Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Race in Suzanne Collins' HUNGER GAMES

When it comes to race and ethnicity in Suzanne Collins' gripping dystopian novel, HUNGER GAMES (Scholastic), how did you picture the characters?

5 comments:

The Brain Lair (KB) said...

You know, when I read the book I didn't think they were any special race. My daughter thinks that each district had separate races...

Carlie Webber said...

I know it's canon that Katniss and Gale have olive skin, dark hair and gray eyes, and that Peeta is blond (so he's probably white). It's also canon that people in the Capitol have a thing for changing the color of their skin and hair, so I don't know if they really have a concept of race. Everyone else I pictured as different colors and shapes and sizes. Rue, for example, appeared in my mind as Latina. But of course, all of this is assuming that there ARE distinct races in Panem...

Karen said...

I'm re-reading The Hunger Games right now so it's funny you mention this. In Chapter 5, Venia has dyed her skin "pea green" and others in the Capitol seem to also experiment with different colors. I only got that Rue and Thresh had brown skin. I just assumed by the descriptions that Katniss, Gale and others were not characters of color. Interested to see what others think.

Color Online said...
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Color Online said...

Even if race is not specified, by your descriptions the reader gets a sense of a caste/class system.There are distinctions in characteristics and those characteristics correspond with a divison of caste by race. It is irrelevant if race mirrors our own hues. The fact is by characteristic, people are grouped.

When I read Brave New World the caste and race divisions were very clear, and I winced at the usage of the word savage. I wasn't taught this novel in school so I wondered if students are taught what the Savage represented and why a minority student would be offended. I had to consciously remind myself to put the novel in historical context. I wondered if student readers consciously pick up on the racism and classism in the novel. I wonder, too, if they question if Huxley agreed or was critiqing the social order.

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