The Hunger Games

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Themes and Colors
Division and Control Theme Icon
Love, Loyalty, and Compassion Theme Icon
Societal Inequality Theme Icon
Appearances Theme Icon
Hypocrisy Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Hunger Games, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Panem is a dictatorship ruled by President Snow and predicated on authoritarian control. President Snow maintains his control by sowing division among Panem’s people—divvying up the country into twelve districts—and ensuring their dependence upon the government. Each of the districts specializes in producing particular goods—and only those goods—and therefore relies on centralized distribution in order to survive, and this dependence is further enforced through rules like the one against poaching, which prevents residents from augmenting…

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In the harsh environment of the Hunger Games, it is normal for tributes to form temporary “alliances” for strategic purposes, only to eventually kill their allies when the time comes. Yet though the Games turn tributes into brutal competitors who know only that they must kill or be killed, Katniss forms not alliances but relationships. First, she volunteers for the Games in place of her little sister, Prim. Because District 12 has a…

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In The Hunger Games, social inequality occurs at all levels: throughout the nation of Panem, among the twelve districts, and among the inhabitants of any given district. It is this inequity that breeds strife and creates the main conflicts of the book. In Panem, for example, wealth is heavily concentrated in the hands of those living in the Capitol, and the result is that they can’t even comprehend the lives of the poor. The…

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The Hunger Games are set up as entertainment for the citizens of the Capitol and are essentially a very extreme reality television show. As with American reality TV, appearances matter a lot in the Hunger Games, and they don’t always depict reality. The tributes need to learn how to appeal to their viewers in the Capitol so that they can gather support from sponsors. In Katniss’s case, she pretends to be in love with Peeta

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By celebrating and watching the Hunger Games, the citizens of the Capitol suggest that the tributes, drawn from the districts of Panem, don’t deserve the same security and respect that the people of the Capitol do. They suggest that the tributes are beneath them. However, during the course of the Games, many of the competitors prove that they’re more capable of feeling genuine emotion—and acting on it—than the citizens of the Capitol who watch the…

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