Monday, December 5, 2011

3. The Hunger Games Analysis

Summary: Katniss is given an hour to say good-bye to loved ones. Her mother and Prim come in, and she instructs them how they're to survive without her. Peeta's father comes in, doesn't say much, but gives Katniss cookies and promises to look after Prim. Madge (the mayor's daughter) comes in and gives Katniss a pin of a mockingjay--a bird that is a cross between a Capitol-bred "muttation" bird called the jabberjay and mockingbirds. Gale comes in lasts and encourages Katniss to win, and that he'll take care of her family. He wants to say something but gets pulled away. She and Peeta are then taken to the train to go to the Capitol. We discover that Haymitch's job is to aid them in getting help once they are in the arena.

World-building: We come to see in this chapter that the Games aren't just a punishment for the districts, they're also entertainment for the Capitol. The Capitol hated the year when there was no wood so the tributes mostly froze to death, because of all the bloodless deaths that didn't stir any excitement. Then also Katniss starts to talk strategies, about her own refusal to cry and her thoughts leaping to why Peeta is crying, if it is to make himself look like he isn't a threat. We also hear about the children who train to enter these games and their fierceness. This puts the Games in a whole new perspective, that it isn't just to be thrown in and go, it's thought out. Katniss will have a lot more challenges than we thought, and this also reflects back on the society that not only made these Games, but made them competition and entertainment like the Olympics are today.

  • Katniss: In this chapter we get the first sign of Katniss having any type of rebellious streak in her. It's small, but when she eats her food with her fingers to annoy Effie, it gives us a sense of what type of behavior Katniss may have later. And despite her doubt that she can win, we see Katniss using strategy, trying to figure out others' strategies, and determining how she can best survive. We've observed her survival skills in the woods, and now we're really seeing her mind at work.
  • Effie: She's our only Capitol character at the moment, and she's characterized as an epitome of what the Capitol is. She worries about her appearance when they watch the footage of the reaping again, and when they eat dinner she talks about how last year's tributes, two starving children, had eaten so sloppily it upset her digestion. Yes, when she was taking them to their death.
  • Rue: Well, we don't know her name is Rue yet. But we're connected with her as the girl from District 11, who reminds Katniss of Prim. We don't even know her yet, but we sympathize for her because unlike Prim, no one steps up for her. She is who Prim could have been. 
Tension: In this chapter we learn that Haymitch, the drunk, will be Katniss's lifeline in the games. Now the odds just keep stacking up against Katniss. We may see how capable she is, but we've also seen how incapable Haymitch is. Now knowing that she has to rely on him has created more tension.

What we can learn in a nutshell: Foreshadow your character's traits that will be important later on. Make sure that readers can find a seed in them what they're meant to do in the future. Also, be sure that your character fits the story you've put them into. Don't forget when world-building to also set up the society's morals, feelings, manners, etc. into perspective for the reader. And of course, with the tension, throw more boulders at your characters. Make them rely on something or someone that will hold them down.

1 comment:

  1. This is a very detailed and impressinve analysis. There's quite a bit to learn for utilization in my own WiP.

    Thank you.