CATCHING FIRE: THE BEST OF THE HUNGER GAMES

Catching Fire is the second book of the Hunger Games trilogy, and personally, it is the most enjoyable. It is also likely to be the most essential of the three. Through character development and storyline, it establishes the right conditions for the conclusion of the story, the beginning of the end. What I truly like the most about this book is just that, the storyline and the character development going along with it.

The first half of the story is slow as Katniss and Peeta travel through the districts. Before that, however, we experience Katniss’ first personal interaction with president Snow, who pressures her into using her time traveling to convince him, and everyone in Panem, that she is madly in love with Peeta instead of the inciter of a revolution. Throughout this time, we learn more about the districts, experiences Katniss’ struggle to please president Snow and witness the beginning of a revolution, starting with District eleven’s small acts of defiance, and including, later on, the tributes holding hands during the interviews. There’s chaos in Panem, and that is reflected in District 12, as control and oppression from the Capitol increases. Throughout Catching Fire, The tension in the storyline keeps the reader on edge, full of angst and excitement, unable to stop wondering what would happen next.

In addition, at first, Katniss’ friendship with Gale begins deteriorating, and Peeta can barely look her in the eyes. After Gale has been wiped at the hands of the peacekeepers, however, her feelings for him materialize in a kiss, yet Katniss began relying on Peeta, spending the nights with, during the time they travelled the districts. In this book, the love triangle evolves, and we see Katniss’ confusion truly expanding. She loves them both.

As the storyline progresses and the pace picks up, the 75th Hunger Games begins, one in which the poll of tributes includes the victors of the past Hunger Games. Katniss and Peeta are once again sent to the arena. Also, we meet some of the most interesting and enjoyable characters, Finnick, handsome and arrogant, and Johanna, stubborn and inhibited. The arena in itself proves to be one of the strongest elements in the book. In dark way, it is fascinating. Equipped with twelve different deadly sections, the tributes fight each other to death in an arena that might kill them itself. It is here where we see most character development in Katniss. When Peeta almost dies, we realize that she truly loves him, and during their time in the arena to a certain point, she does as well. Most importantly, it is through her time in the arena that she realizes who is truly the enemy.


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Catching Fire: The Revolution

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The second book of the Hunger Games trilogy presents the beginnings of a revolution. After Katniss Everdeen showed the ultimate act of rebellion, beating the Capitol in its own game and surviving the Hunger Games, something has ignited the nation. The book and the movie portray this change, the beginning of the revolution. In certain instances and small details we see the birth and growth of the rebellion through Katniss’ experiences. The book and the movie; however, show this differently. While some particular occasions are similar, most are not.

In the movies, one of the first instances in which we see traces of the rebellion is when Katniss, as she travels through the districts, sees the symbol of the mockingjay painted in a tunnel. In both the movie and the book, the mockingjay centers the rebellion. It is the principal symbolizer of the revolution; however, this incident in the tunnel doesn’t happen in the book.

When Katniss and Peeta visit District 11, the citizens touch their three middle fingers to their lips and extend them out to them, another symbol of rebellion. Originally, this was a tradition from District 12, meaning respect and goodbye. It was first seen when Katniss volunteered for her sister in the Hunger Games, and it became a sign of rebellion. An old man, the one who whistled Rue and Katniss’ song, and started this, was killed. With small differences, this scene is a part of both the book and the movie. However, unlike the book, the movies show instances like this happening all throughout the districts and people been publicly executed as result.

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Also, in the book, during the party at the Capitol, the new gamemaker Plutarch shows Katniss a watch that has a hidden mockingjay symbol. This implies a significant sign of rebellion. He doesn’t only posses the one obvious symbol of the revolution, but he hints at Katniss what the next arena is going to be all about. This scene, however, is not part of the movie.

Similarly, the movies completely take out Bonnie and Twill, a couple from District 8 claiming to be escaping toward the obliterated District 13. Katniss finds them in the woods, and they immediately show her the symbol of the mockingjay, expressing that they are rebels. Katniss helps them out as much as she can, and in return, they tell her everything that’s been happening in the Districts, especially district 8 which is where the first strike takes place.

While the movie takes some scenes out, it adds or modifies others. For instance, at one point in the movie, Katniss has a conversation with her sister who tells her that something in the Districts has changed since the games. She is most likely hinting at a collective sense of hope and rebellion, but this conversation never occurs in the book. Likewise, the movie alters the way Katniss finds out about the war taking place in District 8. In the movies, she sees it happening in the mayor’s house while visiting Madge, and in the movie she sees it in the train.

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Many similarities and differences take place between the book and the movie. One of the most significant acts of rebellion, that happen perfectly similar in both, is the tributes holding hands. That incident and Peeta’s false confession about Katniss been pregnant have the potential to provoke something in the Capitol, some kind of rebellion in itself.

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The Hunger Games Book vs. Movie: Characters

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The Hunger Games movie adaptation was a success. As a fan of the book, I personally loved it, and I believe it stayed, for the most part, true to the storyline. However, we can’t deny that there were some relevant alterations. The characters represent a key aspect that successfully portrays the most important differences and similarities between the book and the movie. Some major characters were completely removed from the movie. On the contrary, other characters were more engaged, and lastly, like the book, the major characters stayed true to their nature, even though some slight differences are evident.

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One of the most notable differences in regard of the characters is the absence of Madge, the Avox girl and Peeta’s father. Madge is the daughter of the mayor of District 12 and the girl that actually gave Katniss the mockingjay pin. The Avox girl is a servant in the Capitol that was captured for a crime or treason and got her tongue cut out. Katniss knows this girl because she witnessed her capture and did nothing to help her, yet this girl is ultimately kind to her. Lastly, Peeta’s father is a quite man that visits Katniss after the reaping, gives her cookies and promises to take care of Prim. These characters don’t appear in the movie, maybe because of their short-lived appearances in the book; however, I believe this was a mistake since these characters are essential to the development of the story and Katniss’ character. Madge, the privileged girl whose family works for the government, has a small, yet big, part in igniting the rebellion. She defies the capitol by obviously hating the games and by possessing the pin, which been a mockingjay is in itself a symbol of defiance because of its history. The Avox girl represents the brutality of the capitol, but she specially represents the fact that no every citizen in the Capitol agrees with the totalitarian regime, or is safe from it. She could also be foreshadowing aspects of the rebellion. Lastly, Peeta’s father’s act of kindness is equally important in showing the nature of some people, such as Peeta, and the society.

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In addition, unlike the book, we see a lot more of Gale, President Snow and the Gamemakers in the movie. Because in the movie we don’t have to experience the story solemnly through Katniss’ eyes, we get to experience these characters in more depth. In a few occasions we see Gale as he copes with Katniss been at the games and everything that happens in the arena. Also, we witness more of president Snow’s ruthless and dangerous nature as we see more of him throughout the movie as the games take place, speaking his mind and making choices about them. Moreover, The movie gives the audience the opportunity to look at the Gamemakers as they work the arena. Specially, we see the head Gamemaker, Senaca, like we never did in the book. We see how he is “executed” at the end of the games. However, the movie shows that he was forced to eat poisonous berries, which in the book in unknown.

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In a different note, the movie does a good job at keeping the essential characteristics of the main characters the same. Even though we don’t get into Katniss’ head in the movies, she is pretty much portrayed just as she is supposed to be seen in the exterior. We see her passion and her hostility as well as her confusion and every other emotion, or lack of thereof, that represents her. Gale is, equally, the same boy next door he is in the books, and Peeta the same boy, charming and kind. His story, however, does change in respect to how much he suffers in the arena. In the book, he goes down harder, bloodier and much more painful. Also, he is somewhat more transparent in the movie; whereas in the book he is slightly harder to figure out, maybe because we see him through Katniss’ suspicious eyes. Ultimately, the basics of his nature is pretty much portrayed the same. One small, yet important detail is that Haymitch is blond in the movie. In the book, he is supposed to be dark-haired since he is from the Seam. Then again, his basic drunk and careless nature is evident, until that changes and we see him fight to get sponsors for Katniss and Peeta, something that we don’t actively see in the book. Overall, it is the same with the most characters. We get from them what we can with the limitations of time that a movie presents. I believe, however, that this movie makes a decent job, and more, of portraying the characters.

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As expected, the Hunger Games movie differs extensively from the book. However, the similarities are equally notable. As shown, these differences, when it comes to the characters, in a way serve to both hurt and help the story. Some characters that need to be part of the story aren’t. Also we get more insight into other characters, which helps the story. The weaknesses and strengths of the movie in comparison to he book could’ve been more balanced. Overall, the movie was, without a doubt, great, yet as usual, not as great as the book.

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SIS: The World of The Hunger Games

Sophomore Interdisciplinary Studies: Why did I Choose This Class And What Am I Hoping to Accomplish?

As a student in McDaniel College, I am required to take a Sophomore Interdisciplinary Studies class, and the World of the Hunger Games is one of them. However, that’s not the entire reason why I chose to take the class. The first time I read The Hunger Games was few years ago. I finished the trilogy in a week, and needless to say, it was fascinating. With a raw and powerful storyline, this trilogy simply blew my mind. It explores issues that people struggle with in the here and now, things we’ve seen or we know about such poverty and starvation, oppression and rebellion, among others. These issues are thrown into a dystopian world in which forcing children to fight to the death in an arena is entertainment. Moreover, the characters are complex and intriguing. Simply put, this trilogy is dark, enjoyable and captivating. It is intellectually stimulating and challenging. An interdisciplinary course is about studying a specific theme through the lenses of different disciplines, and this complex trilogy offers the complete and ideal material for the course. By taking The World of The Hunger Games, I am hoping to enhance my critical thinking and textual analysis skills through the study of one theme through different disciplines. Also, as I’ve established, I am fascinating by this trilogy, and I would love to study it in depth through an academic perspective and gaining a better understanding on the themes it has to offer. Lastly, being a sociology major and political science minor, The Hunger Games is an excellent case study.

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The Hunger Games: My Favorite Character

My favorite character of The Hunger Games is Katniss Everdeen. It is through her eyes that we experience her world. Her character is raw, a female hero, a survival. She is intelligent and inspiring. However, what I like the most about her is not in her most redeeming qualities, but in her imperfections. She is a sixteen-year-old who was thrown into horrific situations. She had become a survival at a young age, taking care of herself and her family in a dangerous world only to be forced into a worse one, and at last, she became a revolutionary. Indeed, she was brave, her love and loyalty were admirable and at the end of the day, she took the challenge of being the face of the rebellion, leading a nation into freedom. Nonetheless, the truth is that m ost of her actions were simply accidents. She never planned to begin or lead a rebellion. All she ever wanted was for her and her loved ones to survive. The mistakes she made along the way were seemly endless, her confusion and cluelessness were unmistakable and the magnitude of the pain she experienced, emotional and psychological, was immense. At the end of the day we couldn’t forget that she was only sixteen, and that is why I love everything about her. Her flaws and her strengths make her real.

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