The Hunger Games

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The Hunger Games is a series of novels by Suzanne Collins, with the first volume written in 2008. The plot follows the life of 16 year old Katniss Everdeen, a resident of Panem (Post apocalyptic and war-torn North America), who is forced into a gladiatorial combat by the autocratic government of Panem, a successor state of Canada, Mexico, and the United States.

A film version of The Hunger Games broke US first weekend box office records in March 2012.

Some have observed an endorsement of a culture of life by this story, although feeling it does not go far enough.[1]


The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic North America, many years after unrevealed catastrophes and "a ravaging war for what little sustenance remains" causes the governments of North America to collapse, and Panem, "a shining capitol, ringed by thirteen districts" to form. Each district provides some type of resource or service for the wealthy Capitol, located in the rocky mountains, where the richest citizens of Panem reside. The protagonists hail from District 12, located near Appalachia today. District 12 mines coal, and is one of the poorest districts. As punishment for an earlier rebellion against the Capitol seventy four years before the first book begins, the Hunger Games are imposed upon the citizens of the districts, who must send 1 boy and 1 girl from each of those 12 remaining districts (the 13th was obliterated in the rebellion) to the Capitol every year, to fight to the death. In the story, Katniss volunteers in place of her 12-year-old sister to take place as tribute to the Capitol. Peeta Mellark, her counterpart tribute, reveals his undying love for Katniss during the games itself, and due to the Capitol public succumbing to the romance and drama of the "star crossed lovers", a rule change is implemented and both tributes survive, to the chargrin of the authoritative government, who views it as a poorly hidden rebellion. Afterwards, Peeta is heartbroken when he learns that Katniss's actions in the arena were part of a calculated ploy to earn sympathy from the audience.[2]


Political Themes

In an interview with Collins, it was noted that the books tackle issues like severe poverty, starvation, oppression, and the effects of war among others".[3] Suzanne Collins compared the story to modern society, with western nations as the Capitol, whose nation building schemes blow up in the faces of the "districts" (other nations), who must support the capitol with cheap labour, resources, etc.[4]

Many viewers and readers come away feeling the Capitol is Washington D.C. of today (powerful elites living in the bubble of extravagant wealth) and the districts (states) are "fly-over country", where the people have zero rights and their concerns are worthless and mocked. The irony isn't lost on the labelled 'Peacekeepers', which happen to be over-militarized storm troopers that beat and kill the district's citizens. A common theme is misery nationwide and a desire by all people for a new rebellion against the current ruler. This view leads to the next in the series of books and movies, Catching Fire and Mocking Jay.


The Hunger Games has been well received, with major book critics giving it favorable reviews. A common grievance was the "poor copyediting, which was distracting to readers."[5][6]