Catching Fire


Suzanne Collins

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Catching Fire Study Guide

Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Suzanne Collins's Catching Fire. 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 novel The Hunger Games. Collins followed The Hunger Games with additional best-sellers in the series — Catching Fireand Mockingjay — both of which were bestsellers.
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Historical Context of Catching Fire

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 that began in 2007, emphasizing the wealth gap and the conditions of poverty both within the United States and abroad.

Other Books Related to Catching Fire

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. The success of The Hunger Games trilogy also inspired many other series depicting teenagers fighting for truth and survival in dystopian futures, including Divergent and The Maze Runner.
Key Facts about Catching Fire
  • Full Title: Catching Fire
  • Where Written: Sandy Hook, Connecticut, United States
  • When Published: September 1, 2009
  • Literary Period: The young adult “boom” of the 2000s
  • Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy, Young Adult
  • Setting: Various parts of the country of Panem (a futurist North America)
  • Climax: Katniss shoots an arrow at the force field surrounding the Hunger Games arena
  • Antagonist: President Coriolanus Snow
  • Point of View: First person, from Katniss’s point of view

Extra Credit for Catching Fire

A woman of her Time: It’s no mystery that Suzanne Collins has had a major influence on world culture in the 2000s and 2010s. In 2010, Time Magazine made it official by placing her on its prestigious list of the world’s 100 most influential people, alongside Barack Obama, Steve Jobs, and Oprah Winfrey!

From famous to mega-famous: In late 2010, it was announced that the Hunger Games books would be adapted into films, starring Jenifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen. Collins was heavily involved in the filming process. Catching Fire, the second film, grossed almost one billion dollars, and was the most financially successful film featuring a female lead in cinematic history.