Well, it finally happened. We finished reading Hunger Games. Since a lot of people were interested in my teaching this book, I thought I'd let you know what my plans are for using the text. As we only have about thirty books, we had to read the book in class. Since my freshmen are at wildly different reading levels, we read the book aloud to keep some students from finishing in a week while others would be struggling to finish by the last day of school. We wrapped up the reading today, my to my students' disappointment. They hated the cliffhanger ending and are all devising ways to get their hands on the sequel, Catching Fire.
Now that we have concluded reading, we're going to work on comparing it with similar works. I've told them all along that the reason we read Hunger Games is to work on literary analysis, focusing on comparing. We'll read the following short stories:
A short story by Kurt Vonnegut about a dystopian future where everyone is equal. That doesn't sound so bad, right? Well, if you're better than other people, then you will be disabled in some fashion to return everyone to equality. Both Hunger Games and Harrison Bergeron are set in futures where government control severely affects teenagers, as the titular Harrison is a teen who "needs" to be disabled.
Most Dangerous Game
This story, by Richard Connell, tells the story of this rich guy on his own private island. He's an excellent hunter and has grown board with the normal hunting fair. When his hunting hero washes up on shore, he just can't help showing him how he hunts the most dangerous game now, people. The parallels between this story and Hunger Games are quite obvious.
Super Toys Last All Summer Long
Have you ever seen the movie A.I. starring Haley Joel Osment and Jude Law? Well, it was based on this story by Brian Aldiss. The movie is an extreme expansion on what printed out to seven pages from my computer. This is another dystopian future setting where the government controls the population due to environmental factors.
We'll also be reading a variety of folk tales and urban legends starring teenagers in dangerous situations, some similar to those faced by the characters in Hunger Games. I have to say, I've had a lot of fun putting this unit together. It feels more like what I thought teaching would be. It feels more like loving literature. I hope next year is more similar to this with all of the curriculum changes we're going to experience.