Posted by: Ele Quigan | April 2, 2012

“Catching Fire” aka “Hunger Games 2” Suzanne Collins

So yeah, after churning through the first book in an evening, enjoying the movie, I managed to plough through the next two Hunger Games books in two days.

So what did I get from it? Mostly, as it’s been slightly tied to getting my Visa to stay in the UK, plus this random identity card that includes my biometric data I need to travel with – and now with all internet communications looking to be monitored in the news over the last few weeks, and a history of protests and riots in London (14th district – the financial distract they accidently missed?) – I guess my general feeling of concern about our world has risen somewhat…

And unexpectedly (or expectedly maybe?) I got TERRRRRrrrrrible sleep paralysis the night I was halfway through this book, I think because the subject matter, and the relativeness to now really got to me.

So yes, suddenly I’m feeling like I’m in the midst of the beginning of the end – like the 50 years before the war that caused the Capitol to create the districts and have the Hunger Games as their population control mechanism – I mean what’s too different from today?

There are no jobs for our young people, their idea of hope and a way out is their 15 minutes of fame within shows such as Britain’s Got Talent or BBC’s The Voice. People follow and love celebrities more than they would know who Alan Turing is (or why he should be immortalised on the £5 note) and I’m left questionning at what stage will all of this become too much? What will it take for us to stand up and demand change? or will we continue down this sliding scale of being protected against terrorism and even the true nature of capitalism while the divide between rich and poor ever widens and we become a fully developed culture based on fear?

But I digress. This post was not supposed to be another rant about my concerns for our future? but I guess that’s the affect this (and the 3rd book) has had (too much dystopia will do that to you). I’m suddenly afraid.

Katniss is still her strong, almost bitchy/selfish/manipulating self – and I love her for it. Anger – well is I guess fire, again is her strongest point, running things her own way but not – and not understanding how much was pre-defined before she even went into the arena in Book 1. In typical Ele-style I of course compare that to my own existence, and how much of my own life I think I have control over – but really do I?

The bubbles of rebellion – quashed without a further thought reminded me of the million March here in London months ago, and also the London riots. Yet here they achieved nothing. What would it take for it to spark people to look beyond their own apathy to realise the risks of these small allowances within our lives? At what stage will they need to start carrying identity cards, not just oyster cards. When will reality tv turn from laughing at embarrassment and rewarding the talented to opening up to something more sinister? And will they stand up before then?

I came across an article from my home newspaper on Friday night, before I finished the final chapters of Catching Fire, about women becoming more violent that make me think about how the book portrays Katniss further, with ‘kick-ass’ women in the media being blamed for the increase. The influence of a million women reading about Salander, Katniss, or any number of stronger women portrayed in our media today making it okay to be violent – or at least increasing it where I’m from is a scary thought. But even thought I don’t feel comfortable with the fact that it’s violence that has increased, but I’d be lying if I didn’t feel an absolute glimmer of pride from somewhere showing that we’re not being turned back into 1950’s housewives who are unable to make decisions about birth control or collapse into a state without the support of a man like in the states (yes, another thinly veiled dig at ‘Twilight’ and the GOP. I know, I need some new source material).

So where was I left after Catching Fire? Obviously reaching for book 3 (Mockingjay), and reflective – not only on these small bits of personal freedom that are slowly ebbing away, but also a sense of pride in the fact that finally we have such a wonderfully strong role model for young women who lives and dies by her own choices and is not afraid to make them and live with the consequences, even though those choices are forced upon her by others.

Roll on to book 3, Mockingjay…

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