Monday, January 16, 2012

7. The Hunger Games Analysis

Summary: Katniss and Peeta decide to be coached together for the Games. When Haymitch asks what their strengths are, each downplay their own and praise each other. Haymitch tells them to stick together during training, so they do. Katniss doesn't like their buddy-buddy act, but goes along with it. During training, Katniss sees the Careers who have been trained and bred to fight in these Games. She also sees Rue, who reminds her of Prim and has been following her around. After a few days of training, they're brought individually to the Gamemakers to be scored. Katniss is the last one, and the Gamemakers are tired of watching these showcases. Though Katniss does her best archery, they pay more attention to the roast pig coming in. In anger, Katniss shoots the apple in the pig's mouth and leaves.

Dialogue: The beginning exchange between Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch is excellent. First, there's a lot of emotion between the characters, especially Katniss and Peeta. This is brought out by Katniss describing how what Peeta says "rubs me the wrong way." Collins lets Katniss tell her the emotion she feels. But at the same time, for three-fourths of a page, there is mostly just back-and-forth between Katniss and Peeta, and this is how Collins brings the emotion and tension.

Tension: For the past few chapters, we and Katniss have been feeling good about her stake in the Games. But now we see the Careers, who will be a huge struggle for Katniss. Also, as we get to know Peeta more, the more tension it creates knowing they'll be thrown into the Games together. And if it wasn't enough to have Peeta, we're introduced to Rue as well. Now there are two people going into the arena that we don't want to die, but we don't want Katniss to die, either.


  • Katniss: We see her aggravated side here, her desire to keep people at a distance with Peeta and again with Rue. We also see her passionate, impulsive side when she shoots the arrow at the Gamemakers.
  • Rue: Katniss continues to compare Rue with Prim, and our established tenderness toward Prim goes out to Rue as well. At the same time, though, we see her with a slingshot and her ability to quietly follow Peeta and Katniss, which sets her apart from Prim as well and give her her own character.
  • Peeta: The interesting thing about Peeta is that in the beginning of this, I've met several people who read him in different ways. In this chapter, it confirmed to me that Peeta was crushing on Katniss. I've also talked with people who thought that he was out to kill Katniss, and others who thought that he just thought of Katniss as a friend. This is a highlighting chapter in these different perceptions of him, partly because we don't know him well yet. But looking back on this chapter knowing his intent, we see his pain (with his mother saying that Katniss will win), his genuine interest in Katniss doing her best in the Games (telling Haymitch her strengths), as well as his humor ("say the arena is actually a giant cake").
What we can learn in a nutshell: Dialogue is best when it's conveying emotion and accompanied by internal feeling of the MC. Never let the character think they're in the clear for long: remind the reader and the character there's still trouble. Give characters strength, and if you have two that are similar, still give them differences to make them unique.


  1. Every time I read your posts I get so excited. I love hearing about the Hunger Games and can't wait for the movie! Great breakdown.