However, she is thrust into a world where she is hunted and must kill her peers to survive yet struggles to remain the girl she was in the past. Collins strings together the actions of the characters to show the chaos that overpowering government can cause in her breathtaking novel. One of the reasons that “The Hunger Games” captured my attention from the beginning was the world Collins created. In the beginning of the novel, the reader is introduced to Katniss, a girl who has to hunt in order to provide food for her mother and sister.
The people of this time are continually punished for a rebellion that took place generations ago. To exercise their power and humiliate the defeated regions, they annually force each of twelve districts to send one boy and one girl to fight to the death in a televised arena. The winning district is pampered with food and supplies for a plentiful year, while the other districts are left to starve. Collins weaves a brilliant plot, with a tunic-clad and Roman-named ruling elite and their lust for gory entertainment, echoing themes of Roman gladiators.
In one scene, Katniss and the people of her district are referred to as barbaric because of their poor table manners, but she must stifle her desire to exclaim the true barbarism of forcing children to kill each other for sport. The novel shows how a ruling and all powerful government can also rule and suppress the hearts and minds of its people in order to keep its power and thwart rebellion. The government heartlessly pits its youngest citizens against one another to demonstrate its absolute power and to instill fear into the citizens.
Katniss and her friend Gale have to publicly suppress and contain their true feelings about the government. Those who say even minor things against the rules of the Capitol are severely punished, so the two friends have to talk about their true feelings privately. By setting this totalitarian government in futuristic but familiar settings, Collins uses it as a parallel to the potential harm that government can have today. Collins suggests that the world today can end up like this theoretical world if the government is allowed too much power.
Hunger is another important theme in this novel. As well showing the effect that excessive government control and have, “The Hunger Games” contrasts Katniss’ near starvation and struggle to survive with the uncaring affluence of the Capitol as well as those well-off in her district. In today’s society, people living in third-world countries have to hope, struggle and fight to have enough to eat each day while we, like the affluent people of the Capitol, “push a button and food appears”.
Katniss, thinking of the hours she spent hunting and trading for daily food, thought to herself how much more she could have done back home if food came this easily. And she wondered what these people did all day. These are subtle yet sobering lessons for the life of luxury that we have and don’t appreciate. Collins intertwines the actions of the characters and the thoughts of Katniss in such a way that makes it such a good read. Her use of imagery allows the reader to imagine him of herself taking part in the book.
The themes relate to society, and many people are able to learn a variety of lessons from reading the book. I am not an avid reader, but “The Hunger Games” was so exciting that I couldn’t put it down. Suspense grasps the reader in every heart-stopping part of the book. Although this book was fantastic, it was not perfect. There are many portions of the book that focus on attire and appearance, which did not seem important to the plot. Throughout the book, there are some gaps in believability.
For example, it is accepted that cameras are mysteriously everywhere in the Capitol and throughout the games. Also, sponsors would airdrop supplies directly and miraculously to their contestants. At the end of the novel, contestants that died in the beginning were transformed into dogs, as they avenged their deaths by attacking the last three tributes. Most importantly, this book lacked closure. The main plot is solved and the winner of the Hunger Games is announced, but a new problem is introduced within the last few pages.
This problem remains unsolved, and the reader is left without resolution, postponing explanation for further novels written by Collins. This book captured my attention from the beginning, and I could not put it down. Despite the minor problems with too much focus on appearance, a few implausible scenarios, and a halting ending, it was superb. The plot was electrifying, the characters were unique, heroic and tangible, the themes were relatable, and the structure was flawless. I would recommend it to anyone thinking about reading it because of its thrilling plot and thought-provoking theme.