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Reading in the DarkHorror in Children's Literature and Culture$
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Jessica R. McCort

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781496806444

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2018

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496806444.001.0001

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Let the Games Begin

Let the Games Begin

Hybrid Horror in The Hunger Games Trilogy

Chapter:
(p.201) Let the Games Begin
Source:
Reading in the Dark
Author(s):

Emily L. Hiltz

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496806444.003.0009

This essay examines Suzanne Collins’s monstrous “mutts” in her phenomenally popular series The Hunger Games. Hiltz is especially interested in Collins’s characterization of human-animal hybrids, investigating the relationship between the political commentary at work in the novels and these “monsters,” from the half-wolf, half-humans that nearly overtake Katniss at the Cornucopia in the first novel to the lizard-humans whispering her name throughout the viaducts beneath the city in the last. Hiltz focuses on the mutts as abject creatures, demonstrating the ways in which these uncanny monsters, quite literally making the familiar strange, are at once metaphors for the political control exerted by the Capitol, the rebels’ resistance to the Capitol’s power, and the disruption of natural order. She also concentrates on Katniss and Peeta muttations, each of them reformed by warring entities in service of “the greater good.” Most importantly, Hiltz emphasizes that Collins’s mutts are designed to demonstrate the fine and wavering line between good and evil, calling into question the nature of monstrosity, especially as it relates to human behavior. Her location of monstrosity in the protagonists themselves especially offers a new way of thinking about teen dystopic novels that engage horror as a means of conveying identities assaulted by external forces.

Keywords:   The Hunger Games, Muttations, Monster, Abject, Monstrosity

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