The Hunger Games is a young adult fiction novel written by author Suzanne Collins and published in 2008. It is set in a future world in which people are ruled by an oppressive government. North America has been destroyed by an unnamed apocalyptic event and is now divided into 12 poor districts ruled by a dictatorial regime located at a rich district called the Capitol. Every year, each district chooses a teenage boy and girl to take part in a blood sport called The Hunger Games. They must fight each other to death until just one is left alive, with the event being broadcast live on television to millions of viewers. The books main character is a 16-year-old girl called Katniss Everdeen who takes the place of her younger sister as one of the competitors.
A number of themes are evident in The Hunger Games, one of them being power. The main source of power in the novel is the dictatorial government based in the Capitol. Since this district holds most of the countrys wealth, its leaders are able to control the people in all the other 12 districts. Thus, the blood sports event is the ultimate demonstration of the governments power and authority and is meant to warn the general public against rebellion. In it, the people of Panem are merely pawns in a well-planned game of life and death. Considering that only one participant can win, the contestants are forced to kill their rivals from other districts and one from their own district. The Hunger Games symbolize how the oppressive government deters the citizens of the district from uniting and forming a rebellion-they are meant to keep them divided and fighting among themselves. To make matters worse, the regime broadcasts the games live on television, giving the impression that the contestants are giving their lives just to entertain the Capitol.
Another theme evident in the novel that is related to that of power is rebellion/revolution. The story of Katniss is a narrative of her going on to become a revolutionary. As soon as she is selected as a contestant in The Hunger Games, she immediately starts formulating a plan to win that involves considering the other participants as antagonists. Since Rue is somehow similar to her sister Prim and Peeta- the male tribute from her district-is kind, Katniss has a hard time considering them as enemies. However, as the story progresses, she begins to realize that her real enemy is not one of the contestants but the Capitol who made them participate in the event. The Hunger Games is the first book in a trilogy and Katniss is firmly convinced towards the end that the true evil is the oppressive government. This conviction is the initial step of a revolutionary zeal that will spur her to confront the dictatorship.
The theme of love is evident throughout the novel. For instance, it plays a crucial role in keeping Katniss alive. She managed to go through the unpleasant period after the death of her father because she had her sister Prim to take care of. The love she has for her sister and mother is what keeps her strong as the familys breadwinner. Also, her budding love for Peeta while participating in the event continuously helps her. It is evident that her true feelings for him go a long way in helping her survive the Games final phases.
Collins, S. (2013). The Hunger Games Complete Trilogy. Scholastic UK.
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