Giveaway: The Hunger Games and Philosophy

The Hunger Games and Philosophy is out this month. Contributors to the And Philosophy series (this is about the twenty-ninth volume) write accessible essays introducing basic philosophical concepts via popular culture.

As a contributor to HGaP, I received one free copy of the book, and a small payment, of, I think, $250. I receive no additional compensation for sales of this book, which is really too bad when you consider the recent spike in the already phenomenal sales of Collins’ books ahead of the movie release next month. Remind me to negotiate a better deal next time.

Others you may know from the online world are @andrewshaffer/@evilwiley and @feministcupcake, a contributor to Feministing. I discovered after I signed on that one of the editors, Nicolas Michaud, was once my student!

I’m a big supporter of introducing philosophy through popular culture.  In 2010, I reviewed an earlier volume, True Blood and Philosophy on this blog. In 2003, I contributed to the first Buffy volume of the series when it was housed at Open Court. And in 2001, I wrote a review of the Seinfeld volume for the APA Newsletter on Teaching Philosophy. Done thoughtfully, this approach can bring a new, and hopefully newly appreciative, audience to a subject many view as outdated and irrelevant. That said, to enjoy such books, you really do have to be interested at least a little bit in philosophy as well. If you’re just a fan who really wants to focus on the details of the series, there are other choices.

The essays are about fifteen pages each, with footnotes, which provide resources for further reading if you want that, or more pages to skip if you don’t. The essays cover a wide range of subjects, including beauty and resistance, morality in an immoral world, the natural and unnatural, gender, love and caring, personal identity, logic of warfare, just war tradition, and power and privilege. Here’s the table of contents:

Acknowledgments: “It’s Like the Bread. How I Never Get Over Owing You for That.”

Introduction: Let the Hunger Games and Philosophy Begin!

Part One. “Having an Eye for Beauty Isn’t Necessarily a Weakness”: The Art of Resisting the Capitol

1.”The Final Word in Entertainment”: How Artifice Destroys Humanity in The Hunger Games
Brian McDonald

2. Plato, Panem, and the Power of Music
Anne Torkelson

3. “I Will Be Your Mockingjay”: The Paradox and Power of Metaphor in The Hunger Games
Jill Olthouse

Part Two. “We’re Fickle, Stupid Beings”: Hungering for Morality in an Immoral World

4. The Odds Aren’t Always in Our Favor: Morality and Luck in The Hunger Games
George A. Dunn

5. Schadenfreude: The Joy of Watching Other Suffer
Andrew Shaffer

6. “So Here I am in His Debt Again”: Katniss, Gifts, and Invisible Strings
Jennifer Culver

Part Three. “I Am As Radiant as the Sun”: The Natural, the Unnatural, and Not-So-Weird Science

7. Competition and Kindness: The Darwinian World of The Hunger Games
Abigail Mann

8. “No Mutt is Good”—Really?:  Creating Interspecies Chimeras
Jason T. Eberl

Part Four. “Peeta Bakes. I Hunt”: What Katniss Can Teach Us About Love, Caring, and Gender

9.  Why Katniss Chooses Peeta: Looking at Love Through a Stoic Lens
Abigail Myers

10. “She Has No Idea—The Effect She Can Have”: The Politics of Gender in The Hunger Games
Jessica Miller

11. Sometimes the World is Hungry for People Who Care: Katniss and the Feminist Care Ethic
Lindsey Issow Averill

Part Five. “As Long As You Can Find Yourself, You’ll Never Starve”: How to Be Yourself When It’s All a Big Show

12. Why Does Katniss Fail at Everything She Fakes?: Being versus Seeming to Be in The Hunger Games
Dereck Coatney

13. Who is Peeta Mellark?: The Problem of Identity in Panem
Nicholas Michaud

Part Six. “Here’s Some Advice. Stay Alive”: A Tribute’s Guide to the Morality and Logic of Warfare

14. “Safe to Do What?”: Morality and the War of All against All in the Arena
Joseph J. Foy

15. Starting Fires Can Get You Burned: The Just War Tradition and the Rebellion Against the Capitol
Louis Melancon

16. The Tribute’s Dilemma: The Hunger Games and Game Theory
Andrew Zimmerman Jones

Part Seven: “It Must be Very Fragile, If a Handful of Berries Can Bring It Down”: The Political Philosophy of Coriolanus Snow

17. Discipline and the Docile Body: Regulating Hungers in the Capitol
Christina Van Dyke

18. “All of This Is Wrong”: Why One of Rome’s Greatest Thinkers World Despise the Capitol
Adam Barkman

Class is in Session: Power and Privilege in Panem
Chad W. Timm

Contributors: Our Resistance Squadron


The publisher was kind enough to send me an extra copy to give away. One winner (chosen by will receive a copy of The Hunger Games and Philosophy, courtesy of Wiley. The contest is open to all and will run until Saturday February 25 at 11:59PM (EST). To enter, leave a comment here telling everyone who your favorite fictional heroine, in any genre, is and why (and how obvious did the addition of the words “and why” make it that I am an educator?). Only one entry per person. Multiple entries will be disqualified. Good luck!

Also, if you want to ask me any questions about the book, I’ll try to answer them.

18 responses

  1. The heroine of my second book would be my first choice, even though that’s somewhat self-serving (and a little heavy on the ordinal numbers to boot). My second choice would have to be Katie Scarlett (O’Hara) Hamilton Kennedy Butler. Because, you know, she’s got issues … but also that her train wreck of a life is kind of a metaphor for the south after the Civil War: screwed up, we keep plugging along nonetheless.


  2. Favorite fictional heroine? You drive a hard bargain! My reading choices tend to be heavily reliant upon well developed heroines. I’ll name Coreil – Cori- of Sharon Shinn’s “Summers at Castle Auburn” as my favorite. Cori matures in response to her experiences through late adolescence. I suppose it is a coming of age story. But it is her practicality and independence in the face of a patriarchal/feudal system that seeks to control her and her fate that I admire most. As she comes to recognize some of the serious injustices of that social system, she takes believable action to address them. It is the “believable” factor here I find most interesting, because this story makes it seems like doing what is right in the face of social recrimination and consequences is really possible in a tangible sense that heroines who have access to all sorts of metaphysical powers do not (at least for me). It is a deeply feminist novel in its themes about the rules of a system when that system and its rules are unjust, whether that injustice comes in the form of sexism, or post-colonialism (both of which are addressed).


  3. Oh, I am sooooo picking up this for my eldest daughter who’s a big fan of the series. I enjoyed the world-building more than the story, itself, mostly because I’m a bit over the post-apocalyptic or dystopic trends in stories of late.

    I’m knee-deep in the history equivalent of the series – I don’t think we’re coming out with a “Hunger Games” volume there, mostly because we historians aren’t as quick off the mark as you philosophers.

    Anyway, I’ll throw my hat in the ring. I have so many favourite heroines but for this, I’d nominate Hari from “The Blue Sword”, Robin McKinley’s exquisite YA fantasy. From the moment when you first meet her, cramped up in the social conventions of Home society while living on the fascinating frontier of Damar and follow her through her frustrating yet exhilarating introduction to the people of the land, you’re drawn into a fully-realized person. She’s brave and baffled and just looking for where she fits in: I still love her so, even though it’s been decades since I first read her story.


  4. I am thinking about why the first heroines that come to my mind in answer to your question are YA (yay for Hari for all Janice’s reasons) and also Rae Carson’s Elisa in Fire & Thorns. All the UF I read and I am not sure that I want to claim their lead characters as my go to heroine? Do I believe an adult woman can’t be a hero figure? Can I find heroines in contemporary stories? Have to think about this….


  5. Has to be JD Robb’s “Eve Dallas”. She is a NYC murder detective and she is so on the victims side. She thinks she is hard as nails (and she is when it counts) but she’s really a marshmallow inside.


  6. I was going to say Kate Daniels but I am going for Rose in ‘On the Edge’ because she is loyal and loving and willing to do the hard thing and her courage when the final confrontation with the big bad happens is grounded in her connection with community.


  7. Jessica, you don’t happen to have any copies of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy lying around, do you? That’s one giveaway I’d really be interested in :)


  8. My favourite heroine is Belle from The Beauty and the Beast Disney Movie. I always loved this fairy tale and they just topped it with the intelligent girl who loves to read and has a clear vision of what she can do and capable of. She is brave and full of heart and she gets a really great romance with the best dance scene I have ever seen.


  9. I would honestly rather win a copy of the Buffy book ;-) , but it’s always interesting to read your writing.

    My all time favorite heroine is from a movie, the heroine of “Dogfight.” She is such a warm, giving person but doesn’t take any crap. She has a powerful sense of self that I envy. The combination of courage and compassion is also found in my favorite book heroine, Mina from Brook’s The Iron Duke


  10. Favourite fictional heroine in any genre and why? Why can’t I just enter my name and say it’s for my darling daughter, a huge fan of the Hunger Games trilogy. It’s impossible to pick a favourite — I don’t think it’s even possible for me. But for today, for now, I’ll pick Beth Armitage, the heroine of Jo Beverley’s Regency historical An Unwilling Bride, for her intelligence and self-awareness and her courage — in embracing and modifying a life not of her choosing. OK, she ends up with a stunning brilliant arrogant marquess — a glittering blond and we know how rare that is — but the rewards take nothing away from Beth’s journey.

    Oh, and fascinatingly, in this Year of the Lord 2012, Beth is an advocate of and participates in disseminating information to women on how to control contraception. Only in historicals you say :)


  11. All my favourite heroines are of a kind: difficult and prickly and not universally loved in their own books. There’s a fair few I can think of, but the first one that came to mind was Vivian Swift, from Taylor Chase’s Heart of Deception. The book is set in Elizabethan times, and with her brother, Vivian controls crime in an area of London. She’s clever and tough and very cunning, and perfectly able to hold her own in this world. I absolutely loved her.


  12. Please don’t include my entry for the contest. Thanks.

    Rosario and Willaful have named two of my favourites (Vivian from Heart of Deception and Rose (Lili Taylor) from Dogfight).

    My all-time favourite is Bridget Gregory (Linda Fiorentino) from a 1994 neo-noir film The Last Seduction. It’s hard to explain why I like her character without making it a massive spoiler. Basically, to some, she’s an amoral and callous villain — but to me, she’s an anti-heroine who uses her brain, wits and sexuality to get her way in a game that boys usually play. She’s a femme fatale, but she doesn’t go down the route that many were doomed to follow.

    Since Bridget’s not a typical heroine, here’s my another nomination:

    Hua Mulan from An Ode to Mulan, a female Chinese warrior. OK, she’s based on an actual figure, but I didn’t know this when I first heard the story as a kid. It hugely appealed to my tomboy soul and I really wanted to be a horse fighter in a battle like Mulan did. What held me back, though, is that I disliked horses (and they me). Quite problematic, but I still held her up as one of my favourite role models throughout my childhood days. I can’t find the book, but here’s a translation of the ballad.


  13. I have lots of favorite heroines, but one of the more unique I’ve read is Ista, the retired mad queen from Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold. The heroine is middle aged — which you don’t often read in fantasy novels — and quite wonderfully wry without being snarky. She handles her adventures with grace rather than with a sword, but is never ever boring. A fabulous book with a great heroine.


  14. Sydney in “Get Lucky” by Suzanne Brockmann is a favorite. I love the way she is so immune to Lucky without really being immune, if you know what I mean. If she were totally turned off, then there wouldn’t be a romance. ;) I also like that she is smart and principled. And she’s a journalist. :) Of all the TDD heroines, Sydney was always the one I wanted to see again. I am so sorry that series has kind of gone to the wayside.


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  16. Too many to think about but right now, my favorite heroine is Katey Kontent from A. Towles’ first novel, The Rules of Civility.

    She isn’t perfect: she has the same prejudices as Elizabeth Bennett in fact (another favorite heroine), but that is what makes her human. She is also incredibly self possessed (usually). The scene toward the end of the novel when she returns a key by….., oh, wait, I can’t tell;-)


  17. Sorry this took me so long, folks. I had 12 entries, and gave me number 9, which is Rosario.

    @Meri: I don’t think so, but if you know of a chapter you want, I can scan it and email it to you!


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