Though both stories portray a culture of brutal violence, there are glaring differences between the themes of the Hunger Games and 50 Shades. Katniss—the heroine of the Hunger Games, recognizes this culture of brutality as wrong, not succumbing to its pervasive evil. Instead, she hungers for something better. Her undying loyalty to her sister grows into a sacrificial love for her people. She will not bow to President Snow. And she will give her life to defend her people from his malicious plans.
In stark contrast to the Hunger Games, 50 Shades celebrates the culture of brutality, painting a deceptive picture that a person can fall into the arms of unabashed violence and emerged unscathed. The story attempts to normalize what is a nightmarish reality for millions of human trafficking victims across the globe.
Katniss’ hunger is driven by a love for her people. This love leads her to become a symbol of courage, saving her generation from pervasive evil whatever the cost. Anastasia’s insecurity leads her to find fulfillment in torturous, manipulative lust, and in so doing she leads a generation into the same deception that has entrapped untold numbers in abusive relationships, modern slavery, and the grave itself.
Mother Teresa once said, “The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.” How we go about satiating our deepest hunger will, in the end, determine whether we are filled or left empty. A hunger driven by selfishness will lead to pain; a hunger driven by selflessness will lead to life.
True love hungers for goodness. It hungers to protect itself and those it loves from the entrapments of deception and abuse, and to free others from lies, manipulation, and violence. The greatest hero of all time had such a hunger. He died on a cross so we could be free from the penalty and power of depravity. He died that we can live in a love that brings life, not suffering and death. God, change our appetites! Let us hunger for what is good. And let this hunger move us to act courageously to protect our generation, and future generations, from that which would seek to destroy.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6)