I'm still anti-Hunger Games...

leamirella's picture

After yesterday's discussion about Hunger Games, I do not think I have been convinced by the inclusion of Hunger Games into the curriculum. While KCHarris made a fantastic suggestion of putting Hunger Games in conversation with another text, I'm still not sure that I would consider the text to be of great value to a classroom -- it just seems that there are other books out there that might address some of the things that we discussed.

1. I felt that a lot of the emotions surrounding the inclusion of The Hunger Games revolved around how it would motivate students to "read". But what do we mean by "reading"? Do we mean (as N. Katherine Hayles talks about in her essay, "How We Read") hyperreading, close reading....? What about the motivations for reading? To be able to think about how The Hunger Games would really affect the ability/love of reading, I think that these are important questions to consider.

2. I do see the point that some of our classmates made passionately about tailoring books to fit in with student's backgrounds. While I didn't take the comment about not being taken seriously in certain contexts personally, I do urge the consideration of how well these students will be prepared to enter college. (Since this seems to be the path that MGuerrero mentioned as being the "model") Would The Hunger Games prepare students to do the type of analysis/close reading required by freshman seminars? I can't speak generally, but probably not at Bryn Mawr.

3. I also understand how the movement away from the canon would be beneficial. But through The Hunger Games? I fail to comprehend why. There are a lot of other books out there -- why jump on the consumerist bandwagon and assign the very text that embodies this? Additionally, if we're so hung up on catering to student's backgrounds, then why not assign a text that has more direct links to them personally? I would have loved to, in high school, learned more about Filipino literature and read more books that I could truly identify with. Just because The Hunger Games seems relatable to "everyone" doesn't mean that it should be the text that's covered.

4. D. (I don't remember your username, sorry!) mentioned that it isn't important to dissect the language of the book; it's the message that counts. This isn't necessarily the case. What about teaching students how to do close readings? Teaching them to rip apart the language and make meaning? Isn't this what high school English is about? Isn't an arguably superficial analysis to gain some semblance of meaning what SparkNotes does? Sure the message is important, but I don't think it is much more important that being able to examine the language too.

Comments

alesnick's picture

preparation v. attainment as education

Could the idea of education as preparation for a later phase of life obsure the ways in which education is a form of living in the present? 

asweeney's picture

"Why jump on the consumerist bandwagon?"

Although I am still pro-Hunger Games for its ability to empower young people, I really understand much of what you say here---especially about college preparedness. Your points are thoughfully articulated and I think it is great that you bring this up since there is so much more to discuss on this topics. 

In response to your question about consumerism, I'd just like to say that young students are typically some of the largest "consumers" of our society's hype. By denying that which is popular or enthusiastically consumed outside the classroom from entering into the classroom environment, aren't we in some way communicating to students that what they vlaue or find important is in fact not worthy of value-----since we reject it in the "sacred" space of learning? Of course, not all mass-consumed phenomena need to be included. Still, one of the things I took away from our panels is the extent to which students would love to see the things that they consume and value (like games) incorporated, embraced, or at least accepted as valid by their teachers. I absolutely see your point that The Hunger Games might not apply to all students. I just wonder, however, if avoiding the effects of consumerism is the always best approach in the classroom---when the children in a classroom spaces are undoubtably affected (postively and negatively) by society and its consumer-driven value system? What do we communitcate to kids when we tell them that something they consume is not worthy of being included in a "learning" experience? 

asweeney's picture

"Why jump on the consumerist bandwagon?"

Although I am still pro-Hunger Games for its ability to empower young people, I really understand much of what you say here---especially about college preparedness. Your points are thoughfully articulated and I think it is great that you bring this up since there is so much more to discuss on this topics. 

In response to your question about consumerism, I'd just like to say that young students are typically some of the largest "consumers" of our society's hype. By denying that which is popular or enthusiastically consumed outside the classroom from entering into the classroom environment, aren't we in some way communicating to students that what they vlaue or find important is in fact not worthy of value-----since we reject it in the "sacred" space of learning? Of course, not all mass-consumed phenomena need to be included. Still, one of the things I took away from our panels is the extent to which students would love to see the things that they consume and value (like games) incorporated, embraced, or at least accepted as valid by their teachers. I absolutely see your point that The Hunger Games might not apply to all students. I just wonder, however, if avoiding the effects of consumerism is the always best approach in the classroom---when the children in a classroom spaces are undoubtably affected (postively and negatively) by society and its consumer-driven value system? What do we communitcate to kids when we tell them that something they consume is not worthy of being included in a "learning" experience? 

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