Sunday, February 23, 2014

Least Favorite Book

Which of the three books did you like the least? Why?

The book I enjoyed the least is the third and final book in the series - Mockingjay. This is for a variety of reasons, most notably, I read all three books within a matter of days, the unsatisfying ending and the rushed plot development. Coming into this class I believed we would all read the series as a class over a period of weeks, but unfortunately it turned out that we were supposed to have read the books beforehand and every other class member had done so. This meant I would have to read the books at a very rapid pace to catch up; over the course of one weekend I read all three books - aided by the fact I got quite drawn into the series. But as with anything else there was the issue of diminishing returns, by the time I was reading Mockingjay I was getting increasingly tired of the world of the Hunger Games. Secondly, as with many books and movies the ending is the hardest part and Mockingjay like many books and movies left me unsatisfied, perhaps nothing could leave me satisfied but I will associate those unfulfilled feelings of the series to the third book. Finally, I feel as that the final book was a bit rushed, especially the third part of the book and would like some concepts specifically how each character ends up and their relationship with Katniss as there are quite a few untied knots at the end of the book. This is not to take away from the series as a whole as I did enjoy it - evidenced by me reading the series in three days.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Catching Fire: Book v. Movie

Catching Fire
Book, Movie Comparison
The Humanization of President Snow

In the books we rarely if ever see President Snow outside of his official capacity, he is always cruel, dangerous, mischievous and most certainly evil. We only see him as the foil to Katniss and the people of the districts aiming to make their lives miserable and keep them repressed. There are no lighter sides of President Snow or redeeming qualities, at least in the books.

But in the movies we seem him beyond that role; in the first movie we see him pruning roses in a garden and in the second we see him with his granddaughter. At first this was quite jarring because of the impression generated of him through the books. He seems to care about his granddaughter but at the same time his daughter looks up to Katniss. She of course does not understand the importance of Katniss and the revolution at hand so she provides an interesting dilemma to Snow. She is one of the few things he loves but in the movie she constantly reminds him of Katniss whether it be through her adoration of Katniss or her having a mockingjay pin.

Overall, Snow's granddaoughter does not have a major role to play and was not vital to the stories development but she did play her part well. She gave viewers a more complete and rounded picture of President Snow Personally, I liked her inclusion to the movie series as in the books President Snow was almost inhuman but now regardless of the his undoubted evil at least he is somewhat human.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Hunger Games: Book vs. Movie - The portrayal of Gale Hawthorne

One major difference in the book and the movie is the portrayal and screen time of Gale Hawthorne. Both the book and movie treat him in similarly in the beginning of the book where he is given lots of exposure and importance but it is after Katniss volunteers in the reaping and heads to the capitol that his role changes. The book is written in the first person from Katniss Everdeens perspective but the movie is told from a third person perspective which changes the portrayal of Gale. In the book he is just mentioned when Katniss thinks of her  from afar but we never really get to see him or know what he feels. In contrast the book cuts to scenes of him during key periods of the movie; such as when Katniss and Peeta kiss in the cave. I feel the movie reminds of Gale more powerfully than the book did because of the visual representation required as compared to the book which could just have him included as just one of the people Katniss thinks of. Furthermore, Gale is included in one of the most graphic parts of the book and movie; when he is whipped by the new head peacemaker Thread. The movie once again creates a more powerful image of the whipping due to the violent nature of the scene. Overall even though there are differences in how Gale is portrayed his role remains similar in both the book and movie - small but vital. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Blog 2: Tributs and Gladiators

Write an analysis of the parallels between the  tributes in the arena and gladiators in old Rome. how can we apply the notion of "panem et circenses" to the hunger games.

There are two major parallels between the tributes in the arena and gladiators in old Rome; firstly, the majority if not all the participants are chosen from a subjugated peoples - the populations of the 12 districts and the numerous civilizations the Romans conquered. The peoples of the 12 districts were powerless against the power of the Peacekeepers from ruling their lives and drawing their children in lots for the hunger games while the peoples of ancient Greece, Gaul, Germany were powerless in stopping the invincible Roman army from bounding them to a life of slavery; or if they were lucky a life as a gladiator. Furthermore, there were those who volunteered to be both tributes and gladiators. This is due to the second major parallel, both tributes and gladiators enjoyed position of relative prestige and acclaim. The Hunger Games and gladiatorial contests had great popularity in both Panem and Rome and those who excelled in the games and contests were considered hero's by the people and the state.

The notion of "panem et circenses" or 'bread and circuses' can be applied to large extent to The Hunger Games, with the annual tesserae given to those who enter their names additional times into the draw equivalent to the bread, with the hunger games itself being the circus. In Roman times some believed the very idea of a civic population governed by an effective government had given way to a population easily bought by food and entrainment by a corrupt governing class. In comparison in the Panem the population which had previously rebelled lived in a much greater fear of their government were somewhat appeased by the government through "panem et circneses"