The Hunger Games

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Hypocrisy Theme Analysis

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.
Hypocrisy Theme Icon

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 Games play out on their TV screens. Katniss, for example, pauses in the middle of the Games in order to sing a soothing song for the dying Rue, and she drugs Peeta so that she can risk her own life to bring back medicine for him. The people of the Capitol are prone to exaggerated displays of feeling—laughing and weeping during the interviews with Caesar—but they do nothing based on these feelings. If anything, they enjoy sitting back to be entertained by the suffering on their screens. This is hypocritical on another level: while they lack authentic suffering in their own lives, the citizens of the Capitol demand real pain and death from their entertainment.

The Games also encourage a certain amount of hypocrisy among tributes. In order to maximize their chances for survival, many of the tributes form alliances with one another, even though they know that they will have to kill their allies eventually in order to win the Games. The tributes are also encouraged to put on a show. In Katniss’s case, she acts as if she’s infatuated with Peeta—when in reality, their setting in a cutthroat arena hardly breeds romance. Still, in order to survive, the tributes have to embrace a certain level of hypocrisy.

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Hypocrisy Quotes in The Hunger Games

Below you will find the important quotes in The Hunger Games related to the theme of Hypocrisy.
Chapter 1 Quotes

“District Twelve. Where you can starve to death in safety,” I mutter. Then I glance quickly over my shoulder. Even here, even in the middle of nowhere, you worry someone might overhear you.

Related Characters: Katniss Everdeen (speaker)
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:

Katniss Everdeen, the protagonist of the novel, lives in District 12--an impoverished part of the nation of Panem. In District 12, the people are isolated and exploited by their government. One of the most important forms of exploitation Katniss notices in her community is surveillance. Because the government of Panem doesn't trust its own people, it watches them at all times, using a huge number of invisible cameras. Katniss has been born and raised in a surveillance state, in which everyone is being watched and recorded.

This passage also brings up the hypocrisy inherent in the Capitol's method of governing—the government promises safety and order, all while subjecting its citizens to starvation.


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Chapter 2 Quotes

Maybe if I had 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 in there? Somehow it just won’t seem sincere if I’m trying to slit his throat.

Related Characters: Katniss Everdeen (speaker), Peeta Mellark
Related Symbols: Bread
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:

In this part of the novel, Katniss remembers the time when Peeta saved her life, and the lives of her family members. Peeta, a baker's son, took pity on Katniss, who was looking for food, and gave her some leftover loaves of bread. Katniss never spoke to Peeta, let alone thanked him for his generosity.

Katniss realizes, with a touch of gallows humor, that she can't exactly thank Peeta now--anything she says to him will have an undercurrent of competition, since she'll be fighting against him in the Hunger Games (and may well be the one to kill him). As Katniss struggles to preserve her sanity in the face of bloody competition, dark humor of the kind exemplified in the passage becomes of the utmost importance--as long as she can muster a joke, she's still the same old Katniss.

Chapter 4 Quotes

The people begin to point at us eagerly as they recognize a tribute train rolling into the city. I step away from the window, sickened by their excitement, knowing they can’t wait to watch us die. But Peeta holds his ground, actually waving and smiling at the gawking crowd. He only stops when the train pulls into the station, blocking us from their view.

Related Characters: Katniss Everdeen (speaker), Peeta Mellark
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:

Katniss and Peeta have arrived at the Capitol, where they will soon begin competing in the Hunger Games. As they arrive, Katniss and Peeta notice a huge crowd of people--people who are clapping and cheering. Katniss rightly sees how "sick" the crowd's behavior is: they're cheering for Katniss and Peeta's impending deaths.

It's interesting to note the difference between Katniss and Peeta's behavior. Peeta is more willing than Katniss to wave back at the crowd, acknowledging their applause. While it's possible that Peeta really does buy into the pomp and pageantry of the Hunger Games, it's more likely that he's just acting his part, getting people to root for him, all while knowing full-well how sick the crowd's behavior is. Peeta knows that if he gets the crowd on his side, he'll have an easier time winning the Games.

Chapter 6 Quotes

“…but I’ve done my best with what I had to work with. How Katniss sacrificed herself for her sister. How you’ve both successfully struggled to overcome the barbarism of your district.”
Barbarism? That’s ironic coming from a woman helping to prepare us for slaughter.

Related Characters: Katniss Everdeen (speaker), Effie Trinket (speaker), Primrose Everdeen
Page Number: 74
Explanation and Analysis:

As Katniss prepares for the start of the Hunger Games, she spends more time with Effie Trinket, her manager, and is constantly amazed by Effie's insensitivity and narrow-mindedness. Effie is always in a hurry: she loves to complain about the dirtiness of the competitors from District 12, and her greatest worry seems to be that she'll be unable to make the District 12 competitors presentable in the Capitol.

Effie is a classic example of someone who "can't see the forest for the trees." She's so obsessed with doing her job--i.e., making the Hunger Games fun and exciting--that she seems not to understand how barbaric and bloody the Hunger Games really are.