“The Hunger Games”: meaning and analysis of the book by Susan Collins

“The Hunger Games”: meaning and analysis of the book by Susan Collins Literature

The Hunger Games trilogy was invented by the American writer Susan Collins. The author started to write in 2008, and finished in 2010. The first book was filmed only 4 years after its publication (in 2012). By the way, the films were also created in a row, one per year.

What the book is about

In the work is about the world order after several large-scale disasters, and then there was a bloody military confrontation in North America. Panem (the name is derived from the phrase “Bread and circuses”) is an authoritarian power. This power has a rule against a rebellious population: 12 districts send off 12-year-olds and 18-year-old boys or girls once a year for battles called “The Hunger Games.” They are held as a reality show, and the entire population must attend. The games are prescribed to be seen as entertainment, although the participants fight to the death.

The government destroys the population through starvation. The despot has all spheres under his control:

  • birth and death;
  • love and relationships;
  • food and labor.

People are physically brutalized and a specific mentality is imposed. Public ideology is broadcast through the media. All this hinders the evolution of civic individuality:

The minds of the poor are preoccupied only with how to survive;
the rich are looking for spectacles and new purchases.

But one day Kitniss Everdeen transforms the game’s foundations, changing the minds of the inhabitants. After going through the throes of famine and bereavement, she inspires those who are utterly desperate.

The meaning of the book

“The Hunger Games were created by the Capitol authorities as a way of suppressing popular rebellion. There was once a thirteenth district. But the local population could no longer endure the hardest labor and hunger and went against the regime. The local rebel authorities crushed and destroyed the Thirteenth District.

But the dictatorship is countered by love, which helps to survive in inhumane conditions. In the trilogy, this feeling involves caring and protecting one’s own family and friends.

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Book Analysis

The author has told a lot about the American mentality in the novels. The path of passage from television shows to politics is unique to the States. Literature means a lot to the Russian man. It comes in philosophical, political, artistic. But for Americans, the main thing is movies. They chime in with movie lines, and for them, TV characters mean more.

It is a dystopia with political overtones. The narrative of the book is characterized by a canonical structure. It describes destruction, a new authoritarian power created according to the ancient Roman model, there are sacrifices. The pledge of peace in this state is carnage. The author depicts horrific events where dying is considered a good thing.

Collins’ microcosm of her trilogy is a mixture of mythic and real components. The work describes both new realities and the personal loss of the main character.

The state of Panem is ruthless. It has a powerful ruler, his retinue, and ordinary citizens who are forced into deadly battles and the public is applauded.

Then the resistance is led by a woman. Kitniss Everdeen’s fate is tragic. She had no intention of becoming an inspiration to the rebellious population of Panem, only trying to save her little sister. Kitniss was able to survive and win by becoming “The Mockingbird Owl,” a symbol of popular resistance. For her, it proved to be an ordeal.

The story of the book’s creation

In her introduction to the trilogy, the author described where she got the idea for the work. As a young child, Susan gravitated toward the study of mythology. Even then, the future writer was greatly impressed by the story of the young men and women from Athens who were sacrificed to the Minotaur. In part, the creation of the work was also influenced by gladiatorial movies. In ancient Rome, executions were skillfully turned into mass spectacles. Collins often traveled with the historian pope to the sites of ancient battles. One day, while she was switching television channels, she became interested in a war reportage. That’s how the story of Kitniss, the main character in the trilogy, was formed.

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Susan Collins did not make a mistake with the genre – novels-antiutopias teenagers always read with great interest. This is influenced by current world problems, and the film adaptation of novels, and their popularization in the creation of computer games.

The meaning of the book’s title

The metaphor of hunger runs through the entire trilogy. The inhabitants of Capitol Hill are hungry for spectacle; the districts are literally starving. Kitniss has personally experienced a wide range of “hunger” feelings. She needs to feed her family. The heroine is tormented by love hunger, and she sees a social hunger that has grown into a revolution. The list goes on. The title of the television show addresses readers to the emotional hunger of the Capitol and the malnutrition of the districts. Tributes, too, are limited in the amount of food resources.

The Problematics of the Book.

In addition to the curious spectacle and interesting plot, “The Hunger Games” contains a host of current issues and problems of society:

  • poverty;
  • starvation;
  • government control;
  • military consequences;
  • self-sacrifice;
  • tragedy and loss (a mine explosion, for example).

What the book teaches

The trilogy teaches readers:

  • To expect love only from those who have been filled with love;
  • To learn to love;
  • To understand that there are no winners in cruel games;
  • to give your children the opportunity to grow up on their own;
  • give up the idea of curing the world with war;
  • not to sing in someone else’s voice, but to search for one’s own;
  • To look closely at the world and discover new sides of it – it is more complicated than it seems.

Explanation of the book’s ending

The final part of the Hunger Games trilogy ends with Mockingbird Owl hitting the ruler Coyne, who leads the rebels, with her bow, but not the despised despot Snow. Coyne dies.

Why does this happen and not the other way around? Of course, Snow was massacred by the mob immediately after Coyne’s murder, and Kitniss was arrested. She was taken away and then exiled to the wreckage of the Twelfth District.

But why did she do exactly that. Why shoot Coyne and not Snow?

The initial assumption is that she was driven by personal motives, or, more precisely, by a desire for revenge. As you know from the narrative, the ruler of Coyne threw bombs at local children from a plane with capitol emblems to take the Capitol Palace. Even Snow’s fighters stopped fighting, for their children were there as well. But Kitniss’s little sister, Prim, treated the rioters and helped the children abandoned by the bombs. She herself died from the second explosion.

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Kitniss is told that Prim died because of orders given by Coyne. That’s why she was so angry and quickly found a way to avenge her sister.

But if you ponder the general problematics of the trilogy, you can see another reason.

If you think about it, a despot who brutalizes people insists on continuing the Hunger Games, where the children of his subjects must exterminate each other (without the right to choose). There is oppression of the inhabitants of all 12 districts: executions, poverty.

And then suddenly the people rise up. In time, they begin to succeed. Their leader promises them democracy, but what awaits them in the end? Immediately after capturing the Capitol, Coyne announces that she herself is going to become “acting ruler” of Panem without elections. In addition, she immediately plans to “start” a “Hunger Games” for the children of Capitol Hill.

It turns out that the new state remains just as oppressive and cruel. Once again, a tyrant is in power, supporting the brutality and oppression of the inhabitants. Kitniss realizes this and cannot allow this turn of events to happen. She does not want everything she and her loved ones have been through to be repeated. She is not going to betray the memory of her sister. And does the right thing. Additionally, readers also see a large-scale problem of society, solved by Kitniss at her own discretion. This is also where the full meaning of the narrative, put into it by the author, is seen.

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