Myth Salon with Dr. Elizabeth Nelson – Pandemic, Protests and the Spooky Relevance to the Hunger Games

Time: Jul 9, 2020 05:00 PM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

 

At a time when the “real world” is convulsed by pandemic, protests, and rebellion against privileged elites, when we confront yet again systemic racism, systemic misogyny, and the obscene concentration of material wealth in the hands of the few, and finally when tyrannical leaders stupidly sow discord, it may seem wasteful to give serious attention to fantasy literature. Yet stories are vital, the third circulatory system of human life, as important to communal health as are the flow of blood and lymph in the individual body, because stories connect us economically, politically, culturally, and spiritually. In this webinar, Dr. Elizabeth Nelson shows why Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games is freshly relevant.

At the end of the novels, Peeta plays a deadly serious game with Katniss to piece together an identity fractured by torture. Real or not real? he asks Katniss, as he tries to find a coherent narrative. But the question is not only Peeta’s. “Real or not real?” is a persistent question for Katniss as she negotiates her identity as a desperate and hungry girl, as a sacrifice to “quiet” more than “peace”, and as hunter, ally, friend, and lover. She will need all of her predatory instincts to negotiate the tricky terrain of becoming the Mockingjay, the symbol of the rebellion, a role she never coveted and would happily relinquish.

The genius and relevance of Suzanne Collins’ fictional world becomes clear when viewers realize that the games—ostensibly the annual “festival” designed to keep peace among the districts—is not the only one being played. There are games within games. Several key figures are deadly Game Makers in this fantasy world. Thus, the question that Katniss slowly and silently answers for herself is “Who is the ultimate Game Maker?” For Katniss and the rebels, opposing the concentrated might of tyranny is a daily act of perception as well as the actions that arise from clear seeing.

 

Real or not real?
Pandemic, Protest, and the Spooky Relevance of The Hunger Games

At a time when the “real world” is convulsed by pandemic, protests, and rebellion against privileged elites, when we confront yet again systemic racism, systemic misogyny, and the obscene concentration of material wealth in the hands of the few, and when tyrannical leaders stupidly sow discord, it may seem wasteful to give serious attention to fantasy literature. Yet stories are vital, the third circulatory system of human life, as important to communal health as are the flow of blood and lymph in the individual body, because stories connect us economically, politically, culturally, and spiritually. In this webinar, Dr. Elizabeth Nelson shows why Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games is freshly relevant.

At the end of the novels, Peeta plays a deadly serious game with Katniss to piece together an identity fractured by torture. Real or not real? he asks Katniss, as he tries to find a coherent narrative. But the question is not only Peeta’s. “Real or not real?” is a persistent question for Katniss as she negotiates her identity as a desperate and hungry girl, as a sacrifice to “quiet” more than “peace”, and as hunter, ally, friend, and lover. She will need all of her predatory instincts to negotiate the tricky terrain of becoming the Mockingjay, the symbol of the rebellion, a role she never coveted and would happily relinquish.

The genius and relevance of Suzanne Collins’ fictional world becomes clear when viewers realize that the games—ostensibly the annual “festival” designed to keep peace among the districts—is not the only one being played. There are games within games. Several key figures are deadly Gamemakers in this fantasy world, toxic leaders who maintain control by sowing discord. Thus, the question that Katniss slowly and silently answers for herself is “Who is the ultimate Gamemaker?” Katniss and the rebels learn a lesson that matters today: opposing the concentrated might of tyranny is a daily act of perception as well as the actions that arise from clear seeing.

In its pastoral ending, The Hunger Games promises a future beyond the horrors wrought by greed, tyranny, oppression, and ecocide. Real or not real?

One wonders, or should.

Biography

Dr. Elizabeth Èowyn Nelson is a professor at Pacifica Graduate Institute, where she has been teaching since 2003. She is a widely published author and international speaker/presenter at conferences and via webinars. Her books include The Art of Inquiry: A Depth Psychological Perspective (2017), co-authored with Joseph Coppin and now in its third edition, Psyche’s Knife: Archetypal Explorations of Love and Power (2012), and the forthcoming Shadow Vows in Love, Work and the Art of Life. Dr. Nelson coaches individual authors, “guiding writers from inspiration to publication.” www.elizabethnelson-phd.com

 

 

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