Type of paper: Essay

Topic: The Hunger Games, Literature, Family, Hunger, Social Issues, Killing, Novel, Parents

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/11/13

Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games follows the story of 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, a teenager struggling to help her family survive. She received her name from a plant that grows around her district; her father told her that as long as she could find herself, she would survive. Katniss lives in the nation of Panem’s 12th of 13 districts. Each district has its own specialty of production, yet none is wealthy like the citizens of the Capitol. In a response to past rebellion against the Capitol, the 13th district was destroyed and the annual Hunger Games were born. Each year one girl and one boy aged 12 to 18 are chosen from each district to fight to the death in an outdoor arena. Katniss volunteers for the 74th Hunger Games in place of her sister, whose name is drawn. Peeta Mellark, a boy Katniss remembers once gave her starving family bread, is also chosen. The two participants are brought to the Capitol and prepared for the Hunger Games. They receive stylists to make them look fashionable, participate in public media displays for the Capitol, train in preparation, and try to will over sponsors that can help them in the games. During an interview for the Capitol, Peeta reveals publicly that he loves Katniss, which plays a large role in their part in the games.
When the teens are released into the arena, it is a free-for-all and some quickly team up to gain an advantage. People are killed in cold blood. Katniss uses her knowledge of the outdoors and her hunting skills to survive. It seems at first that Peeta has turned against Katniss, but when the opportunity arises, he saves her life. Using the idea of star-crossed lovers, the Capitol announces to participants that both district participants can survive, sending Katniss looking for Peeta. She finds him injured, helps him heal, and uses the audience’s interest in their “relationship” to her advantage to gain sponsors to help them survive. Katniss and Peeta are able to survive together, but the Capitol takes back its word once they are the sole survivors. Katniss and Peeta trick them by acting like they are going to commit suicide with poisonous berries. By defying and angering the Capitol, the two survive, but they also become targets of the Capitol and must keep up appearances of their relationship.
Other characters are important to the plot and understanding of the novel. Katniss and Gale frequently sold strawberries to the Mayor, and Katniss was a good friend to his daughter, Madge. Katniss and Madge met in school, and when Katniss volunteers for the Hunger Games, Madge gives her the mockingjay pin that she wears during the games. Peeta’s father, Mr. Mellark, often traded Katniss squirrels, and he is one of her visitors before she is taken to the Capitol. During the visit, he promises Katniss that he will make sure her sister is fed while she is gone. Later when Peeta and Katniss are in the arena, Peeta reveals that his father was in love with and wanted to marry Katniss’ mother. In fact, this helps shed light on why Peeta’s mother is unkind and why Mr. Mellark traded with Katniss when his wife was absent. She may have been aware of his love for Katniss’ mother. Mrs. Mellark is quick to beat her children for mistakes (like Peeta burning bread). Furthermore, Peeta reveals to Katniss that his mother thought that district 12 might win for once, but it is because Katniss is participating. She is not supportive of him, and her actions and statement show why Peeta lacks confidence in his ability to survive the games. In other words, she helps explain some things about Peeta.
Although the killing is justified in The Hunger Games due to self-defense or helping others, Haymitch Abernathy stands as an example of why it is harmful. Although a victor, Haymitch has been changed and turned to alcohol to calm his demons. He is not content with what he had to do to survive, and it shows. Moreover, Katniss’ reaction to her friend Rue’s death bucks against the idea that killing is okay; by decorating her body before it is taken, Katniss stands firmly against the killing of the Hunger Games. I do not believe that the book justifies the killing of others in these instances. From the very beginning, Katniss bucks against the Capitol. The killing is only secondary to the story. The real story is standing against what you know is wrong. Katniss and the other participants may not be able to tell the government that they refuse to participate, but it is obvious that many of the participants do not favor killing. If framed in the right way (especially if children read the entire series), children can gain from the overall themes, motifs, and symbols of the book. If anything, the killing only serves to make the Capitol look even more evil than it already does.
I enjoyed reading The Hunger Games because it was a different story from what I normally read. The overall idea was interesting and new to me, so I enjoyed seeing how the whole idea was be developed over the course of the novel; in fact, it was a bit shocking to read a novel about teenagers killing one another as a government-inspired pasttime. Also, I liked how Katniss was always a rebel. She hunted in the woods despite knowing the rules against it. She shot an arrow at the judges. She decorated Rue’s body. Katniss had a spirit that, as a reader, you have to root for, especially against an evil such as the Capitol. Finally, the contrast between the life at the Capitol and the reality of the lives of the people in districts really pulled the novel together. It gave further life to why Katniss rebelled against the Capitol. It showed the inequality they faced and made the Hunger Games feel even more like sick entertainment for the rich and powerful.
Overall, it is hard to find many aspects to dislike about the novel. While I dislike the killing, I understand its importance to the overall plot of the novel. Still, it is disturbing to visualize teens killing each other and some even enjoying it. I would liked to have got a better glimpse of how their families were dealing with the games. What was it like for them to have to know what was happening and feel so helpless? This may have interrupted the flow of the story, but I frequently found myself wondering about it. Despite rooting for Katniss during the novel, I wish there had been more character development for her. I find that she is just as closed off in the beginning as she was in the end, especially when she basically shuts down her feelings for Peeta. Yes, she has to be tough, but it is almost as if she tries to just go back to normal and forget what’s happened.
The Hunger Games provides interesting themes to discuss for teens and even adults. There are social and political aspects that it brings to light, and it makes one wonder just how people could let a government even entertain such an idea. In fact, it is a good starting point for examining our own society and politics. It also brings forth discussion about right and wrong. Do you go with the status quo when you know something is wrong, or do you risk it all for change? There are so many ways to approach this novel to make teens reflect on important issues that I believe that there is high value in reading it if it is approached in the correct way.

Works Cited

Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic, 2008. Print.

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WePapers. (2020, November, 13) Free The Hunger Games Essay Example. Retrieved May 24, 2024, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/free-the-hunger-games-essay-example/
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"Free The Hunger Games Essay Example." WePapers, Nov 13, 2020. Accessed May 24, 2024. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/free-the-hunger-games-essay-example/
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"Free The Hunger Games Essay Example," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 13-Nov-2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/free-the-hunger-games-essay-example/. [Accessed: 24-May-2024].
Free The Hunger Games Essay Example. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/free-the-hunger-games-essay-example/. Published Nov 13, 2020. Accessed May 24, 2024.
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