Writing my Hopkins essay, I found it evocative to look up dictionary definitions of seemingly important words. In reviewing one of Hopkins’ poems (I forget which one) I came across the word “quell.” I looked it up, and the definition reads: “put an end to (a rebellion or other disorder), typically by the use of force,” “subdue or silence someone,” and “suppress (a feeling, especially an unpleasant one).” What does this make you think of?! Well if you’re a fan of fantasy fiction, like me (and Kat, I think – see below) it may have made you think of The Hunger Games and more specifically the Quarter Quell..?
For those of you who don’t know – the Quarter Quell is a ‘special edition’ Games that happens every 25 years. In the second book of the series, the capital hosts the third Quarter Quell. The twist of this Quarter Quell is that there is no normal reaping, one male and one female victor (winners of past Games) from each district must compete. The ‘theme’ of the Quarter Quell is said to be randomly selected from a variety of options, but I believe this Quarter Quell was orchestrated to force Katniss back into the games as an attempt to dispel the inevitable rebellion. Katniss is the only female victor from district 12 so this concept works perfectly in favor (hah – get it) of the capitol’s agenda. After reading the definition of “quell,” I came to realize that the name of these quarterly games as the “Quarter Quell” foreshadows all that happens in Catching Fire and Mockingjay. Maybe this was evident to everyone else, but I thought this was crazy!
Shortly after this revelation, I saw the final movie of the series. The entire movie I kept thinking of what all these other titles and made up names infer. I think I can thank Arts One for that. Anyway, when I got home, I looked up a couple other definitions.
Firstly, Primrose is a flower known for being fragile and for its thin and short stem. They are also known for their reproductivity. Knowing this, might we have for seen Prim’s career as a doctor and even death? Alma is often the name of a deity associated with light and earth; “Coin” is defined as “A small piece of metal, usually flat and circular, authorized by a government for use as money” and “To devise.” Within these connotations and definitions could we have seen the death of Coin and the election of Alma?
I have read a lot of books but after this semester of analysis and close reading I have come to understand how much more depth there is in much writing – even in the Hunger Games. I think I will continue to see more meaning in most works of literature I read and in movies I watch.
PS. on another note – don’t you think the Hunger Games could be taught in an International Relations class?