In Hanging in the Stars after Andrew and Maya first romantic encounter in the park, Andrew watches Maya get into her brother’s cherry red mustang. Suddenly, her drug dealing brother turns around and slaps Maya across the face. Andrew can’t imagine the humiliation of being slapped across the face. When he questions Maya about her brother’s physical abuse, she talks about his obsessive need to dominate. She compares her brother to Juliet’s father in Romeo and Juliet who will turn his daughter out into the street to starve and beg if she doesn’t obey. Maya explains, “the beatings are about him controlling me.” Later on in the story Maya says her brother wants her to become educated so that someday she will be a beautiful, smart woman – a powerful weapon he can use in business.
Now in the Young Adult world of books and films is mesmerized by The Hunger Games where the state controls teens to the point of forcing them to hunt down and kill each other. Interestingly, author Suzanne Collins in an ABC News interview said she was inspired to write the book by reality TV and the war in Iraq. Collins also said she would like teens to think of their relationship to TV and to world news. Collins questions start us wondering: Is competition and the need to dominate simply entertainment in our society? Or, is this need to dominate a reason for horrific international wars where we use brutal technological force to destroy our competition?