"Hunger Games" a "Catholic novel"?

I noticed on Wikipedia that “The Hunger Games” author Suzanne Collins is a Roman Catholic. (In the “Personal life” section.) Her trilogy includes a lot about sacrificing for others and abuse of power. Would you consider “The Hunger Games” a “Catholic novel”?

I think Flannery O’Connor would say yes! (I just finished O’Connor’s “Mystery and Manners” so she’s been on my mind. These are some quotes from it.)

Let’s see a book about kids killing kids for entertainment that is wrapped around in pro-Marxist lingo. :juggle:

There are a lot of very deep moral issues tackled in the series.

I wouldn’t call it Catholic though. There is no religion in the book even if it deals with moral issues.

Just because an author is Catholic does not mean their novels are automatically Catholic. :slight_smile:

This is NEVER dressed up as a ‘good thing’. It is very clear in the book that the Hunger Games are a distasteful and horrible thing.

Very interesting - our youth group just discussed this!

Does Katniss have a lot of GREAT qualities? Yes:
- sacrifice (volunteered for her sister)
- provider (was able to support her family after her father died)
- firm in beliefs (didn’t want the Capitol to change her)
- courageous
- protective (protected Rue during the arena)
- giving (was willing to die to get Peeta medecine for leg)

Does Katniss make decisions and suffers the consequences from those decisions? Yes:
- kills two in the arena (suffers physcological problems afterward, ie. nightmeres, etc.)
- plays along with Haymitch’s plan for teenage lover act (looses relationships with Gale
and is seen differently in her village)
- goes against the governement (family suffers, life is harder.)

Are there situations that prove that Katniss should be imitated? Yes. Is there situations that prove Katniss’s weakness? Yes. Is she the perfect hero? No. But who, besides God, is? Even the saints make mistakes as humans (St. Augustine!)

Are the kids that are going into the arena to kill for “fun” painted in a good light? No - they are seen as kids who have decided to conform to the governement plan and enjoy the kill. Are the kids who hesitate to kill / refuse to kill / are killed painted in a good light? Yes. Because they have a innocence that we strive to mantian and look for in a corrupt society.

Does Katniss kill out of revenge? No. Does Katniss kill in self-protection? Yes. (for Rue, and to get back to her family.)

Does Katniss participate in a mercy killling in the end of the book? Yes. I cannot justify or condone her actions on this one. If I can justify her killing a boy who was being mauled by dogs, then I could justify killing a person dying from cancer, then I could justify killing a baby in the womb who has a mental disorder. I cannot. I will not. Life is precious - at no matter what stage - and it is only God’s right to take away and give life.

I do like these books. I find them interesting (and about the only post-apocolpytic novel I enjoy) and I can draw a lot from them.

Sorry for the long post!

God bless,

Chloe M.

just because a Catholic wrote something (and I am referring to FICTION HERE…not to books by great Catholics such as Scott Hahn) doesn’t automatically mean its Catholic writing. For example…Anne Rice was raised Catholic, left, came back and then I think she left again (I think it was her I was arguing with on a topic on Amazon.com forums over women priests and why women can’t be priests). She wrote Vampire novels. Doesn’t mean the Vampires were good people who had morals and were like Vegans or something!

Ugh…Unforutnately, my niece who** just turned 13** LOVES the Hunger Games movie! I can’t believe my sister defends such…atrocity…

I prefer not to read books where they use children to kill each other for some reason or another…and I will never read those books just as I will never read Twilight.

p.s. Wikipedia can be edited by anyone!

The author being Catholic does not make the book a Catholic novel, however, chances are her faith, at some point, influenced her writing. There are most likely some Catholic ideas buried in the novels. However, this does not mean that those Catholic influences were not twisted or misguided.

The novels do involve kids killing each other for the entertainment of people in wealthier districts. This does not make the themes or the concepts of the book horrible, because it is a commentary on the evil that exists in society. No one can argue that we live in a world that without sin and evil. Almost all authors critique society with extreme and exaggerated examples, such as Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” in which he satirically states people should eat babies as some sort of twisted economic solution. So although it is an extreme setting, the book still has value in its social criticism and the good qualities of certain characters reflect the good in a place as evil as the world of the hunger games. I for one plan to read the books eventually and will now do so while looking for hints of the authors faith.

Well stated.

Personally I think the book is just fine. It’s far better then most novels out there and in fact LESS objectionable then say Harry Potter or Twilight (Harry Potter which may or may not glorify magic and Twilight which is well… horrible literature but also glorifies abusive relationships).

However, I’m not convinced I would want younger children reading it. Perhaps 16 and up but I know a book like this would have greatly disturbed me when I was younger.

Bad stuff happens in The Hunger Games - but the bad stuff is not presented as being good, so no problem there. I have heard the first book being compared to Christians in the arenas in Rome when they were persecuted…

Yes - It should be geared to older teens and young adults. It does deal with serious concepts - and it has heavy subject content. Yet we live in a culutre where some 12 year olds read Twiglight, some 10 year olds read Harry Potter, and some from teens to adults read fifty shades of grey!


Such a sad world.

I took a look at Suzanne Collins’ biography on Wikipedia, meaning to check the footnotes - always check for footnotes, especially for information like the fact that she is a Roman Catholic - there was a footnote which led to an interesting article that relates directly to this discussion.


The theme of hope is an intricate element in Christianity. St. Peter writes, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” I Peter 1:3-5

While the Roman Catholic author, Suzanne Collins, attempts to remove all religion from the story, the central plot leads inevitably to the conclusion that a world without God leads to an environment that encourages gladiator-like cheering while children brutally kill children. All too often modern society is confronted with horrible news that another child has entered a school or public arena and proceeded to kill other children. Does the movie industry and print media need to reinforce such insane behavior?

Perhaps we get too protective of our teenagers—it is, after all, just a movie. Maybe we don’t need to work so hard to make a 2000-year-old book relevant by viewing movies as a basis for Bible studies and dissecting the theology of every movie or book. Be aware of what they watch and read; talk to them about issues that concern you. They may surprise you; they may see what you see.


Such a sad world.

We also live in a world in which the 1948 story The Lottery and the 1897 poem Richard Cory are taught in middle school and sometimes earlier.

And, of course, Hansel and Gretel – first published in 1812 – is a children’s tale about a cannibalistic witch who seeks to cook and eat two children abandoned by their parents to die in the woods, and (spoiler alert!) the children kill her in turn, letting her burn to death screaming in pain, even though they could have put out the fire and left the witch locked in the oven while they escaped.

Darkness in stories is neither new nor shocking. I don’t see it as a commentary on modern life in particular at all.

Any world where 12 year old’s think Twilight is good literature is a sad, sad world. I’d rather them read about the cannibals or even the Hunger Games any day!

It isn’t good literature. Neither are Goodnight Moon; the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew; Llama Llama; or Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

But, if it keeps them reading, then bring them on. The kids can read great literature when their minds advance to be able to comprehend it.

And even those books are better written then Twilight. Hah!

Kids can learn about good literature even at a young age. They can learn great literature when they’re old enough to comprehend and they can learn about abusive vampires when they’re adults. :stuck_out_tongue:


Your post #6 analyzing Katniss’s personality was very thorough and interesting. I agree with all the points you made.

The only problem I have with Katniss is that her many great characteristics are not the result of thought, of working things out, of self-direction, of belief in something higher.

Her good characteristics are secular, or natural. They are a mother’s instincts, which are by no means to be minimized, but where does Katniss ever think that something is the right thing to do because of religious background, or even social tradition?

This idea vaguely occurred to me while reading all three books.
The problem with a character like Katniss is that if there’s no ethical or religious or well-thought-out basis for her behavior, she is probably capable of sin and dispicable acts if given the right situations ( not presented in the books ). So would you trust her enough to be your girlfriend, your wife, your daughter?
While admiring her courage and other good characteristics, I found it hard to like her.

Thank you!

I do believe that Katniss acts on instinct quiete a bit, for sure. Yet if you look at the situation and world which she lives in, this instict helps her live.

She hunts in the forest out of protective and hunger instincts and she fights in the arena becuase she has a will to live - a natural instict if there ever was one!

I do wish there was a religious connotation in Suzanne Collin’s triology - yet there is not. Perhaps she felt that by introducing a belief in a higher being into her books that this would bring on a slew of morality questions - which it does for those of us who do believe that God is the author of life.

Are we not all capable of sin and despicable acts if presented the situation? Yes - we are human and our nature is a sinful one due to Adam and Eve. It is when we are presented with these situations that our true characteristics come out - either trust in God or the inability to stand strong against temptation.


You might check out what I posted in catholic.org forum about this point

See post of Sept 17, 2012

Is Empress Theresa a Catholic book?

In chapter one, ten year old Theresa tells her priest about HAL, the only person she tells. She trusts him, and while at this age she doesn’t think philosophically, it’s clear that the Church already has some influence on her.

Later, it becomes clearer she is constantly aware that God is in charge of the world and herself. When at age 18 she is being taken out to the South Atlantic to be killed, she considers:


[quote] When pushed to the brink someone can panic, or despair, or hope. I had always believed. Some people said they had doubts about God. I pitied them. How could they have doubts? Simple reasoning told me the universe could not be in the form it was without design. It might be a chaos, but the beautiful way it was ordered against a trillion to one odds of elements just happening to have exactly the properties needed to sustain life could only be somebody’s design. Besides that, people’s intellects could not be material
alone or would not understand any concept presented to it. But most of all, the goodness of my mother, father, and Steve was not something that could exist in animals. God made them above nature.
I recited a prayer in my mind as best I could remember it. It was not a standard Church prayer but was fitting for the end.
*The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie in *

green pastures; he leadeth me to still waters. Though I walk through the valley of death I will fear no evil for thou art with me. Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Just before getting out of the jet fighter to face “certain death” she says one last prayer: “Father, forgive me for all my sins. Take me into your house forever.”

Later, she becomes angry with God because she has to take over the Boeing 747 alone, but hours later she tells her husband God told her, “Look what you’ve done. You can do anything. Don’t let people down.” Of course she didn’t hear God’s voice. She felt it in her heart.


These stories of those who face incredible hardship and do not shirk in the face of death, but instead fully rely on God, are the true heroes. It takes a lot to say that you are not strong enough, and only God is.

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