Sunday, April 19, 2015

Entry 8:the Holocaust and the Hunger Games

The amount of similarities between the Capital and the Germany's Third Reich are quite astounding.  Both are run by totalitarian dictators and have a rigid control of the people.  To be quite frank, there is no humanity within these nations, only death and decay.  Hitler and Snow draw many parallels between each other. Both are charismatic leaders with a deep understanding of politics.   The two are also incredibly complex people.  The reasons for their war crimes, while inexcusable, raise many questions as too why they were committed. Why did Hitler desire the destruction of an entire race? What was going through his head at the time when he and the other Nazi leaders were planning the Final Solution? Whatever his answer might have amounted to, it can never repeal the atrocities committed by the Nazi Party.

Some basic facts about the Holocaust are essential before I move on to the next part.  As we all know, about six million jews were killed in the Holocaust.  This was more then half of the eleven million Jews that existed in the world at the time.  Other groups that were persecuted were Catholics, Gypsies, Russians and POWs.  The work camps that the prisoners were forced to reside in were deplorable.  Imagine the worst living conditions that one could live in and multiply it by three. That's how bad the barracks were. the "beds" were concrete or wood that caused unimaginably painful back problems for people.   Then there are the inhumane guards and their hellhounds. These cujos are trained and bread for the sole purpose of ripping prisoners to death for acting out of line. And that is on a good day. At their worst, these German Shepherds will eviscerate the inmates for literally no reason at all.  All at the drop of a hat.  

Getting to hear Rueben speak was moving to say the least.  I could tell from the moment he started speaking that he had experienced hell on earth several times over.   If being forced to live in a ghetto separate from the rest of their community was not enough, then having to scrounge for food 24/7 would be enough to drive a person crazy.  Reuben and his family had to make ends meet by going from door to door selling their possessions.  It wasn't even close to enough to survive.  Being uprooted from his home was not even the worst of what was to come.  He had to survive death marches, inhospitable living conditions and inhumane Nazi guards.  Don't even get me started on how Reuben was forced to work in dangerous weather conditions. He was stripped of his dignity, had his faith in his God shattered and then was forced to beg for his right to live.  Yet somehow, he never lost the will to live.  Despite always worrying whether he was going to die or whether the next dead body he would see was his sisters, Reuben never quit living.  He learned to not take life for granted. Ruben eventually came to terms about what happened, and while he can NEVER forget what happened. Reuben learned that life goes on by coming to terms with these feelings.  He came to terms with them by living a normal life and educating the younger generations on the horrors of the Holocaust.  Reuben knows that he is the last of a dying breed.  Soon, his kind will die out and all that will be left is what memoirs that are recorded.  The first hand accounts of Holocaust events are soon going to pass away soon.  Everything else will be recorded through the academic journals, archives and other compendiums.  


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Entry Nine. Gender Relations and Roles in the Hunger Games

Hello all! It has been a while since last posted an entry for my journal, right?  Life keeps me busy, that is for sure. Anyway, happy Easter!

Now to get down to brass tacks.  The Hunger Game series is very progressive with its depiction of  gender roles.  Both Katniss and Peeta have mixed traits of both sexes. Peeta is caring and somewhat sensitive while Katniss is the "man" in the relationship.  She hunts and provides for her family while he decorates cakes and is very artsy in general.  Peeta is more outgoing and friendly when compared to Katniss's stoic, brick like personality. Peeta is the one who secures their victory during their interviews with his charming personality. He knows how to work the crowd over by subtly manipulating them. Katniss on the other hand, is about charming as a graveyard.  She tries, I will give her that.  However, her defiant spirit is put to good use when she disrespects the judges during both of her runs in the hunger games.  She is the "brawn" of the relationship whereas Peeta is more likely to run and hide for strategic purposes labeling him the brain of the relationship. Katniss does the majority of the fighting especially during the two hunger games.  Peeta does kill, but he is much less likely to be seen engaged in active combat, instead of planning to manipulate his opponents.

Suzanne Collins defies the expectations of gender roles in the Hunger Games.  Sure, Katniss and Peeta are a bit more like their other genders, but they still are a woman and a man respectively.  Katniss still shows a motherly side especially to younger girls namely Prim and Rue.  Although Katniss is not what I would call a "motherly figure," she still has that instinct that to protect that is biologically prevalent in the female gender.  Katniss is a bit of anti-heroine in the fact that she is quite ruthless in her pursuits of the Capital in her desire to see it burn.  This sort of ruthlessness is typically thought of as being found in men.  In the film adaptions, she is dressed up quite sexily.  She wears alot of dresses for her TV interview.  Katniss typically is very beautiful looking, especially when she is wearing her Mockingjay outfit.  A heroine should be masculine, but not too manly. That would be a sexual turnoff.