FICTION, LIFE MERGE IN VIOLENCE

This past weekend a movie came out that many were anticipating: “The Hunger Games.” The book the movie was based on had a gripping story, tragic plights and, above all, some great character development. Of course, as the book was written in the first person point of view, we mostly read Katniss’s thoughts and her opinions of the rest of the cast. Suzanne Collins did well with her characters, making some unpredictable, such as Peeta, and some totally predictable, like Katniss. These characters came from a dystopian future where most were poor and the brutal battle of teenagers was a spectacle for the rich.

Movies based on books are often criticized. Usually, you’ve got to be really spot-on for the movie to be well-received. It makes all the difference between “Eragon” and “Harry Potter,” both books that have been read and loved by millions. There has been some strange hatred for the “Hunger Games” movie by being too similar to the book, which sounds a bit ridiculous, but amidst the hate something even more unexpected has come out.

Fans of the book, those who have read and loved and cried over these characters, have taken to everybody’s favorite shouting post, social media, to let everyone know that the characters Rue and Thresh were not African-American. Many even said that because Rue was black it ruined the whole character for them. They weren’t as upset as when they read it, because in the book Rue was described as having dark skin. Racist fans exclaimed their annoyance that the producers of the movie didn’t read the book, because they were obviously right and the casting directors, who must have had Suzanne Collins’ go-ahead, were wrong.

To try and not spoil this for any of you who are still looking forward to this story, whether in movie or book form, there is tragedy involved with both of these characters. There are ultimately three books and since there can only be one winner of the Hunger Games, you might be able to predict the ending. Collins’ portrayal of innocence in such a situation is heartbreaking and the tragedy leaves the reader just as angry as the residents of Rue and Thresh’s home of District 11. To hear that some readers changed their minds after learning their race unfortunately isn’t too unbelievable, considering that racism is still very much out there in our country, but it’s still pretty deplorable.

The outrage from District 11 after their deaths is eerily paralleled in our current culture with the murder of Trayvon Martin. Under Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, George Zimmerman, the confessed killer of Martin, has not been prosecuted yet, but that hasn’t stopped the death threats and unification of communities around the country in support of the innocent boy’s family and justice. He “looked suspicious” to Zimmerman because he wore a hoodie and was black. Trayvon lived in a world where Geraldo Rivera thought he was stupid for wearing a hoodie because it should have been obvious that he would be perceived as a threat by wearing one. All of them, fictional or nonfictional, had their individuality and their humanity stripped just because they were black; and the backlashes, both in the book and in our world, were much deserved.