The Hunger Games: Appropriate for a Catholic 16yo girl?

Hi everyone,
I know you all have a thread already discussing the Hunger Games, but I’m looking for some contructive, direct guidance if anyone has some good advice they’re willing to share. as per the title, I am a 16 year old Catholic homeschooled girl who would like to know if the Hunger Games trilogy (books, I’ve read a lot about the movie already) would be a morally appropriate choice for a good read. I have a good idea of what the premise is about, but I would love to hear from anyone who has already read at least the first book.
I personally think it would be all right to read because I realize the differences between good and bad; I recognize the similarities between the book’s government and what our government could become; etc etc. but as a Catholic, would it be bad to read these?

I’m a definite book lover; to get a feel for what kinds of things I like reading, here are just a few: The Lord of the Rings (and all other Tolkien works, such as the Hobbit, the Silmarillion, the Children of Hurin), Till We Have Faces (and all other CS Lewis books, including Narnia and the Space Trilogy), The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini, The Death of a Pope by Piers Paul Read, Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie mysteries, The Books of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau, and various other similar literature. you could base your answers off of these books of you like.

sorry for my lengthy question, guys, but I would really appreciate any help. :slight_smile:

I’m the same age and I know a lot of devout Catholic girls who love it. So I suppose it isn’t too objectionable.

The only things that I can think of that might be objectionable are the violence and the character Finnick, who was forced to be a sex slave in the past and thus has developed a habit of walking around with very little on. If you can handle that, I think you’ll really enjoy them. I did.

I don’t have a useful response.

Ahh, but my good friend, how can you stomach Paolini after reading the wonders of Tolkien and Lewis? :rolleyes:

perhaps after one has finished all the other works by Tolkien and Lewis. they’re my two favourite authors. and I freely admit that much of Paolini’s books are elements too similar to LotR to be coincidental. but it’s different, and I found that they got better as they went on. :slight_smile:

I’m a 63 year old guy who just read the first book: The Hunger Games.
I saw nothing objectionable in the book for sixteen year olds.
I don’t recall a character called Finnick in the book. Don’t know where that comment came from.

There are no four letter words in the book. I suspect the author meant this to show how alien this country of Penam is to our present world.

I don’t remember any sex scenes in the book.

As for the violence, first of all, there is no hand to hand combat to speak of. Deaths come quickly. Since the book is written in the first person voice of Katniss who can’t see anything that’s happening elsewhere, there are no descriptions of most of the deaths that have occurred. Many other movies you’ve probably already seen have more violence.

Some people will question the morality of the situation. But I think that was Suzanne Collins’s point.
Katniss, through whose voice we read the story, never says a word about any other kind of social-political structure. She says nothing about what was there before the country of Penam. Perhaps she thought Penam always existed.
True, she mentions that there was a rebellion 75 years earlier, but she never says a word about how the rebellion might have changed things, or whether a new rebellion might change things. Perhaps she thought there could be no other way of running a country.

She never used words like democracy, court systems, lawyers, justice. equality, elections, freedom, goodness, spiritual things, God, afterlife, or anything like that that makes our lives good or meaningful. By extension, we can guess that the author wants us to understand that all the people in Penam were similarly totally ignorant of everything that was good. They could not imagine that life could be different or better, because they knew nothing else.

This is what makes the book worth reading. It shows us how important it is to understand and take care of all the good things that make our existence worthwhile.

“You can only be what you know you can be. You can only do what you know to do.” – Theresa Hartley, in Empress Theresa** :smiley:

thanks guys, your insight was really helpful :slight_smile:
just a question of opinion for those who have been around CAF for a while… would the apologists on this forum be likely to answer a similar question?
thank you so much for all your help, it’s been great reading your comments on the Hunger Games. :slight_smile:

just a question of opinion for those who have been around CAF for a while… would the apologists on this forum be likely to answer a similar question?

I doubt it very much.

They see themselves as speaking for the Church, as they should. We ask them questions assuming they will give Church approved answers.

They would not make any pronouncements on The Hunger Games, because

  1. it’s not an important matter affecting the faith of all Catholics, and

  2. anything they said could be twisted around and used by the Catholic-bashers. For example: I’ve given my opinion that the book isn’t harmful to 16 year olds. If I was one of the Forums’s apologists, Catholic-bashers would say, “Look at that! The Church says a movie about kids killing each other is good for kids! The Pope is the Antichrist!”

I was thinking as much; I know the Church in general doesn’t like to give opinions on popular media - unless it’s obviously blatantly anti-Catholic. (sometimes I wish they would, but I would imagine that would make some people very unhappy.) I’m really thankful for your insight about them, though. :thumbsup:
I’d been reading a bunch of other comments from various Christian sites that posted reviews of the movies. (such as Plugged In, which is a Faith & Family site.) I find it interesting that 99% of the time, most people who give negative reviews have not read the books, but those who have read them tend to speak positively about them, even though the theme is darker than some other lit. I don’t know if anyone else noticed that, I just thought it was interesting. :slight_smile:

I find it interesting that 99% of the time, most people who give negative reviews have not read the books, but those who have read them tend to speak positively about them, even though the theme is darker than some other lit. I don’t know if anyone else noticed that, I just thought it was interesting. :slight_smile:

When I heard that the movie was about to come out and that it was about kids killing each other until only one survived, I was negative on the story.
But I saw the book in Wal-Mart and bought it.

It took a while before I ‘got it’.
At first, I thought it was only an adventure story. After a few days, I realized it was about what happens when people don’t know anything about the possibility of a different and better life.
I don’t know if this was the author’s intention, but that’s how the book came across.

George Orwell wrote a book called “1984”.
It’s about a futuristic dictatorship. “Big Brother is watching you” says the government’s television sets all the time. The government uses “doublethink”. Words that have opposite meanings are used as the same word. Example: blackwhite. The Party had three main slogan" War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and *Ignorance is Strength. * By confusing the differences between opposite words, the government makes it difficult for people to think correctly.
Orwell’s book was really a criticism of Communism in which similar oppressive techiques are used.

Over the gates of the main Nazi concentration camp in Auswitz were the words “Arbeit mach Freiheit” ( work makes freedom ). This is nonsense, but the Nazis were trying to confuse the people.

People in this world have all kinds of agendas, and to try to win you over they will twist words around and use “spin control” as it’s being called in the media.
It’s not always easy to know the truth.

Stick with the Catholic Church. It’s been teaching the truth for 2,000 years. :slight_smile:

to realy its just a movie

to realy its just a movie

Maybe, the effect it may have on some people may not be “just an effect”.

But it is fiction

And for some, that may have nothing to do with age either.

Which doesn’t mean fiction not worthy of discernment of what is and isn’t appropriate. The genre doesn’t get a “free pass” just because its not factual.

Well common sence tells me I would not do the things in that mavie anyway but that’s my view. I’m not going to stress of a movie

Dear Alanna

My suggestion, if you are looking for good stories, would be to read the story of October Baby and see the movie. It will give you a refreshing and positive outlook on life and the human spirit.

Below is a link to 600 good reviews from those who have seen the movie.

Also see:

I think the original book and the movie would certainly be appropriate for the average 16 year old. The violence is not meant to be glamorous, and unlike many other “action-adventure” type stories, even justifiable violence (self-defense, defense of others) is depicted as having lasting serious psychological effects not just on those who suffer violent acts, but those who commit the acts themselves. The heroine’s actions wind up resulting in the deaths of many people, and she is affected by them, permanently and seriously, even though you could argue that her actions are justifiable for the most part.

The trilogy, taken as a whole, raises some tough questions on when violence is justified, and the last book in particular addresses weighty topics such as justifications for war, armed rebellion, assassinating government officials, etc. I personally think the author bit off a little more than she could chew in the third book, where she seems to be “preaching to the choir” of readers who already know that “war is hell” – has many rave reviews for the last book, “Mockingjay”, from older readers who have experienced war or know people who have, but not as many from the actual target demographic for the series, young teenagers.

That being said, there are some readers and viewers of the Hunger Games who for some reason do not “get” this message and do indeed find it “cool” that a teenager could be forced to become a gladiator and kill people for entertainment.

There are also caveats regarding the romance in the series, as the heroine winds up in a love triangle between a childhood friend and a young man she met at the Games. There is no obvious intimate activity beyond passionate kissing, but there are subtle references to sexual feelings. The heroine at one point sleeps in the same bed as one of her suitors, which she herself doesn’t see as a sexual act, but such behavior in real life obviously could lead to sex or at least the temptation for it. Also, the heroine at various times finds herself in situations where she believes that one of her love interests is trying to kill her, and at times she is seriously tempted to kill him. While these situations make sense in terms of the story, the whole idea that it is somehow romantic to love someone and still have urges to kill him or her, did strike me as somewhat reminscent of Twilight. Also,


In the third book, the heroine is criticized by another character for not “standing by her man” even though he’s tried to kill her. Again, this makes sense in the context of the story because the only reason the guy tries to kill her is because he’s brainwashed to do so by the villians in the story. However, in real life, this would certainly NOT be good advice to give a woman who is subject to violent behavior from an intimate partner.

My suggestion, if you are looking for good stories, would be to read the story of October Baby and see the movie. It will give you a refreshing and positive outlook on life and the human spirit.

October Baby is about a 19 year old girl who finds out she’s adopted. She sets out to find her birth mother but discovers her birth was the result of a botched abortion.
The message is clear. Abortion is bad. We know that.

It seems that more people are seeing Hunger Games:

_______________Ticket sales cost to make
The Hunger Games
$365 million
$80 million
October Baby $3 million

It looks like many people find a need to explore other worlds, different ideas, new experiences, other perspectives, new horizons, more learning opportunities, new challenges, thoughtful themes,

and not just a repetition of what they already know.

Oh, and by the way,
there’s a thread about The Hunger Games on the forums.
A priest over there, Father Sotelo, said of The Hunger Games, “I enjoyed the movie very much.”

Saturday, I finally went to see the movie, after having read the book a month ago.

Well, would you believe this morning’s local newspaper, the Portland Press Herald, had a letter to the editor from a seventh grade girl who read the book but refused to go see the movie, saying that she thought it was too violent for somebody in her age group.

I sent a reply email to the newspaper as follows: :smiley:

Dear Editor,

A seventh grader whom I’ll call Anna read The Hunger Games books but refused to see the movie, saying it was too violent for her age group.


The move tones down the violence considerably to get that precious PG-13 rating. For example, in the book Cato is tortured by the dogs for hours before Katniss finally puts him out of misery by shooting an arrow in his skull. Horrible, hunh? But in the movie, Katniss kills him within a few seconds, and you don’t see the arrow going down to him, or where it hits. The camera stays on Katniss standing on top of the cornucopia.

Another example. A boy throws a spear at Katniss’s friend Rue mortally wounding her. Katniss kills the boy with an arrow. In the movie, you don’t see the spear flying towards Rue and hitting her, and you don’t see the arrow hit the boy. You only see the aftereffects.

The actual “death blows” were probably originally filmed, but appear to be editted out to get that PG-13.

Movies like “Saving Private Ryan”, and “Rambo” are much more violent.
What does the story mean? You might have noticed that in the book Katniss never says a word about justice, mercy, freedom, goodness, spirituality, God, afterlife, or any thing like that that make our lives good and meaningful. Katniss knows nothing at all about such things. Neither, apparently, does anybody else. Nobody knows life could be different or better. They live with all they know.

There is a society like that today, North Korea, and there have been others.

The meaning is, you can only be what you know you can be, and you can only do what you know to do.

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