Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Hunger Games: Altruism

I really thought I would not like this blockbuster, but I was totally wrong. I love the plot and how it is conducted. I also thought it was original and appealing. I truly recommend it. I used this scene to talk about altruism, not using a very obvious segment.

Altruism (also called the ethic of altruism, moralistic altruism, and ethical altruism) is an ethical doctrine that holds that individuals have a moral obligation to help, serve, or benefit others, if necessary, at the sacrifice of self interest. An action is morally right if the consequences of that action are more favorable than unfavorable to everyone except the agent

1. Based on the definition alone, brainstorm several people who demonstrate this word.  These people can be famous or individuals in your life.  What do they do to show altruism?

II. Decide if you agree or disagree with these statements:

( ) Altruism is human nature. We all are altruist.

( ) Altruism is hereditary.

( ) Even animals sometimes  have altruistic behavior.
( ) All human beings are 100% self-interested.  In other words, even if someone helps another, they are doing it for their own interest and essentially for the wrong reasons.

( ) You do not need money to be altruistic.  You simply need to sacrifice your time. 

( ) Altruism does not have to be for poor needy people you don't know. It can be a small act to help someone in your family, for example.

( ) Helping someone in the family is not altruism. It is obligation. Only helping people you don't know is altruism.

Watch the segment from the movie The Hunger Games and discuss the questions:

1. Describe the scene.

2. Is the main character's decision an act of altruism? Why (not)?

3. She is volunteering to help her sister. Do you think she would do the same for a stranger? Does it make her less altruistic?

4.  Many believe this is not altruism, but moral obligation.  What's your opinion about it?

4. Would you act the same way the main character did? Why (not)?

5. What else could she have done? 



  1. She is selfish subconsciously. By leaving Prim with her mother, she is taking a chance, considering her mother can't raise Prim. That is selfish. She also has the responsibility of feeding many in district 11. If she leaves, they could all suffer.

    1. Selfish? Nonsense. Prim would die for sure if she participated in the Games.
      Though her mother is alone cannot secure her survival in the district, Gale definitely can. And he does, and Katniss knows so in advance.
      He also continues hunting and thus still is able to feed a few people.

  2. i think this was great and im a social worker who works with people in recover from drugs and alcohol and this lesson on alturism is perfect. great disscussion topics as well as questions to get everyone thinking. the only suggestion i have is maybe if you had a few statements or answers to the questions that would help me the facilitator as well as benefit the people in the group. it might force them to think outside the box. and not just give obvious answers. just a suggestion unless you do have some topics amd the different points that should be made. in order to get the most out of this activity,

  3. I really would not like to add answers to open ended questions. Each student and teacher has a different point of view on the subject. What I consider altruistic, for example, may not be considered by you or people from different cultures. Sorry, I don't think these answers should be added.