Monday, December 19, 2011

Is the Capitol Actually North Korea?

First off all, I’d like to remind everyone that I post what we do every day.  Students can receive extra credit by reading the blog and discussing it with the adult they live with.  (Or in some cases some other adult.)  It’s five points a day… I think it’s worth it.

Please notice the polls at the top of the blog.  If you haven’t yet voted on them, do so now.  We’re going to discuss them in class tomorrow.  You will also have time to finish up your Hammurabi power point while we read The Hunger Games. 

We compared Islam and Judaism at the beginning of class, and then we spent the rest of the day in the book.

An excerpt from page 80:

“Electricity in District 12 comes and goes, usually we only have it a few hours a day.  Often the evenings are spent in candlelight.  The only time we can count on it is when they’re airing the Games or some important government message on television that it’s mandatory to watch.  But here there would be no shortage.  Ever.”

An excerpt from page 83-4:

“’I’d leave here,’ Peeta blurts out.  Then he looks around nervously.  It was loud enough to hear above the chimes.  He laughs.  ‘I’d go home now if they let me.  But you have to admit, the food’s prime.’
                He’s covered again.  If that’s all you heard it would just sound like the words of a scared tribute, not someone contemplating the unquestionable goodness of the Capitol.”
(Emphasis mine.)

We’ve discussed standard-of-living multiple times because of this book, but here it comes up again.  This time, though, it’s a little bit different.  We see that the people in District 12 have a low standard of living because the money gets funneled into the government.  We also see examples of government propaganda.

One of the countries we study in this class is North Korea.  The Capitol and North Korea share some striking similarities: dictator, food shortages, and government sponsored propaganda.  In the first quote above Katniss mentions important government TV messages that are mandatory to watch.  North Korea has state sponsored radio in every house.  You can turn it down, but you can’t turn it off.  (I learned that from THIS MOVIE, by the way.  It’s pretty good.)

In the second quote, Peeta is scared to speak out against (or even appear to speak out against) the Capitol.  Kim Jong Il just died.  (If you haven’t seen this on the news, go ahead and check for yourself…)  Here’s aline from one of the CNN articles: “There will be the compulsory large crowds of mourners in the streets of Pyongyang to honor Kim Jong Il.” (article by Scott Snyder)  Of course there will be.  Will there be people who refuse to go?  Will there be North Koreans who “contemplate the unquestionable goodness of Our Dear Leader?”

So, today we hit standards 7.1.2 – dealing with theocracy  - Kim Jong Il is revered as a deity and his dead father Kim Il Sung even more so.  He actually maintained the role of President after his death… his position according to their constitution is “Eternal President of the Republic.”

7.1.18 – deals with recent political conflicts.  The state gives North and South Korea as an example.

7.2.2 – identify and compare contemporary governments in Japan, Korea, China, etc…

I’m hoping to discuss this more in depth tomorrow, but we’ll see.  We also have to discuss historical context, and Hammurabi…

In order to get the credit for the homework, vote on the polls at the top.  Then, read the blog and discuss it with an adult.  Discuss the following questions: what were the similarities between Islam and Judaism that I gave at the beginning of class today?  Will people attend Kim Jong Il’s funeral because they want to, or because they were coerced?  Will there be any exceptions?  Why?  What makes you think that?  What’s happening right now in The Hunger Games?

Like usual, it’s not enough to read and discuss the blog.  Write the following on a piece of scrap paper:  “I wish we could learn B about chess P during social studies.”  Have the adult you read this with sign the piece of paper.  Adults, by signing the paper you are signifying that you did indeed read the blog and discuss the questions with whoever is in my class.  Please don’t sign it unless this is true.


  1. Think about the little girls in the documentary, who might even be your age now. (I don't remember the date of filming.) Do you think they are CAPABLE of NOT grieving for the Dear Leader??

    What's going to happen to North Korea now?

  2. Yeah, good point. We talked a LOT about propaganda and it's effects today...