Thursday, 27 March 2014

Guest Post: The Hunger Games vs. Divergent

Hi guys,

I've got something a little bit different for you today - a guest post from fellow blogger, Elizabeth Eckhart. Elizabeth has written me a brilliant post where she compares and contrasts The Hunger Games and Divergent. If you enjoy the post and want to hear more from Elizabeth you can follow her here on Twitter.

(Possible spoilers for THG and Divergent - so proceed with caution if you haven't read any of the books!)

Comparison and Contrast of Hunger Games and Divergent

Though the Hunger Games and Divergent series share similarities, they remain distinct in the realm of dystopian fiction due to a few integral differences. For example, the Hunger Games trilogy is told from the first-person viewpoint of the main character, Katniss Everdeen. For the most part, this perspective served the series well, lending readers an up close and personal view of the struggles and challenges Katniss battles both internally and externally. However, many critics have noted the last book of the trilogy begins to flounder. Because Katniss is emotionally and physically withdrawn in the third book, and we see the world through her eyes, readers lack the opportunity to experience many battle and action scenes simply because she is physically not in them. In this way, at least, the reader becomes just as removed from the overall battle as Katniss is. 
The Divergent series also employs first person point of view, but with a twist. Author Veronica Roth uses the technique of dual narrators, through characters Tris and Four, to relate events. Although a neat idea in the beginning, this technique soon experiences some drawbacks. First, though Roth claims to have intended the primary character to always be Tris, Four begins to push her towards the back seat when he takes over narration. Secondly, it is often hard to distinguish who is speaking, due to Roth’s very similar narrating voices, and it quickly becomes unclear as to whether we are reading events from the point of view of Tris or Four. 
Both series develop strong and well-rounded female protagonists as well. Katniss varies from Tris in that Tris sees a lot more action in the Divergent series, readily taking on daredevil tasks. Katniss, on the other hand, though brave, does not seek out conflict and wild adventure. She is thrown into the Hunger Games without a choice. However, though Tris sees a lot more action, she is also is beaten down at times and physically suffers frequently, whereas Katniss always remains the undisputed victor. 
Though both series also do excellent jobs with developing their protagonists, both seem to lack a bit in secondary character development. For example, in the Hunger Games, the love triangle is resolved by Katniss settling with the remaining suitor, while the other leaves. Therefore, no real choice to make is put upon Katniss. We are never are shown Gale’s true feelings and this contributes to the lack of a strong, resolved ending.

In the Divergent series, secondary characters that could have been more developed include Christina, Al, and Peter (who will hopefully feel more present in the film version releasing this weekend). Developing these characters could have added many new dimensions to the plot, and possibly helped it conclude with a more riveting ending. Even the character of Four is at times a bit stereotypical. Though he does not always publicly acknowledge Tris, she still remains enamored with him despite his typical bad boy behavior. 
Overall, dystopian fiction is a strong seller in the young adult fiction realm and those that have enjoyed both the Hunger Games and Divergent series might want to check out a few other well-written books. Recommended among this genre is Marie Lu’s Legend series, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, Delirium by Lauren Oliver, Lois Lowry’s The Giver, and Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game. Ender’s Game has already made the jump to film, and is now streamable from Hulu and DirecTV (visit their homepage for more info) and lucky for dystopian fans, The Giver is finally making it to the big screen too!

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