Sunday, March 9, 2014

Hunger Games: Blog #7

Question/Subject: In chapter 16 of the Mockingjay, Collins writes about District 12 "We may have been the smallest district in Panem, but we know how to dance." Discuss the importance of music and dance in The Hunger Games compared to Appalachia. Make sure to talk abut at least one of the 3 songs mentioned in the trilogy: "Deep in the Meadow," "The Valley Song" and "The Hanging Tree."

In the world of The Hunger Games the people are oppressed by the Capital, physically and mentally through the presence of the Peace-Keepers, the fences keeping them in their districts, their isolation from other people and the lack of food. One of the only ways they can show their defiance is through their culture: Music, poetry, and other commonalities that bind the people together, giving them a common identity. What's fascinating is the fact that this is common throughout the world, fictional or not. From 1987-1991 in the Soviet occupied countries of Eastern Europe there were mass demonstrations that were characterized by singing of nationalistic songs, expressing their individuality as countries and denouncing the oppression of Soviet rule. Through this non-violent method multiple states were released from the U.S.S.R. and their independence was reinstated.

Similarly, in the American region of Appalachia, the people that populate the isolated mountains have created a sense of identity through their music and writing. Even as their homes have become increasingly connected to the rest of society they've managed to maintain a distinct cultural identity through their sense of community and ancestry that binds them together and to the mountains. Much like District 12, which is located in the same region, they have felt the sting of industrialization and the sorrow of watching their gorgeous surroundings be marred by the greed of outsiders. Thus, the music of District 12 often matches tone with that of Appalachia, distinctly felt in the song "The Hanging Tree". Songs concerning death and murder are popular in Appalachia, with many of their poems also echoing this theme, with the same thing resounding within District 12. Music is what brings the people together in both regions, giving them a common background and building a sense of community even as the Capital works to break their spirits.