’ call to nonviolence and Bonhoeffer’s part in an assassination attempt against Adolf Hitler. When is it ok to kill, and when is it not?
Am I going too far with this? Maybe. But it raises so many questions in my mind as one who is trying to follow Jesus as best he can, and feeling like I’m missing something major in my attempt. How am I unwittingly participating in the subjugation and oppression of others? And if I am becoming aware of it, what can I do about it? What is my responsibility here, especially as I claim that the kingdom of God is as near as my own heart and mind?