The Hunger Games

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The Hunger Games Study Guide

Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.

Brief Biography of Suzanne Collins
Suzanne Collins’s father was a U.S. Air Force officer, and her family moved frequently when she was a child, spending time in the eastern United States as well as parts of Europe. Because of her father’s military experience, it was important to him that his children understood war—not just where battles took place, but why and how they played out. Eventually, Collins attended Indiana University and earned a degree in theater and telecommunications. After a few years, Collins went back to school to earn a playwriting degree from New York University, and shortly after graduation, she began writing for television. Collins wrote for several Nickelodeon shows, Scholastic Entertainment, and Kids’ WB, and she was eventually inspired to try writing a children’s book series. The result was The Underland Chronicles. A few years later, Collins was watching television, switching between channels covering reality TV and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—and that’s when she came up with the idea for The Hunger Games. Collins followed The Hunger Games with additional best-sellers in the series—Catching Fire and Mockingjay—both of which were bestsellers.
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Historical Context of The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins came up with the idea of The Hunger Games while watching news coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The depictions of these wars, when combined with the popularity of reality TV, and the ways in which coverage of the wars seemed itself to be a kind of reality TV, led Collins to imagine the dystopian setting of Panem, where violence becomes a major form of entertainment. Around the time Collins was writing The Hunger Games, the world was also seeing the beginnings of the ongoing global recession, emphasizing the wealth gap and the conditions of poverty both within the United States and abroad.
Other Books Related to The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins drew from the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur when coming up with the idea of tributes for the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games has also been compared to the popular Japanese novel-turned-film, Battle Royale, in which junior high school students are forced to fight to the death in a program led by an authoritarian Japanese government.
Key Facts about The Hunger Games
  • Full Title: The Hunger Games
  • When Written: mid-to-late 2000s
  • Where Written: Connecticut, United States
  • When Published: September 2008
  • Literary Period: Contemporary
  • Genre: Dystopian fiction; Young Adult fiction
  • Setting: Fictional dystopia known as Panem, created after the governments of North America collapsed
  • Climax: When Peeta and Katniss threaten to eat the poisoned berries rather than kill one another to win the Hunger Games
  • Antagonist: President Snow, the Peacekeepers, those who watch the Hunger Games in the Capitol
  • Point of View: First person, Katniss’s perspective
Extra Credit for The Hunger Games

Breaking Records. Shortly after publication, The Hunger Games appeared on both The New York Times Best Seller list and USA Today’s best-sellers list, where it remained for over a hundred weeks. In 2012, Amazon also announced that Suzanne Collins had become the best-selling Kindle author of all time.

Parental Guidance Suggested. The American Library Association listed The Hunger Games as the third most challenged book of 2010, citing excessive violence and sexual content unsuited to the age group.