Explaining The Hunger Games craze

The Hunger Games phenomenon came from nowhere. The film is a must see, the books dominate shop windows and actress Jennifer Lawrence is everywhere, pointing her bow and arrow at the world, demanding we fall in love with the trilogy.

Team Edward and Team Jacob were forgotten, Peeta and Gale were the new heartthrobs dominating the silver screen and dividing the masses.

If you have been living under a rock for the past six months, perhaps slaving over an FYP, you are probably wondering why there is so much excitement surrounding The Hunger Games.

The trilogy is set in a future where the world as we know it has been destroyed.

Panem, a nation established in the ruins of North America, is divided into twelve districts and the Capital.

The Capital is a futuristic, luxurious city that rules all the other districts, each of which produces some commodity which the Capital needs, such as technology, food or fuel. To punish the districts for rebelling in the past, the Capital established the Hunger Games, where each year 12 girls and 12 boys, the 24 ‘tributes’, from the districts are chosen to enter a televised fight to the death where there can only be one victor.

Katniss Everdeen lives in District 12, a coal-mining community where poverty is rife and the only way she can keep her family alive is to hunt illegally. Her sole aim in life is to protect her little sister Prim.

When Prim’s name is chosen to enter The Hunger Games, Katniss does not hesitate to volunteer in her place. Having struggled to survive every day since her father died, Katniss can only hope that the odds will be in her favour.

So why is everyone so entranced by this story? It isn’t just another girls’ favourite like Twilight, based on forbidden love and mythical creatures. The love triangle between Katniss, her fellow tribute Peeta and her best friend Gale adds to the suspense of the story, but is not the focus of the books.

The Hunger Games takes fear, violence and malevolence to a whole new level. The organisers manipulate the Games for the entertainment of Capital’s viewers, so Katniss is ensnared in a truly hellish world full of torment where escape is too cruel to wish for. It is no wonder that this story has taken the world by storm.

Suzanne Collins’ writing is so gripping and in Katniss she has created a character whose resilience and humanity endear the people of Panem and readers alike. The Hunger Games also represents the terrifying capacity reality TV has to desensitise viewers and how inhumane entertainment could be if we let it.

Róisín Healy



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