The Hunger Games


Points to Ponder

What is the significance of physical appearance in the novel?

Throughout the novel, Collins emphasizes people’s physical appearance. The people in District 12, particularly the Seam, appear downtrodden and are frequently portrayed as dirty and earthen. In contrast, the people in the Capitol are carefully groomed and very clean. When Katniss’s prep team works on her, they remove the traces of many things that make her human, such as body hair, and turn her into a beautiful mannequin, which they consider more civilized. However, Katniss knows that the people of her district, who appear rougher than the people in the Capitol, are far more civilized, and would never endorse the barbarism of the Hunger Games. Despite this knowledge, she begins to understand that her appearance is important; if she cannot match her appearance to the image she wants to project, she will not succeed in the Games. It is also significant that the longer the tributes are in the arena, the more they lose their recent polish of the Capitol and the more they look like people from the districts, which probably makes their deaths more acceptable and palatable to the audience.

How does the action in the Hunger Games mimic the way that the Capitol controls the districts?

The Hunger Games are not simply a way for the Capitol to exercise control over two children from each district each year, but a way for the Capitol to remind the districts of their powerlessness. The Games pit the districts against one another, and in the outside world, people from the districts are not permitted to interact. The Games feature muttations in them, reminding onlookers that the Capitol used muttations during the war against the people in the districts and demonstrating that the Capitol can manipulate nature to its advantage. Finally, the Capitol changes rules and conditions in the arena without notice or warning, showing that it can arbitrarily control the people in the arena just as it arbitrarily controls the people of the districts.

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Essays About The Hunger Games