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The Hunger Games Online: Explorations and Interventions

alesnick's picture

Students, please use this forum to post and share observations and surprises with respect to how Hunger Games may be found, framed, and taught online.

Comments

multicultural5's picture

Hunger Games Wiki

In my research, the most interesting aspect that I came across was a Wikipedia-type page designed as a glossary to accompany the books. It is called "The Hunger Games Wiki." Having never read the books or seen the movie, I was fascinated by this seemingly 'home-grown' community of people who have created this site. It provides definitions and description of many of the story's aspects, from weapons and technologies to locations and characters. At first, this made me wonder whether the books are actually so complex that a reader would actully need this tool to support their understanding. Overall, why did those who created this feel it was necessary? What are the different ways that people use the site and for what reasons? When I looked further, the site is hosted by Wikia, a site that allows anyone to start their own wiki page/community. The site's main page is broken in to categories like Video Games, Entertainment, and Lifestyle. Their main page says states that there are over 30 million pages and over 67 million visitors - wow! Anyways, to bring it back to the Hunger Games specifically, I used the wiki page to give myself a more in-depth introduction to the serise than what I read on Wikipedia : On this wiki, some of what I learned about includes force fields, hovercrafts, communicuffs, and the mockingjay birds and the role that each plays in the story and its society. Although much of the wiki seems set up to distribute 'factual' information, like defining what a "tribute" is, etc, I wonder how an online space like this could also work as a forum for people's opinions of how exactly each of these concepts works in the books and in the Panem society. 

sborjas's picture

Reality Television

The connection between The Hunger Games and reality television was was really interesting to me. Having read the book I can see the commentary on the negative effects of fake intertainment. Our reality television is obviously very different than the entertainment in the Hunger Games, the way people put on a show to get famous is something that is very relatable. We all know that reality television isn’t really "real" but we at some level we like to think it is. I have also found this interesting article that looks further into the relationship between The Hunger Games and reality television.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alexander-vassiliadis/hunger-games-commentary-o_b_1385223.html

gharris's picture

The hunger games

Searching for the hunger games, I found a very interesting story from the New York Times about the violence found in both the book and the movie. As Suzanne Dominus stated, “This is not a fairy tale; it’s a war, and in war, there are tragic losses that must be mourned.” Not only does the movie and the book inspire depression in the youthful readers, Suzanne states that dark messaging in young-adult literature has been increasing since the 1970's. The author of the Hunger Games has been portrayed as a media-shy figure who has used the Hunger Game trilogy as a way to educate the younger generation on the affects of war, much like her father did during the Vietnam war.
Yet, the lessons on horrors of war seem to be lost on many young people. The Hunger Games has been created into a computer and board games, where stealth and intellect are used to survive. The horrors of this distopia are not visualized.

abradycole's picture

The Hunger Games

My research of The Hunger Games consisted of a wide array of internet platforms including Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, The New York Times, and several sites created by fans for fans with games and chatrooms to simulate The Hunger Games to allow fans to participate interactively in discussions and roleplaying games. I watched several trailers and interviews with the cast and crew. Some of the Youtube comments were interesting but what I found more thought-provoking were the discussions I was able to find through links posted in those Youtube comments. After some digging, I found several very heated debates about the book and the film. As I expected, all of the conversation threads were created by fans (most of whom are teenagers). As a person who has never read or watched the film version of The Hunger Games, I was able to view the conversations and arguments people were having without bringing in my own biases. 

One website I found hosted forums as well as links to live chat rooms for fans:

http://screenrant.com/hunger-games-movie-book-differences-johnh-160474/

Much of what people were discussing was inconsistency from the book to the film adaptation. These are two comments that I stumbled upon and responded to:

Comment # 1: “Not to mention Peeta loses his damn leg in the book!!!! They totally left that out. It plays a large part in catching fire when Peeta has trouble in the arena physically. They also left out how much the explosion of the food effected Katniss. She went deaf in one ear until the end of the book. They may have left those things out so as not to make the movie too violent, but in my opinion the tracker jacker scene was worse than that.”

 Comment #2: This may have been stated in a previous comment that I didn’t see, but personally I think the biggest oversight was Katniss’s hearing loss. After the explosion (in the book) she was completely deaf in one ear, which wasn’t repaired until she had won. This reconstruction of her ear is a major part of the plot in the second book, and I’ve very curious to see what the directors do about that. Also, while not as vital in future books/movies, a very powerful scene in the book shows Katniss’s terror at the thought of Peta dying after they’re separated in the helicopters following their win.I was very disappointed this was left out as it showed the changing dynamic of their relationship.

My response: 

“I have never read or watched The Hunger Games. However, as an outsider reading these comments about frustrations with the changes made for the film adaptation (Peeta's leg and Katniss' hearing loss), it is clear to me that plot developments crucial to understanding these characters as complex and three-dimensional, were left out. Especially the two examples I've given are instances where the film industry has omitted information in order to make it easier for the general public to relate to the main characters without complication. Hearing loss and the loss of a limb alter people/characters to make them non-normative outsiders. This is something that most of America is uncomfortable with. Yet again, corporations have neglected to tell the full story in order to make their product more lucrative, even at the expense of a person/character's dignity and full story.”

I don't know how my comment will be received as an outsider commenting on something that these people are so passionate about. Should I be able to add my two cents when I have had close to no exposure to this story and to these characters? No one has responded to my comment yet. We'll see what happens.

edtech24's picture

Hunger Games

Using Google, first results I found are about the movie; followed by results on Amazon for purchase of the book, then some fan pages of the books. Considering that Hunger games is originally triology, there are more aspects related with the original sources that are beyond literature (business, entertainment etc) that contribute to our understanding and knowing the book online. When searching using the Image function, I found that the majority of results are of the movies ; whereas if search for a book that does not have a movie version, the cover of the books are among first image results (The Alchemist). 

Both the book and the adaption has attracted attention; one common concern for both versions is whether the sequels are appropriate for children regarding the exposure to violent, but it seems even more of a concern because the influences of a movie and a book are obviously different,  and that it was actually rated PG-13. This has attracted most attention for educators and parents. There have been a lot topics on how The hunger games can be taught and discuss in schools. There are also debates on issues that seem to only relevant to the adapted versions of the book (the casting which leads to issues about racism and obsession of body image...)

 Some statistic for the prevalence of the book and movie on the internet: http://mockingjay.net/2012/12/20/hunger-games-trilogy-dominates-web-searches-trends-2012/

Then I search for it online but in a different language - it would be interesting to look at the book from a different point of view - of people in the country where it didn't come from and where its popularity didn't level up with that in the U.S. Interestingly, among the first results are more about the book and discussions of the series (how the ideas are relevant in a global context), more than about the movie (perhaps because the movie was censored) 

 

SMarrie's picture

race and dominance

Everyone seems to know about the Hunger Games (the movie first) but how many people know about Battle Royale from Japan. A film in 1999, it was the original "Hunger Games," yet the western version seems to have eclipsed this other tale due to white cultural dominance in the film industry. 

jpagan's picture

This comment reminded me

This comment reminded me about how technology has a huge impact on the type of information that is most recognized throughout the internet. The Hunger games became extensively popular through the social networks and the media. Therefore, there was more recognition for this new, modern version of the movie you are referring to which makes it interesting to think about how technology can affect the type of educational information people are being provided through technology. There is so much to teach people about all of the various educational subjects known, but how are educators distinguishing what is the most important thing to learn about? I guess technology not only allows us to explore different educational subjects at the same time and connect these subjects together, but it also refreshes our way of learning through new methods. 

edtech24's picture

Hunger Games versus Battle Royale

It's interesting that you mentioned "white cultural dominance" in the film industry; however it might not always be the case if we consider where such dominance takes place. As I wrote in my original post, the movie is apparently very popular in the US, but not that popular in other countries. Indeed, whether the book/movie is widely known of at any particular place (country, region) also depends on many other factors (culture, language, political reasons, etc) Therefore, what we consider "white cultural dominance"  might only be relevant with regards to 1. what we find in the U.S, but not in other places (more Japanese might know about Battle Royale than about Hunger Games, or maybe neither of them catch that much attention in Laos, for example), and 2. what we find online: there might be other ways in which Battle Royale have influenced the society that we are not aware of. In addition, most of the information we have about the world now is through Internet, so the time of production plays a role too if we take into consideration how the role of internet has changed dramatically between 1999 and now. Perhaps one of the reason why Hunger Games is so popular now is because we have more social media means to talk/debate about it. 

Anyway, it would still be interesting to see if there's actually other evidence of the "white cultural dominance." To me, it seems quite apealling but at the same time it's hard to know because there are so many aspects of it that are subject to bias and individual differences. 

meganholt's picture

Hunger Games Online

When exploring the Hunger Games online, I ended up on a website called "The Hunger Games Explorer". The point of this site is explained as "The Hunger Games Ultimate Fan Challenge". Basically, fans create usernames (called Distric ID's) and then earn points for creating posts on various forms of social media (twitter, facebook, and instagram seem the most prominent). With these points they are given access to different challenges (Hunger Games related of course) that they can then earn other prizes from. This appears to be a pretty official site that is run by people directly affiliated to the production/advertisment of the movie series. I found it really interesting that there is such an obvious push for social media use and sharing of a single hashtag. It clearly emphasizes the significance of social media in our world today. It also draws attention to the way that social media can be used for advertising when used in the right way. 

mkasahun's picture

Hunger Games Online

Much of what comes up when searching "The Hunger Games" in Google, which was apparently my first step in researching its online existence, I wasn't surprised to find that the first website Google wanted to show me was The Hunger Games official website. Following that link was the link to the Wikipedia page of it's book and the movie. Digging deeper, I wanted to see the reviews of the movie as those bear a lt of weight in the success of the film and most of the reviews tended to be positive. In addition to the reviews by Rotten Tomatoes, when I thought about my friends' perception of the book and the film, many of them said they loved it, I on the other hand did not agree. I didn't like the characters in the book and I didn't think the movie was all that amazing either. Fortunately for the Suzanne Collins, many of my friends and those with the most influence on the internet seem to think that the book and the movie are both intriguing and thrilling. There also seems to be much anticipation for the Catching Fire sequel.

There seemed to also be a lot of stir about the entire triology on popular social networking sites like Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter, many in favor of the movies/books. I think that teaching the Hunger Games online as opposed to teaching the book face to face could be very different. I read the Hunger Games as a requirement for an English class in a college in Seattle and like I mentioned above, I found that my own personal perception of the book compared to it's perception by the rest of the world was very different. I would be interested to know how the Hunger Games could be framed, found, and taught online.

vspaeth's picture

Hunger Games

Having never read the Hunger Games, I started my search by simply typing “About the Hunger Games book series” into google.  I was linked mostly to pages where I could buy the trilogy (ex. Amazon and Barnes and Noble).  I explored these pages a little more by seeing what people had said about the books in the comment seccions.  Many people actually wrote very informative and convincing comments (I say convincing because I have not particularly wanted to pick up the series in the past).  A little farther down the first page of search results I found the website of the author which also includes information about other books she has written.  There was also an interesting link to a buzzfeed page where 15 other book series are suggested for people who enjoyed the Hunger Games.

If you just type The Hunger Games into google you primarily see information on the movie that is coming out shortly, and information on the filming of the third movie.  A lot about the books does not seem to come up right away.   I also searched The Hunger Games on Tumblr and again, most of what I saw while scrolling through was images and news from the movies. 

In terms of education it could be interesting regardless of which form the media takes because especially because there is a lot of interest in the series right now.  It is easy to find information on it and many people seem to have responded to it online.    

edtech12's picture

Hunger Games Online

Filtering out search results related to movies is a bit of a chore but worth it. The opinions shared about the books are richer than those shared about the movies, perhaps because the books have been around longer. There are numerous articles analyzing aspects of the book as varied as extreme poverty, morality and race. There are also forums that are trying to explain why it's important to let young readers read books like the Hunger Games even though it deals with such raw topics as death, survival and politics.

On a lighter note, there was this one article I enjoyed about what The Hunger Games can teach us about strategizing:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2011/10/21/what-if-anything-does-the-hunger-games-series-teach-us-about-strategy/

Robert Homan's picture

Hunger Games Digital Imprint

I found the main website of the Hunger Games movie franchise to be pretty fascinating, as well as very crowded. The first hit on Google (when I searched for "hunger games") brought me to the website for the first movie, already released, but from there I brought myself to the "Hunger Games Explorer", which is a smorgasbord of official and unofficial, fan-created material. The website is made up a of a lot of small squares, which can then be clicked on and enlarged to focus on a specific bit of information or graphic. Looking at it more closely, it almost seems that the content is culled from a source like Instagram and then brought into the format of the "corporate" Hunger Games design motif (with it's black and gold edges). There's also an option to share the content on any other social network, from Twitter to Facebook. It's obvious that the company behind the marketing of the movies designed the site with the intent of using it as a springboard from which to promote and launch Hunger Games material around the web.

Cynthia Columbus's picture

Incorporating The Hunger Games into the Classroom

I was reading an article called "6 Cool Ways Teachings are Using The Hunger Games in the Classroom" and one of the ways was to talk about social justice. I am just thinking that, with all of the ways that the Hunger Games are advertised on TV and online, focusing on the love story or the action, one might not even understand straight away that under the surface it is about government corruption and violation of human rights. The way the movie is presented online may shut off possibilities of discussing the deeper themes involved and mainly just the teachers that have read the book can appreciate it's potential for discussion.

Cynthia Columbus's picture

response to comment made in class

I am commenting on my own comment, but it is in order to respond to the idea posed in class about the horror or children reading books like The Hunger Games. My response to that would be: How do we go about putting a number (i.e. age) on maturity? How old is old enough to read and learn about a book like this?

wendydays's picture

Dystopian Fiction and War Stories

I find it interesting that you brought up the point about how the educational value of the Hunger Games can be found by 'digging deeper' into the book, and that technology and Hollywood kind of masks those deeper reflections on corruption and social justice. I think this is true because movie trailers tend to only emphasize the 'action' in the film, because that's what people get excited about. 

We can also find a connection to this 'masking' of reality that media hype causes in the Hunger Games by examining how technology exists within the narrative. 

When Katniss becomes a tribute she's "taken to the Capitol and given a glamorous makeover and a wardrobe custom-designed for her by her own personal fashion maestro. She’s cheered by crowds, fêted at galas, interviewed on national television, fed sumptuous meals, and housed in a suite filled with wondrous devices. She’s forced to live every teen-age girl’s dream." I always find it bizarre how the citizens of Panem can turn a blind eye to the this sadistic televised violence of people passively watching their children being slaugthered for entertainment. I think the book touches on some of the effects of emotional desensitization towards violence technology can bring about. These are possible consequences of a being apart of a visual culture that is heavily image-saturated.  

You can read more about the article here: http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/atlarge/2010/06/14/100614crat_atlarge_miller?currentPage=2

Another article I found that was interesting is from the New York Times magazine. It talks about Suzanne Collin's personal background and her own connections to War:

Here is the link to that article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/10/magazine/mag-10collins-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

"Her grandfather was gassed in World War I, and her uncle sustained shrapnel wounds in World War II. Some of Collins’s earliest memories are of young men in uniform drilling at West Point, where her father, who later made lieutenant colonel, was on loan from the Air Force, teaching military history.

In 1968 the family moved to Indiana. It was the year Collins turned 6. It was also the year her father left to serve in Vietnam. War was a favorite topic for her father; and war, "

Collins makes an explicit statement of her intentions for the book, “I don’t write about adolescence,” she said. “I write about war. For adolescents.”In both articles, critics have described the Hunger Games as dystopian literature. It presents us with a society that is government by authoritarianism, and where humanity is reduced to subsistence farming. The Hunger Games has also been described as similair to other 20th century dystopian fiction such as "Brave New World" and George Orwell's "1984." It would be really interesting if teachers could do a compare/contrast of these dystopian fiction novels and draw a connection to current events such as the current politcal debate on Syria.

I feel like the movie for the Hunger Games doesn't stimulate as much critical thinking than a book would, and instead makes us tune out of reality and become consumed by the cinematic spectacle. Webecome engrossed with the story as a form of entertainment.

Therefore I agree with you that we should incorportate Hunger Games into classroom teaching and focus on doing critical analysis with the book, if we wish educational merit from it. 


 

Silentp's picture

cinematic spectacle

Your idea of making a comparison of classic dystopian novels and the Hunger Games is really interesting.  To take iit one step further I would suggest that the novels be compared with the respective movies that followed.  1984 is an unforgettable movie, but certainly did not introduce any glamour to the story.  In fact I would say that the horrors of the story came to life on the screen, making the story seem more plausible.  Yet, not having seen the Hunger Games, I gather from comments in this thread and on the internet that it watered down the story.  This is something quite interesting to discuss in the classroom:  How in fact the digital medium affects how we understand a story.  Does it make it more real, or does it glamorize?  How is this different from reading it on paper and imaginging a story's visual elements?

SMarrie's picture

Hunger Games

On the internet, notably on tumblr hashtags and youtube videos and google search results and google images, the movie Hunger Games seems to be more known than the book version, since the web might be like TV in that it's a visually based medium. But we need to pay attention to both versions, their similarities and differences, and how they affect their viewers/readers and shape their greater understanding of society and human nature. 

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