The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Ch. 5 – 6)

After trying (and failing) to finish Evil Love: A Bully Romance by Ella Fields, I was excited to get back to The Hunger Games today. It’s always nice to reread a book that you know you love. No guesswork involved and no disappointments, just a good book. Plus, after that catastrophe of a book. I was excited to return a strong female heroine instead of the lackluster one I had left behind. I don’t know if I’ll ever revisit the world of bully romances. If you have any recommendations in that genre that are actually good books, let me know.

And, of course, rereading The Hunger Games and going more in-depth during this read than I ever have before is making me notice plenty of new things about the series. During the last couple of chapters, I found myself drawing parallels between my life and Katniss’s life. I was surprised by the depth of her relationship with Prim. Her mother reminded me of my own. Her strength endlessly impressed me. Have you ever had the same reaction when you’ve sat down to revisit your favorite books? It felt like visiting an old friend and remembering all the reasons why we were friends in the first place. Katniss’s story fit itself neatly back into my heart.

Back of the Book (Amazon.com)

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to death before-and survival, for her, is second nature. Still, if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

Disclaimer: My Chapter Thoughts DO INCLUDE SPOILERS. They assume that you have read ALL of The Hunger Games series (books 1-3). They will mostly contain spoilers in the chapter that they are covering. 

Chapter Five Thoughts

During our first introduction with Cinna, I always found myself wondering if somewhere deep in The Capitol there was a group of social justice warriors trying to give a better life to people in The District. Sure, some people cared about the people who lived outside of The Capitol. But was anyone trying to do anything for them? I’m not so sure. It seems too close to rebellion for anyone to really put an effort in. It is too much of a risk.

And that seems strange to me. I believe Panem is supposed to be America gone wrong. Wouldn’t some semblance of American free speech remain? Even if the movements were mostly hush-hush, I want to know if anyone was working behind the scenes to improve conditions in the district. Or if anyone wrote articles or books about life in the districts. I know later in the series we find out that there was a whole rebellion organization, but was there anyone trying for small scale reform? I wonder.

Cinna himself is very admirable. Unlike most citizens of The Capitol, he understands that the citizens of District 12 are starving to death while the people around him gorge themselves on food. He sees their behavior for what it is: despicable. Throughout this entire series, I’ve always wanted to learn more about Cinna. What made him realize the extent of The Capitols betrayal of the people? What made him notice the waste? What’s his background story? Cinna is more self aware than most other characters in this book. What made him that way?

Of course, it is interesting to note that, somewhere in Katniss’s interactions with Cinna, she discusses the fact that one year District 12’s tributes were sent to the opening ceremonies naked and covered in black powder. It is quite a casual comment, but one with lasting implications. These are children being sent out naked in front of thousands of viewers. Beyond just the brutality of the Hunger Games, these children are being treated as meat for the viewing pleasure of others. They are simultaneously sexualized and degraded. It’s horrifying and, once again, denotes the fact that the little details are what makes this book so powerful. Collins doesn’t ignore anything, even the fact that the world that would kill children would be alright with displaying their bodies in any way they choose. These children have no value to their government except as a perverted form of entertainment. 

And I’m surprised that I’ve never really thought much of that before. These were naked children sent out to be viewed by thousands. Perhaps it’s talking about Netflix’s release of Cuties that made me notice it today. Everyone seems to be calling attention to the oversexualization of children in our society and it’s interesting to see that sexualization reflected negatively in The Hunger Games

Slowly getting to know Peeta is another element to The Hunger Games that I always enjoy. He is so kind and pure compared to many of the characters. In a manner of speaking, his positivity reminds me vaguely of Prim. They have a lot in common if you think about it. They’re both slightly innocent and almost gentle. Of course, Peeta has been placed in an environment where his gentleness is unwelcome. Prim’s has been protected by Katniss. His will be altered by his involvement in the games.

Chapter 6 Thoughts

Did you know that six is my favorite number? It absolutely is. Just in case you were wondering. And this chapter is a good one so it fits. 

And of course, Effie Trinket is her normal self throughout this one. The fact that people of The Capitol refer to the citizens of District 12 as barbaric is just another insult to injury. Katniss’s understanding of the irony of that statement is a great detail. How can Effie refer to District 12 as barbaric when her own sacrifices children to a manic game of life or death? It’s ridiculous. 

Although, I’ve got to admit… Not everything about The Capitol is ridiculous. I would kill for half of their gadgets. Can you imagine touching an object and having perfect hair immediately? I think I spend more time combing out knots and tackling frizziness than anything else. Having something else do that for me sounds like a dream. 

However my delight at their gadgets, going back to the reality of how cruel The Capitol is is always shocking. What they do to Avoxes is particularly harsh. Cutting out their tongues and reducing them to speechless servants is horrible. Can you imagine spending the rest of your life forbidden to communicate with anyone? The only time someone speaks to you is to give orders? It sounds terribly lonely and I can’t think of a true real-world comparison. Even though we take away the rights of convicted criminals in America to a degree, they aren’t truly cut away from any form of communication. They’re allowed to speak. Avoxes have even that taken away from them. They have very few options for finding comfort in their situation. I wonder how many lose their minds after years of silence. 

I did always want to learn more about the female Avox though. I can’t remember finding out the answers to all of my questions. I think some are answered later on, but I can’t really remember. Why was she rebelling? I’m unsure. Maybe we find out in the third book? If you remember anything, let me know! 

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