Discuss the author’s use of symbolism and explain how symbols are used to convey themes. In the book The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, many symbols were used to convey themes and different messages. The three symbols that I looked at were the Mockingjay, Bread and the Capitol. The Mockingjay symbolised the people and their rebellion, freedom and hope. The Bread symbolised life, love, sacrifice and is the main staple food for the districts whereas The Capitol was the symbol of power and cruelty.
The Mockingjay was a big symbol in The Hunger Games, especially later in the trilogy because it was the symbol of the rebellion and one of the books was named after it but it was still a main symbol in the first book. The Mockingjay pin that Madge gave to Katniss shows friendship and that wherever she goes, there will always be someone who truly cares about her and that Rue was able to trust her because she was wearing the pin. It also shows that the Capitol has some weak spots after the mutated Jabberjays bred with the mockingbirds to make the beautiful sounding Mockingjays.
Another main symbol in The Hunger Games was Bread because it had a lot of meanings. One of the most important instances where bread was used was when Peeta took a beating to give Katniss some bread when she was close to dying from starvation. The quote, “The heat of the bread burned my skin, but I clutched it tighter, clinging for life” meant that there was still hope and Katniss and her family were going to survive because of what Peeta had done.
Panem et circenses, or bread and circuses, was what Panem was ruled by. This was an expression used back during the gladiator games but it has the same concept in The Hunger Games because the Districts provide the food for the Capitol and the Tributes for the Hunger Games. Another point about bread was when District 11 gave Katniss a small loaf of bread during the games to show their appreciation and gratitude towards Katniss for the way she treated Rue.
The Capitol was another symbol with many meanings. It shows the superiority of The Capitol over the districts and how they prevailed over the rebels before the Hunger Games were created. It also shows the dictatorship in how President Snow controls Panem because he is the only person who gets a say in how Panem is controlled. The Capitol also shows how defenceless the tributes are in the arena and the cruelty they show in the games and forcing the districts to watch their own children die.
But the worst thing the Capitol does is glamorising the games and making them a festival to make sure that the people of the Capitol are oblivious to how barbaric the games really are. Suzanne Collins has done an amazing job with The Hunger Games because she put many hidden messages into her writing and was able to keep constant suspense throughout the novel. She cleverly showed themes and messages through different objects and symbols.
The Mockingjay was a main symbol because of the friendship it showed between Katniss, Rue and Madge but also because of the rebellion that followed the first book. Bread symbolised life, love, sacrifice between Peeta and Katniss and is also the main staple food for the districts. The Capitol had a lot of important meanings which included cruelty, unfairness, unforgiveness and power. This book had important messages, meanings and symbols that were used to create The Hunger Games.
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