The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Ch. 12 – 15)

The world of The Hunger Games is so complex that sometimes it’s hard to think about. The advanced technology to the complicated social system to the dynamic relationships between characters… everything is just absolutely littered with small details. Even something small, like tracker jackers, have a complete background story. It’s a small wonder that Suzanne Collins managed to create such a complete world on her own. Can you imagine creating a universe like the one Katniss lives in?

And can you imagine living in it? Life in the twelve districts sounds unbelievably hard. You spend your entire life working extremely hard for very little reward. Starvation, disease, and danger surround you. Of course, life in The Capitol sounds great. But even that doesn’t come without its own costs. People of The Capitol are shallow, and even they are not without their own dangers. Treason seems to be punished the same way no matter what district you’re in.

Yet, they’re never subjected to the Hunger Games like the people of the district were. I found myself wondering, between chapters, what determined who got to live in The Capitol when Panem was first created. Were famous celebrities moved there? Or just important government figures? Who decided who got to live a life of luxury and who had to toil in the fields? Was it random? Somehow I doubt it.

Of course, none of this is entirely related to the next few chapters I’m rereading. It’s just what I’ve been thinking about in between chapters. It’s crazy to think about the amount of ideas and questions you can have relating to this one story. Collins really outdid herself.

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, however, in the chapter that they are covering. 

Chapter Twelve Thoughts

Why did Peeta involve himself in the bloodbath at the Cornucopia? I don’t remember the full story of why he got involved with the career tributes. I know they wanted to use him to get to Katniss, but I don’t remember how they got to the point of using him. Was he too slow to escape them? Did they specifically target him after Katniss left? I don’t recall. 

Either way, it doesn’t seem like it benefitted him in any way. When Katniss views him for the first time in the arena, he is bruised and bloody. He limps. Did they maim him to keep him from escaping? And what secrets has he told them? Obviously they don’t yet know what skill Katniss is hiding. Her talent with a bow is still secret to everyone but Peeta. Even the audience doesn’t know.

I imagine watching this on tv sometimes and, even though it’s horrible, I would be absolutely hooked. I would have to watch it even if my family members were involved. How else would I know if they survived each day? It would be horrible and traumatizing, but addicting. 

Having to think about sponsors while competing in the game adds an extra level of stress to competing, I’m sure. Can you imagine having every move you make analyzed by an audience? While trying to fight for your life? The process comes across as daunting. Even as Katniss tries to provide herself with food and water, she’s thinking about how the audience will perceive her actions. She wants sponsors. She wants to show people she can take care of herself. 

Of course, in the process of doing so it becomes very obvious that she has hunting experience. It is obvious that Katniss breaks The Capitol’s laws. Why is their punishment for her doing so? How do they think she learned her hunting skills? And how are tributes from other regions allowed to hone their skills with weapons when those from District 12 are not? It is all very unfair.

The way Haymitch and Katniss communicate almost makes up for how unfair it is. While her district may have failed her in training for the games, it did provide her with a mentor that she perfectly understands. Their level of communication is close to perfect. They always understand each other. But then that advantage is almost immediately lost when the Gamemakers send a wall of fire to attack Katniss. It never ends! 

Chapter Thirteen Thoughts

The way Gamemakers sent tributes up to fail is unbelievable. They plunge children into an arena with the intent of having them kill each other. They give them weapons and tools. They force them to survive in extreme conditions. And, then, they add extra attacks just for the fun of it. Wild dogs and machine made fires being just a few. How do the Gamemakers live with themselves for making those conditions worse? They are killing children and it does not matter at all to them. 

And that makes me wonder how many Gamemakers have children of their own. Do they recognize the fact that what they are doing is truly evil? That they are killing human children just to prove a point and provide their nation with entertainment? It’s horrible. They would never do what they’re doing to the children of The Capitol. 

But maybe they should have. (Spoiler Alert for Catching Fire coming up) Maybe the 75th Hunger Game should have only used children from The Capitol instead of using previous victors. It would have shown people in the twelve districts that the citizens of the The Capitol were their equals instead of their masters. It probably would have helped quell future rebellions. I wonder if anyone considered that to be an option. Probably not considering their deeply rooted superiority complex. 

Chapter Fourteen Thoughts

Finding the tracker jackers is what is really the game changer for Katniss in the games. It’s the first moment where she goes from running from threats to actually attacking them head-on. It’s also the moment that allows her to get her hands on a bow and arrow.

And, of course, the actual tracker jackers themselves just reiterate the intensity of her world. They are unbelievable scientific creations. Their current existence is only meant to reinforce the strength of the Capitol in comparison to the weaknesses of the districts. Only people in the twelve districts have to worry about tracker jackers finding them and killing them. 

Chapter Fifteen Thoughts

Okay, there wasn’t a lot for me to talk about during the last chapter. I think that was my shortest entry ever. But how much can you really talk about tracker jackers? They’re interesting, but not entirely the point of the chapter. The point of the chapter was the bow. 

How exciting everything is now that Katniss has a bow in her hands! It’s the biggest game changer of the book so far. But how lucky she was that no one found her while she was knocked out. It would have been the easiest kill of the games. 

The beginning of her alliance with Rue is also a game changer. Rue impresses me more than almost everyone else in the series. She is so young and so small, but has been a capable survivor to date. Her talent for soaring through the trees is insane. Plus, her knowledge on medical treatments helped save Katniss or, at least, prevent her from future pain. I wonder how Katniss’s sponsors reacted to her allying herself with Rue. Did they think it was a moment of weakness or were they impressed that she cared about Rue? Did they support Katniss because they liked the more selfless parts of her, or just because she scored an eleven? It’s hard to tell.

 I wonder if it ever really occurred to Katniss that, if her alliance with Rue caused them to be the last two survivors, she may have to be the one to kill Rue. I personally don’t think she’d be able to do it. Rue reminds her too much of Prim. But what if they had been the last two standing? What do you think would have happened? I think it would come down to the Gamemakers to kill someone. They probably would have sent attack after attack against both of them until someone died. 

Learning about other districts this chapter was also thought-provoking. The district where Rue is from is responsible for growing food for all twelve districts. However, they’re not allowed to eat the crops. Anyone who is caught doing so is whipped. Can you imagine feeling hungry all the time, surrounded on all sides by plenty of food? Their role in the districts sounds almost unbearable. At least in District 12 people won’t have to stare at food they can’t eat while they slowly starve to death. That sounds like agony.

Of course, this is all information The Capitol prevents the districts from learning about each other. Do you think that even citizens of The Capitol know about conditions throughout the districts? I feel like everyone is prevented from learning about each other. They don’t want people to feel sympathetic for each other. They want them to feel resentment towards each other. 

Maybe that’s the reason why Effie is so dismayed by the lack of table manners from previous tributes. She might not even know that the people of District 12 are starved. Effie probably just assumes it’s fashionable for them to be so skinny, not something forced upon them. I’m not sure how reasonable that is to assume though. It is very apparent that District 12 is impoverished. But it is possible.

Watching Rue and Katniss interact for the rest of the chapter almost made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. If they weren’t in the games, their bond would be wholesome. Of course, they’re in the games though and it’s more of alliance than anything else. Yet, it’s nice to see that they care about and trust each other from early on. When Katniss starts planning to attack the career tributes, my warm and fuzzy feelings immediately dissipate. I’ve always thought she was insane to attack the careers head on. Does she want to die?

But it’s also genius. You can’t have the Hunger Games without hunger. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s