Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hunger Games and Catching Fire

I see no real answers. The characters are faced with the same questions that constantly plague the minds and thoughts of teens today. Similar feelings and emotions. That is where the connections lies. And yet it is a false connection, a shallow one because no real hope is offered. There is never any true rest. Just when you think a bad situation has been redeemed, that a young girl’s heart has been taught the themes of love and community all is dashed and life proves once again that grown ups are just manipulative and self-serving no matter which side their on.

I think my greatest sadness is that students no longer have models of how to act rightly as adults through their modern literature. That is one of the greatest endowments fairy tales have bestowed upon generations of children. They showed in beauty, truth, and chivalry the way to conduct yourself with maturity. Not in disregard of the playfulness of childhood, but embracing it as the foundation for the later years. The problem with every modern youth fiction book having a youth as its hero or heroine is that it doesn’t prepare kids for what comes after youth. Let me re-phrase that because I feel as though I’ve seen/heard the term “help prepare kids” in terms of preparing them for the grim and gory facts of the world, specifically as an argument for including certain facts, scenes, or scenarios into stories that probably could be left out. Back to youths as heroes, the primary problem I see is that it gives kids nothing to aspire to beyond childhood. As teachers, we often talk about setting the bar high so our kids will reach and be stretched. This is not an argument for all modern youth fiction to have adult heroes, instead, it’s a call to set the bar a little higher.

When we don’t know how to be adults, forty year-old office execs act like frat boys on the weekends, and Snooky leads our children through Never Never Land.