Earlier in the year, I had the pleasure of interviewing a group of high school students competing for college scholarships. One of the questions on their applications asked about five influential books they had read, and students were to indicate whether the books they listed were assigned for class or read purely for pleasure.

Every female student except for one listed The Hunger Games on her list, and most of them had the book/series near the top of the list.

I have read the first of the three books and seen both of the first two movies. Mostly, I’m just glad that young girls and women have a character like Katniss available in popular culture.

Yes, I know she kills people when she has to, but this would not be an issue if she were male. See what I mean?

Katniss is strong, smart, resilient, nurturing, and a leader. How many times in blockbusters do we see women succeed on their strength and their smarts instead of their sexuality?

Yes, I know that the “romance” with Peeta figures into the storyline, but even this device breaks with convention when it comes to Katniss.

Read this:

Clever and compelling analysis, isn’t it? I like it when pop culture icons help us break down boundaries, challenge our preconceptions, and complicate gender roles.

The movie? Catching Fire is entertaining. Katniss rocks. Jennifer Lawrence rocks.

Of course, more than once when watching the film earlier this week, I thought, “Wow, wish I could see Winter’s Bone again for the first time.” It would be awfully hard to top that film or that role, the first time I saw Lawrence on film.

I wish some of the scholarship applicants I interview next year would bring up the strong, Ozark Mountain girl in Debra Granik’s 2010 film played by Lawrence. That’s a conversation I would relish.

Catching Fire


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