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Sunday, April 5, 2015

Blog Post 7: Music and Tradition

Dictrict 12 is geographically comparable to Appalacia in the United States. Historically in this area tradition runs deep, and much of this tradition and spirit is kept alive in the music, folklore, and arts. One of the most prominent forms is the ballads that come from this area. Ballads are songs that tell a story, and regardless of where you are geographically songs capture values and what it's like to come from that area. The Hunger Games trilogy, particularly District 12, show the importance of music through The Valley Song, Deep in the Meadow, and The Hanging Tree. The music from Appalacia and District 12 reflect the struggle endured by the people. Deep in the Meadow is what stands out to me the most. It captures the dream of a better life, and is presented at one of the most upsetting moments, when Rue dies. Ballads come off as having a sad, soulful tone, an thats exactly what we get in this moment. The song is about a place deep in the woods, where its peaceful and all is calm. It talks about leaving worries away, and a better time and place. It represents what people of the area urge, an escape from the horror and hardship they live through every day. 

Blog Post 8: Gender Reversal and Romace

The Hunger Games brings a new perspective on gender roles, embodied in Katniss and Peeta. Traditionally, women are presented as the damsel in distress. Female characters, even those that are the lead character, follow a particular schema. They are presented as indecisive, weak, emotional or vulnerable, and heavily sexualized in order to preserve their feminine identity. Men, on the other hand, are typically the heroes; they are bold and daring, unaffected by emotion, and more often than not rewarded in the end by 'winning' a female character. Dictrict 12; however, experiments with role reversal.

Peeta, the baker, and Katniss, the girl on fire, swap gender qualities and I believe that's why both sexes identify with Katniss and respect her more. As a male, I felt weird indentifyng with Katniss but after looking deeper into her character it makes more sense. She has unknowingly aligned with masculine roles. She is a hunter and provider for her family, she comforts Prim and helps raise her almost. Coming from a family who has lost the father/ male influence, Katniss has blossomed into the 'man' of the house. Peeta, on the other hand, is a baker. He is artsy and excels at painting and camouflaging. He decorates cakes and really fails to do a lot of significantly manly tasks. While in the Games Katniss assumes a leadership role, and doesn't act passively as stereotypical female leaders do. She is unaffected by violence and, while against doing so, kills on multiple occasions. Peeta plays hide and seek, refrains from violence, and assumes his role as the damsel in distress. He is very reliant on Katniss, failing to act on his own much. I also believe it's interesting that when he is in her presence, like when they are being interviewed, he is more confident and seems giddy because of the love he feels. 

Katniss does not show a burning love you would expect from a female character, but Peeta has fallen head over heels for her. Katniss, although represented as an attractive female, is not sexualized either. She does not have a strong desire to romantically or physically pursue Peeta or Gale. Katniss refrains from showing too much emotion and is against the star crossed lovers scheme, because it presents her as weak. Much of what she does really presents her as a having more masculine than feminine qualities. If not for physical appearances, it would be hard to distinguish whether she was a male or female. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Blog Post 6: Totalitarian Governments

Mussolini described the fascist state of Italy as, "All within the state, none outside the state, none against the state", and that concept is what drives totalitarian governments today. It is a drive for absolute power and authority. Broadly speaking, it can be characterized with a strong central rule, whether it is a dictator, group of individuals, etc., that attempts to control all aspects of individuals. While under totalitarian rule, a state has a breakdown of most social institutions, and often times the government seizes absolute control of the economy. Large scale violence is acceptable, and justified, under totalitarian rule in order to enforce commitment to the state and its goals. They are possible still today because of fear, and the removal of hope. If the citizens have been stripped of all hope and individuality, it becomes easier and easier to control them. 

In the Hunger Games, the capitol is the absolute power in Panem. They control the economy by designating what each district must provide. Districts are more or less isolated and have duties to fulfill. Anyone who speaks against the Capitol, or encourages against them, is immediately targeted. The Games themselves, the taking of the youth, the publication and endorsement of slaughtering, is done to remind the citizens that the Capitol is in charge and the districts cannot do anything to stop this event. Eventually there is a revolution, as there is in many totalitarian states, but the fact that it took so long for it to happen should not surprise anyone. Deprivation of hope makes for an easy society to control.
 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

In-Class Blog Post

Visually engaging blogs seem to be the ones that receive the highest number of positive reviews. Using a dynamic background isn't necessarily the solution, better usage of images, gifs, and video clips only boost the reception of blogs. Personally, I believe this is where my blog falls short. Content is only one portion of what makes a blog good. It was also suggested that breaking longer entries into multiple paragraphs and modeling a more journalistic style will help engage viewers longer. Manipulation of text, like I do helps some, but I think the next step to improving my blog is to incorporate images and other media more ofter and give the blog blog and overall make-over. After all, appearances do matter, correct?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Blog Post 5: Text and Television's Influence on Society

Text and media have the one of the highest powers to influence society. In times of crisis, news stations can make reports promoting good news rather than focus on negative things to help stabilize society. By the same measure, they have the power to report only negativity and remove hope from citizens. Recent events in Ferguson and LA can help me prove this point. When the rioting and protesting in Ferguson was occurring, media and telecasting played a big role. In the 90's during the LA riots, news stations broadcasted almost all of the fires being started, beatings occurring, and looting happening. This led to outrage and backlash across the county. A few months ago in Ferguson, there was much more footage of the aftermath and restoration of the city rather than all the bad happening. Although most of the same things happened, much less was reported and there was a lot less civil unrest.

In the Hunger Games, the publicity the games receive is for further oppression of the districts foremost, and entertainment for the people second. In The Condemned, the main purpose is entertainment, to get more views than the Super Bowl. The concept of the game is almost identical to that of the Hunger Games. The rules were manipulated and led to advantages for McStarley. Breckel is similar to the game maker, and his fate is the same, death. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Why the First Hunger Games is the Best, In My Opinion

Out of the trilogy, the original Hunger Games appealed to me the most. The love story and inner conflict Katniss experienced in greater depth in the following two novels just wasn't for me. While they are well written and interesting, they just weren't my cup of tea. I also believed that the conclusion of the trilogy was quite predictable, aside from certain deaths and twists. In Mockingjay, I personally believe Collins tried to do too much work with not enough text. The twists became choppy and the overall flow of the book seemed disrupted. I originally fell in love with the first novel because it was so diverse. The characters were well developed and they progressed through the book. Katniss' belief in humility in a seemingly hopeless world, the dog eat dog world that was presented, and the introduction to the Game's violence was just gripping. The other two just didn't give me that same spark of excitement. I actually loved how grim and drunk Haymith was too it was entertaining and you were never entirely sure if he was going to help Katniss and Peeta or not. I even enjoyed the ecosystem in the arena; the tracker jackers were an interesting creature and the genetically engineered beasts with fallen tribute's eyes was just the touch of evil that the Games needed. Hunger Games is most prolific, and it set the trilogy aside from other novels at the time such as Divergent or The Maze Runner.  

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Blog Post Two: How does the Movie Measure Up to the Book?

Historically speaking, when a book finds its way on to the big screen there are generally a fair amount of changes. Most of the time its purely done to make the plot move along at a quicker pace so a book can be condensed down into two hours. In my opinion, The Hunger Games franchise did a good job at adapting from book to movie. Suzanne Collins wrote the screen play alongside the director which may have helped in saving the integrity of the book. 
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The first, and probably most significant, change I noticed was the shifting of the point of view. The book is a first person account of the events encircling the Hunger Games as told by Katniss. The movie depicts the story in a third person point of view. This approach seems to give the story a more dramatic speculation rather than the in-depth analysis and personal account we received in the book. Instead of being able to hear Katniss' every thought, feel her agony, we are given a chance to sit back and witness it. Also, the actual Games are narrated by Caesar. The change of point of view also takes away most insight we received through Katniss. In the movie Katniss and Rue still form their alliance, but we aren't informed that Rue reminds Katniss of Prim, nor how she feels for little Rue because no one volunteered to take her place. The death of Rue, and especially District 11's reaction, is explored in much greater depth. In the book we know only that Katniss receives gifts of appreciation from the district, but in the movie we witness chaos and rebellion. The citizens of District 11 start attacking peacemakers and destroying building starting, and possibly foreshadowing, an uprising against the Capitol. These differences are made possible due to the shifting from first to third person point of view. 

Other changes don't necessarily impact the plot the same way. For example, the mutants introduced at the end of the games do not have the eyes of fallen tributes. It isn't detrimental to the plot, but it was an important detail in the book. We see more of Gale in the movie, too. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Blog Post One: Why?

Honestly, I am in the Wonderful World of the Hunger Games because it was one of the last SIS classes I was able to register for. However, while I am no connoisseur, I genuinely enjoyed the first two books in the trilogy and I believe this course has much to offer and touch upon. In this course I am most interested in looking into the Games from ethical, philosophical, and psychological perspectives. The connections between Greek Mythology and the Hunger Games actually caught my attention more than I anticipated, so I have the expectation that this course will continue to keep me engaged. 

Of the characters, I believe Katniss is my favorite. I feel like the bond she experiences with Prim and the sacrifice she is willing to make for her really shows her bravery and compassion. I like to think that, if the occasion ever rises, I would do the same for either of my younger siblings. Even though she is a strong female character, I think I can relate to her the most out of every one. 
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