Some time ago I came across a blog post titled “Yes, There are Black People in Your Hunger Games.” Before that moment I had little to no interest in reading the book. Although I recommend it to many of our students at school, I didn’t believe I’d ever read it myself. But then you tell me the book has a few black characters and fans are unhappy with those particular movie casting choices—well, now I need to see what’s really going on.
Hunger Games is a definite page turner. And I especially I like that the author moved toward a future that showcases diversity–even if in the future blacks are returned to a slave lifestyle again. So, there are 2 definite black characters in Hunger Games, both from District 11, the agricultural district. Additionally, there’s another character who’s ethnicity is vague. Wiki has a pretty thorough Hunger Games page that describes the noted characters as such:
Being one of the youngest of the tributes at the age of 12, Rue was naturally the smallest – but this still gave her a heavy advantage for being light on her feet and agile. Suzanne Collins has stated that Rue is African-American,with thick dark hair, dark satiny brown skin and “golden eyes”. She always stood leaning forward, on her toes, with both arms slightly extended. This is how Prim, Katniss’s sister, also stood, which brings back memories of Rue whenever Katniss sees her own sister. This stance made her look like a bird, ready to take flight. Her swift and almost invisible movements through the treetops added to the bird-like description. Rue says that what she enjoys most in life is music, something which greatly confuses Katniss when she considers the hardship Rue has endured on the fields in District 11. She is described as 4′ 8″.
Thresh is adorned with dark brown skin and dark hair. He is described as having strange golden brown eyes. Katniss said that with his massive size, six and a half foot tall, and dark colored skin, he was set with muscles like an ox. He is also known for having the same skin tone as Rue, the female Tribute from his District, but it is mentioned in the book that “the resemblance stops there” in reference to the similarity in appearance between Thresh and the female counterpart from his District. Katniss often thinks of Thresh as a “physical wonder”.
Most people who live in the Capitol follow very absurd fashion trends, however this is not the case for Cinna. The first time he appears in the book, he is described as wearing a simple black shirt with matching pants. His one strange fashion choice is gold eyeliner, which brings out the gold flecks in his green eyes. Katniss describes this as attractive. Other than that, Cinna looks very normal, with short brown hair, which Katniss assumes is not dyed, and green eyes.
Again, Rue and Thresh come from the agricultural district. They work the fields all day and aren’t allowed to take anything that isn’t given to them. The people of their district are brutally beaten or killed for any minor infractions. Sounds kinda like slavery, eh? Excluding Cinna, are these characters stereotypical? Rue loves music and singing. Thresh is big, black, strong, and his presence naturally strikes fear in the other characters.
The truth is, I haven’t read anything this intriguing in awhile. When I decided to read this book, I also decided that I would only read the first book in the series. Now, I’m kinda curious as to where Collins could possibly go from here. 60 pages left.
Happy reading, y’all.