The Newest Member of Pop Culture

28 Apr

If The Hunger Games is not classified as a part of the pop culture movement then I do not know what is. My personal opinion of something to be able to have the label as “pop culture” is simply a piece of work that is attractive to the modern culture that might not be as attractive to the high culture era. In addition, I also believe that popularity and number of views has a lot to do with the classifying something as pop culture.

 The Hunger Games is predominantly aimed towards the young adult population and they do a fantastic job of doing so if I do say so myself. They include a disturbing but intriguing plot based on kids killing other kids if they wish to survive. I believe this type of plot line is what interests all of the young adults in today’s society because it allows them to use their imagination by thinking, “Wow. What if I lived in a world like that?” Or maybe they might think, “Wow. What would I do if I had to kill someone I knew just to survive?” This book’s plotline would most definitely not be accepted in a high culture type atmosphere due to the whole ‘kids killing kids’ concept.

Another reason as to why this book is attractive to today’s modern culture is because of its relevance to some of the struggles we face today. Oftentimes today, especially with the 2012 Presidential election approaching, we see the dramatic tension and interaction between the rich and the poor. In the book, it portrays that people without money have an incredible disadvantage in life, yet those who are wealthy are generally bystanders and don’t give a crap about the poor’s struggles or survival.

On a different note, I would also label this book as far on the pop culture spectrum as possible because of its popularity in general. I have never seen so much hype about a book/movie. It seemed more popular than Twilight because both guys and girls went and saw it, while Twilight generally seemed to be seen by mostly girls. It lead the box office for a substantial amount of time to show the number of views just kept increasing and increasing. The popularity and incredible amount of buzz the book and movie produced has a lot to do with its classification as a pop culture piece of work.

When it comes to classifying The Hunger Games as either high culture or pop culture, it is without a doubt a member of pop culture. The way it attracts itself to today’s modern society can easily back that statement up. It allows viewers to imagine themselves in a fictional world yet conveying certain themes that are present in today’s world.

Changes in my Perception of Pop Culture through Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

28 Apr

I have learned a lot about pop culture after taking Engl 1102 class this semester. As a result of taking this class, many of my perceptions of pop culture have changed. When I first entered the class, I only considered shows such as The Jersey Shore as pop culture. However, during the semester I have learned that any form of media can be considered pop culture as long as it makes a  impact on our society so I include the novel Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke as pop culture as well. Some changes in my perception of pop culture can be shown in the genre, characters, and analytical value of the novel Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

From the beginning of the semester to now, one of my conceptions that has changed is the genre of pop culture. In the beginning of the semester, I thought that pop culture mostly consisted in the forms of TV shows such as the Jersey Shore because it was easy to gain mass popularity. I classify Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell as pop culture now as it has been on the New York Time’s best seller list and won several awards. It has sold over 250,000 copies. It is clear that Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell has a very large following, and deserves to be classified as pop culture, even as a book. My view of the genre of pop culture has expanded from being just reality tv shows to books.

Another characteristic of what I consider to be pop culture is the quality of the characters. As I mentioned before, at the beginning of the semester I mostly considered reality tv shows such as Jersey Shore to be pop culture. I thought that pop culture consisted mostly of vapid personas. However, now that I understand Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell can be considered pop culture, my view of the characters in pop culture has changed as well. In the novel, Susanna Clarke provides an extreme amount of details for even minor charactors. For example, she spends several pages describing how servants of a minor character are experiencing change as they have moved from living and serving in the countryside to the city. She describes how the city servants make fun of the new country servants and their strange country mannerisms. This examples serves to illustrate that Clarke creates an insane amount of detail about her characters. Clarke provides even more detail about the main characters. My view of characters in pop culture has changed from vapid celebrity personalities to personalities that can be rich in detail and depth.

Finally, one of the major facets of pop culture that has changed for me is its value outside of entertainment. My example before of Jersey Shore remains a star example of my early conception of pop culture. Many friends I know watch the show just because they like to laugh at the stupid things each character is doing and the riduclous conflicts between the actors on Jersey Shore. People will just watch the Jersey Shore for mindless entertainment. This is another aspect of pop culture that I understand differently now that can be reflected in Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. The novel is rich in symbolism and allows for a lot of analysis. For example, the society of magicians in the beginning of the book can provide for a lot of analysis. The magicians only study magic, however no one performs it. Performing it is for street musicians, which are not gentlemen of the society of magic. This can be analysed as a stab at academia – people who only write theories about things but they never go out and try them themselves. This is only one of many subjects for analysis in the novel. My understanding of what the value of pop culture is outside entertainment has changed from mindless entertainment to entertainment with a lot of room for analysis.

My perceptions of pop culture are almost completely different as a result of taking this class. Coming into the class, I expected pop culture to be shows such as Jersey Shore. However, three examples of how my perception of pop culture has changed can be shown in the genre, the characterization, and the value of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. My expectations have changed from pop culture being tv shows and movies to books. Another change is from childish celebrity personalities to complex characters in Jonathan Strange. Finally, the most important change is the ability to obtain value other than mindless entertainment in Jersey Shore to having the option of analysing many different groups in Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. My views of pop culture have changed after taking Engl 1102 this semester.

Hunger Games Mark on Pop Culture Through Archery

28 Apr

One role of The Hunger Games in popular culture is the effect that it has on the interest of fans. Since the series has been adapted into a movie, it has influenced many people to want to become more like characters in the book. One character that fans are influenced by is the female archer heroine, Katniss. There has been an increase in the interest of archery since The Hunger Games movie has premiered. The Hunger Games has affected popular culture by increasing interest in archery.

One way The Hunger Games has increased interest in archery is by increasing sales in archery equipment. After seeing the movie, many fans have gone and purchased bows and arrows. One salesman for an outdoors shop has remarked that sales for bows and arrows have tripled. Many children are definitely influenced by Katniss in the film because the role of archery in The Hunger Games has made archery a ‘cool’ sport. To satisfy their children, many parents are buying their children bows so that they can start learning how to become archers. The Hunger Games is changing pop culture by increasing interest in archery equipment.

Another way The Hunger Games has affected interest in archery is that interest in archery classes has suddenly increased. Some kids will go out after watching the movie and sign up for classes in archery in the same day. In addition, the fans that have went and bought archery equipment will sign up to classes to learn how to become better archers. The Hunger Games affecting our culture by directly increasing interest in archery classes.

Even people who are not fans of the series are affected by The Hunger Games fans’ interest in archery. In the fans’ rush to start trying out archery, archery ranges and youth clubs are starting to add classes for younger kids. Sales of archery equipment are going up and participation in archery classes are going up, so business owners see that there is an opportunity to profit in this growing market. Even though the businesses have not been directly affected by the hunger games, the series’ affect on fans is indirectly encouraging businessmen to appeal to this new interest in archery. The Hunger Games has even affected society by affecting businesses that are not fans of the series to become interested in archery.

Most new big movies or series have very visible effects on fans. Right after watching or reading The Hunger Games, many fans get The Hunger Games ‘fever’. One way that this ‘fever’ is showing is in fans’ efforts to emulate Katniss from the books, they are picking up an interest in archery. The interest of fans in archery shows through the increased sales of archery equipment, increased interest in archery classes at youth clubs, and the youth clubs response by creating more archery classes. The Hunger Games is making its mark on our culture by increasing interest among its many fans.

My Journey Through Pop Culture

28 Apr

With the topic of this English class being about perception of popular culture, I must say that from beginning to end my entire view has changed a little bit on pop culture. Through readings from Quicksilver, Hunger Games, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, and The Sandman or from playing a video game like Assassin’s Creed 2, or from watching music videos, all of these have two things that jumps out to me: creativity and variability. If I have learned one thing about popular culture this semester, it is that works can be adapted into many different mediums for many different purposes.

A book that jumps to mind that is a very creative representation of pop culture is Quicksilver. Neal Stephenson uses his creativity to kind of bring back the scientific and mathematical discovery era in a fictional fashion. The book has a great deal to do with the discovery of Calculus, particularly included the controversy over who actually invented it. Stephenson accurately displayed certain concepts but included minor fictional tweaks. Most notably was the made-up school called “Massachusetts Bay Colony Institute of Technological Arts”.

Another book that enhanced my view about pop culture is Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. This book had a lot to do with the present’s relationship to the past. By conveying this, Clarke used the past English culture and inserted the idea of magic actually working back then. In addition, this book also proved to me that pop culture pieces of work don’t have to be short in length by any means. Both this book and Quicksilver are amongst the longest books I have read in a while, since the last Harry Potter book was released to be exact. I will no longer associate long works with just high culture, I can guarantee that.

The piece of work that really proved something to me though was the video game Assassin’s Creed 2. This was the perfect example of a pop culture adaptation. The game took aspects of Italian history and produced an educating and riveting video game simultaneously. I must admit that while playing this game for the time I was not only entertained by the non-stop violence and action, but I did learn a lot about certain things about Italian culture that I never learned in past history classes. Moreover, I honestly can’t remember the last video game I enjoyed playing but also learning something valuable at the same time. I think these game producers are really evolving the purpose of video games and proving the whole “video games are solely for entertainment” stereotype wrong.

Before coming into the class and studying any pieces of work, my understanding of pop culture was simply just making material more modernized so that the work would be accepted in the modern day culture. While that understanding still remains true, I have gained a much further understanding on top of that. I did this by looking much deeper into the works and grasping the concepts that are there and comparing them to the previous work or material that it derived from.

Giving Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell a Place to Call Home

28 Apr

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is an interesting conglomeration by Susanne Clarke. Containing many elements of magic, it is often referred to as an adaptation of the pop culture phenomenon that is the Harry Potter series, except catering more to the adult age demographic. More interesting is while maintaining such characteristics of fantasy, the novel also rather historic with a setting of early 19th century England, Wellington.  This collision of both fantasy and history bring about an interesting question. Where in our culture do novels like Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell belong? Is it in popular culture, along with Harry potter? Or is it perhaps in high culture, along with a textbook of English history?

Though not so much in its beginning pages, the novel is riddled with magic, lending itself to quite a fantastical taste.  The magic is an exciting blend of human and faerie with such a complex and realistic taste to it, such that it almost maintains a level of academia about itself. Having a defining characteristic as such, on might want to place Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell on the same end of the cultural spectrum of works such as Avatar: The Last Airbender and the previously mentioned Harry Potter series. I would like to maintain, however; that while it maintains its aspects of fantasy and fiction, the book also has its fair share of high culture elements to consider.

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is also referred to by many as a historical novel. It is blatantly apparent from the incredibly believable setting that Clarke spent much time meticulously researching early 19th century England to develop such a detailed and accurate setting. Featuring among many things historical figures and carriages, the novel provides readers with a very much Victorian Era feel. In addition, the novel itself is over one thousand pages long—and discursive, too; both of which reflect how many writings of its ‘time’ were produced. It reminds me of works of Mark Twain, intentionally drawn out as he and other writers of his time were paid by the word.

The tone of the characters and the novel as a whole was also developed in such a way to provide them all with some outstanding sense of ego. It is as though everyone throughout the novel caries with them a form of elitism you would expect from English royalty of the time; supporting the aforementioned Victorian taste. These historical characteristics do their share to push the novel towards the more high culture end of our previously referenced cultural spectrum. So where does it lie?

Somewhere in between, that’s where. Clarke does a splendid job in presenting a conflicting magical yet historical England. She has effectively created a bridge between popular (also referred to as low) and high culture. The more magical and fantastical elements of the novel lend itself to popular culture, while the historical context and accuracy qualify it as an artifact of high culture. The result is not black and white, but instead a nice shade of gray lying somewhere in between.

Hunger Games and Popular Culture

28 Apr

The Hunger Games by Susan Collins is part of a three part series and has already claimed its place on the New York Times list of best selling novels. Some say the Hunger Games phenomenon is sure to find itself setting sales records above even the Harry Potter series. Quickly finding itself a part of popular culture, a more in depth analysis of the novel reveals that it has more to offer than one might originally suspect. The dystopian nature of the fictional Panem and how familiar it is to the real world is all too chilling. It is this predicative characteristic of the novel that has forever altered the way I view artifacts of popular culture.

Popular culture carries with it a broad spectrum of elements. For a work to be considered a part of popular culture, a wide audience must first appreciate it. That is to effectively say that, in its most simple definition, popular culture is the culture of the masses, including popular music, television shows, commercials, brand names, advertisements, sports, the Internet, movies, fashion, etc. This is opposed to high culture, which is considered to be the culture of the more elitist and educated members of a given society. With popular culture clearly defined, it can easily be declared a home for The Hunger Games.

The novel has something for everyone. Rue and her struggles appeal to the younger populous, while Katniss and her more romantic hardships cater to young adults struggling to discover themselves and love, and finally the more political nature and adult elements can be appreciated by the more adult audience. These elements are what allow for all members of society to find some form of appreciation and appeal within the text. Effectively, the novel can claim to be a part of the culture belonging to the masses, which happily meets our definition of popular culture. This is further reflected by the latest numbers claiming there are thirty-six and a half million scheduled to print in the United States alone.

Containing other artifacts such as “The Jersey Shore”, popular culture is quick to be disregarded by societies more elite members. However, the novel contains fundamental elements of literary classics. For example, 1984 (belonging to high culture, mind you) by Georgia Orwell also features a dystopian society. Also carrying this predicative element, popular culture gains weight. Panem and the districts have much to say about some of societies most sensitive topics: racism, religion, and an overpowering government to name a few.

Overall, it can be said that The Hunger Games has forever altered my perception of popular culture. The novel’s ability to challenge societies toughest issues and predict where we are headed as a nation gives it a weight I never would have considered before. Analogous to even elements of high culture, the novel has much to say and deserves a more serious and in depth analysis before being brought down to other artifacts in the neighborhood of popular culture.

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and Pop Culture

25 Apr

 

One of the final novels we read this semester was Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. The novel revolves around the fact that magic was brought back to England by two men, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. This is a major tribulation in English society during this time period since magic was related to dark forces and such. Since this was such a problem the novel also focuses on the differences between reason and unreason. This novel, like many others, can be depicted to be a fantasy novel since it deals with magic, fairies, and other imaginary worlds. Because the novel falls in the same genre as many other novels it can be associated with works of the same fantastical material such as The Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. This places the novel on the end of the pop culture spectrum where the rest of the fantasy novels lie. It is hard to decide whether the novel is depicted as either high culture or pop culture because the novel is fairly new so there is no telling how long its popularity will last in our culture.

As I was reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell it was difficult for me to decide its spot on the pop culture spectrum. I had never heard about this novel before it was assigned in this class so I was not even sure how this novel related to popular culture. But as I began researching the novel’s backstory and all the acclaim it has received I learned that the novel really has made an impact in pop culture. The novel has many fans and readers who appreciate the book. I think the main reason I was not exposed to this book is because it was not publically advertised through mainstream media sources. Unlike most pop culture crazes this novel did not get as much praise as it deserved. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell deserves a lot more acclaim than t has received because it can appeal to a wide range of an audience. The novel has many features that can be greatly appreciated in pop culture if only there was a larger fan base that exposed the novel to the rest of our society.

It was nice to finally read a well-written fantasy novel. After Harry Potter many fantasy novels do not come up to par because the plot has no storyline or the author tries to include every single aspect a fantasy novel could ever include into one story. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell was such a well-written novel because the story flowed very well and there were not many fantasy elements. The novel was kept pretty simple by mainly revolving around magic and fairies. It was also very appealing because the novel presented moral dilemmas such as resurrection war. Another aspect, which may have pulled many readers, is the fact that the novel approaches the topic of power and fame. This is another reason why the novel should be more popular than its current stand.

Although the novel is currently not very well known there was a point in time where filmmakers were planning on creating a motion picture based on the novel, but plans fell through for various reasons. This shows that Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell has the potential to become a popular culture phenomenon; it’s just a matter of time for the hype about the book to rise again. With a little help from social media networks and the power of a spoken word the world of pop culture will be brewing with Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

In conclusion, the novel, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, is a very riveting novel that should have a higher place with more praise in the pop culture world. The novel deserves this because it has a lot of elements that are shared with other pop culture rages. All the novel needs is another chance and a fan base, and voila the novel can be the next big thing in pop culture!

 

Samiyah Malik

My Views on Pop Culture and High Culture

25 Apr

By: Andrew Schuster

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell was an example of a book that takes a popular concept, in this case magic, and putting it to use in a deeper situation than simply casting spells.  A truly good story either makes something go from very complicated to very simple or the other way around and this book did just that.  Magic is used as a sort of cop-out in some cases to explain a phenomena that wouldn’t normally happen (see: Deus Ex Machina), but in the case of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, actual social consequences and moral choices are brought into the playing field, which make a simplifying mechanism more complicated.  The ability to complicate something just by adding human context is one of many aspects which make pop culture versus high culture such a tricky subject. 

            The easiest way to differentiate popular culture and high culture is to first define them both.  Popular culture, by my own definition, is created for entertainment purposes and is usually marketed it a way to be sold.  It can cater to select audiences or it can try to be as broad as possible to include everyone.  Popular culture isn’t necessarily studied or analyzed and sometimes is molded to be what the public expects it to be.  An example of this would be the romantic comedy where the loser ends up with the hot girl and the mean guy gets tossed aside.  The genre of romantic comedy is very much a part of the pop culture scene.  By my definition, a piece of pop culture does have the potential to become high culture, basing that fact on whether the work has some sort of credibility that boosts it beyond mere words (or pictures, or sounds, or whatever medium chosen).  Superficial equates to being nothing more than pop culture.

            High culture is almost as difficult to describe as pop culture.  First and foremost, a piece of high culture has withstood the greatest test of all: time.  A piece of high culture, through some great chance, was found to be important enough to be passed along to the next generations because of something it invoked.  High culture is often associated with some sort of board of smart people who assign what is and isn’t important, but I find that to be a bit of misunderstanding.  Many works teach different lessons and especially in literature, there may be different lessons that pertain more to the academic world.  This can explain why 1984 is high culture while Fight Club is not.  The difference in time frame for both those books also comes into play.

            The grey area, the spectrum between popular culture and high culture, is the point of extreme difficulty and makes specific classification difficult for many works.  It also brings a lot of questions to the table.  Does making reference to “high class” sources make it more credible?  Is there such thing as being trashy and sophisticated?  If something is bad, can it still be high culture (such as many of Shakespeare’s less interesting plays)?  This makes pinning any piece of work to a category very difficult; even assigning it a place on the spectrum can be difficult because that results in trying to find some kind of measurement to decide what makes something worth reading and what makes it just a phase.

            This course has made me reevaluate how I view pop culture and high culture and that both are capable of coexisting.  Fight Club was both an interesting and very thought provoking read, but it also garnered a cult following due to its prevalence on the big screen and in pop culture.  I find that pop culture is really just an ephemeral assignment to whatever is popular here and now.  Whatever wasn’t important or is forgettable is eventually weeded out and in the end, the true masterpieces stand taller among the rest.

The Hunger Games and Pop Culture

24 Apr

“Reflect on the other book and how your perception of pop culture has changed (or hasn’t) over the course of the class.”

After reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins I felt as if I was apart of a pop culture movement. It was very interesting to see the popularity of The Hunger Games rise in a matter of weeks. It has become an international sensation with everyone dying to read the novel and buy his or her movie tickets. Reading such a heart-racing novel was exciting in itself, but actually watching the book come to life in film kept me on the edge of my seat. The Hunger Games is all the hype in current pop culture, and has its reason to be to. The adaptation of the novel to a movie brought everyone’s imagination of the plot to the big screen and was very well adapted. The Hunger Games has definitely made its mark in current day popular culture.

One of the main reasons there has been a huge craze over The Hunger Games is because the novel is very relatable. The novel is mainly directed towards young adults, but a reader of any age could probably enjoy the twisting and turning plot. Teenage girls fell in love with the novel because of the apparent love triangle between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale. The fact hat Katniss is with Peeta for the majority of the story does not allow the reader to feel an emotional attachment towards Gale, but it can be noted when Katniss reevaluates her feelings towards Peeta. Another reason this novel has become popular is because of the moral dilemma presented. After sitting back and actually evaluating the story you realize how gruesome and gory the plot really is. The Hunger Games revolve around throwing 24 children from the ages 12-18 and having them fight until there is only one standing. Basically, it’s the survival of the fittest to the tenth degree. In addition to these reasons, The Hunger Games have become extremely popular because the fans can become emotionally attached to the characters since the novel and movie are so closely detailed.  With all of these reasons tied together one can easily see why The Hunger Games have become such a big deal.

After the novel began selling copies left and right the word about The Hunger Games was finally let out. Soon everyone became aware of the story and the feature film that was being released. This is how The Hunger Games became such a pop culture phenomenon. The Hunger Games is considered pop culture because we have an informal consensus as a society that it is a preferred addition to our culture. Another reason why The Hunger Games have gained such popularity is because mainstream media has advertised it. Whether it be commercials on television, Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr some form of social media was buzzing bout The Hunger Games, Katniss, Peeta, and Gale. Basically, The Hunger Games is considered pop culture because it is something that our culture, that our population as a whole enjoys watching and reading.

Throughout the course of this semester I learned a lot of what it means for material to be considered pop culture, and as the semester progressed my views on pop culture have changed as a whole. At first, I came into this class thinking I was going to be exposed to the aspects of pop culture that I am already aware of. Such as Kanye West, Lady Gaga, Johnny Depp, Harry Potter, or Jersey Shore. Of course we did talk about all of this, but at the same time I was also exposed to new forms of popular culture such as Quicksilver, The Sandman, Assassin’s Creed, and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. This form of popular culture is something that I was not very much exposed to because they do not particularly fall into my group of interests. It was very interesting to delve into new genres of music and books and see the other side of the spectrum. Also, during this class I learned the difference between high culture and pop culture and what it takes to be considered both. Learning about and digging deep into popular culture was a very exciting experience.

With that being said, analyzing pop culture and The Hunger Games has opened my eyes to a different aspect of society today and made me realize and notice things I have never paid attention to before. It amazes me to notice how much pop culture affects our society and culture. Often times we do not realize how much we are influenced by the things that people around us are being involved with, but now I do especially after seeing how involved I was by reading and watching The Hunger Games.

 

Samiyah Malik

The Placement of Hunger Games in Popular Culture

24 Apr

By: Andrew Schuster

The Hunger Games has a fairly distinct place in popular culture for multiple reasons.  The first tie it has is through the cult following garnered by fans of the original book series.  The second comes from the fact that the series was made into a movie, allowing it to reach an even wider audience.  The third is the controversial subject matter, the likes of which the media as well as the general public seem to have a peculiar interest.

The cult following attributes a lot to the position that The Hunger Games now rests in because it explains the ability of the series to spread so fast.  A trend viewed from a series such as this is that readers tend to recommend it to their friends if it is good.  A parallel can be seen via other popular series such as Harry Potter and Twilight.  Due to massive popularity, a book the academic community may not consider “high culture worthy” begins to accrue critical acclaim because of the fact that something getting this much attention can just be ignored.  This puts the books in a strange position because it can be read superficially, like nearly all books, but now people are giving stronger meanings to symbols and events that occur, an attribute given to more academic style books.  The series does, however, suffer from its popular standpoint because the story, in a way, is censored to be more “family friendly.”  The notion of children fighting to kill one another is a very touchy subject in the public eye, and if The Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins had decided to make the series a little more gory, it may not have reached the movie status, which lead to an even broader audience to reach.

A popular trend as of late has been adapting popular books into movies (e.g., Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Twilight, to name a few).  This is a strategic step in the popular culture market for two reasons: firstly, it will be viewed by a great number of fans already acquainted with the books and secondly, it gives the potential for new fans to discover the series.  One aspect that firmly places The Hunger Games in the popular culture side of the spectrum is a motivation driven by sales.  Making a movie will inspire people new to the series to go out and buy the books and potentially other related merchandise, revealing a huge profit.  Now, these probably weren’t the main intentions of Suzanne Collins when she originally made the series and I’m not accusing her of selling out, but if there wasn’t profit to be made on the series, it wouldn’t have been made into a movie.  The subject matter of the book really shows that the author wanted to get her readers thinking about the social and psychological aspects of the world she created and how they apply to real life; this notion played a role to its original rise to popularity.

The general public has a strange affinity towards controversial subject matter today, and this isn’t limited to just The Hunger Games.  Ranging from the speculation and anger revolving around the Trayvon Martin murder case to the SOPA/PIPA bill that was knocked out of Congress, society nowadays trends towards controversial subject matter that often times has something to do with human rights.  The Hunger Games falls into this category on the main fact that the story revolves around minors killing each other for the entertainment of a higher authority.  The story, in a way, draws comparisons of a totalitarian dictatorship in which the leaders have absolute say and control over its dominion and how such a “game” is a way to assert dominance over its subjects.  It’s a very real possibility that exists in some countries and is hopefully on its way out the door considering all the revolutions occurring around the world, but I digress.

With all things considered, The Hunger Games is a very difficult to specifically classify, but it is neither strictly high culture nor popular culture.  By gaining critical analysis and acclaim, the series gets credit toward a standing in high culture, yet its sudden rise to fame along with a movie release hints at a more ephemeral existence in academia.  The only true test for high culture work is its ability to withstand time and still reveal something to the reader that inspires emotion of some sort.