CANNOT WAIT CANNOT WAIT CANNOT WAIT. But wait we must. Even if it’s only a few more hours.
In the meantime, want to know how Greek mythology, Spartacus, Vietnam and reality TV inspired Suzanne Collins?
Found this interview with Collins in the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy:
“Suzanne: The Hunger Games themselves, for example, were inspired by the story of Theseus, the mythical king of Athens, who slew the Minotaur, the horrible monster imprisoned in the Labyrinth, the gigantic maze designed by Daedalus. According to the myth, after subduing Athens militarily, King Minos of Crete accepted a peaceful settlement which included a regular tribute by which the Athenians would be reminded of their subjugation to Crete. Every nine years (when the full moon falls upon the equinox) seven Athenian boys and seven Athenian girls would be sent to Crete to be devoured by the Minotaur. As a young prince, the Athenian hero Theseus took the place of one of the young tributes, killed the Minotaur, and solved the puzzle of the maze…My 24 boys and girls who must fight to the death for the entertainment of the Capitol are also called “tributes,” like the Athenian youth, and after taking the place of her sister, Prim, who would surely have died, the story’s heroine, Katniss, joins the other tributes but is continuously defiant of the Capitol.
I also drew upon one of my favorite movies, Spartacus, and the historical figure upon which the movie is based. Because Spartacus was a slave, he was never the direct subject of Roman writers, but his general story can be found in Plutarch’s work, The Life of Crassus… I found three things always present in the gladiator paradigm: (1) a ruthless government that (2) forces people to fight to the death and (3) uses these fights to the death as a form of popular entertainment.
The very moment when the idea came to me for The Hunger Games, however, happened one night when I was very tired and I was lying in bed channel surfing. I happened upon a reality program, recorded live, that pitted young people against each other for money. As I sleepily watched, the lines of reality started to blur for me, and the idea for the book emerged. Television news coverage of real events has played a very important role in my life. When our father was in Vietnam, our mother tried very hard to protect us from the television news, which at that time was much more graphic in illustrating the fate of our soldiers. Nevertheless, I saw it one day and was frightened and shocked to connect my father with this place, this war, where so many Americans were dying. I am fearful that today people see so many reality shows and dramas that when real news is on, its impact is completely lost on them.”