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The hit movie, The Hunger Games, ( opened this weekend and smashed box office records ($19 million opening night).  Adults and teens are flocking to see this movie, after making the book by the same title a New York Times best seller.

As described by Wikipedia, “It is written in the voice of sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in a post-apocalyptic world in the country of Panem where the countries of North America once existed. The Capitol, a highly advanced metropolis, holds absolute power over the rest of the nation. The Hunger Games are an annual event in which one boy and one girl aged 12 to 18 from each of the 12 districts surrounding the Capitol are selected by lottery to compete in a televised battle in which only one person can survive.”

The movie and book are both gory and involve impossible situations for teens.  Life and death choices face them at every turn, and only the strongest survive.  Given the premise of the book and movie, why has it captivated so many people?

Instead of the story turning on the classic “good and evil” conflict, it focuses more on the depravity that people will accept to keep themselves secure.  But as the events unfold, those same people who gave up their human decency and integrity for security are jolted awake by one girl’s defiant integrity.  In one of the defining moments of the film, the main antagonist questions his own purpose in the Games.

Survival of the fittest in the Hunger Games Arena becomes survival of the hungriest.  Violence, dominance and revenge are challenged by the strength of love, kindness and decency.  I won’t tell you who wins, but the choices made show that there is hope for mankind.  When hope opens the locked doors to human hearts, the acceptance of cruelty and oppression is no longer an option.

The Hunger Games is a phenomenon that forces you to question your choices everyday about how other people are viewed, judged and possibly dismissed.   The question remains — what are you hungry for?  Basic survival by killing others, or reaching out to support others, thereby helping yourself?

Go see The Hunger Games and feel free to share your answer.  Remember, as one of the characters is fond of saying, “And may the odds be ever in your favor.”

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