Friday, December 9, 2011

4. The Hunger Games Analysis

Summary: Katniss and Peeta help a drunk and vomit-covered Haymitch to the shower, and Peeta takes it from there. She remembers about how after she saw him at school after the bread incident, she noticed dandelions and started to collect them to eat. She collects plants to eat and starts to hunt. Katniss's mother comes back to life, but Katniss still couldn't forgive her for abandoning them like that. The next morning at breakfast, Haymitch is drunk again. When Katniss asks for advice, he responds sarcastically. Both Katniss and Peeta are angry. Peeta knocks the alcohol out of Haymitch's hand, Haymitch punches him, and Katniss drive a knife between Haymitch's fingers. By seeing their will to live, Haymitch agrees to help them as long as they don't interfere with his drinking. He tells them to do whatever their stylists tell them to do. They pull into the Capitol, where the colors are too bright and people dress bizarrely. Peeta waves and smiles to them, saying that one of them might be rich. Katniss realizes that Peeta's in it to win as much as she is--which means he's prepared to kill her.

Flashback: There is a lot about Katniss's life before we meet her that is important to know in order to know her character. Collins leads into Katniss flashing back by the sight of an object that connects with her past--in this case, a dandelion. From this object, the past event is connected to the present. And to come back to the present all in the same chapter, Collins has Katniss remember about how she had never forgiven her mother, and now, she had no chance to right that, because she's going to the Games and probably to her death.

  • Haymitch: Besides being drunk, we see that Haymitch has just stopped caring about the Games. Reading it for the first time, we might be annoyed at him, just like Katniss, but Collins is creating a character here that has been through more than we know. She's laying down the surface problem before getting into his deeper emotions.
  • Peeta: The kind boy with the bread is being kind as usual, but then he gets angry, and starts to butter up to the Capitol people. Just like Katniss, we realize that he's fighting for his life as Katniss is. From this chapter, we start to see how he can act any way he wants in order to get what he needs--nice guy, aggressive, friendly. It's important for later on to be able to see that this is his strategy.
Dialogue: One scene in particular in this chapter has great dialogue, when Katniss confronts Haymitch about being their mentor and then they have their little rumble. What makes the dialogue so compelling in this scene, though, is the action that's matched with it. The dialogue and the action paired up with each other makes this scene exciting: Katniss looks to see Peeta's angry at Haymitch as well, Peeta knocks the drink out of his hand, Haymitch punches Peeta, Katniss drives a knife between Haymitch's fingers, all while they're confronting one another on what they want. The balance between the two keeps both the action and the dialogue fresh and exciting.

What we can learn in a nutshell: When beginning and ending a flashback, connect the past and the present together to make it flow. Show a character's outside that is important to their inside. Mix the action with the dialogue so both can help each other from getting monotonous.

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