Suzanne Collins is one of the most outstanding contemporary authors in the United States. She mainly writes fantasy, science fiction and children’s literature. Suzanne Collins became famous after the publication of such novels as “The Underland Chronicles” and “The Hunger Games.” These books played a great role in American literature. Suzanne Collins was also a screenwriter for children’s television shows and movies. However, her books are not just tales for children. Suzanne Collins fills her books with meaning and develops some topics that are very important for the bringing the kids up. Her novels are able to teach children to love, help and be responsible and patriotic.
“The Hunger Games” is the recent series of novels by Suzanne Collins and her most famous work. The series consists of three books “The Hunger Games,” “Catching Fire,” and “Mockingjay.” She was inspired by the Greek myth about Theseus and Minotaur as well as by her father’s stories about war and poverty. “The Hunger Games” series by Suzanne Collins is necessary to be included in American canon for several reasons. First of all, the book has an educational purpose and moralistic character. The author wanted to show important it is to maintain American values in order to avoid the situation illustrated in “The Hunger Games.” Most of all, it is essential in the modern society when the role of democracy and human rights is significant. Collins’s depiction of the Panem’s society, where human rights and liberty mean nothing, is an obvious case of social degradation. Panem is a colorful example of the United States future, assuming that American citizens would fail to defend their citizen’s rights. Therefore, her spectacular means of portraying can convince readers to ponder over the issue of paramount importance of human rights and freedom defense.
Secondly, “The Hunger Games” may be a useful guide for children, because the main characters of the book are youths. For instance, Katniss Everdeen is a nice example of female selflessness and independence. Her character is topical and agreeable to the modern society, as there are a lot of disputes concerning women’s role in society and gender stereotypes. In fact, she plays a role of family protector and breadwinner that is opposing to most of the men in the novel. On the other hand, another main character of the novel, Peeta corresponds to the Medieval knight rather than to the contemporary man. He falls in love with Katniss and expresses it by the willingness to give his life as a sacrifice for his beloved. Katniss and Peeta are the only characters who are bright spots in the dark background of the dystopian Panem. Suzanne Collins was striving to show how important it is to remain one’s own self in even in such situations as one depicted in the novel. Katniss says that “I am not pretty. I am not beautiful. I am as radiant as the sun” (Collins 121). The author insists on the predominance of the inner beauty of a person over the external beauty that is often underestimated in our society.
Third, the novel is thought-provoking. Suzanne Collins was brought up by her father who served in the US Air Forces. He made her aware of war that is reflected in her novels. Nowadays, many people and especially children hardly realize the true horrors of war. Something should make children aware of necessity to maintain peace in the whole world. Undoubtedly, it is very significant for people to understand the terror and tragedy that war can bring because light-mindedness in this issue may lead to another world war. Depicting the degraded society, Suzanne Collins tries to show people the consequences of power of autocratic government.
Obviously, Suzanne Collins was mainly focused on children audience, although “The Hunger Games” may be useful for adults too. Adults are able to perceive the significance of maintaining democracy in order to keep their children away from the dystopian future depicted in the novel. The society where human suffering and death become an entertainment and person’s life has the lowest cost. Actually, the Games are an allusion to the gladiator fights in the Ancient Rome, which were held for people’s entertainment.
Suzanne Collins deals with many issues in “The Hunger Games,” which were rarely illustrated in the American literature before. That is one of the numerous reasons why, the novel should be added to the American literature canon.
“The Underland Chronicles,” which is the first series of novels by Suzanne Collins, were inspired by “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll. Actually, Gregor the Overlander is a modernized version of Alice. Although Carroll’s novel is still actual today, Collins created the world, which is more usual for modern kids. Moreover, it is significant for the American literature to have its own analogue of “Alice’s Adventures in the Wonderland.” Notwithstanding all the similarities between two stories, they are different in many aspects. For instance, the main themes of “The Underland Chronicles” are determination and courage of the young boy in unexplored and gloomy world. Gregor can be a role model for contemporary children. He reaches his goal and overcomes many obstacles that prevented him from the reunion with his father. Gregor manages to remain a great warrior in Underland, but at the same time, he wants to return home as a normal child of his age. Thus, the novel develops the theme of significance of the family as Gregor finally makes a choice in favor his real family and leaves his new family from Underland. The philosophical principle, which Gregor opposed, was laid in the following advice of Luxa: “Every day when I wake I tell myself that it will be my last. If you are not trying to hold on to time, you are not so afraid of losing it” (Collins 231). Gregor is not willing to live for the day because his family means more than being in the clouds in Underland. It is a great example of self-devotion and adherence to family that is important to know for all children as well as adults. The themes and purpose of “The Underland Chronicles” make this book worth including into the American literature canon.
Perhaps, the only reason why Suzanne Collins cannot range with such great writers as Hemmingway, Poe and Scott Fitzgerald is time. Her first novel “Gregor the Overlander” was published only in 2003. The writers whose works were included in the American literature canon have a magnificent impact on the American culture. It is very complicated to assess the influence of the novel, which was published only ten years ago. However, at first, many famous writers, such as Edgar A. Poe, were not considered to be the classics of American literature until some time has passed, but nowadays the influence of short stories is evident in most modern detective writers.
On the other hand, Suzanne Collins was highly estimated from the very beginning of her writing career. Her novels are already compared to the classics such as “The Giver” and “A Game of Thrones” (Kirkus). She is quite successful and gained such great popularity in a very short period of time, when her novels became immediate bestsellers and were filmed. Suzanne Collins wrote two wonderful series of novels, which are one of the best fantasy and science fiction works in the modern American literature and deserve to be added to the canon sooner or later.
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