Of Bread, Blood and The Hunger Games

Critical Essays on the Suzanne Collins Trilogy


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About the Book

This collection of fresh essays on Suzanne Collins’s epic trilogy spans multiple disciplines. The contributors probe the trilogy’s meaning using theories grounded in historicism, feminism, humanism, queer theory, as well as cultural, political, and media studies. The essayists demonstrate diverse perspectives regarding Collins’s novels but their works have three elements in common: an appreciation of the trilogy as literature, a belief in its permanent value, and a need to share both appreciation and belief with fellow readers. The 21 essays that follow the context-setting introduction are grouped into four parts: Part I “History, Politics, Economics, and Culture,” Part II “Ethics, Aesthetics, and Identity,” Part III “Resistance, Surveillance, and Simulacra,” and Part IV “Thematic Parallels and Literary Traditions.” A core bibliography of dystopian and postapocalyptic works is included, with emphasis on the young adult category—itself an increasingly crucial part of postmodern culture. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Mary F. Pharr is a professor emeritus of English at Florida Southern College. She lives in Lakeland, Florida.

Leisa A. Clark is a professor of arts and humanities, teaching diverse class subjects such as art history, media studies, and film history. She is the author of a variety of books, ranging from fictional comedic space opera to critical edited collections. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Mary F. Pharr and Leisa A. Clark

Series Editors Donald E. Palumbo and C.W. Sullivan III
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 256
Bibliographic Info: bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7019-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0032-1
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Critical Explorations in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments viii
Preface (Leisa A. Clark) 1
Introduction (Mary F. Pharr and Leisa A. Clark) 5
I. History, Politics, Economics and Culture
1. Panem in America: Crisis Economics and a Call for Political Engagement (Bill Clemente) 20
2. Absolute Power Games (Anthony Pavlik) 30
3. Communal Spectacle: Reshaping History and Memory through Violence (Gretchen Koenig) 39
4. Reflection in a Plastic Mirror (Valerie Estelle Frankel) 49
5. Coal Dust and Ballads: Appalachia and District 12 (Tina L. Hanlon) 59
6. The “Fine Reality of Hunger Satisfied”: Food as Cultural Metaphor in Panem (Max Despain) 69
II. Ethics, Aesthetics and Identity
7. Katniss Everdeen’s Liminal Choices and the Foundations of Revolutionary Ethics (Guy Andre Risko) 80
8. Hungering for Righteousness: Music, Spirituality and Katniss Everdeen (Tammy L. Gant) 89
9. Revolutionary Art in the Age of Reality TV (Katheryn Wright) 98
10. (Im)Mutable Natures: Animal, Human and Hybrid Horror (Sharon D. King) 108
11. “Killer” Katniss and “Lover Boy” Peeta: Suzanne Collins’s Defiance of Gender-Genred Reading (Ellyn Lem and Holly Hassel) 118
12. Of Queer Necessity: Panem’s Hunger Games as Gender Games (Jennifer Mitchell) 128
III. Resistance, Surveillance and Simulacra
13. Costuming the Resistance: The Female Spectacle of Rebellion (Amy L. Montz) 139
14. “Perhaps I Am Watching You Now”: Panem’s Panopticons (Kelley Wezner) 148
15. Fueling the Spectacle: Audience as “Gamemaker” (Shannon R. Mortimore-Smith) 158
16. Simulacra, Sacrifice and Survival in The Hunger Games, Battle Royale, and The Running Man (Helen Day) 167
IV. Thematic Parallels and Literary Traditions
17. The PR Wars: The Hunger Games Trilogy and Shakespeare’s Second Henriad (Catherine R. Eskin) 179
18. The Masks of Femininity: Perceptions of the Feminine in The Hunger Games and Podkayne of Mars (Rodney M. DeaVault) 190
19. The Child Soldier and the Self in Ender’s Game and The Hunger Games (Sarah Outterson Murphy) 199
20. Apples to Oranges: The Heroines in Twilight and The Hunger Games (Amanda Firestone) 209
21. From the Boy Who Lived to the Girl Who Learned: Harry Potter and Katniss Everdeen (Mary F. Pharr) 219
Dystopian and Postapocalyptic Fiction and Criticism: A Core Bibliography, with Emphasis on Young Adult Works (Leisa A. Clark) 229
About the Contributors 233
Index 237

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Essential reading”—SFRA Review
  • “A collection of well-written and thought-provoking essays.well-crafted”—Fanboy Comics