Hunger Games Pop Culture Anaysis
Film and Music
Submitted By maddiew22
This essay will examine The Hunger Games trailer using the Storytelling Method and the Gender and Sexuality Method, as well as incorporate an outside source that helps further the discussion of Katniss’s character as a challenge to typical hegemonies and ideologies. (don’t use plural here) This is a fine preview. Can you add a sentence that indicates anything more about what you found in your evaluation?
The Hunger Games trailer begins with Katniss Everdeen sneaking through the barbed-wire fences that gate in her town. She runs off to meet her handsome guy friend, Gale, (so he may be handsome and a “guy” but this is a bit informal. Handsome is subjective, right? So we would probably want to describe him as merely her “male” friend) where they go on to talk about running away from their confined homes to live in the woods together and no longer be under the power or their (?) “rulers”. The trailer then shows their town (District 12) gathering for the picking of the tributes who will be involved in the next annual Hunger Games. While there, Katniss assures her little sister, Primrose, that her name cannot be drawn because it is only in twice. Sure enough, Primrose’s name is called and Katniss comes to the rescue to volunteer as tribute in place of her sister. After Katniss is picked, a boy named Peeta Mellark is also chosen to be a tribute. They are then taken away on a train and the trailer shows their parts of their journey as they prepare to go into the arena and fight to the death against 23 other children. And finally, the trailer ends with Katniss rising out of the ground into the arena as a voice counts down the seconds until the cannon goes off and the hunger games (not capitalized here, but is elsewhere – make consistent across the paper) officially begins.
The genre of this trailer can be classified as action or adventure as the storyline follows a girl (woman?) going on a new adventure where she encounters plenty of action and violence. The subject seems to portray war. Although the trailer covers many topics, the overall point is the Hunger Games where Katniss has to go to war against others. Throughout the trailer, Katniss struggles with being refined (defined?) by the people in power and she has to deal with things the way her society tells her to, so the conflict can be described as character vs. society. The master plot of the Hunger Games trailer is clearly rivalry. Not only are all of the characters battling each other for their own lives, but they are also all up against the leaders and creators of the Hunger Games. The trailer shows the conflicts between all of the tributes, and the conflicts the tributes (especially Katniss) have with the creators. The tone that the trailer gives off is somewhat dark. It shows the hardships these tributes have as they have to leave their families and fight to the death against other children with a 1 in 24 chance of surviving. The mood, though, is somewhat hopeful. As it follows Katniss specifically, the trailer gives the audience hope that she will win and be able to return home to her family and friends. The point of view demonstrated is the third person. All of the images and clips showed are from an outside perspective and it is not being narrated by anyone in the trailer. (great job with the preferred reading and narrative elements!)
The main character and protagonist of this trailer is Katniss Everdeen. She is the main focus of the whole clip and it is specifically following her adventure to the Hunger Games. The antagonist represented is the Capitol. (I agree, but what about the other tributes in the games? She has to kill them all to survive, and they are opposing her…?) They are the ones who are forcing children to be a part of the hunger games and are doing it to make sure they stay in power, and ensure that no other districts try to rebel or rise up against them. A foil character that is represented in the trailer is Peeta Mellark. He is the boy (male?) tribute who is from the same district as Katniss and has to be a part of the hunger games too. Other foil characters could be Katniss’s sister Primrose, and her friend Gale. (I would not identify these as foils) Some of the minor characters include most of the other children competing in the hunger games, Essie- the woman who announces Katniss and Peeta as tributes, and the men in white suits from the capitol that are there to monitor the whole thing.
An example of intertextuality that is represented in the trailer is an indirect allusion. When viewing the trailer one might be reminded of the book/movie Lord of The Flies. Both stories involve children battling others to the point of death. The hunger games trailer represents a sort of nod back to Lord of the Flies as they both signify a horrifying experience that a group of children have to go to. It is a disturbing process where many end up dead on account of the other children. ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF INTERTEXTUALITY. (That’s good! I heard that the woman who wrote these books was inspired by the tv show Survivor…..?)
A symbol shown in the trailer is a mocking jay pin. (I think it’s one word: “mockingjay” ?) The pin is obviously an important symbol because it is shown more than once throughout the short clip, and when it is shown it is the main focus of the images being displayed. The symbol seems to reflect a sense of safety for Katniss. Her sister gives it to her as a good luck charm before she heads into the arena and she keeps it with her throughout the whole clip. The symbol is also displayed at the very end of the trailer as a background for the dates the actual movie will be playing. It gives the audience a sense that the symbol is important and has meaning for the characters. (Look up more about this – I had to go read about it after seeing Catching Fire this weekend – it is quite symbolic)
A gender group that is strongly represented in the text is women. Women are shown as powerful, intelligent leaders. Katniss, who represents the women in the trailer, plays a large role in her family. She is demonstrated as the main care provider for her younger sister and she is in charge of protecting and looking out for her. Katniss is displayed as an attractive, yet somewhat worn down woman. She does not wear a lot of makeup or any sorts of revealing clothes, she is just dressed in a black t-shirt and pants with her pulled into a side braid. Katniss’s main prop that is presented with her is a bow and arrow. She is seen with the bow and arrow while hunting for food, when she is showing off her skills to the hunger games creators, and when she is in the arena fighting for her life. The bow and arrow represents a sense of empowerment for Katniss, and it is a symbol for her strength. (good!)
The representation of Katniss as a woman is mostly different from what is usually seen in the media. Women are usually portrayed as the lesser sex and are supposed to be unintelligent and rely on men. Women are, a lot of the time, displayed as sex symbols. Katniss is displayed as just the opposite of that. The way she is displayed is similar to the way men are usually portrayed in the media. This type of representation does not occur very often, and it is definitely something that is rare. (describe her more – how she dresses, talks acts etc so we can see how different it is from the “norm”) Also don’t forget a discussion about how men and women interact)
Overall, the text provides a positive portrayal of women. They are shown as being just as capable as men in terms of surviving, strength, and leadership. This type of portrayal would most likely have a positive impact on the audience, especially women. It is a rare occasion that women are shown as more than just their looks, and it could give women a sense of pride in themselves. So, this text will generally help this group’s social standing, because they are represented as equals to men which is something that is not usually shown.
Many movie critics took note of the portrayal of Katniss Everdeen as a strong woman. In a full movie review critic Manohla Dargis describes Katniss as “A brilliant, possibly historic creation — stripped of sentimentality and psychosexual ornamentation, armed with Diana’s bow and a ferocious will,” and “a female warrior”. I chose this source because Dargis offers insightful points about how Katniss’s character is explained and her opinions reflect mine similarly. Dargis’s New York Times article proves my points about the portrayal of Katniss and the way she makes other women feel. “she also doesn’t need saving, even if she’s at an age when, most movies still insist, women go weak at the knees and whimper and weep while waiting to be saved. Again and again Katniss rescues herself with resourcefulness, guts and true aim, a combination that makes her insistently watchable” (Dargis).
The Hunger Games movie trailer is definitely a unique approach to hegemony and ideology. Instead of the typical white men in power and women trailing, it demonstrates the empowerment of women and displays them as equals, if not stronger, than men. I think in general the text does good to society and gives women and girls courage and someone to look up to. But, the trailer still talks about children fighting to the death with other children which could be dangerous or unhealthy for some viewers. I did enjoy the text because I think it has a good idea, and since I have seen the whole movie, I know how everything turns out. The trailer offered good insight into what the movie was about and its main points. I believe the target audience for this text would be teenage/young adult girls as it follows the life of one and has some relatable topics.
After summarizing the video, analyzing it through the Storytelling Method and Gender & Sexuality method, applying an outside source, and evaluating the trailer, I began to wonder if the typical hegemony and ideologies will soon begin to fade. Women’s empowerment is becoming a more widely discussed topic and it is seen in many different media representations, like the Hunger Games. Hopefully the Katniss character can inspire young women to break out of our societies ideologies and form a place where women can be looked at as more than just a sex symbol.