Author Archive: Heather Leigh Hunt
I am the author of a handful of novels, and work for a Detroit newspaper, but most importantly, I love The Hunger Games trilogy!
“I’m super excited… it’s going to be amazing,” she told E! on Thursday night. Though she says she has not met with the director yet, reading the books is a task she already had under her belt.
“I read the whole series over a weekend when I had a wisdom tooth out,” she said. ”I was in bed looking for something to read and my little sister recommended it like a year and a half ago, so she was like, ‘You have to read it! You have to read it!’ And so I’m glad I finally did and I loved it.”
Victoria’s Secret released their “What is Sexy?” list to USA Today, and Jennifer Lawrence can now claim the title of “Sexiest Eyes.” Some of the other winners? Charlize Theron took the title of “Sexiest Actress”, Emma Stone won for her sexy sense of humor, Beyonce is the icon of a sexy mom, and Amanda Seyfried made the list for her lips. I think they made a great selection in adding Jennifer to the list, and I think those piercing eyes are part of what made her so perfect for Katniss.
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to interview both Nicolas Michaud and George A. Dunn, the editors of the book The Hunger Games and Philosophy: a Critique of Pure Treason. Both George and Nicolas also contributed their own chapters to the book, and offered some fascinating insights into their thoughts on Panem, the Capitol, and The Hunger Games series in general. I highly recommend taking the time to read their thoughts. Below is my interview with George A. Dunn. (Warning, it does contain spoilers if you have not read the entire series!)
If you had to summarize what the book says about The Hunger Games trilogy in only a few sentences, what would it be?
George: That’s a tough one, but how about this? The Hunger Games trilogy isn’t only about an extraordinary teenager who volunteers to enter an arena death match in order to save her sister and ends up sparking a rebellion that topples a tyrannical regime. It’s also about the meaning and significance of art, entertainment, music, morality, luck, suffering, gifts, family, science, love, gender, authenticity, identity, warfare, rationality, virtue, justice, fashion, education, and human dignity. The Hunger Games and Philosophy explores all those themes and shows how the Hunger Games trilogy can help us to think about them and their importance in our lives.
Is there one book of The Hunger Games trilogy in particular that you really love because of the philosophical principles behind it?
George: I love all the books. Every one of them is exceptionally rich in philosophical themes. But I have to admit that there’s something about the ending of the last book, Mockingjay, that really struck a chord with me. Of all the books, it doles out some of the greatest horrors, but at the same time it offers a fragile but still very real hope that many of the evils of this world can be overcome. That hope resides in Katniss and Peeta’s two children, who play in a meadow that they don’t realize is a graveyard. Early in the story, Katniss confides to Gale that she never wants to bring children into the world. She doesn’t want to produce more little workers and potential tributes to feed Panem’s cruel engine of evil. That she changes her mind strikes me as a testament to hope. Katniss will never again be entirely whole after the horrors she’s endured in the arena and the rebellion—and I’m not just talking about the terrible things that have happened to her, but, even worse, the terrible things she’s had to do and the kind of person she’s had to become. As I argue in my chapter, she’s a victim of “bad moral luck,” morally compromised due to circumstances over which she had no real control and with no way to reverse what she’s become, at least not entirely. There’s no changing the past, no reset button to restore the innocence she’s lost. Or is there? Children in a way are that reset button. They’re a new beginning, the meadow that replaces the graveyard, and the triumph of hope over the fear—Katniss’s quite justified fear!—that the renewal of life is really just the perpetuation of evil. I like that Collins ended her trilogy on that note.
You have been a part of a number of Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture books. Some cover more lighthearted entertainment. The Hunger Games trilogy; however, has a pretty direct message in relation to society and justice. Did you feel that in editing this book in the philosophy series? How was this book different compared to the other philosophy books?
George: The Hunger Games and Philosophy is actually the third book I’ve edited in the series, after True Blood and Philosophy (released in 2010) and Avatar and Philosophy (which still hasn’t been released). Those books also included chapters that dealt with political philosophy and social justice concerns, so those aren’t new topics for me. Where the Hunger Games trilogy differs from a lot of other pop culture media is in its explicit focus on entertainment and fashion—in particular, extreme, envelope-pushing entertainment and fashion. One of the most intriguing aspects of Suzanne Collins’ trilogy is how it gets us thinking about what our taste for certain forms of entertainment, such as those that involve the suffering and degradation of other human beings, might say about us. We’re very lucky to have some excellent chapters in our book that tackle that theme and deliver some really good insights.
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to interview both Nicolas Michaud and George A. Dunn, the editors of the book The Hunger Games and Philosophy: a Critique of Pure Treason. Both Nicolas and George also contributed their own chapters to the book, and offered some fascinating insights into their thoughts on Panem, the Capitol, and The Hunger Games series in general. I highly recommend taking the time to read their thoughts. Here is my interview with Nicolas Michaud:
What do you think Hunger Games fans will enjoy most about your book?
Nicolas: I think many HG’s fans will feel validated. They know that there is a lot of deep intellectual and emotional value in the book series they love so much. But it is technically a book for young readers, so I am sure that they have to deal with some skepticism. In reading our book, they will see how professional philosophers and thinkers agree with them. And our text helps the reader explore those ideas even more deeply.
You have been a part of a number of Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture books. Some cover more lighthearted entertainment, such as 30 Rock and Philosophy, and SpongeBob Square Pants and Philosophy. The Hunger Games trilogy; however, has a pretty direct message in relation to society and justice. Did you feel that in editing this book in the philosophy series?
Nicolas: Yes. To some degree it was difficult to get away from the ethical issues that are so prominent in the books. And I didn’t really want to get away from them, as they are so powerful. It was important that we made sure to cover a more than just ethics in the text, else our book would not have given a true portrait of philosophy as a field and it would have been a little redundant. However, it is those ethical questions that really drive the book series, and I think you see strands of those ethical tensions running through even the least ethically related of our chapters.
How was this book different compared to the other philosophy books?
Nicolas: Well some of the other books I have participated in are a great deal more lighthearted. Really, of the ones I have written for, I think The Hunger Games and Philosophy is the most serious. So with the other texts we could afford to be a bit more playful and share philosophy with people in a very lighthearted way. But in this book our audience would not have appreciated much in the way of jokes, I think. So, it was important that we keep our own book in line with the tone and seriousness of Collins’s work.
The full, uninterrupted episode of Reelz TV’s “The Hunger Games: Inside the Arena” is now up on their site! Which actor’s interview did you enjoy the most? Let us know what you think!
ReelzChannel Specials | Movie Trailer | Review
We may have become accustomed to seeing Jennifer Lawrence as a futurist heroine with a dark braid and a bow and arrow, but soon audiences will see her in a throwback piece circa 1929. In Serena, she will star opposite Bradley Cooper as his wife, a woman who can’t bear a child and eventually commits a murder that involves a child her husband had before the marriage. The flick is adapted from the 2009 Ron Rash novel, and set to be released in 2013.
Two years in a row now, The Hunger Games has made it onto the list of “most challenged books” according to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. A challenged book, according to the association, is one that is subject to “formal, written complaint[s] filed with a library or school requesting that a book or other material be restricted or removed because of its content or appropriateness.” Among the complaints are sexually explicitness, being unsuited to age the group it is marketed for, and violence. When Suzanne Collins initially heard the news, she told The Associated Press:
people were concerned about the level of violence in the books. That’s not unreasonable. They are violent. It’s a war trilogy.”
I can understand the violence, and even contesting the Young Adult label (which maybe Joel Stein should take into consideration). But sexual explicitness? I’m trying to figure out where that comes into play. Regardless, requesting that the book be removed from library shelves sounds a little too close to book-banning for my taste (and also reminds me of “The Hanging Tree” – the song in Mockingjay forbidden for its message). Your thoughts?
Here’s one to get you fired up. Joel Stein has written a piece for the NY Times declaring that “adults should read adult books” and apparently nothing else. In his essay for The Opinion Pages, he states:
The only thing more embarrassing than catching a guy on the plane looking at pornography on his computer is seeing a guy on the plane reading “The Hunger Games.” He continued, “I appreciate that adults occasionally watch Pixar movies or play video games. That’s fine. Those media don’t require much of your brains. Books are one of our few chances to learn…I have no idea what “The Hunger Games” is like. Maybe there are complicated shades of good and evil in each character. Maybe there are Pynchonesque turns of phrase. Maybe it delves into issues of identity, self-justification and anomie that would make David Foster Wallace proud. I don’t know because it’s a book for kids. I’ll read “The Hunger Games” when I finish the previous 3,000 years of fiction written for adults.”
Everyone is of course entitled to their own opinion. As an avid reading and writer myself, I can say that many YA novels are written leaps and bounds better than many adult novels. I’m talking huge leaps and bounds in some cases. (Anyone who has read The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater will probably agree with me.) But of course, this is part of the opinion pages. More than anything, I think Joel Stein is just missing out seeing as he refuses to read it. Your thoughts?
When I read that Suzanne Collins hoped that readers of The Hunger Games would think about what similarities exist in our own world that remind us of life in Panem, my first thought was that it sounded a little too much like a cliché book report. Sure, okay… we have reality television, and some notable gaps in wealth. But really, how could our lives be anything like that of The Hunger Games?
As I started to look a little more closely at our current culture; however, I noticed more and more the sometimes startling parallels. It’s more than just the current trend of stars coloring their hair in unnatural shades. Reality shows receive some of their highest ratings during episodes that include physical violence. The gap between the rich and poor is ever widening, with the top-earning 20 percent of Americans receiving 49.4 percent of all income generated in the U.S. While extreme poverty (as pictured on the far right in my own hometown of Detroit) is not only present but increasing. Though some debate whether or not human-induced climate change exists, there is no question that weather patterns are shifting and ice caps are melting. But then, an actual televised death match? I don’t know…
I would love to hear some opinions from you savvy Mockingjays. What do you think? Is the idea of a Panem-like future a valid possibility, or do you think it would never happen?
Generally speaking, the movie industry has been trying to relive the Golden Age of Action since its ’80s heyday, with little success. Alex Pettyfer, Jason Momoa, Justin Timberlake, and “John Carter’s” Taylor Kitsch are among those who have been unsuccessful in embodying an action hero the masses can rally behind of late. In her article for NY Daily News, Elizabeth Weitzman tells us how Katniss appears to be filling the role in which many male leads are falling short.
Jason Statham comes closest to replicating Bruce Willis’ deadpan swagger, while The Rock had potential, until he donned a tutu for “Tooth Fairy.” But even once-unassailable stars like Willis, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger have to band together — as they will in this summer’s “The Expendables 2” — to make any sort of impression. And when they do, will it compare with the impact we’re about to see from a 21-year-old woman? Because this year’s biggest action hero is very likely to be “The Hunger Games’” Jennifer Lawrence. As Katniss Everdeen, Lawrence brings us a warrior tougher than any in recent memory. At just 16, she single-handedly supports her family. Stares down death on a tragically regular basis. Insists, despite intense opposition, on remaining the master of her own fate. And is far more likely to save boys than swoon over them. (Though “Twilight” and “The Hunger Games” are often compared, the self-reliant Katniss has little in common with the oft-rescued Bella, a character perpetually defined by her relationships.)”
Weitzman goes on to compare and contrast Katniss to many of the modern heroines, such as the variety of characters Angelina Jolie has portrayed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Zhang Ziyi from “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.” It seems Hollywood churns out action hero after action hero, trying to find one that will stick in the minds of fans. Katniss is likely to be exactly what they’ve been searching for. I recommend reading the whole article!