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So, How ABOUT Those Hunger Games?

I saw the film adapation of The Hunger Games over the weekend, and like everyone else on the Internet it seems, I have a lot of Thoughts. So many that I cannot even confine them to one website. The flowering of discussion over The Hunger Games is kind of awesome, because people are really engaging critically with their pop culture, having fun doing it, and tying the narratives in the books and film to real-world issues.

As Alyssa Rosenberg has pointed out, the series is a bit of a canvas against which you can project a lot of different things; discussions about media and spectacle, hunger and deprivation, race and social attitudes, class and revolution. There are all sorts of lenses through which you can view the series, and it’s a mark of accomplishment on Collins’ part that all of these are credible and interesting readings, and that so much material is being produced by people interested in further exploration.

This is a text that can be richly mined, for those who want to, and there’s always a new angle to explore when discussing narratives in The Hunger Games. I’m particularly fascinated by the race and class issues in the series, as well as the metacommentary on media, pop culture, and consumer culture, because Collins really took the pulse of the society around her and came up with a sharp, critical assessment of it. And I was really curious to see how the movies would do, with such high expectations from viewers.

Below the line lie spoilers for the film! And the books. 

One narrative in The Hunger Games that intrigues me is the disability-focused one. This is a world where people are engaged in hard manual labour that is physically demanding and very dangerous. People incur injuries and die. In the arena, people die of infections and survivors are often disabled, and this is discussed frankly, though not always well, in the books. I wasn’t always delighted with the way Collins handled disability, but at least she confronted it. In a dystopian world, disability is going to be present, and people are going to have to deal with it.

So when we watched the film, I was interested to see how they handled Peeta’s leg injury. In the book, he’s severely injured and Katniss applies a tourniquet which he later tears off. When he’s retrieved at the end of the games, the leg is too badly damaged to salvage and the doctors are forced to amputate. This becomes an important thematic element for me as a reader in the text; Peeta is being forced to parade on the Victory Tour and play the game and look nice while he’s reminded every day of the price he paid for his involuntary participation in the Hunger Games.

And I was not pleased with how they decided to handle it in the movie, at all, where his injury was miraculously much less severe, thanks to those rather impressive curative medications the characters got with their silver parachutes; another reminder of the powers of Capital technology, but also a neat way to ensure that none of our characters experienced scarring and serious injuries, let alone amputations. Peeta’s leg wound went from life-threatening to a thin line more like a papercut; there’s no way he’s losing that leg unless the filmmakers are doing some fancy footwork, which I very much doubt they are.

One of the people in my group beat me to the punch with the ‘so, Peeta gets to keep his leg?’ comment when the credits started rolling.

So look. Plots change in film adaptations of books. Utterly faithful and perfect adaptations done for fan service are usually not very good, and I already have some problems with the attempt to shoehorn in as much content as possible; C. pointed out after the movie when we tore it apart in the lobby of the movie theatre that people who hadn’t read the books probably wouldn’t have gotten as much out of the film and I tend to agree. A lot of content was implied or assumed rather than stated, suggesting that the filmmakers thought audiences would know, or that it wasn’t important. If it wasn’t important, why would it have been included?

But the decision to alter the storyline with Peeta’s leg really troubles me because of what it symbolises. Peeta becomes a prominently disabled character in the series, and his disability becomes part of his experiences. At the same time though, he’s not defined by the disability, consumed by it, and placed in the narrative for the sole purpose of constantly reminding everyone that he’s disabled. Peeta, like other characters, is scarred by the world he lives in, and he bears a visible mark of the cruelty and brutality of Panem, but more importantly, he’s another person trying to survive and build a better world. By neatly cutting that entire plotline away, the filmmakers avoided some tangled and thorny issues.

Like the fact that Peeta is supposed to be a love interest. I can’t help but feel one of the reasons the amputation storyline was taken out was because the filmmakers don’t think amputees can be love interests, or think that the reality of the amputation might be offputting to audiences who wouldn’t be able to identify with the characters if Katniss fell in love with a disabled Peeta, because that sort of thing Isn’t Done. Furthermore, obviously no amputees engage with media and pop culture and certainly don’t want to see versions of themselves on screen, so that angle didn’t need to be considered when preparing the film adaptation.

They probably also feared the idea of a character who happens to be disabled; they couldn’t let him get fitted for a prosthesis and get on with his life. They would have felt compelled to wrap up some kind of special story in it, even though that’s not necessary. Riding right over that storyline can be justified by saying they don’t have time to do it, with all the other things that need to be included. Just like they didn’t have time to view actresses of colour and nonwhite actresses while they were making decisions about the casting of Katniss. Making movies is very busy work, people.

And, of course, Peeta doesn’t comply with narratives above disability. His withdrawal and depression at the beginning of the second book are more about his emotional state over Katniss, rather than his leg. As a character, he’s physically active as well as politically defiant, once he begins to grow into himself. This isn’t what amputees are ‘supposed’ to do in pop culture, and thus it’s a narrative that makes people uncomfortable, and one that the filmmakers evidently simply didn’t want to deal with.

I could be wrong; perhaps in the next film we will learn that infection set in and they took the leg. But I doubt it, highly, because this doesn’t seem to be in character with way Hollywood works, where disability is erased when it doesn’t serve a greater narrative or actively defies tropes. Peeta cannot be allowed to be disabled.

The books are fundamentally challenging for viewers in a lot of ways. They demand that people rethink the world around them and consider social attitudes and the impact media has on how they perceive other people and their environment. Many of these messages were diluted in the film adaptation, which is a real shame, because I was excited to see so many people getting so involved with a book series that probes so many social justice topics, talking about the series, and taking action as fans. The same kind of motivation isn’t going to be as present among movie fans, I suspect, because the films have been defanged; plucked, bathed, and garbed for the arena.

34 Comments

  1. Justin wrote:

    Film adaptations always seem to do that sort of thing. I have to admit though that I don’t think Collins really followed through with the loss of Peeta’s leg. I don’t think I remember it being mentioned again after maybe(?) the beginning of the second book. It struck me as possibly just one more elision to simplify the narrative.

    Monday, March 26, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink
  2. Scott wrote:

    In the first book, Peeta’s leg _was_ miraculously healed of the sword wound by the salve sent in by parachute. It allowed him to run for the cornucopia at the end which is where he gets the injury that required the tourniquet. The tourniquet saves his life but he loses his leg.

    I wonder if that wasn’t left out more for expediency in the wrap up of the first movie. There’s an awful lot that happens in chapters 26 and 27 of the first book that is simply glossed over. I’m not sure it’s fair to ascribe the motivations you have to the exclusion.

    And I agree with Justin in that I’m not particularly certain Collins herself even remembers Peeta’s missing a leg through much of the 75th games portion of the second book. I felt it almost became like Luke Skywalker’s replacement hand: Yep, new leg, works just as well for running through the jungle as the old one. Nothing to see here.

    Monday, March 26, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Permalink
  3. Danny wrote:

    To be frank, I think that Suzanne Collins is at least to some degree unaware of the social commentary or to the full extent of the social commentary in her books. For example, she was part of the decision to cast a fair skinned blonde(and then dyed her hair)as a lead in a story that has a very strong anti-colonialist overtones and didn’t seem to anticipate any sort of backlash. I think it would be way better if the movie has included the amputation, but I think, particularly in a text as surprisingly rich and layered as the Hunger Games is, there’s a very good chance she completely missed the wider impact that parts of her story have had.

    Monday, March 26, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink
  4. Bruna wrote:

    It’s mentioned later, but more in the lines of how he’s not able to run as fast as everybody else, I think.

    Monday, March 26, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Permalink
  5. Liz wrote:

    I was really disappointed at how simplified this movie was. They took all the subtexts of rebellion, moral themes, tough moral ambiguities, complex character development and totally dumbed down or eradicated them entirely. It moved so rapidly there was almost no character development. Where was Katniss’s internal conflict between Gabe and Peeta. Haymitch went from drunk to stone cold sober seemingly without explanation. And I feel like I’m the only one who feels this way. The book was such a triumph in that it had a complex, tough female lead in a rich literary environment. And they turned it into a poorly directed, 2-dimensional shadow of what the book was. I know that some of it was necessary. But for christ’s sake, they didn’t even have district 11 send the bread in the middle of the games. GAH. I’m so so so disappointed by the movie. /rant

    Monday, March 26, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink
  6. Lapin_malin wrote:

    The internet was crazy with this book, calling it a new Twilight and whatnot. So I decided to read the book for myself. It’s a good adventure book with a great storyline, though the writing skill could be improved. It holds every single ingredient you could want to make an awesome movie !! And yeah, why would they not cut Peeta’s leg out ? In the french comics, people at war often loose a leg because of this : it’s a classical consequence of a saving a life !

    But it’s a good movie, with a great female character, who is a warrior, who is tough and smart. Hollywood really did his best on this one.

    Monday, March 26, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Permalink
  7. Scott wrote:

    I forgot about the District 11 bread in the first book. It must have been replaced with the rioting, which was definitely not in the book (How would Katniss have known about it in the first person, after all?)

    And I think that plays into the internal conflict that goes missing as well. How would you have shown that without some sort of internalized monologue? The expository parts they made the announcer give were bad enough :-)

    Monday, March 26, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Permalink
  8. Lauren wrote:

    This is really thought-provoking: I admit I ripped through the series so fast, I’d forgotten his amputation happens in book 1, and this is definitely a departure from the book I’m less comfortable with than others I noticed today. Hoping to have a Tiger Beatdown style chat about HG at our blog later this week!

    Monday, March 26, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Permalink
  9. SA wrote:

    “I’m not particularly certain Collins herself even remembers Peeta’s missing a leg through much of the 75th games portion of the second book. I felt it almost became like Luke Skywalker’s replacement hand: Yep, new leg, works just as well for running through the jungle as the old one. Nothing to see here.”

    Just finished it last night. Peeta is pretty frequently referenced as being slower and less agile because of his prosthesis – that’s why he’s separated from Katniss at the end of Book 2 when the [spoilery thing that ends book 2 and launches 3] happens.

    Monday, March 26, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Permalink
  10. I saw the movie without having read the book. (and I wrote about it here http://cianapullen.blogspot.com/2012/03/hunger-games.html)

    From my POV, not knowing the missing content and just seeing it as a movie, I enjoyed how they portrayed Katniss falling for Peeta since they didn’t play “this man’s love versus that man’s love.” Instead she is conflicted over her own experiences with Peeta and her pride or resentment. I actually thought it was more complex that way: the audience remembers Gabe and explores the idea of, how fluid is love? can you love more than one person? What is a love affair like in the face of death? There was no moralizing or gnashing of teeth and that made it more interesting for me.

    It must be frustrating to see the changed and missing content in the movie or to be expecting one thing then see another, but for me seeing it fresh, it had an extremely visceral anti-consumer anti-luxury-lifestyle effect that I’ve rarely EVER experienced after a movie, so that may have been the trade-off for more fantasy-world exposition and detailed story.

    Monday, March 26, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Permalink
  11. Liz wrote:

    I know, right! “TRACKER JACKERS EVERYONE!” ::eye roll::

    Anyway, good question and I don’t know. I loved these books so hard and I think my disappointment is my fault for going in with unreasonable expectations. I read every book twice too, which didn’t help matters because I unreasonably (it’s YA, get it together!) looked harder for things running throughout all three books.

    Also, wtf was up with the terrible camera work?

    Monday, March 26, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Permalink
  12. Lu wrote:

    I haven’t seen the movie yet, but the reported omission of the gift of bread from District 11 really disappoints me. That was the one moment when I actually cried, when Katniss realized what sacrifice that gift meant coming from such poor people, and how they had meant it for Rue, and how they then must have decided to give it to Katniss anyway in appreciation and tribute for what had just happened. It was incredibly touching and meaningful–the people from two of the enslaved and isolated districts touching each other symbolically through that gift. What a loss to omit it, though the choice to instead portray the breakout of rebellion in District 11 is understandable.

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink
  13. Loquat wrote:

    I’m of two minds about the District 11 bread – it’s a touching gesture to give it to Katniss because of what she did for Rue, but at the same time Thresh is still alive and looking like he might have a chance of winning, which would mean a noticeable improvement in District 11 quality of life. So I’m just not convinced that people in that situation would choose to spend their limited resources rewarding a stranger for human decency instead of helping their own surviving kid.

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink
  14. Caitlin wrote:

    They also didn’t really highlight the fact that Katniss becomes deaf in one ear from the explosion she created. That was an important moment for me, because I am also deaf and it was a little detail I could personally relate to.

    However, I agree with those who said Collins doesn’t seem aware of all the commentary her books present. By the time the movie came around, I had completely forgotten that Peeta was an amputee and Katniss’s deafness because of how little she discussed them in the remaining books. It is really disappointing.

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Permalink
  15. Brennan wrote:

    Excellent analysis. I’d add that it looks like the storyline involving Katniss and her mother and their struggles with major depression will be similarly minimized or removed.

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Permalink
  16. Lu wrote:

    Point taken, Loquat, but the thing is, it’s not theoretical (within the fictional world) whether the District 11-ers did send her the bread or not; in the book, they did. I just really loved what it said about their gratitude to Katniss, and I loved her acknowledgement of it to them–as she assumed she was on camera. I think I’ll miss that moment when I see the movie.

    I thought that they fixed Katniss’s deaf ear after the first book. Actually, I’m sure they did, because remember how she uses the repair as an excuse why she is aware of the force fields in the second book? She can actually see the weak spot, which shows her where it is, but rather than give the clue to the game organizers, she pretends that her fixed ear gives her super-acute hearing, like the Bionic Woman.

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Permalink
  17. Lu wrote:

    On second thought, Loquat, I see what you meant. You’re not arguing against the probability that the people in 11 would do that–you’re saying that give the two possible scenarios, the one in the movie rings truer for you, right? Sorry about the double post.

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Permalink
  18. Caitlin wrote:

    @Lu
    It’s been ages since I read it, but now that you mention it I vaguely remember that…I think? But I also think I remember her saying that she had trouble hunting because of it and had to adjust? Maybe? I guess this may call for a re-read.

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Permalink
  19. Britta wrote:

    Danny, I’m not sure I know what you mean. What meaning do you think the author didn’t intend or doesn’t understand?

    When I read the books, I wasn’t sure how to picture Katniss or District 12, but white Appalachia was something I considered, which I think the film portrays perfectly.

    Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Permalink
  20. Malisha wrote:

    I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I think Peeta’s prosthesis is an important part of the books’ narrative. Especially when you consider how much of the theme (especially at the end of the trilogy) revolves around, “some things just can’t be fixed, nor glossed over like they never happened, and we are all irrevocably changed by events.”

    Friday, March 30, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink
  21. Anya wrote:

    Britta,

    I think what Danny may’ve meant was, Katniss is described in the novel as having dark hair and tan skin, and a few Native American readers have penned essays saying how refreshing it is to finally have a lead character who looks like them (it doesn’t explicitly *say* which ethnicity Katniss is, but, as readers of colour have pointed out, the tendency of white people to just assume ‘olive skin and dark hair=European’ until they’re told otherwise is problematic ).

    And yet: Author Suzanne Collins made the choice to cast a fair-skinned, blonde-haired (IRL Jennifer Lawrence is a blonde) actress in the role of Katniss, which indicates a certain degree of obliviousness to racial politics on her part.

    Friday, March 30, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Permalink
  22. Maya wrote:

    As far as I remember the prostetic is never mentioned in Mockingjay so I’m not sure how much the disabillty narrative is important to Collins. It’s importance to the fans is of course a different story. (I haven’t reread the books though, so I could definatly be wrong on this.)

    As for the movie I liked it more than the book.
    The casting of Lenny Kravitz was great and the movie removed the (for me) ickiness of Peeta and Katniss relationship. Plus I remembered the last tributes which made the “these are kids having to kill eachother” hit harder home. Killing kids is of course horrible in any circumstance, but the movie humanized them a lot more. Plus I actually got teareyed at Rue’s death thanks to Amanda’s performance, something the book also failed to do. It’s also gave us the chance to se District 11 doing some rebellion which was nice and eliminated the idea that they would rather send food to a competitor when one of their kids were still alive. (Like Loquat said.) So for me the movie just got more things right than wrong.

    By the way will you be making a second post about the Katniss casting call (and the horrible twitter responses to the casting of Rue, Thresh and Cinna)?

    Friday, March 30, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Permalink
  23. Diez wrote:

    Honestly, I don’t think the filmmakers put that much thought into whether or not to use Peeta’s leg. And I think it’s partially *because* of Collins’s decision not to make it central to his character. The movie also greatly increased his participation in the final fight sequence (possibly to avoid male audience members disliking his character for being inactive), and an injury that required a torniquet would have made such participation impossible. They thought ‘but Peeta’s leg is hurt. He gets it cut off.’ ‘really? is that important later?’ ‘nah, not really.’ ‘cut it. we need him in a fight scene.’

    Moviemakers generally aren’t purposely malicious– just shallow and dismissive. >_>

    Sunday, April 1, 2012 at 11:46 am | Permalink
  24. Britta wrote:

    While I agree that it would be awesome to have Katniss be Native American/ American Indian, I don’t think Suzanne Collins not presenting her that way proves she is oblivious to racial politics.

    It seems to me that Katniss being white and her district being poor, rural, and centered around mining all points to Appalachia. And I would add that choosing to highlight a poor, rural, white mining community is pretty awesome.

    I think that she wasn’t showing her “obliviousness to racial politics” so much as showing her knowledge of class politics. I think either choice has merit and is important.

    I think I’m getting uncomfortable because I feel like we’re pitting groups against each other, like, it’s either poor Appalachian whites or American Indians! And if one wins, it must be an attack against the other. I don’t think that’s fair and I don’t think it’s right.

    Sunday, April 1, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Permalink
  25. anya wrote:

    Britta,

    You asked what Danny meant, and I was merely saying what I thought his interpretation was. He can jump in and correct me if he likes.

    And I wasn’t pitting Native Americans against white Americans; I’m an Aussie, myself.

    Also: Yes I, *do* think Collins choosing to cast a white chick in the movie when she herself has said the girl has olive skin and dark hair is a dick move that *does* show a CERTAIN DEGREE (you didn’t include that part of my post; I didn’t say she was *totally* oblivious) of disregard for what non-white people have been saying in the blogosphere (would Collins choose a white girl if she listened to what Native American women were saying how about empowering they found Katniss, I wonder?)

    And you say it’s a poor European community. That’s cool, but it doesn’t say that anywhere in the book.

    Monday, April 2, 2012 at 2:47 am | Permalink
  26. Anya wrote:

    Sorry—if that actually posted, it probably seemed pretty abrupt. I didn’t get to finish; ran out of change for the public internet terminal I was on.

    Anyway, Britta, apologies if my first post seemed a bit aggressive, but I want to ask: How do you know Katniss *isn’t* Native American? Where does it say that she’s white? Are most mining communities in Appalachia comprised predominantly of white Europeans, and little or no Native Americans? (genuinely asking—I know nothing about that region). I was agnostic on the subject of Katniss’ ethnicity myself until I started reading what Indigenous readers had to say about it. They said ascribing any race to the character is valid, but that white readers seem to think that Katniss is white even though Collins never explicitly says she is. That seems true to me. It’s not a matter of “pitting one group against another”; it’s a matter of Eurocentric whites thinking a character is white unless told otherwise!

    And until Danny’s comment, I never really thought about the author’s racial politics much at all, to be honest (I was more focused on the readers’). I love Suzanne Collins as an author (especially for the class awareness that pervades the HG trilogy), but while highlighting “either choice has merit”, doing an exemplary job at one shouldn’t mean we’re not allowed to criticise a shoddier effort in the other (including real-life actions that undermine an otherwise good job).

    Monday, April 2, 2012 at 4:07 am | Permalink
  27. Katherine wrote:

    I enjoyed how they portrayed Katniss falling for Peeta since they didn’t play “this man’s love versus that man’s love.” Instead she is conflicted over her own experiences with Peeta and her pride or resentment

    Well that’s interesting. I went to see the film not having read the books, and I thought it was quite clear that, while Peeta might be “in love” with Katniss, that Katniss was playing it up for the sake of survival.

    For example, the gift of soup that comes with a note saying “Call that a kiss” from her sponsor, seems to clearly imply that the person who has so far been responsible for saving her life wants her to get it on with Peeta.

    She goes searching for Peeta after the rule change that says both of them might survive, not before. As far as she has seen, Peeta was helping the other group to hunt for her, apart from the brief possible-hallucination of him telling her to get up and run after the wasp stings.

    There’s no meaningful love story set up. it does however closely resemble “reality TV2 love stories – instantaneous, mysterious love affairs that are wildly popular with a shallow audience.

    Before the interview at the very end, she is advised to say that her actions with the berries were because of the “young love” that has been planted by Peeta and cultivated by Haymitch, rather than as an act of calculation. Which she then does, awkwardly and uncomfortably.

    All the way through, playing to the camera is beaten into them. She has learned the lesson of Peeta’s successful interview, she gets the note, she plays the Game as much as she needs to to stay alive.

    Tuesday, April 3, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink
  28. Ella wrote:

    Anyway, Britta, apologies if my first post seemed a bit aggressive, but I want to ask: How do you know Katniss *isn’t* Native American? Where does it say that she’s white? Are most mining communities in Appalachia comprised predominantly of white Europeans, and little or no Native Americans? (genuinely asking—I know nothing about that region).

    Not Britta, but I reside in a coal-mining town in Appalachia. It just happens to be my hometown…I can never seem to escape the gravitational pull of this place! But I digress. I don’t want to sound dismissive of the controversy surrounding Jennifer Lawrence’s casting, but I wasn’t in the least surprised and I think she was the perfect actress for the role. It’s either mentioned in the book, or SC has said in an interview at some point in time, that District 12 is indeed located in the former heart of the coal mining industry of Appalachia. Our population is virtually 100% Caucasian. A rough estimate, to be sure, but the reality is that there are maybe two African American families in the area, and absolutely none of Hispanic/Native American/Asian/Indian descent.

    My father’s family is “seam” (black hair, olive skin, but with dark eyes) and their ethnic origins are European/Eastern European. My mother’s family (out of area) is “merchant class” (light hair, pale skin, blue eyes). As a product of seam/merchant, I have light olive skin, dark brown hair and dark eyes. When I lighten my hair it turns that same shade of auburn that JL has in the movie. Black hair, I’m guessing, is never bleached by the sun, but the character could easily have been born with hair a shade lighter.

    I can see why people may have envisioned a WOC in the role, and because strong female minority roles are hard to come by, I’m not unsympathetic to those who would’ve preferred a different Katniss.

    On an unrelated note, did anyone else feel like the third book was written by a different author? The extended metaphors and internal monologuing weighed the prose down, IMO. I preferred the less sentimental, straightforward prose of the first two, the first book being my favorite in the series. I can’t even begin to imagine how they’re going to translate the bloodbath of the third book to screen. Kids will be having nightmares for years to come. Wouldn’t that be ironic…kids developing PTSD from watching the Hunger Games movies.

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 7:42 am | Permalink
  29. Wondering wrote:

    Katniss’s sister is her full sibling and is blonde and blue eyed. I have been really confused by people thinking Katniss might be mixed race because she’s obviously the same ethnicity as Prim, and blonde blue eyed people are generally white. Aren’t they? The controversy over this is confusing me.

    Thursday, April 5, 2012 at 5:32 am | Permalink
  30. Leigh wrote:

    Interesting post, and discussion: thank you.

    This is my first time here, spent a few hours on the ASOIAF thread, and on that topic just wanted to say I’m grateful, Sady, that you speak the truth and keep speaking it despite being bodyslammed repeatedly in (reportedly) not just comments but email.

    Re: THG, I have read the books, haven’t yet seen the movie, happy to read your review. I am curious: have you read any of Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan books? I’d be interested in your assessment of her take on disability issues.

    Monday, April 9, 2012 at 9:53 am | Permalink
  31. Leigh wrote:

    whoops! Apologies: due diligence FAIL.

    I completely missed, in my first visit here last night, that Tiger Beatdown is not written by just one person,thus 1/2 of my comment above was directed to a different writer. (Embarrassed face.)

    However, the Re: THG question in my comment above was/is directed to the writer of this fine post.

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 5:14 am | Permalink
  32. Alyson wrote:

    @Wondering: Sure, her sister and mother are described as being very fair, but Katniss takes after her father, so there’s no reason that her father couldn’t've been a person of color and Katniss (and Prim) could be biracial. The sisters are already supposed to look totally different, so why is it unbelievable that they might not be white/completely white?

    Monday, April 16, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Permalink
  33. Mixed wrote:

    “Katniss’s sister is her full sibling and is blonde and blue eyed. I have been really confused by people thinking Katniss might be mixed race because she’s obviously the same ethnicity as Prim, and blonde blue eyed people are generally white. Aren’t they? The controversy over this is confusing me.”

    My mixed race family is as Katniss’s family is described! We are like a Punnett square.

    Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 12:30 am | Permalink
  34. Corrin wrote:

    Actually, having grown up in impoverished communities, I find District 11′s giving bread to Katniss very realistic, and a strong example of class difference. That was one of the points that made me think that Collins really got classism and its effects. Removing it from the movie, like so many other changes, serves to soften the criticism inherent in the books.

    No, most communities who were better off probably wouldn’t send something that helped a competitor of their child, and thus might hurt that child.

    But I can definitely see the communities I grew up in sending the bread to a competitor under similar circumstances. Katniss helped one of theirs. For one thing, that hurts your pride and dignity. You couldn’t help your own, so somebody else had to do it for you.

    For another, Katniss’ kindness to Rue put the district in her debt; it made them owe her something. And I know my communities hated to owe anything to anyone. Poor people often are used to being taken advantage of by people who claim to want to help them. It gives people leverage over you. They can come back later and say, “Look, I did this for you. Now you have to do something for me,” where that something is defined by the person who helped you.

    If you pay the debt back on your own terms, in this case, by giving a loaf of bread already paid for and already meant for somebody other than Thresh, they have no hold over you. It makes you safer.

    Sunday, April 22, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink