Real Hunger is not a Game


Katniss and PrimAfter watching The Hunger Games this weekend I can’t help but consider the question, “What is real hunger?” When is the last time I went days without eating or was forced to look through someone’s trash bins to find something to eat? I feel guilty that I live in a society more like the capitol, in the book The Hunger Games, “where food appears at the press of a button” (p. 65). Food symbolizes wealth, prosperity, and comfort in The Hunger Games; it is the difference between the capitol and the districts, the rich and the poor. The people in the Capitol are consumers – they are thoughtless and wasteful consuming tons of food. Am I much different from them?

Katniss was so unfamiliar with the luxuries in the capitol. She had never ridden in a car, taken a shower or drank hot chocolate, just to name a few. We so often take for granted the abundance of resources and commodities that are available to us on a daily basis. I can’t help but imagine what a child adopted from Bulgaria, Congo, Honduras, Nicaragua, Samoa or Ukraine must think when they come home to the United States for the first time. It has to be a major adjustment for them to live in a household with such daily ammenities. How could it not be? We truly do live outrageously luxurious lives. I don’t think of myself as rich but compared to many in other countries, I am.

In the book, Katniss explains that food is quite scarce in the poorer districts and “starvation’s not an uncommon fate in District 12” (p. 28). Katniss dedicates her life to hunting and gathering food needed for her family to survive, even though hunting is illegal in the districts. She lost her father in a mining accident when she was eleven and her mother became so depressed that she couldn’t take care of her children so Katniss was forced to take over as head of the family. Katniss did the best she could to provide for her family and keep them looking presentable; keeping it a secret that her mother could no longer take care of them because the district would have taken her and her sister away and put them in a community home. What would her life be like, she wonders, if her family had enough food to eat? What would it mean if her daily life wasn’t a battle against hunger?

Katniss overcomes adversity and fights to survive. Most children who have been adopted are survivors just like Katniss. They learn at an early age the skills needed to stay alive. Often they are forced into circumstances like Katniss where they have to forage or hunt to get food for themselves and even younger siblings. Hoarding is often a common survival behavior that adopted children might exhibit because they truly do not believe that the next meal will be provided for them. Adoption may not be an easy road to travel but the journey will provide a child with a quality life where they will not have to worry about where their next meal is going to come from.

If you haven’t read the book The Hunger Games, I highly recommend it; there is so much a movie is unable to portray and if nothing else it will get you to think. Fighting hunger isn’t a game it is a real issue that affects real people every day. According to World Food Programme, hunger is the number one health risk, killing more people every year than malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis combined. If you are heading out to the theatre to see the movie remember, despite the fictional circumstances, the comparison remains true, many people in our world simply do not know where their next meal is going to come from and it is a daily fight of survival for them to stay alive.

MLJ Adoptions is a Non-Profit, Hague-Accredited adoption service provider located in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Isles. We are passionate about serving children in need.