To follow up with my most recent movie review, and to get into a little more detail about the story itself, I decided to use the book The Hungers Games, by Suzanne Collins, as a way to give more of a background of the story in an attempt to
either convince you to read the book or see the movie. With this entry, I want to give a little more detail behind the games, The Everdeen Family and Katniss’ connection to her opponent and fellow tribute, Peeta Malark.
The story takes place in the near future in a place called Panem. This nation is a dystopian society that was formed in North America after an apocalyptic event destroyed most of the continent. Panem is made up of 12 poverty-stricken districts and a very rich Capitol. As I explained before, the hunger games themselves served two purposes: one, to entertain (the people entertained were mostly residents of the Capitol), and, two, to serve as a constant reminder of the uprising that caused the dire living conditions and complete destruction of the former 13th district. Two volunteers, a boy and girl, between the ages of 12 and 18 are selected from each district to fight to the death in a controlled arena until there is only one survivor. In order to triumph in the games, you must have trained well and have sponsors. These sponsors can provide you with food, water and even medicine if you’ve fallen ill or gotten injured during the competition.
Primerose Everdeen was originally picked as tribute for the games, but her older sister, Katniss, volunteered to take her sister’s place. At 16, Katniss has assumed a matriarchal role in her family. The Everdeens live in District 12, which is a coal-mining district. Katiniss’ father, a coalminer, died in a mine explosion when she was young, an event that was very hard on her mother. She fell into a deep depression and became unable to care for Katniss and Prim.
Katniss decided to go into the wealthier parts of town to gather scraps so the family would not starve to death. This is where she begins her connection with Peeta. The Mallarks own a bakery, and when Katniss was caught picking from the trash, *possible spoiler* Peeta burned two loaves of bread intentionally, knowing they’d be thrown out. After being told to give them to the pigs, he managed to get them to Katniss. Since that day, she has felt indebted to the boy who took a beating to feed her.
It is because of her starving family that she begins to hunt, which is where she acquires her great skill with a bow. Katniss and her friend, Gale Hawthorne, regularly sneak outside city limits to hunt and gather plants to feed both of their families.
The Capitol may be the wealthiest part of Panem, but some of the districts are better off than others. There are also some districts that are proud of the games and train their whole lives to be a part of them. These groomed participants are referred to as “career tributes.” These individuals are in top physical condition, have vast survival and weapon training, and are powerful forces to be reckoned with.
How does Katniss and Peeta compare to these tributes? While she is extremely skilled in archery and he is very strong from handling large, heavy bags of flour, these tributes are still at a disadvantage and come from a poverty-stricken district that, along with the majority of the districts, fear the games, instead of celebrate them. To find out who really overcomes the obstacles and wins, you’ll have to either read or watch the movie. In my opinion, the book was much more enjoyable, but you can be the judge of that.