Sunday, May 3, 2015

Blog Entry 11

            After rereading all of my blogs and going over everything that we have done in class, I realized how much I have learned over this past semester in class. Even when I signed up for the Hunger Games SIS, I didn’t really know what an SIS was. I enjoyed the Hunger Games books and movies, and I just thought that we were going to go more into depth in the books and the meanings behind them. However, even just after the first day of class I realized that we would be learning much more than that by connecting different parts of the Hunger Games to multiple different disciplines such as history, sociology and more. It was very interesting hearing all the different lectures from all of the guest speakers, and hearing how similar their discipline was to the Hunger Games trilogy.
            I thought the most interesting part of this class was the presentations at the end and seeing how many  more ways the Hunger Games can be related to everyday life. In one of my classes last semester, I did a presentation on the Olympics and political statements that have been made throughout history. When we finished reading the books and started getting into more and more discussion, I started to see an overwhelming amount of similarities between political statements that were made in our history as well as political statements that were made throughout the Hunger Games books. As I continued to listen to more and more presenters as class went on, it was very interesting to me to see how different people related the Hunger Games to real life.
            I think one presentation that was most interesting to me was Devon’s when she diagnosed certain characters from the books with different disorders. She talked about post traumatic stress disorder in Katniss, substance use disorder in Haymitch, and Johanna’s phobia of water. While reading the books and watching the movies, I didn’t think about any of this until I started to talk to Devon about our presentations and saw how much she thought about this the whole time she was reading the books. This also showed me how much our chosen disciplines relate to what we take out of what we read in class. Since Devon is a psychology major, she looked at the books from a psychological standpoint and diagnosed characters with disorders. Since I am an exercise science major, I looked at the games from a sporting point of view and was able to relate them to the Hunger Games.
            While I learned a lot about the books themselves and how they relate to different disciplines, I think the biggest thing I take away from this class will be being able to look at a situation from multiple different angles, and being able to understand that there might not be one correct way to look at something. We have seen this throughout the entire semester with one trilogy being related to many different disciplines, and all of them relating it to different aspects of real life.

            It was interesting to reread the books a couple years later and see how much more I took out of them then from when I read them for pleasure when they were first released. It has been very interesting seeing people’s viewpoints on different aspects, and seeing how people can take one situation and interpret it differently than another person.

Word Count: 569
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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Blog Entry 9

            In Dr. Baron’s lecture on Thursday, he talked about what ethics are and what makes a person good, and then we discussed what makes a person evil in turn. He started out talking about ethics, and said that ethics are the study of morality. Since each person is different, everyone has a different view on what is right and what is wrong. One person may think that decision A is good when another person believes decision A is bad and decision B is good. This was very eye opening as we went over multiple scenarios and people had different views on what was right and what was wrong in each scenario. We then discussed this a little in terms of the Hunger Games, and said how the lower and less wealthy districts think that the Capitol is bad, but the capitol and more wealthy districts think that the Capitol is good and the lower districts are bad.
            We next discussed four different philosophical theories on what is good. The first one was called utilitarianism. This says that to determine if something is good, the action produces the greatest balance of happiness over sadness for the greatest number of people. This means that even if something is best for you, but more people would benefit from something else, the best action to take is one that does not benefit you and benefits others. We see this in the Hunger Games when Katniss shoots President Snow. We learn from the beginning that Katniss wants to be the one to kill President Snow, and she gets her chance at the end of the third book. However, in the end she decides that even though she wants to kill President Snow, in the long run, it would benefit the people of the districts to have President Coin dead since she would be a bad leader for them.
            The second theory is called deontology, which focuses on the duties one has to uphold. This is basically saying to treat others as you would want to be treated. In return, never do anything to another person that you would not like for them to do to you. Since the Hunger Games are about killing others to keep yourself alive, if we apply deontology to that, we can say that this does not follow the golden rule, and in turn the Hunger Games are evil, as well as the people who participate in the games.
            The third theory is virtue. This is just basically asking the question “what virtues make someone a good person?” Throughout the series, we hear about Prim and how loving she is and how she wants to help others however she can. These are virtues that make Prim a good person. We also hear about President Snow. We hear about how he poisoned all of his rivals in the presidential campaign so he would win the campaign. He is also one of the reasons why the Hunger Games continue. These virtues do not make him a good person, in turn making him evil.
            The final theory is care. This is when someone makes a decision for the betterment of care of others. We see this in the first book when Katniss volunteers to go into the Hunger Games for Prim. She knows that Prim has a very small chance of surviving the games since she is small and young. By volunteering, Katniss cares for her sister even though she puts her life in danger.

            Overall, it is very interesting to see how different these theories can be. If you take a situation and have two options, one can be good and one can be evil depending on what theory you are basing the decision off of. It is also interesting to see how much this relates to the Hunger Games. We know that President Snow is evil, but looking at these theories, it is interesting to see how for him and for the Capitol, his decisions could be good or evil depending on your viewpoint.

Word Count: 633
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Sunday, April 5, 2015

Blog Entry 8

            Throughout The Hunger Games trilogy, we see a multitude of different gender relations. We see different relations in The Capitol then in the districts, and for both we are able to relate them to our lives today. We also see the role that romance plays throughout the book, not only with Katniss and Peeta, but also with her family and relationships in The Capitol.
            In the Capitol, there aren’t too many differences in gender roles between males and females. Both males and females go through surgical procedures to change their skin color or face shape or any other aspect of their body that they wish, and they believe it makes them beautiful. Also, in the second and third books we learn that Finnick Odair has many different lovers and admirers in The Capitol. We learn that he has spent his time with women and men throughout The Capitol. This further erases the differences in gender roles, since in our society we see men who spend their time with other men as homosexual, yet in The Capitol it is very normal for people to spend their time with whichever gender they please.
            In the districts, there also isn’t a large distinction between gender roles for males and females. All members of the districts wear the same bland clothing, and the women don’t wear makeup or try to better their looks for the men. In Dr. Raley’s lecture, we focused a lot on Katniss’s gender roles throughout the games. We noticed that she does not wear makeup, nor does she really pay attention to her appearance. At home, she takes on the role of the caretaker once her father is killed in the mining accident. She hunts, sells and provides for her family, which is normally the male’s job in most other families. Through this, Katniss takes on some masculine traits. Another masculine trait that she takes on is not wanting to marry and have children. Women are expected to want to get married and create a family and cook and clean for them. Katniss does not want any of this, and in turn takes on this masculine character trait.
            In the lecture, we talked about how Katniss has some feminine traits as well as masculine traits. We see the love that Katniss has for her sister, and she shows this openly. While Katniss is a hunter, which is a masculine trait, she hunts with a bow and arrow, which is a very feminine hunting tool. We also see Katniss embrace more feminine traits when she is around Peeta and performing for The Capitol. She lets him take control and takes on the feminine role in their relationship.

            It is very interesting to see the differences between our culture and gender roles and Panem and its gender roles. We learned that each culture “does gender” differently. Even throughout our own culture there is variation in gender, and we see this in differences between The Capitol and the districts even though they are one country. It is very interesting to learn about the way gender roles are constructed in certain societies, and shattered in others.

Word Count: 522
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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Blog Entry 7

            When countries grow and change, they make many changes for the betterment of their people. However, there are always certain aspects of life that may stay the same, whether it is the language, traditions or values. Since District 12 is located in what used to be Appalachia, it is understandable that some traditions and values from Appalachia were held on to, and still practiced in District 12.
            In The Hunger Games, each district has their own trade, and it is normally based off their resources. For example, since District 4 is located on the Gulf of Mexico, they have a large abundance and easy access to seafood. Therefore, their job in Panem is to fish and provide the capitol with seafood. Since District 12 is located in Appalachia, they have easy access to the Appalachian Mountains. Therefore, just as the Appalachians were miners, so are the members of District 12. Even as times change and countries evolve, they learn to use their natural resources well. Since the Appalachians had many benefits from mining, The Capitol decided to keep this tradition going and make District 12’s trade mining.
            Another similarity between Appalachia and The Hunger Games is the importance of music, and the type of music. In Mr. Michael’s lecture, he talks about ballads playing an important role in Appalachia. Ballads are songs that tell a story, and have some type of symbolism to what was happening in that time. In The Hunger Games, music plays a large role in District 12, and in Katniss’s life.
            Throughout The Hunger Games trilogy, Katniss talks about how her father taught her to sing, and certain songs that he sang to her. Through this, we can interpret that music reminds her of her father, and it brings her to a happier place than her home in District 12. Throughout the three books, we also hear three different songs that Katniss’s father taught her while they were out hunting.
            The song that stuck with me the most was “The Hanging Tree.” When Katniss was little, her mother caught her singing the song, and she was punished for it because of the vulgar meaning. This song is a ballad which tells a story of a dead man who calls to his lover to join him at the hanging tree, meaning he wants her to join him in death. Throughout The Hunger Games, this song grows in meaning.
            Once she was safe in District 13, Katniss sees Peeta, and she sees the damage that the Capitol is doing to him. She can only imagine the horrors that he is being put through to get any information out of him. This is the point when she really begins to understand the meaning of the song. The dead man is calling to his lover to save her from the horrors of life, just as Katniss wants to save Peeta from the horrors of The Capitol.

            This song, along with the other three, is a ballad, which tells a story that becomes more and more relevant to Katniss as the books continue. These ballads are just as important to Katniss as ballads were to the people of Appalachian. The music itself was very important, as was the meanings behind all of the songs.  

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Word Count: 543 Words

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Blog Entry 6

            According to, totalitarianism is defined as “being ruled by a dictator, and there is very little or no freedom. In totalitarianism, the government controls almost every aspect of life.” Since here in the United States we have a democratic government, it is very scary to think that this type of government is still used in some areas of the world. Places like Iraq, China and North Korea all are under totalitarian regime today, or were recently under totalitarian regime. In these areas, the government controls everything.
            Unlike in the United States, areas under totalitarian regime have no freedom of speech. Everything is censored from their newspapers to their speech, even to the information on the Internet. The government has control over everything from social, cultural and economic aspects of everybody’s lives. Basically, in a totalitarian government, the people have no control over their lives and everything is regulated by the government.
            After learning what totalitarianism is, and reading the Hunger Games, it is very clear that Panem is a totalitarian regime. The government controls all twelve districts. They give each district a job. They regulate food among the districts. They even control the communication among the districts. The only source of information comes from The Capitol, so they regulate their knowledge of what is going on throughout the districts and throughout the capitol.
            There are numerous examples of this throughout the Hunger Games trilogy. The Capitol controls communication among the districts, which plays a large role in none of the districts rebelling for the first 75 years after the Dark Days. Even when districts begin to rebel in Catching Fire, it is not very well known among all the districts until later on in the book.
            Another example of totalitarianism government from the book is the games themselves. Obviously most of the districts don’t want any of their children to go into the games, but The Capitol forces each district to provide one girl and one boy each year into the games. The Capitol also aids districts 1, 2 and 4, so there are many victors from these districts. As Henthorne states, “These children who are selected by the lottery are transported to The Capitol, offered minimal training in survival skills and weaponry, and then sent into an elaborate, outdoor arena where they must fend for themselves.” In districts 1, 2 and 4, the tributes are known as The Careers. While The Capitol technically doesn’t allow the districts to train their children for the games, The Careers do train and The Capitol turns a blind eye to it. Since The Capitol has control over everything, there is nothing the other districts can do except hope that one of their tributes is the victor, though it is fairly unlikely.

            It is very interesting reading about a totalitarianism government, and realizing that this type of power is still used today. It is also very interesting to see how much Panem represents a totalitarian regime. I never really realized that The Capitol represents a real type of government, and it is very scary to think that things like this can actually occur in other countries with this type of government.

Word Count: 528

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