Catching Fire


Suzanne Collins

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Themes and Colors
Symbols and Interpretations Theme Icon
Hidden Resistance vs. Direct Rebellion Theme Icon
Surveillance and Manipulation Theme Icon
Pain, Pleasure, and Self-Control Theme Icon
Women, Femininity, and Sexism Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Catching Fire, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Symbols and Interpretations

At the “twist ending” of Catching Fire, it becomes clear that Suzanne Collins has been deliberately misleading us for most of the book. Haymitch Abernathy, who had seemed to be little more than a lazy alcoholic, turns out to be a shrewd, resourceful man, one who has been planning a rebellion President Snow’s government. This surprise ending encourages us to go back and rethink our initial assumptions about Catching Fire.


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Hidden Resistance vs. Direct Rebellion

As she embarks on her “Victory Tour” of Panem at the start of the novel, Katniss faces a challenge—the government warns her to “behave,” or else they threaten to kill her loved ones. By going “off-script” in any way, President Snow explains, Katniss would send a subversive message to the twelve districts of Panem: that it’s okay to be disobedient to the government. Thus, she must stick to the script at all costs, smile and…

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Surveillance and Manipulation

A tyrannical government, headed by President Snow, controls the nation of Panem. While this government has a huge amount of physical power over Panem, one of the most important aspects of its power is its ability to run surveillance on its citizens, or—just as powerful—imply that its citizens are under constant surveillance, and thus manipulate their behavior.

At the beginning of Catching Fire, President Snow tells Katniss that he’ll be watching her…

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Pain, Pleasure, and Self-Control

In the first book of the Hunger Games trilogy, Katniss Everdeen endures an extraordinary amount of pain. She faces death many times during her competition in the Hunger Games, and at several points has to kill other competitors. In Catching Fire, it’s clear from the beginning that these changes have had a major impact on Katniss’s character. She struggles with the trauma of her time in the Hunger Games, often having nightmares about Rue

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Women, Femininity, and Sexism

Since being published, the Hunger Games books have been celebrated as important illustrations of feminism for young adult readers. The protagonist of the books, Katniss Everdeen, is a strong young woman who doesn’t shy away from defending herself or asserting her opinions. As such, she’s noticeably different from the female protagonists of many other young adult novels.

Even as Catching Fire begins, we find Katniss engaged in a stereotypically masculine enterprise: hunting for food…

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