Archives for August 2010

Mockingjay Discussion Post 24: So Whatever Happened To…? Mysterious Absences in the Finale

In some of our recent flurry of fabulous conversation, someone mentioned that Collins ought to do a follow-up “whatever happened to…” book rather than a prequel. I know many readers were thrilled when J.K. Rowling filled in gaps about characters, such as Luna Lovegood and Neville Longbottom both getting married, just not to one another.  Of course, Collins may be in no way inclined to do any such thing, but it might be interesting to speculate on the fates of a few characters, based on what we do see in the text, and I’d love to see what everyone thinks of these theories (or chime in with some of your own).

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Mockingjay Discussion 23: A Hogwarts Professor – “What Have I Unleashed On My Students?”

Several months ago, when I first read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, I decided to assign The Hunger Games to my ENG 111 (Expository Writing) students at my college. I was also singing the praises of the book to friends, colleagues, and former students. The ENG 111 folks started reading and writing about The Hunger Games last week, before Mockingjay’s release, and I already have students emailing me to tell me how much they love the book, as well as engaging in thoughtful, insightful conversations, more of which I’ll share in coming weeks.

As I began Mockingjay, though, I found myself thinking, “What have I gotten these people into?” If some readers are unhappy with Collins for not concluding the series as they expected her to, what will these students think of the teacher who took them to Panem and set them up for this finale? My concerns have been assuaged greatly by the wonderful insights of a former student and current friend, whom I set on The Hunger Games a while back and who actually finished Mockingjay before I did. Her comments here are from the notes she sent me on Facebook (until I said “Wait! I’m not finished!”). [Read more…]

Mockingjay Discussion 22: Ring and Mirror Composition in the Hunger Games Series Finale

We have already noted that the plot point sequence of Mockingjay is consistent with Hunger Games story formula down to the chapter. What I missed in my first hurried read through the book was the story structure of the 27 chapters in Mockingjay specifically. In a nut shell, the series finale is a book whose last thirteen chapters mirror the first thirteen chapters and whose beginning, middle, and end points echo one another. Let’s look at exactly how this works with chapter line-ups and then discuss why Ms. Collins would bother with such artistry. [Read more…]

Mockingjay Discussion 21: What the Votes Tell Us

From Hogwarts Professor Louise Freeman in Virginia:

The assembly of the Council of Victors to vote on whether or not to punish the Capitol with a final (yeah, right!) Hunger Games is a pivotal scene of Mockingjay.  The obvious question we are supposed to ask is “Why did Katniss vote yes?” Was she still so bitter over Prim’s death and convinced that the Capitol was responsible that she would go along with the act of vengeance?  Or did she instantly have an “Animal Farm” style realization that Coin was no different than Snow and give the Yes vote as her best chance to kill her?  I have my own idea, but I can see how there would be differing opinions.  It might be more beneficial to ask two other questions:  1) Why did Coin call for the vote?  2) Why did the other Victors vote the way they did? [Read more…]

Mockingjay Discussion 20: A Children’s Book?

From Hogwarts Professor Louise Freeman in Virginia:

In case anyone’s forgotten, the New York Times gave Hunger Games a “Notable children’s book”  award. Two years and two sequels later, we have Mockingjay, which I speculate will be deemed ineligible in that category. As Elizabeth put it, we have “the biggest body count since Gettysburg,” not to mention Finnick’s description of his sex slavery, brutal slaying of young children and descriptions of battles, killings, war crimes and torture that make even adults cringe, not all of which were committed by the Bad Guys.  Can readers who were put off by Harry’s brief uses of Unforgivable curses stomach this?  Especially in a series welcomed by teens and even pre-teens in midnight release celebrations?  [Read more…]