How would the characters in The Hunger Games trilogy celebrate Mother's Day?
When you think about it, not many of the characters have great relationships with their mothers. As Mother's Day nears, this is a good time to talk about those strained relationships because chances are we have students who may not have the greatest relationships with a parent, as well. Because of that, it's also important to discuss what the characters could do to help patch their relationships.
Does this seem silly? Many teens may not want to discuss their own personal feelings, but they will talk about a fictional character's feelings. And perhaps it will help them deal better with what's going on in their lives knowing that others may be experiencing the same thing.
Using the handout, found here, have students work in small groups to discuss (and/or record) the relationships each character has with her/his mother. Have them describe the relationship, then use evidence from the text to support those claims. Working together, students should be able to find particular passages that show or infer the type of relationship.
Finally, have them brainstorm ways that character could initiate a reconciliation with their mother. In Catching Fire and Mockingjay, a further discussion of mental illness would be appropriate. Start with asking students how people today cope with mental illness and the services that are available. Then have students think of what services the characters have available to them and what they could do to get help. It's important for students to realize that it is an illness--just like Katniss doesn't understand why her mother mentally abandoned her, students may be feeling the same about a loved one. If they can get past the bitterness they feel toward that person and see that their loved one can not help the way they act, perhaps they can begin to come to terms with it.
Students can also discuss abusive relationships and what options the character(s) have to get away from the abuse. Many of the services we have today are probably not available to the citizens of Panem (it is mentioned that physical abuse is present at the group/community home in District 12, which would be an even worse alternative). What options do they have in Panem? Start with the options available to children today and see if any of those would apply or work for the character(s).
Though these are heavy topics, hopefully students will appreciate the relationships they have with their mothers, or if they need help, they will seek it.
Download the FREE packet: Hunger Games Mother's Day Writing & Discussion Prompts