“The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins
How it works
The Hunger Games is a book written by Suzanne Collins, and was published on September 14, 2008 by Scholastic. It is the first book in the Hunger Games trilogy, and won the Cybils Award for Fantasy & Science Fiction – Young Adult, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award, the Hal Clement Award, and the California Young Reader Medal: Young Adult.
The book takes place in an alternate, post apocalyptic, and dystopian United States, called Panem, and their leader is President Snow. Panem is divided into twelve districts, including their capital, with District one being the richest and district twelve being the poorest. Every year there is an event called the hunger games in which two children under the age of eighteen from each district are forced to fight as a tribute and murder each other, with only one champion. This is seen as entertainment to the elite in the capital.
How it works
The book follows our protagonist Katniss Everdeen throughout the trials she faces during the hunger games and in life. She lives with her sister Primrose and her mother, who is grieving after her husband’s death, and Katniss has to provide for her her family alone because of this. To provide for them, she and her close friend Gale, whose father died in the same accident as Katniss’s father, have to illegally hunt to feed their families.
When it is time to choose a tribute, Primrose gets chosen, but Katniss sacrifices herself for tribute instead. Along with her, a boy named Peta gets chosen as tribute for the hunger games. Eventually at the end, they end up being the last ones, so they try to commit suicide together, but the Capital does not let them and they are both crowned victor.
Why the Hunger Games is Banned
The Hunger Games was first banned in 2010. Tracy LaSalle asked Goffstown, New Hampshire School Board to withdraw the book from her young daughter’s classroom because it gave her nightmares. The book is on the top ten most banned books list, and in 2010, there were 348 cases related to banning the Hunger Games. It was was banned for many reasons, including being anti-ethic, anti-family, violent, offensive language, sexuality, and religious and satanic views.
Some parents think that the book is unsuitable to only young kids and that the Hunger Games should not be allowed in elementary or middle school libraries. They fear that the influence on their children may be negative and harm them. Since Katniss is a rebel, this might make impressionable young kids rebellious, and parents probably do not want their kids to act like that. Also parents might think it may make their children violent. The fact that one of the main aspects if the story is about children under the age of eighteen murdering each other might make parents wary of their kids reading the story.
Since there is so much vulgar content in the Hunger Games, parents would prefer their children to read books like Magic Tree House or Ramona instead. They want their kids to read the kind of books they would have read when they were children. There is so much content in the world that is not suitable for children that is available to them, and parents just want to protect their children by censoring as many inappropriate things as possible.
Why I Think the Hunger Games Should Not be Banned
The essential reason the Hunger Games is Banned is because it has content that is not deemed appropriate for children, but the content in the book is not that bad. Most of the “”inappropriate content is fairly tame when compared to the subject matter in other books. Some of the reasons for the book being banned or challenged are related to the movie, and others just do not make sense. The main reason for any book to be banned or challenged is because people are sensitive and over react to anything.
It makes sense for people to ban it for being violent since children murder each other for the rich and elite’s entertainment. It can be really brutal, but it is nothing kids can not handle. Really bad things happen in the world and children are exposed to it everyday, so they should be somewhat desensitized to it. Parents should not freak out if their kids are reading the Hunger Games if they worry about violence.
Offensive language and sexuality seem like a plausible reason for banning the book, but those reasons are not very strong. There are barely any sexual scenes in the book, and the profanity is mild. There is barely any nudity and any moments involving that are when Katniss is dressing in her costume. There are a few curse words, but it is nothing a kid has not heard or read on television or the internet. Some books and movies intended for younger audiences contain more profanity than the Hunger Games.
Banning the book for being anti-ethic, anti-family, and religious and satanic views is illogical and short sighted. There is no reason for the book being anti-ethic because the elite and poor were a mixture of many races, and the Hunger Games should not be considered anti-family since Katniss cares for her sister and mother. Even though Katniss and her mother do have a divergence in opinion, this should not be hidden from children since no family is perfect. There are no religious institutions or mention of any gods, and there is no acknowledgement of Satanic beliefs or witchcraft. There is no logical point of banning the book under these circumstances.
I think children should read the Hunger Games because it shows what could or can happen if they gave the government too much power. It also shows them morals and what happens when people are pressured and forced to do atrocious things to their fellow men and women. It can give you life lessons, reminds you to be aware of the world around you, and shows you some redeeming qualities in people.
The main thing that irritates me about this is most parents or administrators that want to ban books do no even read the book in the first place. They judge the book by its cover and do not try to understand its content. Banning books also violates your first amendment right of freedom of speech. Also the main issue is not the age of the child, but its maturity. If they are mature enough to read and understand the issues in the story, let them read it. Dreadful things happen all the time and you can’t shelter them forever.
Many of the classics are banned today, but if people do not read them, we lose our history. People cannot change the past, but they can stay informed and not let history repeat itself. If you really are worried about your kids reading a book, do not judge and ban it without knowing and comprehending the whole story.