Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Why the Hunger Games clothes are unusual

the book:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

published 2008    Chapter 10



[Katniss is preparing to take part in a televised gladiatorial combat: 24 teenagers – tributes - will fight in an arena till only one victor is left.]

Then the clothes arrive, the same for every tribute. [My stylist] Cinna has had no say in my outfit, does not even know what will be in the package, but he helps me dress in the undergarments, simple tawny trousers, light green blouse, sturdy brown belt, and thin, hooded black jacket that falls to my thighs. “The material in the jacket’s designed to reflect body heat. Expect some cool nights,” he says.

The boots, worn over skintight socks, are better than I could have hoped for. Soft leather not unlike my ones at home. These have a narrow flexible rubber sole with treads, though. Good for running.

I think I’m finished when Cinna pulls the gold mockingjay pin from his pocket. I had completely forgotten about it.

“Where did you get that?” I ask.

“Off the green outfit you wore on the train,” he says. I remember now taking it off my mother’s dress, pinning it to the shirt. “It’s your district token, right?”




observations:  For anyone who’s been in a news and culture blackout lately: Suzanne Collins wrote a mega-bestselling Young Adult trilogy about a future dystopia where young people fight to the death for the entertainment and edification of TV viewers. The first book has just been made into a film, which has been extremely successful. Now join in:

Some readers were unhappy about the clothes Katniss Everdeen is given in the film– see
this Slate article for a rundown of such views. (Some people think the actress is the wrong shape, but we’re not going to dignify them with a reply.) And it is true, the costumes do not live up to the description in the book. But more to the point is this: in book and film, Katniss is dressed for the fight in clothes which look half-way convincing, like something someone undergoing a trial by combat might find useful and practical. She is not dressed in superhero clothes, nor is she dressed as a futuristic spage-age dollybird – the picture above represents how she would surely have been imagined in a different era. It is possible to have differing views about many aspects of the books and the films, but it is very hard to think of any book and film where the fighting clothes are so practical, and it is hard to think of any heroine who is quite like Katniss. We’ll look at her again later in the week.

Links up with: a fight to the death with no guarantee of survival - Agatha Christie's version in 1939.

The photo is a fashion show for air hostesses (though it seems unlikely that anyone actually wore skirts that short on a plane) and is from the
San Diego Air & Space Museum archives.

1 comment:

  1. Nicola and I read THG with the Mother/Daughter BG back in the fall and last night we met for the final official time! Can you believe that Louise and started the group when the girls were in 4th grade (inspired by...??!) and the same six couples made it all the way through to 12th grade! My favourite reads? Probably The Usual Rules, Life of Pi, Curious Incident...,and The Book Thief. Feel so darn lucky.

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