The Hunger Games

By Suzanne Collins

Important Quotation Analysis

1. "To this day, I can never shake the connection between this boy, Peeta Mellark, and the bread that gave me hope, and the dandelion that reminded me that I was not doomed. And more than once, I have turned in the school hallways and caught his eye trained one me, only to quickly flit away. I feel like I owe him something, and I hate owing people. Maybe if I'd thanked him at some point, I'd be feeling less conflicted now. I thought about it a couple of times, but the opportunity never seemed to present itself. And now it never will. Because we're going to be thrown into an arena to fight to the death. Exactly how am I supposed to work in a thank-you there? Somehow it just won't seem as sincere if I'm trying to slit his throat." Hunger Games, page 32 Page 32

This quote which rattled inside Katniss’ mind during the beginning stages of the novel begs the question of how she would find the strength to kill a fellow tribute which happens to be a boy that had helped her family survive in the past. Peeta Mallark had given her much-needed bread when they were both eleven-years-old, an act of kindness that has never been forgotten by Katniss. However, by being selected as tributes to the Hunger Games they have will have to aim to kill each other. This quote touches upon important themes of the novel: survival and friendship. Katniss and Peeta both have a goal to stay alive as long as possible, but at the same time they share an inexplicable bond. Soon after this question was asked, Katniss would touch upon a more important question: why is the Capitol making us do this? Couldn’t this difficult situation be avoided altogether if the Capitol never initiated the Hunger Games in the first place?

2. “If I’m going to cry, now is the time to do it. By morning, I’ll be able to wash the damage done by the tears from my face. But no tears come. I’m too tired or too numb to cry. The only thing I feel is the desire to be somewhere else. So I let the train rock me into oblivion” Hunger Games, page 54

Soon after Katniss volunteered herself to represent District 12 as a tribute in place of her sister, the emotionally stolid sixteen-year-old realizes that she does not feel the desire to show emotion or cry. In fact, she realizes that she will die and that nothing can be done to change that fact. Her fatalistic attitude towards her fate in the Games would soon evolve into questioning the Capitol that continues to validate the Hunger Games in the first place. These initial questions would soon evolve into a major theme of the novel: taking action against an unjust authority.

3. “‘My best hope is to not disgrace myself and... I want to die as myself. Does that make any sense?’ he asks. I shake my head. How could he die as anyone but himself? ‘I don’t want them to change me in there. Turn me into some kind of monster that I’m not... I keep wishing I could think of a way to... to show the Capitol they don’t own me. That I’m more than just a piece in their Games.’” Hunger Games, page 339

Peeta Mallark’s rooftop speech to Katniss about retaining his identity in the midst of the Games had a profound effect on the District 12 tribute. While Katniss was focused more on the moral implications of killing Peeta, a boy that has helped her in the past, Peeta was busy thinking about how he would want to retain his identity even after his death. The important theme of personal identity is brought up in this quote, as Katniss realizes that the true barbaric nature of the Hunger Games is not about forcing children to ruthlessly kill each other, but is about the loss of identity within the tributes from the twelve Districts of Panem.

4. “I want to do something, right here, right now, to shame them, to make them accountable, to show the Capitol that whatever they do or force us to do there is a part of every tribute they can’t own. That Rue was more than a piece in their Games. And so am I.” Hunger Games, page 237

After the death of Rue, Katniss, remembering Peeta’s speech about the loss of identity, decided that Rue’s death should not result in the loss of hers. Katniss places flowers around Rue’s body to help keep the deceased twelve-year-old girl’s selfhood and puts the blame on her death on the Capitol. This important act of rebellion was the first of many as Katniss slowly realizes that the inhumane nature of the Hunger Games should be stopped, and more importantly, can be stopped.

5. “It goes on and on and eventually completely consumes my mind, blocking out memories and hopes of tomorrow, erasing everything but the present, which I begin to believe will never change. There will never be anything but cold and fear and the agonized sounds of the boy dying in the horn.” Hunger Games, page 339

As the District 1 male tribute Cato lay dying in the Cornucopia from horrifying wounds sustained from the muttations, Katniss and the injured Peeta could only listen in terror as their only obstacle from winning the Hunger Games was dying a slow and painful death. Just hours before, the two District 12 tributes were hellbent on killing Cato and going home as soon as possible, but as he lay dying Katniss realized that Cato is also a tribute just like them and was sent in this mess because of the Capitol just like them. Katniss begins to ask how anyone would find this entertaining, once again touching upon the theme of rebelling against an unjust authority. As a final gesture of euthanasia, Katniss shoots Cato with an arrow out of pity. Katniss and Peeta soon win the Hunger Games, but do not feel any emotion of happiness.