Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Hunger Games and Appalachia


In The Hunger Games, there is an importance and significance of music. Some songs, such as "Deep in the Medow," "The Valley Song," or "The Hanging Tree," are examples of the music written in the books and played in the movies. District 12 is very comparable to Appalachia in regards to importance of music. Mr. Walt Michael said, "Ballads are songs that tell a story; these ballads tell stories about Appalachia." Typically, music do tell stories about something, whether it be about the tough life of a rapper or an unbearable break up. Everyone have different ways of expressing stories, and the people of Appalachia endured through the difficult setting of mountainous region. It was hard to create a living from the region because the terrain was not for farming. The major resource, in abundance, was coal; however, the acquisition of coal, itself, requires a tremendous amount of work and destruction. Much like Appalachia, Panem endures through plenty of hardships, such as starvation, hunger, lack of resources, etc. Especially District 12, the difficulty of life matches with the life in Appalachia. Reflecting on the major resources, District 12 also has coal mines to mirror that Appalachia as the same area. Katniss sings "The Hanging Tree," in front of her propo crew while she is in District 12; she learned the song from her dad when she was a child. The song was specifically used for a battle cry. The song tells a story of a metaphor of her experiences in the Hunger Games and the experiences she has with Peeta. When Peeta and Katniss are together, they are more concerned with protecting each other as they reach closer to their deaths in the Games.



Books:
The Hunger Games
Catching Fire
Mockingjay

Sources:
Guest Speaker, Mr. Walt Michael

Photos:

Sunday, March 8, 2015

How is this STILL a thing?

Totalitarian Regimes





There are many different types of government in the world, such as democracies, monarchies, and oligarchies. Out of the many governments, one is set apart from all the rest. This type of government does not condone any form of freedom; it serves the people through absolute control and repressive means of action. Totalitarian regimes represent the extreme of a prosperous government to abide. Some examples in literature involve 1984, Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, and Handmaid's Tale. The Hunger Games trilogy is also a perfect example of a totalitarian regime. With President Snow, the Gamemakers, and the rest of the Capitol, the absolute power over the districts mimic and mirror some totalitarian regimes currently today.


The Soviet Union, run by Joseph Stalin, is one of those unforgettable regimes that all of the Earth knows. A man named Aleksander Solzhenitsyn was a member under his regime; unfortunately, he did not believe Stalin was a justified leader of the Soviet Union. Word got out of his criticism and Solzhenitsyn was sent to a labor camp of Stalin's choice. Refusing commands from the ones who the ran these camps, he was sent to a correctional facility in Siberia. While in Siberia, he wrote about his experiences as member of the camp. Another term for these specific camps was the GULAGS, which mirror the concept of districts in The Hunger Games. Through the gulags, Stalin tortured, imprisoned, exiled, starved, and killed many to the gulags. Twenty million innocent citizens fell victim to Stalin's reign.

  
Question is, why were these governments able to have absolute control over certain countries? Much like The Hunger Games, the Capitol and the Hunger Games's purpose is to maintain stability within Panem. References to North America, Panem is the battered down version of the United States. In the United States, there is lack of employment, no hope for jobs, and loss of homes. Banks have collapsed in the past, the economy is undeniably unstable, and the Democratic and Republican parties are never in agreement. The homeless are still homeless; the hungry are still hungry. Totalitarian regimes, in theory, are supposed to mend these ills that fall onto specific nations. Especially for those nations formidably in need, they require absolute change to be able to continue as a society. With absolute power, there can be absolute change within these nations.



Books:
The Hunger Games
Catching Fire
Mockingjay

Sources:
Of Bread, Blood, and The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games Companion

Photos:
https://freethoughtkampala.wordpress.com/2011/01/26/atheism-and-the-totalitarian-communist-regimes-of-the-20th-century/
http://www.citelighter.com/political-science/comparative-politics/knowledgecards/totalitarianism
http://www.dcclothesline.com/2013/06/11/oh-totalitarianism-where-art-thou/
http://cubanexilequarter.blogspot.com/2012/05/reclaiming-reconciliation-from.html
http://imgur.com/gallery/S0DGZ8J
http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/05/10/u-s-war-on-drugs-all-cost-no-benefit-brings-more-people-to-prison-than-were-in-the-gulag-archipelago/
http://www.sanfranciscosentinel.com/?p=48712
http://brightcitizen.com/united-states-falls-to-second-behind-china-in-size-of-economy-under-barak-obama/

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Reflection On Other's Blogs

Jeremy's Blog:

I enjoyed reading Jeremy's blog where he described certain characters introduced in the first and second books of The Hunger Games trilogy. Much like myself, one of my favorite characters is Finnick; I agree with Jeremy on how he is a bad ass with a trident. However, Jeremy's blog is unclear with certain explanations and details regarding the assignment. Reading his blog, there is no declaration of which Hunger Games book is his favorite. One can infer which is his favorite through his blog description where he is primarily describing Catching Fire. In addition, pictures would be a nice visual for a blog. Jeremy only has a single picture of Rue on his first blog entry. Posting pictures, videos, and visuals for readers is helpful to develop an understanding beyond the blogger's explanation.

Jeff's Blog:

Along with Jeremy's blog, I also enjoyed reading Jeff's blog as well. Reading someone's thoughts gives different perspectives about the blog entries we had to complete. Many individuals in this class have different reasons choosing this specific SIS as a class whether its enjoying the book, inspiration from outside sources, or just because they simply wanted to take the class. Jeff was influenced by his sister to take this class from her love of the Hunger Games. His description of his favorite character is  concrete and justifiable; Haymitch is a favorable character with his witty remarks and drunk outbursts. However, Jeff's blog does not have visuals that pull readers into certain blog entries. Adding different pictures will create a well-rounded blog that many will want to read.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Dr. Carpenter's Lecture

Dystopian description


Dystopian fictions are political, exploring particular social issues by setting up a horrific alternative world in which those issues are highly emphasized. These types of fictions are provocative, striking, and read eloquently like a sermon. An excellent example of dystopian fictions is The Hunger Games trilogy written by Suzanne Collins. This compelling, first person narrative is placed in an alternative world called Panem that is separated into twelve sections of the country; these twelve sections are called districts with different resources, classes, and lifestyles reflecting their image. Modeling a dictatorship, the twelve districts are governed by the all-powerful Capitol. To maintain stability and order, the Capitol forces each district to send a young woman and a young man into an arena to battle to the death.


A guest speaker, Becky Carpenter, notes particular, common characteristics that specify dystopian literature from other types of literatures. First, dystopias are often utopias that have gone terribly wrong with an unstable government, way of living, and censored freedom. In The Hunger Games trilogy, the Capitol believes it is stabilizing and creating order for Panem to completely prosper through this immoral, twisted entertainment called the Hunger Games. Pledging allegiance to the Capitol, each district follows these restrictive laws revolving around the Hunger Games. In reality, the Games are simply a reminder of the Capitol's dominance over the country.

Second characteristic noted by Dr. Carpenter is that dystopian societies value stability above all else where many is sacrificed to achieve said stability. Through severe forms of government, there is undeniable control over human rights, individuality, freedom, production, and the movement of goods. To solidify a presence of stability, the government advertises certain types of propaganda. The Capitol demonstrates its control by stationing guards in each of the districts, rationing certain goods, and preventing freedom and types of individualities. The Capitol also reminds the districts everyday to abide to President Snow with commercials, documentaries, announcements.  

Next, dystopian societies primarily serve the interest of a particular group while pretending to serve the interest of the many. In The Hunger Games, the particular group that the Capitol focused on were the individuals living in the Capitol, especially the higher-ups, such as President Snow and the Gamemakers. Adding to this, dystopias reflect contemporary cultural problems/issues, such as view of materialism, class disparity, and the role of mass media. The ones living in the Capitol are expected to dress elegantly and to judge others' etiquette, wardrobe, etc. Everything is noticed at face value; nothing within the individual is noticed or taken into consideration. A sense of perfect appearance is always on the minds of those who live in the Capitol. 


Lastly, dystopians frequently call out attention to ways in which we, America, may already be living in a dystopia. For example, dystopias stress the role of technology as a means of surveillance, power, and control. In America, the government has many ways to monitor individuals' actions to prevent any type of terrorism, rebellion, or illegal actions. Certain apps on the IPhone give the government a privilege to keep track of what Americans are using their phone for specifically. Making matters worse, dystopian societies often involve internalizing of propaganda to the point where the awareness of propaganda is what it is. The people of Panem attribute the Capitol with the idea of the Hunger Games; all of the propaganda for the Capitol is linked to the Hunger Games. Panem has seen all of the propaganda where it does not even phase the districts. The districts accept the Games as a normal function of their lives, much like holidays. 



  
Books:
The Hunger Games
Catching Fire
Mockingjay

Sources:
Tom Henthorne's Chapter 6: "Dystopia with a Difference"

Photos:
http://www.atheistfoundation.org.au/forums/showthread.php?t=15677
https://biscadmission.wordpress.com/2013/06/06/choosing-your-courses-for-first-year-at-the-bisc/
http://hungergames.biz/page/249/
http://www.hungergamesarena.com/photo/snow-1?context=user
https://pocketwatchkid.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/why-do-i-love-effie-trinket-so-much/
http://giphy.com/gifs/capitolcouture-the-hunger-games-catching-fire-movie-aPLviFa7zxtdu
http://article.wn.com/view/2014/11/20/Make_Sure_You_Are_Ready_For_The_Hunger_Games_Mockingjay_With/