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 17: Books vs. Broadcast

From Hogwarts Professor Louise Freeman in Virginia, thoughts on ‘Mockingjay,’ media, books, and truth, not to mention a contrast with Harry Potter:

“Beauty is truth and truth, beauty–that is all ye know on earth and all ye need to know.”  John Keats.

The Hunger Games trilogy gave us the harshest skewering of the media since Rita Skeeter, and with much less comic relief.  The first two books show the broadcast Games, “reality” TV twisted into a weapon of oppression and packaged as entertainment. Mockingjay shift gears into “informational” broadcasts twisted into weapons of war; they don’t even bother calling them “news broadcasts” but “propos,” a nickname for propaganda. In the end, there’s little difference between the two formats. [Read more…]

Why Tuesday? Tick, Tock, This is a Clock

Mockingjay is just hours away! At first, I wondered why on earth this book was coming out on a Tuesday.  More adventurous types than I will want to do all that midnight release stuff, but then they’ll have work and school the next day. It seems a Saturday would be better for schoolkids, working stiffs, and crabby morning people like me. But in my intense re-read of The Hunger Games in prep for Mockingjay day and for teaching the book in ENG 111, I clocked the days that Katniss is in the arena and  found what may be the reason for the Tuesday release, as well as some other intriguing patterns. Follow me after the jump to see why readers will be out in droves on a Monday night, and see the key to how the arena in Hunger Games is just as tied in with time as the one in Catching Fire.

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Into the Essay Arena! Hunger Games in ENG 111

This fall, I am incorporating a novel into my ENG 111 -Expository Writing, for the first time in quite a while. The Hunger Games was the perfect choice, and I look forward to seeing how the students respond. I’ll be sharing their thoughts here as they seem intriguing for discussion, and I hope our numbers are swelled with some of my super students!

In the class, the students will be writing journals on the book, one for every three chapters and then an overview one. They will also have the chance to incorporate the novel into one of the essays.

I’m really looking forward to seeing how this goes. After years of seeing students in ENG 113 who have either never read a book or who haven’t read a book since middle school, I’m hoping the Hunger Games will spark a fire or two in some of my students.

After the jump, find the journal questions I am using. What do you think? I’d love to get some feedback from our serious readers here!

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