Reflection of Students’ Blog


  • good notes from lecture itself + analysis of lecture – I also like how you compared the lecture to the reading
  • ideas are all well-formed
  • pictures/placement of pictures are good
  • theme is stark, good neutral colors


  • nice purple
  • text is kind of small
  • interesting pictures that relate to topic (ex. “your utopia my dystopia”)
  • ideas well thought out


  • really cool background of districts
  • good placement of pictures and text
  • good references of readings in blog
  • interesting comparisons between The Condemned and The Hunger Games – and sticking to one topic (media) to relate the two was a good idea, made it more streamlined


Reflection of Students’ Blog

Haymitch Abernathy: The Boy On Fire?

Compare and contrast the second book with the film.

As I’ve said before, I do love the Hunger Games movies. The design of the world is beautiful, the story is streamlined and sticks to the book for the most part, and I have no major problems with the actors. I don’t count all of the differences in films adapted from books and I’m generally not disappointed in movies as long as they adhere to the main theme of the story.
But sometimes directors cut out things that I believe flesh out character, or in this case, the relationship between two characters. I understand that the movies cannot be as long in hours as the books are in pages and that some things need to be cut out, but there’s one missing piece in the Catching Fire movie that bugs me: the absence of Haymitch’s Games – or Haymitch in general, really.

The Hunger Games: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion

He wasn’t much of a major character in the first book and movie, since his main function was to help out Katniss and Peeta behind the scenes. But in Catching Fire, his character is notably fleshed out into a victor who is sympathetic and wounded, and the uncaring, drunkardly attitude of the Haymitch we first meet suddenly makes sense. And, in a way, the younger version of Haymitch that we see in a flashback to his Games paints the future of Katniss herself in a horrific light. There are a number of similarities between Katniss and Haymitch that benefit our understanding of both:
They’re both rebels. Haymitch successfully uses his arena as a weapon to win his Games by throwing his axe at the forcefield over the cliff to take out the last player. This is obviously a great embarrassment to the Capitol, who never intended for their players to use the arena’s environment to their advantage. Katniss causes an even greater embarrassment when she pulls her trick with the berries at the end of her first Games.
They both cared for – and lost – someone in the Games. Haymitch and Maysilee Donner become allies early on, and while their relationship is not clear, Haymitch does care for her and tries to save her when she is attacked by the Capitol’s menacing birds. “He holds her hand while she dies,” Katniss describes in the book, “and all I can think of is Rue and how I was too late to save her, too.” (Catching Fire p. 201)


They’re both too snarky for their own good. Though Katniss does not exude confidence, she does acknowledge when she is better and smarter than other people. When Haymitch is asked about the other players during his interview, he comments, “They’ll still be one hundred percent as stupid as usual, so I figure my odds will be roughly the same.” (p. 197) Remind you of anyone? A sassy teenage archer, perhaps?
They are both survivors. Haymitch did not win his Games by chance. He saw through the Capitol’s facade immediately: “The beauty disorients many of the palyers, because when the gong sounds, most of them seem like they’re trying to wake from a dream. Not Haymitch, though. He’s at the Cornucopia, armed with weapons and a backpack of choice supplies. He heads for the woods before most of the others have stepped off their plates.” (p. 198) Katniss is equally disuaded by the “glory” that the Capitol promises its winning victor and all of the hype that surrounds the Games.

They are both broken. “Maybe it should be you,” I say matter-of-factly as I pull up a chair. “You hate life, anyway.”
“Very true,” says Haymitch. (p 177)
All of these similarities make it clear that Haymitch was once a fire just like Katniss, but eventually was beaten down to mere sparks, driven to alcohol and isolation for solace. Of course the director couldn’t have kept all these details in the movie. I would have been interested to see the director’s own condensed version of these motifs, however, because they would have given the audience a chilling picture of Katniss’s possible future, filled with just as much pain and lonliness as Haymitch’s present.

Catching Fire.

Haymitch Abernathy: The Boy On Fire?

Hollywood or the Capitol?

Compare and contrast the first book with the film.


I love The Hunger Games movie. I love seeing the world of Panem come alive – the contrast between the Capitol’s array of blinding, bizarre colors and the stark neutral tones of District 12 in poverty. But as always, there’s something missing in the transition of book to film. Hollywood’s glamorous fingerprints are all over the story that openly mocks our society with comical (but believable) hyperbole, and honestly, it’s the biggest disappointment of the movies.
Let’s start with the issue of race. In the book, Katniss and Gale are described as having “straight black hair, olive skin… the same gray eyes” (The Hunger Games page 8). This physical description is ambiguous – is she Native American, Hispanic, Indian? – but instead of taking the opportunity to offer the roles of Katniss and Gale to non-white actors, casting directors instead decided to give white actors Jennifer Lawnrence and Liam Hemsworth the roles. This commentary is a good read on the reason why casting directors should have given the role to a non-white actress, if you’re interested:
The movie itself is a much cleaner portrayal of the gruesome story – which makes sense, on the one hand. We don’t necessarily need characters to shed buckets of blood on-screen to get the sense that the Games are a brutal and unnecessary practice. But there are smaller details in the books that flesh out the struggles of the characters that do not exist in the movie. Peeta loses his leg after the battle with the mutts at the Cornucopia. Katniss loses the hearing in one ear after the explosion at the Careers’ camp. According to the books, both characters are technically disabled by the end of the Games. Although the Capitol does restore Katniss’s ability to hear, it is never mentioned in the movies – she walks away from the explosion unharmed, even though it’s unrealistic and untrue in the books. And Peeta’s leg is apparently perfectly fine even after an awful infection from a stab wound and an attack by mutts.
There are also some frightening details in the books that the movie failed to portray – the Gamemakers putting the Tributes’ eyes into the mutts, Rue being murdered as she struggles to escape from the net as opposed to her on-screen murder after Katniss has already freed her. These would have been nice to see in the movie as well.
An Entertainment Weekly writer sums up his issue with the movie in this quote: “Basically, The Hunger Games in movie form has become a superhero film” (Franich 2012). He’s right – in the movie, Katniss is portrayed as a hero rather than the emotionally unstable girl with sociopathic tendencies that she is in the book. Her character, like many others, is watered down in the movie to make it more Hollywood, easier to digest, more comfortable to think about. The Katniss that movie-goers know is not the Katniss who is vengeful and stubborn and often in the wrong – she is the pristine martyr, the underdog from Disctrict 12. The movie itself portrays her as the Capitol does to its audience in the books – what does that say about our society?
Franich describes the movie as “exactly the sort of simplified media narrative that Collins was originally criticizing,” and I can’t help but agree. Although the marketing before the film came out was really cool – the advertising from “the Capitol” for nail polish and other frivalous things – it also makes me think about whether our society is really so far off from the Capitol’s.



Hollywood or the Capitol?

Intro + A Short Character Analysis

Why did you choose this class?
As an English major and an avid reader, one of my favorite things to do is absorb a fictional world in the fullest way possible. When signing up for an SIS and discovering that there was a class that focused on a book series I’d been attached to since middle school (seriously, I read the sample chapters on Collins’s website before the first book even came out), I pretty much didn’t have the choice to sign up for anything else. I love examining fiction from every possible angle, from the inner mechanisms of characters’ minds to tracing the world back to our world.

What are you hoping to accomplish in the course?
Exactly what I listed above – to be able to absorb as much as I can of the world. Especially the smaller things that readers might not normally think about, like learning about Appalachia and the physical training that the tributes must go through prior to the games. And, naturally, archery!

What is your favorite character of The Hunger Games and why?
Johanna Mason!



Johanna seems like the kind of person Katniss would be had she not teamed up with Peeta at the end of the first Games to defy the Capitol – utterly ruthless but at the same time completely broken by the Games. Katniss would have kept playing the game to keep her family alive, though that wouldn’t have meant pretending to be in love with Peeta. However, Johanna doesn’t even play the game – she just doesn’t care about the consequences of her actions.

johanna-mason-elevator (1)

Obviously, this ended up biting her when she refused to let President Snow prostitute her as he did to Finnick, and as a result, her entire family was killed. This gives her present-day character a valid reason to continue defying the accepted social structure – because no matter what she does, there’s nothing the Capitol can do to hurt her aside from physically and mentally wounding her directly, which they are obviously hesitant to do since she is a beloved Victor.

Johanna has her flaws – she’s an axe-wielding psycho, for one – but she is also a figure to be admired. She’s tough and she preserves her individuality, no matter what she has to do to ensure that no one wrongs her. She’s similar to Katniss in that she does anything to survive, but instead of surviving for the sake of her family, she survives for herself. And with all of the martyrdom that we see in Katniss, Johanna is an extremely important character because she reminds readers that it’s also important to fight against the “Game” – no matter what our own “Game” is in life – for ourselves as well.


Intro + A Short Character Analysis