The Hunger Games and Battle Royale
What makes battles to the death even more exciting? Having kids involved! Wait, maybe that wasn't the direction we really wanted to take there…
|American Literature||All American Literature|
|Author||Collins - Suzanne Collins|
Better don some goggles for this one.
In both books, we've got kids battling other
kids to the death. Hardcore? Yes. But no one can deny there's a lack of action.
Mr. Bay would be proud.
Of course, in both The Hunger Games and Battle Royale, the kids are forced by their government
to be killers.
Why can't these horrible governments ever just force people to make donuts and garden
It would be so much nicer...
In The Hunger Games, the United States has been restructured.
And just as when a major corporation restructures people get... umm... downsized.
In Suzanne Collins's novel, instead of pink slips, kids across the country are given weapons
and filmed as they fight each other to the death.
A fun premise for an action story, but not exactly realistic, some might say.
The idea that any society anywhere would sponsor such a thing is laughable.
We would hope... The best dystopic <<diss-TOPE-ick>> novels
are almost always inspired by very real things.
Just because they're set in the future doesn't mean they don't reflect contemporary concerns.
Sure, we don't have shows where children kill each other...
...but we do have a reality TV culture that gets more and more voyeuristic by the day.
Let's face it: uglier things get higher ratings.
We love watching people's lives fall apart--the more spectacularly terrible things go, the better.
Are we really that far from a return to the real life Hunger Games of Roman gladiatorial arenas?
We have to honestly ask ourselves: if such a show came on TV, would we watch it?
Battle Royale takes place on the other side of the Pacific...
Over in Japan, entire classes of high-school students are selected at random to fight each
other to the death for...um..."research purposes."
We're not sure what they're working on, but it's probably not a cure for cancer.
Maybe they just think it's fun.
They do have a kooky sense of humor over there.
The original novel of Battle Royale by Koushun Takami <<KOE-shun tuh-KA-me>>, the manga series,
and the movie that followed, were all controversial due to their extreme violence.
But, of course, all the controversy...and probably the violence itself...has launched
the Battle Royale franchise to legendary status in Japan...
...much like The Hunger Games in the U.S.
We guess kids doing battle with kids is popular no matter which side of the Pacific you're on.
Both books show us dystopian societies that seem similar on the surface...
...but actually reflect the cultural attitudes of the different countries they come from.
In this unit, we'll see what we can learn about each country by digging into these action-packed...
...but gruesome... depictions of kids at war with kids.