The Hunger Games: A Christian Perspective Part 2

Posted on August 5, 2014. Filed under: Christian, Hunger Games, reflection |

If you have stumbled across this post, and you haven’t read Part 1, you can read that here. It might give you some context as to what I am talking about!

In this post I am going to elaborate on what ideas and themes in the Hunger Games I “reject” from a Christian perspective.

The first theme I see in the Hunger Games that I reject is the idea of “owing someone something/keeping score.” Early on in her life, Katniss was given loaves of bread from Peeta so that her and her family wouldn’t starve. She let this act of kindness hang over her head, and though she was thankful, she felt as though she continually owed him throughout the story. She wasn’t fully able to thank Peeta or even speak to him before the games, and then during the games, these feelings continued to surface.  When she finally took care of Peeta near the end of the Games and saved his life, she finally began to feel as if they were “even.”

At the climax of the story where the remaining tributes were forced to the Cornacopia, Thresh’s decision to let Katniss go was also based on the idea of “owing something.” Katniss had taken care of Rue, protected her, fed her, and ultimately honoured her in her death.  Thresh was also from District 11, and so when he learned that Katniss took care of Rue, he showed his appreciation by not killing her, but letting her go.  Katniss feels connected with Thresh in that moment, because she admits to knowing what it feels like to owe someone something, and so she understands his decision deeply. Once everyone’s debts are squared up, they leave each other knowing that they are now able to fight for their lives because they don’t owe each other anything.

thresh

Though many readers may connect with this theme, and even though I feel a sense of honour at what Katniss or Thresh did, I reject the principle behind it because it lacks the true understanding of grace or mercy. The idea of owing someone something, or making things even is the exact opposite theme from my first post- self sacrifice. The Christian gospel is different than any other religious belief for this very reason. Some religions say you need to do things, and follow rules to earn God’s favour. If you do this, then God will do that.  The gospel says you can do nothing to earn God’s favour; you already have it.  When Jesus died on the cross, he died completely innocent on behalf of the world’s sin.  He rose from the dead, conquering death (and therefore sin) and he now expects NOTHING in return.  Get that? Nothing. It is one of the hardest things for mankind (including myself) to understand.  Romans 10:9 says, “because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Christianity only takes belief.  Technically, we owe God everything, we owe him our salvation, our eternal life, but there is NOTHING that we can do to even out the relationship.  We can’t do more, we can’t be better, because he will not love us more for trying harder.  God loves us SO much that before we were even born, He sent Jesus to die so there would be a way to have a relationship with the God of the universe. The problem with Katniss’s response to Peeta and Thresh, is that she will never be able to experience a deep peace.  If Peeta does one more nice thing, or saves her life again, she will continually feel like she will need to “earn her salvation” and keep things even with him. Though I often stumble with this concept of earning my own salvation, I am so thankful that as a Christian I can experience peace knowing that I am loved, accepted, and saved the way I am, and that I don’t have to earn my way into heaven some day.

scale

The next principle I reject in the Hunger Games is the idea that the Capitol is a happy, joyful place. Sure they have great food, a plethora of clothes, trend setting fashions, and copious amounts of money, but we all know that the author wants us to see past that. The idea here is that the Capitol is meant to be a stark contrast from the districts, or more specifically, District 12.  The Capitol is made to look enticing and attractive, and it does, after comparing it to what the people of the districts have to face on a daily basis. The irony is that as Westerners (North Americans/Western Europeans), we ARE the citizens of the Capitol! Compared to the rest of the world, we are the fools who spend our money on outrageous things.  We are the ones that perform ridiculous procedures on our bodies, and talk about things that would sound atrocious to someone who struggles to find food every day.  So why I reject the idea that the Capitol is actually a happy place, is because when I look around, I know that as a society, we AREN’T very happy.

capitol fashion

Even though we have “things” that are supposed to make us happy, we always end up needing more.  Our consumerist culture demands that we buy the newest and latest thing, and then marketing tells us that once we have it, we will be happy. But we all know that this isn’t the truth.  Go to a landfill.  Everything in there was once NEW. It was once shiny and precious as well.  When I look at the Capitol, I can compare it to sin.  When we chase after our own desires, it looks good… it looks REALLY good.  It might even feel good, taste good, even satisfy, for a time.  Nothing in our world was created to meet that deep need we have inside of us.  Ever hear of the God shaped hole in our heart? It’s not the most perfect analogy, but I know that it often rings true for me.  The analogy is that we have this God shaped hole in our heart that we keep trying to fill with iPods, clothes, houses, love, sex, cars, girlfriends, boyfriends, spouses etc.  But we are always left wanting because the only thing that can fill that void in our life is someONE who is outside of this world.  Someone who doesn’t shift or fade or deteriorate. Someone who is beyond our human standards.  Someone who is so much greater, that no matter how much we have of Him, we will never have it all.  This person is Jesus. Even though Katniss and Peeta can appreciate the delicacies of the Capitol, deep down they know it is not satisfying.  They don’t fall into the belief that the Capitol is happy, and they don’t think that if they move to the Capitol, magically all their problems will go away. They seek a deeper peace, and a deeper rest than the Capitol has to offer.

The third idea I reject from the Hunger Games is when Katniss’s mom emotionally abandons her after her father dies. This is a sad but true human response to suffering. I can’t even say I fully understand the pain people experience when they lose someone close to them.  I have experienced death before, but thankfully I have never experienced someone in my immediate family dying. I can only imagine the deep suffering one must go through when this happens. That said, I reject the idea of shutting others out when death occurs. I believe God has put us here to live in community and to do life together. I think that the best part of the human experience is when we get to connect deeply with other people on this planet. Often times the deepest connections inter-personally happen when one or both parties have experienced a type of suffering, and they are willing to share that burden with the other person.  I think that Katniss’s mom could have experienced more hope and healing had she let her daughters in after her husband’s death.  Though difficult, I think that we, as humans, need to reach out to others in our times of struggle. The times when Katniss experienced peace for her broken heart were when she was allowing Gale or Peeta to comfort her and walk with her on her painful journey. Solitary battles leave lonely hearts.

broken heart

All in all, there are few themes that I reject throughout the book.  I think Suzanne Collins has done an excellent job of maintaining a thread of hope throughout the story, even through the seemingly hopeless conditions Katniss found herself in. I only reject the above principles because through a Christian lens, I know there is a better and more hopeful way.  I don’t think that Collins should have omitted these themes because a lot of them helped to drive our protagonist, Katniss, into the circumstances she often found herself in. The dark parts of the text make for an interesting story, and an even more redemptive ending… Which I will talk about in my next blog post, part 3; The Hunger Games: A Christian Perspective- what I “redeem.”

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2 Responses to “The Hunger Games: A Christian Perspective Part 2”

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I Cannot Believe That A New Movie “The Hunger Games Part 2” Is
Coming Soon To Hit Theaters And It’s Release On November 20th
2015 And It Is Going To Be Fun Movie To Watch Someday And I K
now It Will Be Better Than Part 1 Of The Hunger Games And A Be
st Sequels Too!

PS I Am So Excited And Surprised And Happy To See The New
2015 Film Of The Hunger Games Part 2 And It Won’t Be Lon
g Until Next Year And Time Will Pass After 2014 To 2015!

I Love The New Movie Sequel The Hunger Games Part 2 And It Will Be Better Than Part 1 And I Cannot Wait Until It Is Released And I T
hink Of The New Sequel Is A Good Story And Best Characters From
Previous Film In The Hunger Games Part 1 And Part 2 Is Going To Be A Big Hit Until 2015! A Big Thumbs Up For The New Sequel Of
The Hunger Games!


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