Curious about the clues from our recent “What is Clyde Reading?” Challenge? Here’s how we came up with each of them:
Juvenal, bachelor Brad Womack, and a major event in U.S. History have each, in some fashion, served as inspiration for this popular book.
Author Suzanne Collins has, in various interviews, listed several sources of inspiration for The Hunger Games. She came up with the overall story one night while flipping channels between a reality show (hence the reference to The Bachelor villain Brad Womack) and the war in Afghanistan and the lines between the two “started to blur in a very unsettling way.” Collins also adapted several ideas from ancient Greek and Roman culture in creating her world. She named it “Panem” in reference to a phrase-“panem et circenses”-from Satire X by the Roman author Juvenal. Literally translated as “bread and circuses,” it fittingly refers to a means by which a ruling power superficially or insincerely placates a group of people. Collins has named the myth of Crete and the Minotaur as another influence on the series.
The original draft of this clue had “Richard Hatch” instead of Womack as a nod to reality TV but we felt that the nature of his show, Survivor, was too close to the The Hunger Games.
The author is a fan of one of Kurt Vonnegut’s darker works but can appreciate certain TV scripts. The author’s father, however, relates more to a work like Matterhorn or Fighter Wing. We aren’t sure what either thinks about grunge tribute bands featuring Chris Cornell.
Collins counts Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five among her all-time favorite books and has written for a number of children’s television shows, including the Nickelodeon hit Clarissa Explains It All. Her father, a US Air Force officer, served in Vietnam. Seattle grunge rocker Chris Cornell created the band “Temple of the Dog” as a tribute to deceased friend and former bandmate Andrew Wood. Their biggest hit? “Hunger Strike.”
The story takes place in what used to be Appalachia. Movie fans will not be surprised by this (and we are certainly not “mocking” their intelligence) even though the region is decidedly lacking in hybrid birds.
Katniss’ home, the coal-mining District 12, is the smallest and poorest of all the Districts and said to be located somewhere in the region formerly known as Appalachia. Part of the movie adaptation was filmed in several WNC locations, including Charlotte, Hildebrand, and Shelby. Additionally, in The Hunger Games universe the Capitol creates a number of genetically altered animals. One such animal, the Jabberjay, was designed as a spy and could listen to and repeat (in a human voice) any conversation it overheard. When the rebels discovered the Jabberjay’s abilities they fed it so much misinformation that the Capitol was forced to abandon the program and free the Jabberjays, who quickly adapted to life in the wild. The offspring of the Jabberjay and a mockingbird is called a mockingjay, a bird that plays several important roles in the series.
The book is the first in a trilogy. That’s all we’re going to say, other than may the odds be ever in your favor.
Until this one a few clues pointed in the general direction of the first book in the series but nothing strongly suggested which book we were hinting at. The second sentence, though it appears innocuous, is actually another hint as ” And may the odds be ever in your favor!” is the catchphrase spoken to the Tributes before the Games begin.
Congratulations again to our winners and thank you to everyone who participated! When not relying on our own enjoyment of the series we used the following sources to help craft our clues: a Suzanne Collins interview with the NY Times, the author’s official website, and an interview with School Library Journal.