Hunger Games Summary and Analysis – English A-level 12-12-2011

Hunger Games – Summary and Analysis
The story is told from the perspective of Katniss, as a personally bound first-person narrator, present tense. Setting: Near future; post-apocalyptic North America. The world has been ravaged by natural disasters, and the coastlines have receded; the sea having taken over most of the land. The new civilization that has sprung forth – Panem – is ruled from The Capitol, and is divided into twelve districts. Each of the districts have their own trade, e.g. district twelve is a mining town because it sits upon large deposits of coal, and district four is a fishing town, because of its coastline. There used to be a thirteenth district, until the districts rebelled against The Capitol’s rule. The Capitol repelled the rebellion, and as retribution, destroyed the entire thirteenth district. The Capitol has – to remind the districts of their humbleness – since held the titular Hunger Games every year, where a boy and a girl between twelve and eighteen years old are chosen from each district, to be sent to the capitol where they will fight to the death. This is all televised across Panem as a sort of reality cum gladiator cum survival show. Summary: Act 1: The story is told from the perspective of Katniss, a sixteen year-old girl, who lives with her mother and her twelve year-old sister Primrose. Katniss is an independent girl; forced to grow up before her time. They live in the coal-mining District Twelve; one of the poorest districts. Katniss spends much of her time with her good friend Gale, poaching creatures in the woods outside the city for food, even though it is illegal. She sells the animals for various other items, such as bread and clothes. On the day of the Reaping, the lottery that determines who will be sent to the Hunger Games, Primrose’s name is called, despite her being only twelve years old, and only having a single ticket in the ballot box (one ticket is added for each year you are over twelve, and you can trade a ticket for a modest supply of food. This way, older teenagers are more likely to be chosen, and poorer kids are even more common). Katniss cannot bear this, and volunteers in a moment of desperation. A boy is also called upon: Peeta, who Katniss remembers very fondly for saving her and her family from starvation some years back, when Katniss’ mother had a mental breakdown. This makes Katniss feel terrible, since the Hunger Games are to the death, and no one, not even people from the same districts, can win together. Katniss and Peeta are put on a train with an overzealous capitol representative and a drunken hobo - the only person from district twelve to ever win the Hunger Games. They are briefed on the procedure going

and receive some tips from the former winner. and has a knife thrown at her. And a half-gallon plastic bottle with a cap for carrying water that's bone dry. reaches the pack at the same time I do and for a brief time we grapple for it and then he coughs. the contestants are left with a choice: Go to the cornucopia – a pyre full of weaponry. Historically. This absolutely steals the show. She has been relatively lucky. where she checks out her loot. As the Hunger Games begin. the highest grade of all the tributes. They are fed abundant amounts of food. A boy. “I lunge forward. After the tests. I think from District 9. One thin black sleeping bag that reflects body heat. Act 2: The Hunger Games begin. she starts to consider her tasks . A higher grade will inspire confidence. since coal costumes are usually very dark and dirty and downplayed. At the start of the Hunger Games. The other tributes put on good shows. When they arrive at The Capitol. made of exotic ingredients. and are given a grade between 1 and 12. more than they have ever seen. but she believes that it is yet another ploy to garner attention form possible sponsors. but Katniss is suspicious by nature. scoop up the sheet of plastic and a loaf of bread. No water. She manages to get a hold of a bright orange backpack. A box of wooden matches. since the bag contained a lot of valuable supplies: “I carefully lay out the provisions. A pair of sunglasses. The unfairness of this angers Katniss. A bottle of iodine. and so remains cautious of Peeta’s attempts to make friends with her. district twelve have done very badly. while the judges are eating. splattering my face with blood. because their fashion designer has decided to go all out. they are whisked into the ceremony of the Hunger Games. The pickings are so small and Im so angry with Peeta for distracting me that I sprint in twenty yards to retrieve a bright orange backpack that could hold anything because I can’t stand leaving with virtually nothing. there is a ceremonial procession where the tributes are wheeled through wearing a costume that represents the District’s specific trade. and avoid the massacre that is sure to arise immediately.” after this. and they wind up giving her an 11 out of 12. They show off to the judges. and whatever else the intrepid young gladiator may require – or alternatively. Peeta publicly confesses his love for Katniss. and will earn you sponsors who send helpful items by air drop when you are in the Games. Katniss is torn by this decision. He has made costumes that will light on fire. After the ceremony. which she keeps. Katniss and Peeta get to know each other a little bit.Hunger Games Summary and Analysis – English A-level 12-12-2011 forward. and ends up picking something in between. Katniss and Peeta have gotten lucky. and Katniss and Peeta are cheered for from the moment they enter the stage. A pack of crackers.” She sprints away from the plains and the lake. supplies. the tributes’ skills are tested. and into the forest. or gamemakers. who demonstratively fires an arrow straight into the apple in a pig’s mouth. leg it in the opposite direction. but since Katniss is up last. They are put into the hands of a fashion designer. A pack of dried beef strips. the judges are well and truly fed up with tributes when she shows off. This wakes the judges up. A small coil of wire.

In the night. the deaths are announced: Eleven in all. “I have to bite my lip not to scream every foul name I know at the fire starter.Hunger Games Summary and Analysis – English A-level 12-12-2011 ahead. in Katniss’ mind. You might as well be waving a flag and shouting. and quickly losing hope. she spots a light flickering on further in the woods. “How’s everything with you?” I call down cheerfully. and practically pledges vengeance. she finally falls to the ground. She uses the time to sprint to a tree. finding none. only five yards away from a pond. killed swiftly by the career tributes who. And they do. What are they thinking? A fire just at nightfall would have been one thing. with the Careers gone. She sets up rabbit snares. In true melodramatic fashion. In the morning. She deigns to venture further into the forest. Those who battled at the Cornucopia. until the darkness starts to encroach. a girl having started a fire for warmth. but I know the crowd will love it. This takes them aback. After Katniss has set herself up by the pond. and tries to remain still as the Careers argue. We’re wasting time! I’ll go finish her and let’s move on! I almost fall out of the tree. She takes cover. “An argument breaks out until one tribute silences the others. and she manages to live through it. Katniss has a minute’s head start from she is awoken by the sound of footsteps. Katniss awakens to the smell of smoke. and manages to crawl to the pond.” This. the gamemakers decide to toy with the Games a little bit: they set the forest on fire. She then sprints through the forest as fireballs fly left and right. She finds none. She ends up taking a fireball to the calf. She realizes this as she falls into the mud. The fires eventually die down. which singes her badly. after searching her start to walk towards Katniss’ tree. and for two days. when they’ve probably been combing the woods for hours looking for victims. The voice belongs to Peeta. the first and foremost being the acquisition of water. She tries to cool her leg in a pond.and declaring his love for Katniss. Katniss is mortified. She walks for an entire day. She falls asleep. She’s a ways up when the Careers reach the tree. “Well . with their superior strength and surplus of supplies. and ends up setting up camp around herself. and starts climbing up it. But now. with the leg still in the water. and sets up a camp in a tree. Katniss packs up her camp and heads further into the woods. Katniss loses whatever remorse she felt about having to kill Peeta. Come and get me!” The girl is sure enough. “Now I smile. however. and has to quickly pack up her bag before the flames reach her. she wanders around the forest valley in search of water. since she does not want to risk returning to the lake. well knowing that the Careers will find her. but has little hope for her survival. looking for water. confirms her suspicion that Peeta was just garnering attention with all the making friends with. exasperated. where she happily guzzles the water. As she settles in. they couldn’t possibly have been near enough to spot the flames then.

So. In a moment. The Careers have taken the mines that were there to keep the tributes from starting early. sent by her sponsors. proceeds to go completely mad. she’s regained her feet and continues until she has reached the bulk of the supplies. while circling the drain of insanity. she receives a vial of soothing cream for her burns by airdrop. “Then she begins to approach the pyramid with strange little hops. She eventually regains consciousness and clarity of mind. and after recovering the bow and arrows from one of the dead girls. which will attract the Careers’ attention. so as to drop it on the Careers the next morning. and pilfers a few supplies. “The air’s better up here. Peeta in the lead. Why don’t you come on up?” The Careers are all much heavier than Katniss. where they have rearmed them. I can almost hear the laughter from the Capitol. and decides to cut part of the way through the branch that night. block out the rest of the world as I take meticulous aim. and drops the hornet’s nest into the Career’s camp. she goes into the woods once more. but Peeta urges Katniss to run instead of killing her off. Katniss is stung a few times in the process. After getting her bearings. But she overshot slightly. Katniss witnesses as another independent tribute moves into the pile with great agility. I hear her give a sharp squeal as her hands hit the ground. who points out a nest of trackerjacker hornets in a branch slightly above where Katniss is sleeping.” Katniss makes her way to the supply pile. I move into range and give myself three arrows to get the job done. the youngest tribute of the games. says the boy from District 2. They spend a few days together. In the night. hydrating. teetering slightly. decide to set up camp at the foot of the tree. but nothing happens. Rue will run around the forest. sometimes risking a few steps. I can see the first apple teetering when I let the . setting up fires. The Career’s run scared. she executes her plan. Katniss proceeds to run. and has a look at the situation: “ I know what to do. I place my feet carefully. At one point. sometimes landing on one foot. Katniss sets up a sleeping area in the branches. two of them dying. but it’s clearly more complex than I had imagined. In the night. Katniss is signaled by Rue. Katniss will then sneak past them. leaving a split in the burlap. and applies it to her calf and hands with much gusto. where she will attempt to steal and/or destroy their copious amounts of supplies. into their camp. and they team up. over a small barrel and lands poised on her tiptoes. “Yourself?” “It’s been a bit warm for my taste”. and have divided up their supplies. The Careers come back. cleaning herself and eating. and realizing the stalemate. however. The next morning. The second widens it to a gaping hole. The first arrow tears through the side of the bag near the top. I say. I’m right about the booby trap. when they hatch another dastardly scheme to beat the Careers. She meets Rue again. and her momentum throws her forward. she launches up in the air. and have placed them around their pile of supplies. She thanks the night sky for it. Katniss hatches a sinister plan.Hunger Games Summary and Analysis – English A-level 12-12-2011 enough”.

and the man with the single most Butch name in human history – runs Clove down and beats her skulls until it is concave. however. . “Tears spring in my eyes. however much too expensive for their sponsors to be able to afford at this point. As Rue is dying. showing a traditional district 12 sign of respect. we very clearly see why Katniss feels such great remorse for her. and in that time develops romantic feelings for him. Katniss wants to go there. Katniss is given a sleep drug by their sponsors. and she succeeds. Claudius pauses. and is bleeding badly. I mean. an announcement pops up. It’s old. Before she is lifted off by the hovercraft. so they begin to lose hope. saying that there will be a feast the following morning.Hunger Games Summary and Analysis – English A-level 12-12-2011 third arrow go. which she feeds to Peeta. Two tributes can win this year. An announcement comes on. Rues last request. But if this is Prims. who lets Katniss go. I call out Peetas name. as if he knows were not getting it. out of concern for Katniss’ safety. and kills the boy with an arrow. Katniss is overcome with rage. but Peeta refuses.” As Katniss makes camp that night.” Act 3: Katniss sets out to find Peeta. knocking him out. but manages to crawl back into the woods on her hands and knees. but Katniss is saved when Thresh – the male tribute from district 11.” She is shell- shocked from the explosion. Peeta gets blood poisoning. and gives Rue as good a ceremonial funeral as she can manage. If theyre from the same district. Katniss makes her way back along Rue’s planned path. The news sinks in. and arrived just in time to see her being impaled by a boy wielding a spear. and repeats the change again. She finally hears Rue’s voice. and covering Rue with flowers. Katniss grieves. And I’m overwhelmed by Rue and the pain in my head. everything seems frozen in time. She spends a few days nursing him back to health. Rue doesn’t show. he will perish. Clove mocks Katniss with Rue’s death. Under the new rule. hungry babies to sleep with. a scream. Katniss explains the circumstances of Rue’s death to Thresh. My throat is tight with tears. very old I think. Before I can stop myself. but is attacked by the female tribute from district 2. both tributes from the same district will be declared winners if they are the last two alive. catching the torn flap of burlap and ripping it from the bag. the rules have changed: “A rule change! That in itself is mind bending since we dont really have any rules to speak of except dont step off your circle for sixty seconds and the unspoken rule about not eating one another. she gets to the place where her and Rue were supposed to meet up. one we sing fretful. The song that comes to me is a simple lullaby. as she mistakes her name for Prim’s: “Sing. and letting her go to the feast. the fight goes out of me at the memory. hoarse from smoke and fatigue. She comes to the feast and retrieves the medicine. After a while of traveling in the woods. Both can live. Then the apples spill to the ground and I’m blown backward into the air. Both of us can live. I have to at least try. and he and Katniss realize that if he doesn’t get medicine soon. thinking that she was responsible for Rue’s death. Clove. The tension. The medicine that he needs is. For a moment. same as Rue. containing an item that the tributes from each district desperately needs. but he has been wounded by one of the Careers.

All through the night. and decide to show the Capitol a final act of defiance. he says. despite her grave wounds. our backs pressed together. Peeta and Katniss are infuriated. and they end up agreeing that they would rather die together. Cato. but just as Peeta and Katniss assume that they have been victorious. Just to wipe my nose. . He is skilled. Katniss and Peeta just wait for the cannon to sound. daring Katniss to shoot him. The count of three. On the count of three? Peeta leans down and kisses me once. The mutants resemble anthropomorphic wolves or wild hounds. Peeta starts unwrapping his earlier wound.Hunger Games Summary and Analysis – English A-level 12-12-2011 and my fear of Thresh. a tribute accidentally kills herself by stealing and eating some poison berries from Katniss and Peeta. however. Cato dies. For the little girl. so as to not be mauled by the hounds. the leader of the Careers. Cato takes Peeta hostage up there. signaling Cato’s death. stating that the rules cannot be changed anyway. They later discover that Thresh has been killed off by Cato. OK. I want everyone to see. very gently. Maybe Im wrong. We stand. knowing that that she would be throwing Peeta to the hounds as well. and their wounds. but when he does. but is finally overwhelmed. “Do it fast. Cato is whimpering as the hounds eat him alive. I spread out my fingers. Here. and the dark berries glisten in the sun. they realize that the gamemakers have caused the ponds and rivers to dry up. Katniss scrambles to stop him. He arrives sprinting. One. That the two must pick one of them to emerge victorious. Hold them out. back at the cornucopia. with a group of mutants in hot pursuit. They wait the entire day and night. our empty hands locked tight. Thresh?” “Just this one time. Katniss and Peeta all climb to the top of the cornucopia. Cato thinks Katniss loves Peeta too much for her to risk this. Cato does not go down without a fight. As dawn comes. which proceed to maul him with great enthusiasm. but each of them refuses to kill the other. causing him to release his grip on Peeta. and we begin counting. circling aroung the cornucopia to rejoin Peeta and Katniss at the top. No more owed. You understand?”” Katniss makes it back to Peeta. I let you go. but not for an arrow that I know I’ll never reach. but is taken aback when Katniss shoots an arrow through Cato’s hand. and he manages to hold his own against the hounds for a good hour. They arrive at the cornucopia and wait a long time for Cato to show up. he says. the mutts dragging him into the cornucopia. the cold. as a good-bye. After a while in the forest. forcing the remaining three players to the lake. until they themselves are dying of fatigue. My hand reaches up. You and me. down to the mutant hounds. and the moaning of the dying girl a metre away. I give Peeta’s hand one last squeeze as a signal. it’s under radically different circumstances than expected. so as to kill himself. we’re even then. Katniss deigns to finish him off with an arrow of pity. each one with features resembling one of the dead tributes. and after they have recovered. They get their hands on the poisonous berries from before. another announcement comes up for the two of them. but it doesn’t come. Peeta throws Cato off the cornucopia.

forget that. The frantic voice of Claudius Templesmith shouts above them. He waits. “I don’t know. and are ferried back to the Capitol. On the way back. for further explanation. where Peeta extends his hand towards her. I lift my hand to my mouth. ”Then how much? No. Maybe they don’t care if we both die. they spit out the berries.Hunger Games Summary and Analysis – English A-level 12-12-2011 Two. So. You’re in trouble. Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark! I give you the tributes of District Twelve!” After this. tightly holding on to my flowers. I feel dread coursing through me now. Three! It’s too late to change my mind. Well. for the crowd. what’s going to be left when we get home?” He says. taking one last look at the world. Word is the Capitols furious about you showing them up in the arena. The berries have just passed my lips when the trumpets begin to blare. the more confused I get.” They pull through the interviews. “Stop! Stop! Ladies and gentlemen. and the pain in his voice is palpable. After their convalescence. says Haymitch. “Listen up.” I say. but none is forthcoming.” “Not all of it. and finally board the train back to district 12. Media. he says. let me know when you work it out. I am pleased to present the victors of the Seventy-fourth Hunger Games. Themes: The primary themes of this book are. as follows:    Love.” I say. “How you acted. I guess the real question is. but I laugh as though Haymitch is saying something completely delightful because nothing is covering my mouth. . in our opinion. they are interviewed. The closer we get to district twelve. Tradition. Peeta asks whether the feelings between them are mutual. The one thing they can’t stand is being laughed at and they’re the joke of Panem. their trainer approaches them with a warning. but moments before the interview. what? Your only defense can be you were so madly in love you weren’t responsible for your actions. or if it was all just a show: “It was all for the Games?” Peeta says. and asks her to put on a show just once more.” The book ends with their arrival in District 12.

Survival. can manipulate the viewers of the show to sponsor her. in that they both dealt with societies in which traditions that. who only plays a minor role. however. it’s probably used by the author in an attempt to make the reader sympathize and relate to Katniss.Hunger Games Summary and Analysis – English A-level 12-12-2011   Surveillance/Opression. The first one is a mainstay in virtually any form of contemporary fiction. and to some extent it serves to move the plot forward and gives Katniss a slight character arc. It’s not particularly interesting. Katniss is unsure how she feels about Peeta. Many of the conflicts in the book arise as a result of Katniss’ feelings toward the book’s male protagonist. and takes place in a nation where the citizens of the 12 districts essentially have no rights. In this book. She begins the book unsure whether or not she likes Gale romantically. The book reminded me a lot of the short story called “The Lottery”. The stories are not completely analogous. but the parallel is obvious. over the course of the book she obviously comes to like him to some extent. The book is obviously dystopic in nature. The book. and as such fails to do much more than regurgitate already explored concepts within the theme of government oppression. necessarily related to reality television. in my opinion. by feigning romantic interest in Peeta. so I won’t spend too much time discussing it. The nature of their relationship is further obfuscated by the fact that Katniss learns that she. is nowhere near as profound as either Huxley’s “Brave New World” or Orwell’s “1984”. under different circumstances could be considered barbaric and inhumane. and Gale. I’m not sure if it’s intended as social commentary. This is not. but she’s never really sure if their relationship is romantic or platonic. Peeta. but not really. especially when it’s marketed to adolescents. since the twelve districts are suppressed by the Capitol in The Hunger Games. What is probably the most fundamental element of the book. were practiced with acceptance. is obviously a morbid version of today’s reality television. Having not read the second or third book in this trilogy. The . The message of the book could be perceived as being anti-television. however. and are subject to the whims of the authoritarian Capitol. There isn’t much more to the theme in this book. but it could be seen as commentary of human nature. and ends up having the same ambiguous feelings toward Peeta. the author shows us how the oppressive regime of Panem utilizes reality television to demean and taunt the citizens of the twelve districts. the Hunger Games in itself. which ultimately enables her and Peeta to survive the hunger games. I would wager that a central part of the plot in the next book will be the love triangle involving these three characters.

and only spared from his agony by Katniss. the book is part of a trilogy. so this internal debate never really manifests in a situation where Katniss actually has to commit an act that is morally reprehensible. only touched upon superficially. she manages to avoid being put in a situation where she actually has to kill someone who isn’t explicitly written as a “bad guy” by the author. in my opinion. is also quite central to the book. Act one is essentially the story’s setup. Katniss. where most of the confrontations take place. Survival. all in all. central characters and locations are established. and morality. and each book ostensibly consists of three acts. The act has a pretty major plot point. the theme is. and contains another interesting plot point when Katniss learns that the games can have two winners provided that they are from the same district. conveniently. who has spent most of her life hunting. . has to justify the killing of innocents in order to preserve her own existence.Hunger Games Summary and Analysis – English A-level 12-12-2011 author notes the state that the nation of Panem is in and that this is the consequence of the quenching of a rebellion. and the story of the setting is explained. Or so you might’ve thought. Even the antagonistic Cato is killed by wolves. Act 2 is the body of the story. which is at the reaping where Katniss volunteers to participate in the games in the stead of Primrose. Act three naturally contains the climax and conclusion of the story. but ultimately never explores what other events led to these circumstances. and part of the setup for the sequel. The structure of the story is interesting.

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