We are the Capital!!

My whole family has been reading “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins.  It started with my 17 year

Cover of "The Hunger Games"

Cover of The Hunger Games

old daughter, spread to me, my son, and finally my husband.  We are all captivated by this trilogy because it engages us at so many levels.  My daughter worships Katniss for her independence and self-sufficiency, while complaining about her inability to trust Peetah or to choose between Peetah and Gale.  My son loves the action and the moral dilemma posed by the “kill or be killed” rules inherent in the hunger games.  But my husband and I have been struck by the politics in these books; by the world order portrayed; by the ways in which power is used to control people; by the ways that symbols and symbolic actions are used to stand up to power.  

In the book, the Capital,with all of its rich and over-indulgent inhabitants, use the resources  from the surrounding districts, oblivious to the costs of their lifestyles for the inhabitants in the surrounding districts.  The Capital ,with its insatiable desire to be entertained; uses the Hunger Games as the ultimate expression of a people disconnected from the humanity of those it uses.  It is a metaphor for our world, and we, in North America, are the Capital; consuming resources  wastefully; oblivious to the working conditions, the poverty, the hunger, the lack of human rights experienced by the people who provide us with gold and food and oil. 

We walked into a pet box store the other night, and my husband groaned, “Oh my God, we ARE the Capital!!   Look at this place; there is a whole aisle dedicated to cookies and biscuits for cats and dogs.”  There are people around the world with no food, homes or freedom, while we buy beds, treats, collars, toys and spas for our pets.  We all know this is true but it is an uncomfortable truth that we try not to think about because we don’t know what to do about it.  But a book like The Hunger Games, that pushes the reality a little, forces us to look at it; to see the story through the eyes of one of them; one of the poor, one of the hungry, one of the disempowered.  It is a powerful, painful, and humbling experience to read a good book that helps us see ourselves and our society in a truthful light.

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About kp

I am a woman and a mother, a sister and a wife. I have called myself a socialist and a feminist, an environmentalist and an activist, a pagan and an atheist. But, at this stage in my life, none of these labels feel right. I am searching; trying to find an inner calm; trying to make peace with life's disappointments; trying to answer the big questions in my own small life.
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6 Responses to We are the Capital!!

  1. jazzminey says:

    The Books sound good. I just may read them too and I think it is great that you as a family are reading them and discussing with each other what you like about the books. From what you described about the books it does look like the U.S. is the Capital. I believe that, I hope that, things are changing. However, awareness is the first step. Books like “The Hunger Games” and blog posts such as yours help expand this awareness.

    • kp says:

      Hi Janice…I think it is interesting that these books are incredibly popular among teenaged girls…so much so, that they have made a movie on the first one. That gives me hope. Take care…Kim

  2. Kim, I think about this subject almost every day. (I didn’t know that’s what the Hunger Games was about. Thanks for the review!) I know world-healing is possible, in some kind of miraculous way that we can’t yet see, but the constant misuse and abuse is very discouraging and wearing. Sometimes I feel like we’re all in a movie where, in the battle between good and evil, goodness heals the world only if people believe in goodness in spite of everything–like it’s a test of our commitment to Love. We may waver, but we’ll steady ourselves!
    Pam B

    • kp says:

      Hi Pam…The books are dark but ultimately satisfying and hopeful. But, it is disturbing because, at some level, it is on our behalf that our governments allow corporations to pillage the earth and its people…kim

  3. bjas says:

    What a topic! These books are great….I am just getting through them myself (mid-way thru Catching Fire now), and I think I will be reverting to a teenage girl come opening night when Lionsgate releases the games to the masses in March. I will be there!!!

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