Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Articles Rejected by 2011: The Hunger Games and Twilight: Competing Philosophies of Femininity in Modern American Literature.

Because the year is coming to an end, I am looking back over abstracts and things that I submitted to places but for whatever reason, were soundly rejected by whoever saw them. In the interest of me moving forward, (though if you want and tell me so I can pontificate most verbosely on these babies) I will be posting them here. At least in abbreviated form, because as someone reading this blog, it's likely you are somewhat interested in my thoughts on these things.

The Hunger Games and Twilight: Competing Philosophies of Femininity in Modern American Literature.

Entertainment Weekly has christened The Hunger Games the likely heir apparent to the Twilight Saga’s throne in the hearts and minds of female audiences. Its ascendance on the New York Times Bestseller list as Twilight drops from the list and the rabidity of fan commentary surrounding the feature film’s casting has only re-enforced that assumption.

A number of similarities exist in the reception of the two series; they have been banned in school libraries and have proven to appeal to adults as well as their core Young Adult market segments. They both appeal to clear archetypes and contain romances that create heroines that are approachable, but who are thrust by circumstance to be larger than themselves.

While The Hunger Games represents the archetype of survival and freedom through action, Twilight represents a yearning for life after death. These themes are represented both explicitly and implicitly within the narratives of the novels and have catalyzed strong fan associations who rally around those heroines as aspirational figures. 

While both embody the Jungian archetype of the caregiver and must both face inititatic rights of death and rebirth, the similarities between them serve to exemplify very different underlying ideas about the nature of life and life beyond death. Their relationships to others, parents, lovers, friends and their community also highlight major differences in the motivations of each heroine and how that reflects larger ideologies that exist in the world of the audience.

Katniss is a survivor, a hunter, warrior and eventually the leader of a rebellion who must act in order to preserve her life and that of those she cares about. Bella, on the other hand, spends most of the Twilight Saga nearly catatonic, unable to act on her own except in a desire to end her mortal life– either to escape depression or to join Edward in the afterlife of vampirehood.

Both heroines are unmistakably caregivers, and when empowered by responsibility for others, Katniss before the beginning of The Hunger Games when her father dies and mother withdraws. Bella becomes empowered when she gives birth, both by the realization of vampiric powers and peership with her enemies, but also an ability to better perceive her goals and act to not only combat her enemies but change the very reasons they fight.

The motivation to survive and live, versus the desire to live so that one may reap rewards after death are indicative of larger motivating factors in the American population and when observed through this lens, reveals much about both heroines, their stories, and the cultures created in their fanbases. 

If you want to read more of this article: Dare me to write it in the comments.

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