Posted On: Oct. 30, 2017
History Women’s Right Issue My interest in Women’s Rights Issue was kindled during my final year of study in college. I was brought up in a cultural environment where women were not treated “at par” with men. This was considered quite natural and I did not pay any attention to it and accepted it as a natural way of life. These cultural norms were part and parcel of our life. Women were respected in the society I was brought up but were considered inferior to men in terms of intelligence. They were regarded as emotional creatures that had no control on their emotions and could not handle difficult situations in everyday life. I had developed interest in literature and in order to expand my knowledge I started browsing through books written by established authors. To develop better understanding of female psyche, I focused on the literature written by women authors. My reaction to reading books written by women authors varied in nature and extended to feeling sorry for the writer, feeling confused at the way situations were described and handled in stories. At times I felt extremely angry and distressed. It was on a winter Friday night, that I decided to read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. The central message of the book “Winning will make you famous. Losing means certain death” made me seriously think about the characters of the book. The events turned out to be very shocking and led to disbelief. My view of women writers changed completely and I started wondering as to how a woman can write such type of stories with cool conscience. The story unfolds slowly and in a manner that is unique in nature. The nation of Panem was formed from a post-apocalyptic North America. . It is a country that consists of quite wealthy Capitol County. It is encircled by 12 poorer districts. The historical record state that a rebellion took place by 13rh district against the Capitol. It resulted in its total destruction, and gave rise to creation of an annual television event that was unique in nature. The event was known as Hunger Games. It was a kind of punishment for the rebels and a grim reminder of the power and grace of the Capitol. According to rules of the event, each district was required to send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in the games. The choice of boys and girls was done through a lottery system. These “tributes’ are chosen during the annual Reaping and are forced to fight to death such that only one survivor remains as a victor. It was this cruelty that really made me wonder as to how a woman can conceive such a situation and still keep her cool. The story further unfolds to reveal a situation when 16 –year-old Katniss’s younger sister, Prim , is selected as the female representative of the District 12, Katniss offers herself as a volunteer to take her place and join the Hunger Games. She is joined by her male counterpart, Peeta, who together are pitted against several well trained representatives from other districts. It is almost like a sure shot death sentence for the two. However she along with Peeta plays a trick when they defy the Capitol by threatening to commit suicide. The Capital obviously is upset their defiance of the tradition, which acts as an inspiration in several other districts. Both Katniss and Peeta go around the districts, trying to subdue the rebellion. The net result of their tour to different districts is that very few participants remain in the Hunger Game. The arena, where the games are played is completely destroyed but the survivors of District 13 rescue the participants. The author Suzanne Collins describes the lives of these kids who are chosen from different districts. These kids are not very extraordinary. They are simple people having their aspirations in life. The kids dream of going to college, get married and settle down in life. They know that education is the most important way of achieving success in life. Katniss and Peeta, the main characters of the book have also similar dreams. They do not want to end up like other children. However, they know their fate is sealed once they attain the age of 12 as their names are automatically added to the “lottery system.” It is just a chance that will decide whether their names will be chosen to take part in this bloody game, where only one survivor exists and the rest of them are killed by the participants. Katniss wonders why people commit suicide. She believes that people should lead a normal life and be happy by settling down after getting married. But their lives are mired in fears, disappointments and yearnings that are expressed in a very subtle manner. There is no indication of suicidal tendencies that is a reflection of their quiet desperation. In fact, it was this act of Katniss and Peeta, when they threaten to commit suicide that lives of children in the Districts changes. It is a totally painful transformation and difficult to sustain. But slowly and slowly children come to terms with themselves. After I finished the story of Katniss, I felt asleep and suddenly woke up in the middle of the night with tears flowing down my cheeks. In my dream I had visualized myself in place of Katniss and realized how close my life was to hers. Throughout my life, I had admired and respected my elders for encouraging me to go to college, be intelligent and aware of worldly circumstances. They inspired me by making me realize the power of self control. My own mother was never a rebel but was easily influenced by others. She had to be dependent on others for small mercies. I rebelled against this traditional role of women and was afraid that I may also end up in the same circumstances as my mother. Prior to reading this book, I never realized how much courage was required by a person to live a life as a second hand citizen. Not only that, people were finding contentment in living through this type of life. It was during the night, when I awoke from my dream I realized how little I understood about my mother. Overnight, my respect for her inner strength, compassion and gentleness grew be leaps and bounds. Ever since reading the book, my relationship with people around me has evolved and I have become extremely close to my family members, especially my mother. In all probability, I will never adopt the same role in life as the one my mother choose to take. However my respect for her and the way she lived her life on her own terms made me understand why chose to remain silent all through. Reading of Katniss’s story as a human being and a rebel entirely changed my perspective toward life. It has changed the way I feel towards myself and my compassion for my mother has grown manifold. It has provided me with strength to view others around me in a more sensitive manner. my respect towards elders has now grown manifold.