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Ms. Hoogewerf

Writing for College Success

27 October 2015

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a thrilling sequel to the original Hunger Games.

Written by Suzanne Collins, and later directed by Francis Lawrence, this novel-turned-live-

action-film is a continuation of the struggles of Katniss Everdeen, a teenage-girl providing for

her family, and Peeta Melark, the son of a local baker. The story continues for the two whom

were co-victors in the Hunger Games of the prior year. The wave of radical action that Katniss

helped to kindle is now threatening to blaze up and destroy the Capitol, leaving the country of

Panem to abide in the charred remains. Even though the movie Hunger Games: Catching Fire is

based off the book of the same name, the differences between the setting, characters, and these

two versions make them unique and interesting.

Differences in setting throughout The Hunger Games: Catching Fire add drama and keep

the audience entertained. Throughout the book, the setting changes from hostile to benign, and

from slow and interpersonal to fast paced and dramatic. The setting in the beginning of the book

is in the Victor’s Circle, a sector of housing reserved specifically for the winners of the Hunger

Games. This is set within District 12, then in the main square where the citizens learn of the

requirements for the third Quarter Quell. Katniss, her mother, her sister, and Peeta have gotten

used to living in the luxurious housing within the Victors Circle, a private residence reserved

only for the winners of the Hunger Games. A whole year has passed since the last Games, and to
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mark the end of the third twenty-five year period, a quarter-quell is held. Each quarter-quell has a

distinct theme, and the theme of the third requires that all previous and most recent victors return

to the arena to face one another in a battle of survival.

The setting later on in the book is within the Quarter-Quell arena, and then in the District

13 hovercraft at the end of the book. The Victors must face each other in the Quarter-Quell arena,

which is shaped like a clock. After shooting an arrow through a weak spot in the energy field

surrounding the arena, Katniss is rescued by a hovercraft from District 13.

The setting in the beginning of the movie is quite tense to reflect Katniss’s post-traumatic

stress resulting from her involvement in the Games from the previous year, though it mellows

down some before it becomes as tense and quick paced as before. In the beginning of the movie,

the audience is shown some of the nightmares that Katniss has been plagued by ever since she

won the games alongside Peeta. The audience is shown a nightmare-flashback to the first movie,

when Katniss was stung by genetically-modified wasps called tracker jackers and suffered

horrifying hallucinations. Peeta hears her distress and comes to wake her up out of her dream. He

reassures her and volunteers to watch and wake her if she starts having nightmares again.

Katniss believes that things are going to get better, until she and Peeta are told that they

must return to the arena to participate in the upcoming seventy-fifth Hunger Games. As required

by law, a special Hunger Games is to be held every twenty-five years, known as a Quarter Quell,

to serve as a reminder of the Capitol’s victory over the Districts. The seventy-fifth games, or the

third Quarter Quell, requires that the most recent victors return to the games to fight against one

another. The theme of the Quell is to remind the Districts that no one can overcome the power of

the Capitol.
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The personalities and characteristics of the characters in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire vary

from the movie to the book. New characters are introduced, while older characters, such as those

introduced in the first book, change their personality. Peeta is a prime example of how a

character who was considered more of an anti-hero and side-protagonist becomes a more

prominent protagonist as he forms a stronger bond with Katniss. Peeta is now the center of

attention for both Katniss and Haymitch, who want to insure his survival, and for President

Snow, who is beginning to realize how great of a speaker he is. Katniss screams when Peeta

accidently walks right into the arena’s force-field, which stops his heart and almost kills him.

The intentions of Katniss and her coach, Haymitch, are also more thoroughly questioned.

The Mockingjay, like the one on Katniss’s gold pin, becomes a secret symbol of one’s alliance

with the Rebellion. Haymitch urges both Katniss and Peeta to make friends with other victors,

telling them that they will survive longer if they work together. He especially wants them to get

to know Beetee, who is revealed to be a member of the Rebellion at the end of the book.

Katniss is a bit more emotional in the movie than she is in the book. She cares more

about others and is more vocal about her feelings. Katniss becomes grief-stricken after she is

powerless to stop her stylist from being beaten and killed by Peacekeepers right before her eyes.

The President of Panem, President Snow, is blackmailing Katniss into following the rules in an

attempt to stop the District’s government rebellion that she helped to begin during the first

movie. “But even if all of us meet terrible, ends, something happened on that stage tonight that

can’t be undone. We victors, staged our own uprising, and maybe, just maybe, the Capitol won’t

be able to contain this one.” (Katniss Everdeen, p. 258-259). President Snow threatens to hurt

everyone Katniss loves until she backs down from her new role as a symbol of rebellion, and
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does so by having her stylist killed before her. This is her punishment for wearing the Mocking

Jay dress designed by her stylist as a homage to the pin she wore in the previous Hunger Games,

which became a symbol of the Rebellion.

The characters are older in the movie than they are described as in the book. The actors

who play Katniss and Peeta are in their late teens and twenties, even though the basis of the

Hunger Games is that all tributes be children and teenagers. The horror that is invoked by

children being forced to kill other children is lessened when they appear older, such as teenagers

or young adults instead of young kids.

The individual events leading up to the finale in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire differ

in significance from the book to the movie. The book has its differences from its respective

movie, which make reading and watching both a more fulfilling experience. The Hunger Games:

Catching Fire has settings, characters, and events that differ from the story told in the book to the

action in the movie. The settings in both the movie and the book are relatively consistent with

one another, though there are some parts added and others removed within the movie. While

there are consistencies in plot, theme, and character relationships, the book’s representation of

these topics are more open to personal reflection and representation. The movie does have its

strongpoints as well; visual effects and actor portrayals of characters, with credit to the director

and screenwriters, add another dimension to the story told throughout the Hunger Games trilogy.
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Works Cited
Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. New York, NY: Scholastic, 2013. Print.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Dir. Francis Lawrence. Perf. Jennifer Lawrence, Josh

Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland. Lionsgate, 2014. DVD.