There’s something completely irresolute about finals week; as such, unless explicitly directed, I avoid giving final exams. Instead, I like to leave my students thinking about the final chapter of their high school career with something less final and more… open-ended, more upbeat. I want my students to leave my literature class thinking about morals and the self–because, at least for me, that’s what literature actually is–words that express morals and self, and those concepts can’t really be tested by an end of year exam.
… And I don’t just mean they think I am mean or unfair.
It started with a student who thought it was cool to draw Swastikas on my desks. High schoolers are weird.
The first time it cropped up, it was a tiny little Swastika. I was faced with the dilemma: Make a big deal out of it and risk goading the Nazi in my class to continue, or just let it slide and hope the perpetrator will get bored after their graffiti failed to incite. Apparently, “letting it slide” only ensured that the Swastikas got bigger and more noticeable. Teacher Fail.
So, Question: Am I a bad person for LOVING the Hunger Games movie?…Much more than I loved the book, I might add. Last night we saw it with a large group, and the boys seemed unanimous in their approval of the movie, but it seemed the movie left a bad taste in all the girls’ mouths. Many girls I know chose not to go see this movie on a moral high ground because the premise is kids killing each other. Should I have also abstained from the blood bath? And I answer myself, “Perhaps…”
If you are looking to be surprised by the plot of the book/movie, I suggest that you not read this blog, and I also suggest that you might be living under a rock, because this story is everywhere. But I think the reason I justify my love for this book is because I have recently (I know, bad English Teacher Sierra) discovered dystopian literature. I got to read and teach Fahrenheit 451 with my high school students, and the book rocked my WORLD. Fahrenheit 451 depicts a community of people that have outlawed reading because it brings suffering (due to excessive thinking, don’t you know), and have instead favored enormous, four-walled flat screened TV’s that they can interact with. These people have become numb to their relationships, they find conversing with one another “strange.” They are calloused to horrible things like war, and they trivialize death. They drive fast just to have fun, just to feel anything…. And yes, the story is hyperbolic, but I just had to realize how not far off Ray Bradbury was in predicting our future. We numb ourselves with television, and Hulu wants us to watch Grey’s Anatomy on our lunch breaks, and facebook and texting have replaced intra-personal communication in many ways. I don’t really know much about the war in Afghanistan right now. And I know death exists, but I don’t really know anyone intimately that hasn’t died of old age, so therefore, death’s not REALLY a real thing to me just yet. Don’t worry, I know there are problems with that! I am criticizing myself here, people! And so was Ray Bradbury. Controversially, I think he was dead on.
I believe Suzanne Collins, in writing the Hunger Games, is a similar societal commentary, although I have to say, I did not always appreciate her “bumbling rhetoric” (someone on Facebook called it that. Sorry, that’s the best citation I can give). She satirized fashion, making the statement that when we run out of new ideas with fashion, we will keep pushing vanity to an extreme. By having her characters dress up with 9-inch eyelashes and PURPLE up to our brows, and nails with 3-D fixtures and ornate wigs… She’s making fun of us, people.
I recently subscribed to an Instagram (profile?) called Fashion Forward. I’m not sure why. Well, maybe it’s because of my deeply rooted ideology that I need to look cute. Anyways, here were two recent “Fashion Forward” photos.
So here’s the reason, I think, I don’t feel bad about LOVING the movie last night. I think I got the message. I did not enjoy “the blood bath” so to speak. It made me cringe, like it was supposed to. But the movie made me look inward and say… there’s a problem here… even if it’s not really a problem yet.