Friday, June 24, 2011

Pausing One Dystopia For Another

My younger sister talks about the movie adaptation for The Hunger Games by Susan Collins in March 2011. Even my mom has read the series already. Haha. Thus, I bumped the first book higher on my reading list and have even stopped reading  Nineteen Eighty-Four  by George Orwell.  (I may have spoilers in this post!)

 Nineteen Eighty-Four has been a slow read for me, especially because I note elements of dystopic societies such as systems and rules. Here is my book with color-coded sticky notes (I barely passed the half-point):
I wrote on only a few sticky notes. The rest just mark passages.

The Hunger Games has been a faster read, which makes this book better than Nineteen Eighty-Four  for young adults. Sometimes Nineteen Eighty-Four  has long passages about regulations that are close to a manual.

I'm glad I read past chapter 2 before I wrote this post. I'm on Chapter 6, and I have placed 4 sticky notes (I limit myself because the book is my younger sister's).

At first I noticed how the main character, Katniss, is not as blind as many dystopic protagonists. She disagrees with her society and knows how little the government cares for people in her district. Winston in Nineteen Eighty-Four is the same way, but Katniss' attitude is stronger. Then I felt that she knew too much, especially for an adolescent.  Also twice already a moment was explained instantly instead of letting the read figure it out.

However, when Katniss changes her mind about Peeta's motives, I saw that she is confident in her view of things (The reader gets to interpret!)  This quality makes her seem more dystopic and adolescent to me. She may be blind about some facts after all.

The Hunger Games does differ from other dystopias by starting the story after a rebellion. Society has already stood against the government, and the people now face the consequences of their failure. The oppressed life has become more harsh for all common folk.

In addition, Katniss is in the same position as Julia in Nineteen Eighty-Four but the attitude and situation differ.  Julia represents the generation born into the dystopic world. She has grown up oppressed and cannot imagine a world without the current government. She breaks rules for fun. However, she is shown through Winston's eyes who has memories prior to the dystopic world.

As for Katniss' world, the adults who remember the failed rebellion seem to have broken spirits. The generation of Katniss may be broken as well from the consequences and conditions. However, survival is more at stake. Thee will to survive and refusal to accept imposed ways show potential and hope.

Suzanne Collins does a terrific job of keeping her readers in anticipation. I long for answers to my questions such as, "Once tributes enter the game, are they stuck in there until the game's over?" (I think I know the answer already but I have to see the answer. Haha). I try to read whole chapters at a time to pass the suspense of just that moment.

Who has read or is reading The Hunger Games? Please do not say anything pass the training center though. I long to see my questions answered.

Do you mark passages outside of school?

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