“The Hunger Games” – Dystopian Societies and Situational Ethics

Book Review : The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Spoiler Alert!

Katniss Everdeen helps care for her mother and sister in the twelfth district, one of the poorest districts, by illegally hunting with her friend, Gale. The Capitol holds a contest every year requiring two tributes from each district to come and compete in the Hunger Games, similar to the games in the Colosseum during the Roman Empire. The Hunger Games serve as a reminder that the districts are subservient and dependent upon the Capitol for survival, and as punishment for the previous rebellion of the thirteenth district. The winner will have food and luxuries for their entire life, however, everyone else will die – at the hands of the winner. Katniss and her sister, Primrose, both are in the draw this year for the first time. When Katniss hears Primrose’s name being called she reacts without thinking and insists on taking her sister’s place. Katniss and Peeta combine their efforts to survive and in the process upset the Games and the Capitol.

Adult Point of View

The Hunger Games is a riveting dystopian novel. It also serves as a benchmark book, changing young adult literature. Even though I felt like the book was poignant it raised ethical questions that teens will hopefully discuss with their parents. The idea of children being forced to kill other children in the guise of a game was chilling. I can’t help but think of how children do kill children in opposing gangs because there is no respect for life, your life, their life or others’ lives.

I also felt the situational ethics followed by Kat was strange that she felt it was okay to pretend to love Peeta because they were in the game. The problem, of course, is that Peeta really does love Kat and is really just being used. Is it ever okay to use other people? That does not sit well in my personal moral code of conduct. It has also become common in books for the characters to sleep all snuggled up together, for warmth, convenience or survival. Again, is this something we want our teens to emulate?

Kat is a strong female protagonist, likeable and usually believable. I’m glad that she identifies with the other contestants, tries to help others and is distraught when her friend is killed. As is true for most teens, she does focus on herself most of the time, rather than the potential consequences of her actions and the feelings of Gale and Peeta.

Because of the mature themes and violence I recommend this series for older young adult readers, my preference would be over 15, even though I have to admit I let my daughter read it when she was a little younger. I have seen children reading The Hunger Games in elementary school and that seems way too young. Many of the new dystopian novels will be compared to Collin’s groundbreaking series.

3.75 out of 5 stars

– the Mother

Catching Fire left me feeling jaded when we had to go through an entire new Hunger Game at the Capitol with Katniss and Peeta. It felt stagnant.

Mockingjay was slightly more interesting because the action was moving forward in a new way with the full rebellion and the elements of corruption in all the positions of power.

Teen Point of View

I loved these books. The writing style was very unique and very fun and enjoyable. Half of the fun of reading The Hunger Games is adjusting to the writing style, I personally loved it and want to read more with this same style. I think the story line was absolutely fabulous even though it was a little dark. I enjoyed this whole series even though the last book becomes a little confusing. The books are very fast paced and great for both genders. I suggest it for all teenage and mature readers.

4 out of 5 stars

-the Daughter

About Tales Untangled

I am a mother of four children and have a passion for reading. I love sharing my treasury of books with my kids. I also do experiments in cooking which includes such things as Indian Tandoori Chicken slow-cooked in a tagine. I write stories and illustrate in ink.
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