The book I read for my book report was The Hunger Games by Suzanna Collins. The Hunger Games takes place sometime in the future. It’s a time where the people had tries to overrun the government and now everyone is split into 12 different districts. Each district is important for producing a different product, like fish, coal and other necessities. Some of the districts are a lot poorer than others. For example, district one and two are the richest because they are the closest with the capitol, so they get better food and they also get more. They are also treated better than other districts. But, in district 12 everyone is poor, most people have to illegally hunt for food, and some families for days or even weeks at a time without eating. Then there’s the Capitol, which is basically like another nation but everyone, is rich and has the best technologies. The people in the Capitol are never suffering like the rest. The Capitol is where President Snow lives and run the nation they live in, Panam. Every year Panam has the hunger game. This is where all 12 districts have to randomly draw one girl and one boy as tributes to fight to the death against all the other tributes. There can only ever be one winner.
The only place that doesn’t have to supply tributes is the capitol. So, when the night comes where they draw names, the mayor of each district gives a speech describing how the government of North America collapsed and the country of Panam rose up in its place. And then talks about a war between the capitol and the districts. The capitol won, and as a reminder of the defeat, that’s why the districts must supply tributes for the games. The setting of my book is in the future. It doesn’t really say when exactly, just sometime in the future after North America’s government failed. This is important because it shows a representation of the control the government has, it has complete control over millions of men, women, and children. It’s important because it shows the fear the government puts in everyone and how the districts are hard places to live in and a lot of people have it rough, but the government keeps it like that on purpose. If the government was nice to the districts, they would lose the fear they hold in the citizens.
There are lots of important characters in this story. Some are more important than others though. The biggest main characters are Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark, and Haymitch Abernathy. Katniss is the protagonist of this story; she is a strong, resourceful 16 year old girl. She has been her family’s main provider ever since her dad died in a mine-explosion when she was 11. Now it’s just her, her mom and her little sister, Prim. When Prim’s name is drawn to be this years tribute for the hunger games, Katniss feels as if she has no other option besides volunteering herself to take Prim’s place. As she spends her weeks before the games at the Capitol, and people keep falling more and more in love with Katniss Everdeen, “The Girl on Fire.” She becomes quite the celebrity among all of the citizens. She puts on a fake smile whenever she has an interview or something, but she has to hide her true feelings about the Capitol to keep from getting in trouble. She loathes the Capitol and its tyrannical rule, but if she were to rebel openly, it would only be asking for punishment. After her and Peeta win the games, she is brave and daring and returns home.
In her home district, she is a beloved star, but in the capitol, she is a menace and perhaps a liability, to the dictators in Panam. The next important character is Peeta Mellark. He is the male tribute for district 12 and has been completely in love with Katniss ever since they were little kids. During the games, he becomes her only ally and, surprisingly, her love interest. Peeta is best known throughout the Capitol and the districts for his love for her and his willingness to sacrifice himself for her. From the minute the games start, Peeta does everything he can to help Katniss survive. He joins the careers group, that’s what they call the tributes for District 1 & 2, just to lead them in the wrong direction away from her. He even fights off the toughest one, Cato, just to help Katniss get away. Cato wounds Peeta very badly, to survive; he uses his camouflage skills to hide his body until Katniss can find him. they make the announcement that if two tributes are from the same district and they’re the only ones left, they can both be the winners. Once they make that announcement, Katniss cannot wait to find Peeta, once she finds him, she nurses him back to health.
Katniss doubts his love for her, thinking that he’s only trying to keep up his “lover boy” act. He seems genuine throughout the novel and feels betrayed in the end of the book when he finds out she has not been as sincere as he has about it. The third man character is Haymitvh Abernathy. Of District 12’s only two Hunger Games victors in 72 years, he is the only one still alive. Haymitch acts as Katniss and Peeta’s coach throughout the games. Though he was drunk for most of the book, he finds a way to sober up enough to mentor them and give them advice on how to win. It’s never made explicit in the novel, but it appears to be Haymitch who devises a strategy of playing up their romance, a move that ultimately allows both of them to survive. Even though, traditionally, only one winner has been allowed. In a very limited way, he acts sort of as a father figure for Katniss, who lost her own father in a mine explosion when she was 12. While Haymitch is often indelicate and manipulative, often using Peeta and his feelings for Katniss to get the results he wants, he is undeniably effective. One of the most important themes in this book is the importance of appearance.
Throughout the novel Katniss and her team use her external appearance, including what she says and how she acts, to control how other people perceive her. At the reaping ceremony, she wouldn’t allow herself to cry in front of the cameras because she doesn’t want to give the impression that she’s weak, that would, make them think she’s an easy target. The main feature of the focus on Katniss at the ceremony was her dress that Cinna created for her. It was covered in synthetic flames, earning Katniss the name, “ the girl on fire,” which made her stand out even more among the other tributes. Drawing attention is more than just vanity in the games. The tributes that are most memorable tend to attract sponsors, who can provide gifts that may be critical during the games.
But, the most notable part of Katniss’s strategy involves her romance with Peeta. The romance is not entirely genuine on Katniss’s end. She cares about Peeta and develops a romantic interest in him, but her feelings don’t have nearly the same intensity as his. But for the cameras, Katniss plays up her feelings for Peeta and works to convince the viewers, and especially the Capitol. Katniss and Peeta’s romance elicits more gifts from the sponsors than if they were just friends, and it seems to even influence the Capitol’s decision to let two tributes win rather than one. Through these events, the novel suggests that what cameras show, on reality television for instance, is not necessarily reality, and that appearances are just as consequential as the truth.