The Hunger Games and Reader Response

March 13, 2012 — 3 Comments

Although I am not willing to follow this reader response movement with pococurante intimacy, I have been “civilized” enough by breathing in this post-modern air to see the benefits of some of its emphases.

This past week I picked up the latest non-fiction teen fad, The Hunger Games, written by Suzanne Collins, because I needed a flying imaginative novel. The following will not spoil the plot for any of you cinema sitters, or for those a little behind the teen-fad curve. It is simply a realization I had while reading about Katniss and her hopeless circumstances.

I, as a Christian, could not help but seeing a network of connections between her story, and the story of Jesus.

I recognized that she came from the smallest “most frowned” upon District. I noticed that she willingly sacrificed herself for her sister. I watched her willingly go to her sure death. I cheered her on as she courageously faced her last moments. I saw that after her victory, she was lifted up for all to see. And I took note that her entire district would benefit from her triumph.

All these things were there.

But the curious thing is, they also weren’t.

I imported them.

I am sure if you asked the author she would admit that she did not “intend” any of these connections with the story of Jesus.

But when my horizon and Suzanne Collins horizon collided, synapses were triggered that she may have never imagined.

And I suppose that she would be okay with this.

The perennial question is, how does this type of reading inform how we read the Scriptures?