Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hunger Games foretells a bleak future for youth

In an undetermined time of the future, the nation of Panem, the once and future United States, has become 12 improverished administrative districts following a catastrophic civil war.

The people attempted to throw off the yoke of control exercised by the government, which is now known, simply, as “The Capitol.”

What they got for their efforts at revolt is hideous to behold.

In a world where people routinely starve to death, the authorities always attribute the cause of the demise to “flu” or “exposure.”

Katniss Everdeen, a teenage huntress who has supplied her family with a meager living by taking game using a bow and arrow, snares and knives, knows better.

They starved to death.

Each year, the districts choose by random and complicated formula two “tributes,” a boy and a girl between the ages of 12 and 18. The 24 candidates, whose names are chosen from a bowl of ballots in a public lottery requiring mandatory attendance, will fight to the death – on live television.

“Sponsors” bet on their chances for survival.

In a rare twist, Katniss volunteers to take her little sister's place as a tribute when the child's name is chosen out of thousands of possible candidates. A slight girl, malnourished throughout her lifetime, she has little chances of withstanding the savage fighting to come.

All the hot buttons are there – reality television, commercial exploitation of the brutality of survival itself in a world gone hostile and mad, the social breakdown caused by hard times and massive resentment over government mismanagement of economic conditions.

The wildly successful novel by Suzanne Collins has been adapted for the screen following massive appeal to young adults who have devoured its bleak snapshots of a very possible future reality for their generation.

Read it and weep, get fired up, be somebody – or go away. This is a call to action, people. Your kids believe in it. They spend their shekels on it, vote with their pocketbooks. - The Legendary

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