Not long ago, I succumbed to the hype and read Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. The brief review I’d read of the movie release did enough to convince me that it was a premise I’d find interesting: the human condition and how far we are prepared to stretch our own moral truths to survive and, indeed, thrive.
And it was a great story, gritty and fast-paced. In fact, so absorbed was I that I forgot that the protagonist is only 16 years old. Her story is riveting as she grows to face an adult world of expectation well beyond her own experience in the impoverished District 12.
But here’s what struck me most – the concept of the game.
But it’s not the first time I’ve found myself wondering about games of the people kind. As I read Collins’ tale, I was taken back over 20 years to another book, William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. This tale follows a group of English school boys deserted on an island, their attempts at creating their own society to survive and the savage power plays that lead to not only the deaths of Simon and Piggy, but also the “young gentlemen’s” rules by which they had always played.
At the end of the book, the boys are rescued but in reading those final pages, I couldn’t help wondering whether it had all been part of some big experiment by the adults. And in re-reading the book again after The Hunger Games, the parallels between the two “themes” seemed even more obvious – what does the veneer of society actually hide?
To my mind The Hunger Games reads like Lords of the Flies sexed up for the World of Warcraft generation. But maybe I’m reading too much into it. What do you think?
Do you think the games we play reveal something of the way we would like our future to be or more about our “deep, dark past”?