The Hunger Games: My wife and I watched this series again…
And I have read the books more than once. While this story definitely hits all the tropes you would expect and in many ways has a very cookie cutter construction, it’s still an entertaining film and a good read. The story is written at a young adult level, however, that did not stop it from being enjoyable.
It has typical dystopian themes
There is an oppressive centralized government that exerts control and fear over its subjects through military force. ‘The Capitol’ is corrupt to the core, exploiting and subjugating those who oppose its will. It is a common theme that for some reason draws you in.
I heard it quoted once that all the stories have been told… we just find new ways to tell them
In some ways it’s like the Grimm Fairy Tales. To quote Chesterton, “Fairy Tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know dragons exist. Fairy Tales tell children that dragons can be defeated.”
What captures the most attention with this telling is exactly how the unjust Government enforces its authority
It reminds the people of its power by the yearly celebration of their victory; having children, ages 12-18 compete in a televised death-match.
‘The Capitol’ is opulent and extravagant. Every excess is indulged and every vanity is fed
The people of the Capitol have made this yearly event a spectacle that tops any previous sporting event. People sponsor the players (or ‘tributes’ as they are called) and gamble on the outcomes. The corruption of the Capitol is demonstrated by showing everything, including party-goers excessively eating and drinking themselves to the point of vomiting, to bizarre body modifications that make themselves look like distorted animals.
Basically, it’s a retelling of the Late Roman Empire
The Hunger Games are really the Gladiatorial games, and the parties are akin to the Roman ‘vomitoriums.’
The Districts in the story are like the enslaved tribes… the similarities go on and on. This is not actually a criticism of the author. In fact, I find the parallels historically fascinating.
What I particularly appreciate is that by updating this story, it strips away this current worldview that things are getting better all the time.
Because the overall narrative of our time is that human nature is evolving and that the latest ideas, morals, and ethics have actually progressed, we believe now is morally superior from people of the past.
I wish that it was true, but, alas it is not…
Even a cursory study of the rise and fall of Rome demonstrates this.
Rome, in its youth, was idealistic, ambitious, virtuous. Family life and morals were valued and as time went by, it became tyrannical and oppressive. In the midst of its decline, it became immoral.
The Games and the blood sports were encouraged as it pacified the masses
The people glutted and were kept happy, all the while, the government grew corrupt. A republic became an empire and then fell to coup after coup.
Finally, the once proud Roman Empire was eventually beaten by the less organized and clearly not as technologically advanced, barbarian hordes.
The story recycles again and again
And every time we say the same thing. “No, not in our time, we are not like they were back in the day.”
Currently, we say the same thing, despite the fact that we still have veterans from the most bloody conflicts the world has ever seen. Yet, we cling to the objection, ‘no, it can’t happen again.’
In some ways we have more excess then ancient Rome ever had
Every wanton desire can be supplied with the click of a mouse.
While our movies depict fake deaths we can watch the most realistic depictions of murder then ever before.
We have the luxury to eat or drink ourselves to excess any day of the week.
Even this very week we had the gut wrenching, vomit inducing, celebration of our lawmakers in New York cheer and proclaim (as a victory!) the ability to murder infants at any time during pregnancy.
I won’t link you to the many accounts from former abortionist on what this actually looks like, but I can tell you, as long as this travesty continues… we are no better than the Hunger Games.
Unlike many, I don’t believe that morals and ethics and opinions get better with time.
I believe that, unless virtue is practiced, we are always at risk of being reduced to the least common denominator. Ronald Reagan made the statement “freedom is only one generation away from tyranny.”
To end on a hopeful note, evil can also be overcome in one generation.
God Bless Our Nation and God Bless Our Families!
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