IU Southeast Magazine - Spring 2014 - page 19

IU Southeast
Summer 2013 17
“Unfortunately we live in an age where
war seems our constant companion,”
Abshire wrote in the syllabus for the
course. “It is easy to become tired of
or desensitized by reports of war, but
it is real and an important event for
those directly involved. As citizens
or residents of the country with the
world’s most powerful military, it is
important for us to engage with these
topics.”
In an interview with
Scholastic
,
author Suzanne Collins said that her
inspiration is pulled from both modern
and ancient times.
“A significant influence would have
to be the Greek myth of Theseus and
the Minotaur,” Collins said. “The
myth tells how in punishment for
past deeds, Athens periodically had to
send seven youths and seven maidens
to Crete, where they were thrown in
the Labyrinth and devoured by the
monstrous Minotaur.”
For Abshire, it’s contemporary events
that shape much of her teaching. “We
live in a fascinating era” she said. “Over
the last few years we’ve witnessed a
number of rebellions and insurrections
around the world, including the
Arab Spring and the recent events in
Ukraine.”
She continued, “
The Hunger Games
series fits squarely into a tradition of
dystopian fiction, and it’s important to
recognize that throughout history that
genre has often been used as a way
to explore controversial and complex
social and cultural topics. These are
vivid books that cover a lot of ground
in very stimulating ways that help
students come to grips with many of the
important concepts in political theory.
The Hunger Games
culture and
class
Like other literary phenomena, like the
Harry Potter
series and
Twilight
,
The
Hunger Games
trilogy is something
that seemed to catch fire almost
instantly.
With more than 65 million copies of the
trilogy sold, and the film series quickly
generating nearly $700 million at the
world wide box office,
The Hunger
Games
have become the next “big
thing,” and the series has made stars of
its main characters, including Louisville
native Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss.
At the IU Southeast campus, the class
is quickly becoming one of the more
popular classes. Kirsten Goodman,
honors and fine arts senior, saw the
class advertised and was immediately
drawn to it. She had read the books
“It’s nice that
the faculty is
creating unique
classes”
- Trent Reilly
previously and, like Abshire, became
immersed in the striking themes.
“I wanted to delve a bit further into the
political science of the U.S. compared
to the political science of Panem,”
Goodman said.
Goodman took the class the in 2013
and said she really appreciated the
structure and subject matter of the
class.
“It didn’t feel like a class,” Goodman
said. “It felt like an informal book club
gathering. I liked being able to hear the
different points of view from everyone
in that class.”
While Abshire teaches the class, she
hopes that the students will be able to
pull both from the material within
The
Hunger Games
and within their own
lives and experiences to compare the
two.
With the guidance of Abshire, the
students will transform the classroom
into their own district, putting
themselves into the shoes of the
contestants.
And as book character Effie Trinket, a
Capitol representative, said, “May the
odds be ever in your favor.”
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