Due to a previous rebellion, the totalitarian-ruled country of Panem is under the thumb of the Captial. As a reminder to the citizens in each district, one boy and one girl is chosen each year to participate in the annual Hunger Games. These "tributes" are required to fight to their death. Televised to the entire country, the districts are forced to watch the horrible brutality, and the Captial citizens are easily entertained by the "festivities."
This is where Katniss, a young gal from District 12, enters the scene. She is deadly accurate with her bow, and regularly sneaks under the fence surrounding her district with her best friend, Gale, to hunt the forbidden woods in order to feed their families. Squirrels are shot in the eye as to not waste any meat. The rare deer is arrowed and used to feed several families. Her arrows find the mark out of necessity. Her family depends on her skill. And now in an awful twist, her skill with a bow may save her life in a different arena.
Before the night of the Reaping, Gale and Katniss consider escaping into the woods and living off the land...
Gale - "We could do it you know. Take off. Live in the woods."
Katniss - "They'd catch us."
Gale - "Maybe not."
Katniss - "We wouldn't make it five miles."
They end up at the Reaping... and when her younger sister, Prim, is chosen as a tribute for the games, Katniss finds herself volunteering to take her place. A selfless act of love that prompts a country's devotion to Katniss, later deemed as their MockingJay. And the boy tribute she finds herself standing next to? A young boy named Peeta who later reveals his love for the girl with the bow, Katniss.
After several days of being paraded and lauded by Capital citizens, the tributes are thrown into an ultimate game of survival where only one tribute leaves with their life. At least that is the original Capital rule.
There is something oddly and disturbingly familiar about this story line. It is supposedly a futuristic tale, and ultimately raises questions of what if? What if our society continues to travel down the current path? Could we become so numb to violence that in turn it becomes nothing but entertainment? The value of life is cast aside. I don't have to paint this picture much further. It's an illustration that we catch glimpses of in current day entertainment and way of life. Our news stories flash images that are already hard to stomach. As I can, I'm sure you can begin to connect the dots... School shootings. Babies unwanted. Discarded. War. Moral Relativism. Hunger. The list goes on, and we go on with our lives. Numb. Indifferent. Complacent.
And what about history? If it is true that it repeats itself, we would do well to reflect on what humanity is capable of, and learn the lessons of our predecessors. I'm reminded of different types of "games" played out... People thrown into Coliseums to be eaten by lions in the name of entertainment. Or a country that decides to cleanse its "inferior" citizens. Gas chambers used to silence multitudes of German citizens simple because they were deemed inferior. The stories are even more chilling than the fictional Hunger Games simply because they have already been written in the history books. They really occurred. And those who lived through them, challenge us to live well, cherish our freedom, and ultimately prevent history from repeating itself.
"If a bird is flying for pleasure, it flies with the wind, but if it meets danger it turns and faces the wind, in order that it may fly higher." - Corrie Ten Boom
While hard to stomach the plot line for The Hunger Games story, I find myself eagerly cheering on humanity. Bottom line, it is a story of good vs evil, and the danger of becoming numb to the reality of evil among us. We like the quick entertainment value, and never mind that it may be at the cost of someone's pain. As Gale asks, "What if one year everyone just stopped watching? Then they wouldn't have the games."
Could it be that simple?
Or maybe the better question is... What do you hunger for? After all, it has been said...
"Blessed are those who Hunger and thirst for Righteousness,
for they will be filled."