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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Forks in Nashville? CMT Twilight send-up.

It seems like Twilight is just about everywhere these day, but even the Country music folks have gotten the bug. This video, “Chicken and Biscuits” by someone who apparently calls himself “Colt Ford” ( I guess it could be his real name)  is proof. It’s a a pretty silly spoof, of course, with the big conflict being over who gets a plate of fried chicken, but it does demonstrate the pervasiveness of the Saga, particularly with the movie images, which are featured. Since none of the movie soundtrack songs are CMT material, I guess this is their way of getting their cut!

Running of the Harrys in the Future?

Last week in Key West, folks celebrated what would have been Ernest Hemingway’s 110th birthday with their annual Hemingway Days, a week-long celebration of all things Hemingway, including a look-alike contest, writing competition, and, my personal favorite, the running of the Hemingways, sort of like the  running of the bulls in Pamplona, only with all the Hemingway wannbes instead of bovines. Considering the heat in Florida in July and the fact that most folks go in for the later-in-life Hemingway look, it might actually be more dangerous than the bull running. I hope EMTs were on hand.

What does this spectacle have to do with our discussions here? Well, after enjoying watching all the great character impersonators at Infinitus (I don’t go in for that myself, but I really enjoy observing. I should just wear a sign that says, “Nope, these are just my regular clothes”), I noticed a few interesting trends. While some characters have many folks who want to adopt their look, others seemed absent; completely missing, unless I missed her, was anyone dressed up as Rowling herself. Which leads me to wonder how we will honor her in future years. Will people want to have Rowling make-overs? Is there a big future in Rowling impersonators, or will we be content to mug as the characters she has created? [Read more…]