To Read or Not to Read: The Hunger Games

Would you kill another human to feed your family? What about everyone in your town? Your county?

Or would you volunteer to kill another human so that your little sister isn’t forced to?

These are questions surrounding The Hunger Game TrilogyThe Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay.

Unless you’ve been living under a mountain, you’ve probably heard of The Hunger Games. The popular book series was turned into an even more popular movie. For those who don’t know, The Hunger Games takes place in the future after an unknown apocalyptic event. Now there is a wealthy Capital and twelve poorer districts.

As punishment for a rebellion against the Capital, one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 from each district are selected by annual lottery to participate in the Hunger Games, an event in which the participants must fight in an arena until only one individual remains. The victor not only gets to live, but the district he or she is from gets food, something every poor district desperately needs.

The lottery chooses Katniss’ little sister, who would probably instantly die. Katniss steps forward to take her sister’s place, determined to save her sister with the archery skills she has.

Katniss’ world then becomes about two choices.

Choice #1: Kill and feed the hungry.

Choice #2: Die and know that hundreds others will die of starvation.

I hope these choices only happen in fiction (but I’m afraid that’s not often true).

But I like The Hunger Games Trilogy because it asks questions that make you think about where you stand in impossible situations.

If you believe that killing is wrong, will you allow hundreds of others to die instead of taking a life?

And is that murder?

What’s the difference between murder and killing?

Can you justify killing?

What does the Bible say about killing and murder?

And just how does a Christian decide whether to read, or let their young adults, read The Hunger Games?

What’s good about the series? It’s a page-turner. You will have a hard time putting it down. The lead character, Katniss, is a strong female who is independent. She’s loyal to her friends and family, and she strives to right the wrong in her world.

What’s bad about it? The series is filled with violence. Teens against teens. They train to kill, and the games are set up to injure or kill them as well. There is some romance and kissing in the first book. It continues to a mild bedroom scene later in the series. In my opinion, the series grows darker and more hopeless as it continues.

However, (and this contains a mild spoiler so skip this if you don’t want to know), at the end of the first book, Katniss chooses love over violence.

This, of course, is a brief summary of the good and bad within the series. What’s your opinion? As a Christian, is The Hunger Games a book we should shun or embrace? Why?

Onward and upward,

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  1. Thanks for the link, Gretchen. I'll check it out when I have a little more time! 🙂

  2. Karen, I agree that series are huge now, and it was nice to see a strong female lead. Kaitlyn, you bring up a good point. Both Katniss and Peeta despised the killing and what the Capital was making them do.

    Now, I'm for self-defense and protecting family, and I'm so grateful for the police and military who help keep me safe. However, you bring up another question: As a Christian, is it within God's law to kill? The Bible says “Do not murder”. But what about self-protection?

  3. The thing about The Hunger Games is that Katniss never killed from the hunger for violence. She despised it. So did Peeta. They only killed from self-defense, which, being from Texas and having a dad in law enforcement, I've been educated well in. Therefore, I think it's a good trilogy. I didn't feel any conviction against it, like I have felt picking up a few certain other demented novels that I put down readily.

  4. I read The Hunger Games just because 1) my d-in-law insisted, 2) I wanted to read a popular YA series. Series. I think that is the popular phrase in big-ticket pubbing these days. I have read better series than The Hunger Games. I do see why this series was appealing to Hollywood. It is a strong story with a strong female lead. Christian? Hmmm…

    1. I have two daughters, a 13 and 19 year old. Can you tell me the names of some of the other series that were better than Hunger Games? Thanks so much!

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