Sunday, February 1, 2015

Accomplishment, Desire, and Bread


Since I was little, I have always been curious about learning new and exciting things, and stories with out-of-this-world ideas have always appealed to me. Growing up, I was never one to read or write; I was more of a video game fanatic, and I loved games like Pokemon, Digimon, and Naruto. Those story lines gave me insight into how people want to participate in fantasy worlds and make them all their own. Diving into the story, being a part of what is going on, and maybe believing there is validity in some of the tale are all things that can capture an audience and help them create a connection with the story.  Being able to connect with a new world or story sends adrenaline through my veins and gives me the exciting feeling of being alive. If the character in my video game can make it through life-threatening missions, what's stopping me from making it through a simple English lecture?

One day, one of my ex-girlfriends was talking to her friends about this book with an obscure design on the front. At the time, she knew I disliked reading, so she never thought to explain the story to me, but me being curious, I asked her about the book. Confused, she told me the book was called The Hunger Games. What was this book about? Was it about people who were hungry? Do the characters challenge each other in eating contests? She insisted that I read the book myself to find the answers to my questions.

After a week, I finished the book. Wanting the see what happens in the final two, I continued to read them. I have never been so drawn, connected, and emotionally torn about a book in my entire life. I was able to widen my interests from just video games to all forms of storytelling including books and their movie adaptations. Reading The Hunger Games gave me a better understanding of why people read; it changes them. It provides different perspectives; It outlines fears, desires, and needs influenced by society. It causes readers to grow in knowledge. It makes readers aware.

Getting to the point, I chose to take this class because I wanted to gain insight, explore unknown concepts, and broaden the opinions I have on the book based on my previous readings of it. I absolutely love this book and all of the symbolism, characters, and themes that make up such a provocative story line. Along with my desire to learn what I do not know, I want to be able expand my view on books, movies, video games, and even people. I want to be able to dig deeper into the story and see Peeta as more than just a lover boy and Gale as more than the jealous best friend. 


Relating back to the first question, I want to be able look past the cover of book. Everyone says "Don't judge a book by its cover," but I feel like I am one those individuals who judges many things without giving myself a chance to like them. I want to be more open-minded, okay with new, obscure things, and be able to accept different backgrounds, perspectives, etc. 

I also want to learn more about the books origin. Again, I was never much of a book worm, but I always wonder how books come to be the wonderful pieces of paper they are today. Obviously, there is so much thought spent on creating the book; editing several times, and countless spell checks. Looking past technical issues, where does the author, in this case Suzanne Collins, acquire the inspiration to create a piece of work to move millions? Does she do it because she thinks it's fun? Did something happen to her when she was a kid? Does she want to give more insight on dystopian government and comment on how close we are to it?

I would like to be able to explore the wonderful world of The Hunger Games and truly expand on my thoughts and beliefs. 


Out of all of the characters in The Hunger Games trilogy, my absolute favorite character would have to be Peeta Mellark. Reading through the first book, I really loved Katniss, The Girl on Fire, but the Boy with the Bread stood out to me more. Of course, Katniss has impressive survival skills, an attractive personality, and the ability to kill me in a second; however, I saw easier through Peeta's eyes than through hers. A flustered, young man paired up with his long time crush was a very relatable story. His words spoke to me whenever he was talking about Katniss and it was easy to see that he was a genuine character.

From the beginning, Peeta entered the games as Peeta, and left as the same person. I mean maybe a little more mentally scarred from nearly dying twice by Cato's blade, but that is beside the point. Before entering the arena, Peeta said, "I don't know how to say it exactly. Only... I want to die as myself... I don't want them to change me in there. Turn me into some kind of monster that I'm not" ( Collins 141).  This line has stuck with me ever since I first read the book. I was fifteen at the time, and four years later those words continue to resonate with me.

When I was growing up, I was ALWAYS picked, teased, bullied, and criticized for who I was. I was never seen as an accepted individual when I went to school, to practice, to work, or even at home. I wanted to change everything about me, so the world would stop badgering me to be everything I am not. Both my father and mother encouraged me to be strong and continue to be me:"Just because society is telling you that no one will like the color of your hair, how tight your pants are, or what logo is on your shirt, it should not take away from who you are. Embrace who you stand for. You stand for yourself." Through adversity, I haven't changed a single thing about myself, and if I have, it was only to better myself to improve, to surpass those who don't believe in my capabilities. I feel for Peeta because I see a lot of myself in his character. He may not be perfect, but he is pretty damn cool.


The Hunger Games
Catching Fire


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