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.  


Information From: http://www2.ferrum.edu/applit/articles/HungerGames.htm
Picture From: http://www.reddit.com/r/Hungergames/comments/1wqoux/hanging_tree_wallpaper/
Word Count: 543 Words

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Blog Entry 6

            According to vocabulary.com, 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


Picture From:http://www.thetibetpost.com/images/stories/April-2014/Do_Not_Forget_the_Other_Side_of_China_and_Tibet.jpg
Definition From: http://classroom.synonym.com/examples-places-under-totalitarian-governments-10023.html

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Blog Reflection

When I first opened Devon Denman’s blog, I really liked how she set up the main page. Instead of just scrolling down and reading blog after blog, you click on a picture to get to each individual blog. I also really like how she incorporates multiple pictures in each blog instead of just one picture. She made sure to put pictures that correspond with what she was talking about, and put them after the paragraph that goes along with the picture. I also really like how Devon wrote her entries. A lot of the time when we are given a writing prompt, we think that the tone should be very formal and professional. However, since this is a blog it should still be professional, but less formal and with more feeling. I feel like Devon’s blog posts really show her feelings through the words and the pictures.
The second blog that I looked at was Emma Domser’s. I like how her blog is very simply set up and it is easy for anyone to follow even if they don’t know how a blog works. I like her simple background and the white foreground that the actual post is on, because it doesn’t distract the reader for them focusing on the background. After reading her blog posts, I noticed that each has a topic sentence instead of just jumping into what the question asks. I also really like how she incorporates the previous blog posts into the next post. It shows that she is not just thinking week to week, but she is thinking about everything we have learned throughout the class and combining all the information together to create the best blog she could possibly write.

Word Count:286

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Blog Entry 5

            According to vocabulary.com, a Dystopian Society is “an imaginary society that is as dehumanizing and as unpleasant as possible.” Based off this definition, we can already begin to point out many different ways that The Hunger Games can be seen as dystopian fiction. This definition of dystopia is also Dr. Carpenter’s first point during her lecture: that dystopias are attempted utopias gone horribly wrong. This is shown throughout the trilogy. Many times we hear of the Dark Days, and how Panem was created to ensure peace between The Capitol and The Districts. However, especially in the second and third Hunger Games books, The Districts rebel against The Capitol because they don’t like the Games and they don’t like how they are treated. Panem was created to be a perfect place for all to live; yet it ended disastrously.
            The next point that Dr. Carpenter pointed out was that dystopian societies value stability above all else. Because of this, people don’t have much freedom or individuality. Each district has their own commodity that is made mainly for the Capitol. There is no overlap of production of goods among the districts. This shows government control over these goods, which promotes stability. Henthorne points out “when there is any hint of uprising, the government can cut off food supply…the state’s use of scarcity as a means of control…” (115). The Capitol will do whatever they can to control the districts to create stability throughout Panem.
            This also relates to Dr. Carpenter’s third point, which is that dystopian societies serve the interest of a particular group. In The Hunger Games, this group is clearly The Capitol. The Districts work hard for long hours each day to give their goods to The Capitol. Most of the Districts hardly have enough food to put on the table each day, while those in The Capitol, no matter how far down on the social ladder, never go hungry.  The Capitol is in control, and this dystopia is all about making sure the people in The Capitol have plenty of food and goods while it doesn’t matter that people in the districts are starving.
            Dr. Carpenter’s fourth point is that dystopias reflect contemporary cultural concerns. In The Hunger Games, we see the differences in class not only between The Capitol and the districts, but also among the districts themselves. There is Districts 1 and 2 who have all the food and goods they need, although they are not as wealthy was The Capitol. Then, there are districts like District 8 and 12 where it is normal for people to go hungry for multiple days on end. This also relates to Dr. Carpenter’s fifth point, which is that dystopias frequently call our attention to ways we may already be living in a dystopia. Being able to see how contemporary cultural concerns are reflected makes us think about our world. We have many rich people in this world who have so much money they don’t know what to do with it, which reflects the people of The Capitol. We also have people who don’t have a penny to their name and most of the time, end up starving, just like the people in the districts. Reading books about dystopias, like The Hunger Games, make us think about our lives and how they relate.
            Finally, Dr. Carpenter’s last point was that dystopian societies often involve internalizing of propaganda. We see this throughout all of the books, showing how great life is now after the Dark Days. Henthorne also talks about how media was portrayed through the books, saying “how [mass media] can be used to control people’s beliefs and behaviors, as well as how it can be resisted and appropriated and used for other purposes” (113). In Mockingjay, District 13 also uses propaganda to fuel the rebellions against the capitols. They make the other districts feel some kind of hatred towards The Capitol, and call for action to be taken.
            Looking over all of these points, as well as the article written by Henthorne, it is very clear that The Hunger Games is a dystopian fiction. It fits the dictionary definition of a dystopian society, as well as fitting all of the criteria listed by Dr. Carpenter. While I never realized all of these points before Tuesday’s class, now it is very clear to me that these books were written to portray Panem as a dystopia.

Word Count: 734 words



Picture from: http://libraryblog.freeworldu.org/image.axd?picture=2014%2F2%2Falisdair-miller-urban-landscapes-in-time-futuristic5.jpg
Definition from: http://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/dystopian