Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Hunger Games And Religion/Judaism

Yes, the Hunger Games is a young adults book. Yes, I'm currently writing a PHD. However, I'm enjoying the books, and will sooner or later probably see the movie. Jeffery Weiss points out something I've missed about the books - the total lack of any religion:

So what about religion? There isn't any. Not a prayer. Not an oath. The word "god" does not so much as appear in any of the books. Nobody even says "oh my gosh."
There's no ritual that isn't totally grounded in some materialistic purpose. Not a hint of serious superstition. Unless I missed it, there's not a remotely idiomatic reference to the supernatural.
The story is plenty busy without it, but such an unequivocal expunging can only have been intentional. We learn fine details about fashion and food and weaponry and the shape of furniture and the color of dust and so on and so on. She [the author] easily could have dropped in a couple of casual references to faith.

It's hard for me to imagine a real human future where either use of religion vanishes without a trace. But for her own reasons, Collins went in neither direction. It's a curious incident, a dog that should have barked.
A friend of mine who has read the books asked me a much more interesting question than "where is the religion." Where, she asked me, was God in this story? Had he abandoned humanity?

Weiss doens't actually answer the question, of why God is absent in the "Hunger Games". To be honest Suzanne Collins "world building" is fairly weak. The Hunger Games does not paint a full society (which I guess is why both the left and right have been able to claim the series for their own) - other than the "Hunger Games" themselves we know next to nothing of the post apocalyptic society the books take place in. Regardless, I accept Weiss point that Collins must have intentionally kept God out of the Hunger Games.

No comments: