The Hero’s Journey: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games, the first of a series of novels written by Suzanne Collins, is a story based on the protagonist Katniss Everdeen and her journey through a series of challenges related to a nation wide game held titled “The Hunger Games.” As the stories hero, she follows a existential map laid out to exploit her skills as a hunter, her compassion towards her peers and sister (all of whom she protects in order to encounter the challenges that follow), and her will to survive through trails of bravery. Clearly not alone in her mission, she follows the general “heroes journey tropes” as she transforms into a figure of inspiration and a reflection of how exactly we live in today’s world. It begs the question of whether or not we as a society might be heading the same direction, and, if so, what more can we learn from this other than simple entertainment?

Inspiration? I THINK SO!

Exploration, adventure, wondering what might be at the other end of the world (as this painting of Christopher Columbus portrays) are all questions we ask ourselves before venturing off to a possible challenge that we encounter during the grand scheme of life. Although Katniss might not of been looking forward to venturing upon the deadly hunger games, what we perceive as an audience is essentially this, curiosity. How do does one exactly go on taking a quest that they certainly don’t know the outcome? What do they do in order to survive and bring back something to share? This is the shadowy outline that Katniss follows and does so perfectly throughout a series of twists and turns that we, the audience, watch nervously throughout the story. However, does she have something that the audience cannot relate to? Absolutely not. Sure, she may be a well endowed archer/hunter, but without her values of compassion and bravery would she be the victor of the hunger games in the first place? This is what makes her story so easily perceived by the audience as it inspires us to act upon these same values. It’s not necessarily the situation that makes this story so likable, but the building blocks that make her as a person. The story teaches, and hopefully inspires, us to act on what we care about most.

SO! Does The Hunger Games reflect real life? 

Aside from what makes us enjoy this story in particular, The Hunger Games can be seen as a satire of how our current society lives. Throughout the past two decades we have been exposed to reality TV and the gruesome, and most of the time scripted, actions that are portrayed in this genre. What The Hunger Games exposes is the unfortunate truth of the route we are heading as the masses. How real does our entertainment have to become until we are completely desensitized from the pain and suffering exploited? While I think The Hunger Games are an extreme case on this scenario, think about shows like Cops or American Gladiator.


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