Tag Archives: Hunger Games

A Tale of Two Everdeens

I recently was blown away by The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, in all its Imax glory.  A few days later I found myself chatting with some colleagues, one of whom was re-reading Far From the Madding Crowd, the Thomas Hardy classic novel featured the inspiration for Katniss’ surname Everdeen.  Bathsheba Everdene is Hardy’s female protagonist.  Katniss gets her first name from an edible plant, while Bathsheba gets hers from the Old Testament. Her namesake was the wife of David and mother of Solomon.

Both Bathsheba and Katniss are brave, bright and resilient women living in a man’s world.  But they don’t get everything right and must learn, often the hard way, in order to survive their respective narratives.  Suzanne Collins says in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, “The two are very different, but both struggle with knowing their hearts.”

Thomas Hardy writes of Bathsheba that “when a strong woman recklessly throws away her strength she is worse than a weak woman who has never any strength to throw away.”  If you’ve read Thomas Hardy’s tome, you’ll remember that Bathsheba does indeed work toward throwing away her strength, and more than once.  The reader often decides right away that Gabriel Oak, Hardy’s male protagonist, is a wonderful man, but Bathsheba cannot see it.  Both Gabriel and Bathsheba have some growing up to do. The growth for her occurs in managing a farm and suitors, while trying to maintain a good reputation in rural 19th century England.

Photo courtesy of thingsthatmadeanimpression.wordpress.com.

Katniss’ struggles are bit more immediate and of course, often life-or-death.   But she does struggle to know her heart and to maintain her strength.  One refreshing thing about both Far from the Madding Crowd and The Hunger Games trilogy is that they provide enough substance in the plot to be sure that the love story is not the only story.   This is typically why Hardy’s title is considered a feminist novel, which is remarkable for a late 18th  century novel especially one written by a man.

Photo courtesy of thehungergames.wikia.com.

If you’re a fan of The Hunger Games but haven’t yet read Far From the Madding Crowd, check it out today!  That way you can say the book was better when a new movie version, starring Carey Mulligan and Matthias Schoenaerts, comes out next year.  This will be the 3rd movie, a testament to the classic status of the book.  The 1967 version stars Julie Christie and in 1998 Masterpiece Theater also took a crack at it.


Happy Everdeening/Everdening!



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Hungry Like the Games

Unless you’ve been living on the moon, you’ve heard that there was this little movie, The Hunger Games, that opened over the weekend. Having read the book it was based on at break-neck speed when it was first released, I made sure I went to see Katniss’s struggles writ large on the screen as soon as I could pencil it into my hectic schedule of shushing noisy patrons and badgering small children for overdue book fees.

This may or may not have been a good idea. I spent half the film sitting on the edge of my seat with a pounding heart, and the other half trying not to sniffle too loudly at sad plot points. Given that I already knew what was going to happen, and that it disturbed me anyway, it bodes ill for anyone who sees the movie without reading the books; then again, perhaps other people are made of sterner stuff than I (you can tell I am a fragile soul because I routinely use phrases like “writ large,” “bodes ill,” and “made of sterner stuff” in my blog posts).

But, tenderhearted lass that I am, I still love a good literary catharsis; given that the Hunger Games movie earned $155 million in its opening weekend, I’m guessing a lot of other people do, too. If you enjoyed reading and watching Katniss’s struggle to survive in the arenas of Panem, you might appreciate these other works of fiction, which feature young women battling restrictive governments, each in her own particular fashion.

Matched, Ally Condie. The Society decides which career you should have, how long you should live, and even whom you should marry.  So when Cassia is matched for marriage with her best friend, Xander, she’s relieved not to have to worry about her future…that is, until her neighbor Ky’s face shows up on her match disk, too. Is following The Society’s orders everything it’s cracked up to be? Or will Cassia have some hard decisions to make?  If you like this book, proceed immediately to the sequel, Crossed.

Divergent, Veronica Roth. Beatrice lives in a world where society is organized into five clans, each dedicated to a particular virtue.  If you feel you don’t fit in your clan, you can change when you’re sixteen, and Beatrice eagerly jumps at the chance. However, her new clan is a source of challenge, change, intrigue, danger…and, oh yeah, just a hint of government conspiracy-esque social engineering. The sequel is supposedly under contract, so find out now why it’s dangerous to be Divergent.

Delirium, Lauren Oliver. The government has found the cure for falling in love: one shot when you’re eighteen, and you’re guaranteed a tranquil, drama-free life. Lana is looking forward to getting her shot and avoiding the “disease” called amor deliria nervosa…until 95 days before her eighteenth birthday, when she falls in love. More heavily grounded in romance, but no less nightmarish in its ramifications, Delirium and its sequel, Pandemonium, are ideal for readers who liked the “Team Peeta / Team Gale” aspect of The Hunger Games.

Your turn:  did you read / see The Hunger Games?  What have you read since then that reminded you of the series?

Leigh Anne

who is also indulging in some bibliotherapy with Jennifer Brown’s Hate List


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