The Hunger Games Trilogy:
The Hunger Games / Catching Fire / Mockingjay
by Suzanne Collins
This book series and movies have been relatively popular among both young adults and adults. We pulled these books out recently so my daughter could prepare for the prequel – The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes – released last May.
These books cover many areas one could discuss with children in terms of society’s structure, the uneven distribution of goods, just war, loving neighbors, types of leaders, and self-defense.
Warning: this post will contain spoilers.
The Hunger Games trilogy is a dystopian or post-apocalyptic young adult series. The first book explains that North America is now divided into Thirteen Districts. District One, known as the Capitol, is a totalitarian dictatorship over the other twelve districts and their goods. Every year each district must send one girl and boy between the ages of 12 and 18 to compete in The Hunger Games, a competition to the death with one last standing winner. The games are to control rebellion against the Capitol. Katniss is the heroine of the story and wins the Hunger Games but forces the Capitol to accept two winners.
In the second book, Catching Fire, there is another Hunger Games, but it is a celebrity game as past winners must compete for an ultimate champion. In this book, there are undertones of the Capitol’s goal to destroy Katniss as she is now a symbol of hope for the Districts. There are also undertones of an actual rebellion against the Capitol.
The final book, Mockingjay, is a war between District 13 and the Capitol. Since Katniss was the first to give the people hope, she is now the spokesperson and symbol for this revolution against the Capitol.
When I read these books, I read them with good guys (revolution) versus bad guys (the dictators). I was just as shocked as Katniss when the realization hit that the revolutionary leaders were just as bad as the current leaders. Their plans, ideas, and policies were the same. The difference only being who had the control. Katniss’s solution to this problem was to assassinate the new president, and then live in an abandoned District. She became a hermit with her love interest from the series, and they lived outside of society raising their kids.
I don’t particularly like the ending, as it is not a solution to the problem. What do we do when our leaders are evil? The United States is currently undergoing a very tumultuous election, most likely ending in more riots regardless of who wins. How I wish I could be like Katniss and leave. Take my family and go live in beautiful fields and ignore the problems in my country. I can’t as God called us to be part of a community or society:
Gn 2:18 It is not good for man to be alone
Gn 4:8-15 I am my brother’s and sister’s keeper
Lv 25:23-43 What you own belongs to the Lord and is given for the good of all
Jn 15:12-17 This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you
Rom 12:4-8 We are one body, individually members one of another
Jas 2:14-17 Our faith is dead if we ignore others in need
1 Pt 4:8-11 Serve one another with the gifts you have received
1 Jn 4:19-21 Those who love God must love their brothers and sisters
It is my civic and social duty to vote in this election. The Catholic Church cannot tell us who to vote for in an election, and they shouldn’t as we are allowed to be free thinkers. However, we must follow specific guidelines when voting. The first would be to understand Catholic Social Teaching. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has discussed these social teaching in seven themes, which one can read here.
My priest has been focusing on three main principles to guide us in voting.
The first being the dignity and value of every human life. As Catholics, we must stand up for all life from conception until natural death. The main issue here would be a Catholic cannot vote for a politician that supports abortion of euthanasia and must support a state proposition that would limit or end abortions in their state.
The second would be to support religious freedoms for everyone. We cannot support a politician that would hinder or limit religious freedoms in any way.
The third is to reject any form of socialism and communism. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “The Church has rejected the totalitarian and atheistic ideologies associated in modem times with ‘communism’ or ‘socialism” (2425).
It is important to note that the church doesn’t fully support capitalism either as it continues, “She has likewise refused to accept, in the practice of ‘capitalism,’ individualism and the absolute primacy of the law of the marketplace over human labor. Regulating the economy solely by centralized planning perverts the basis of social bonds; regulating it solely by the law of the marketplace fails social justice, for ‘there are many human needs which cannot be satisfied by the market.’ Reasonable regulation of the marketplace and economic initiatives, in keeping with a just hierarchy of values and a view to the common good, is to be commended.”
However, capitalism isn’t atheistic in nature, like socialism and communism.
While this is an excellent guide to get me started voting, I don’t feel I can get excited or stand behind any candidate on my ballot. I have to remember that God is my hope, and Jesus is my King. A few times, my children express fear of the future, and I remind them of this by singing, “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands.” They roll their eyes at me, but it is a good reminder that Christ alone is the universal King. He is the one we follow, but we should pray. Pray hard and pray often.