Building a Mind: The Hunger Games and A Tale of Two Cities


The Hunger Games and A Tale of Two cities.  They have nothing in common right? I mean the first one is about a bunch of teenager forced to fight to the death while A Tale of Two Cities is about a guy who gives up his life for the girl who will never be his.  Now think about this.  The Hunger Games is about starving people uprising against the aristocracy that has been in control of them for years.  The Hunger Games is extremely bloody and ends with executions, the people of the capitol basically have no idea what is going on in the districts,and all of the taxes resources then goes to versailles. Once all of these resources reaches the capitol where the citizens lavishly spend it. There is a huge gap between the rich and the poor.  Anyone who speaks out against this regime  is severely punished and is tortured/executed. Actually if you do anything, you’re dead. Not to mention that revenge and forgiveness are quite prevalent in Sound familiar? Oh and to note, Paris is made of 12 districts.

Alright, you see those similarities between the The Hunger Games and The French Revolution part of a Tale of Two Cities.  Now, I’m going to relate the another part of both: building and tearing apart a mind. In both stories their is someone who’s mind is torn apart and they seem to go slightly insane or insane. In the Hunger Games, it’s Katniss and her fellow tributes of the hunger games as well as her mother and many others.  In A Tale of Two Cities, we focus on Doctor Alexadre Manette.

Before we can talk about how to completely destroy your mind, let’s start with how you build it. Compared to your other internal organs the brain starts functioning at a proficient rate much later.  When you’re first born, your ears, stomach, heart, etc, are all ready to go to work.  Even your eyes who start functioning properly later start before your brain.  Your heart can begin to pump blood to your legs but you can’t start walking until your brain has full control of it. In addition to being a late starter, a brain developes by subtracting cells instead of adding them. Unlike muscles or bones, brain cells filter out the over abundance of neorons since the brain has a “less is more motto”  This helps your brain decide what to focus on.  For example, you don’t notice the pressure of your clothes naturally.  You don’t pay attention to certain things. For more information what this TED video.

This is how you begin to build your mind and with building your mind comes memories which are built by interconnecting brain cells.  You can either force memory by studying or they can come naturally through experiences. After you make these memories, you need to consolidate them.  Your brain needs to figure out all of these experiences. They need to put the pieces in the correct place.  As a side note, this is a theory of why we have dreams.  To help tell a story to piece memories together.

This is what happens when everything is normal.  But what happens when we experience a tragic event like the hunger games or false imprisonment.  The connections in your brain that make this memory are strong and make it hard to forget.  Also, there’s no place in your brain to put this memory.  No place to quietly store it away.  For example, a chainsaw appears in your living room and you have no idea to put it. A chainsaw cuts things but it doesn’t belong in the knife drawer so you leave it in the living room.  The problem is that you keep on triggering it on accident because it’s always in your way.  This is how a brain deals with horrific events.  It’s always there ready to trigger at any moment.

To deal with these memories, the brain has tried to do many things.  One is avoidance. If you avoid it it can’t hurt you.  However, you can’t avoid things without sacrificing.  This is the same with emotional numbing. You block everyone out so they can’t hurt you but you also block everyone out so they can’t help you. This is what Katniss’s mother does and the same with Dr. Manette.

However, we can help fix these problems just as Dr. Manette fixed his.  The memories will never go away but we can move on from them . The key is to focus on the present and not the past so that these memories will no longer haunt us.  They will be an uncomfortable thing of the past but that’s all that they will be.


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