Suzanne Collins named her fictional dystopia after the Latin phrase, “panem et circenses,” which translates to “bread and games.” The phrase refers to a government’s ability to appease its people with trivial diversions rather than actual good governance, and it applies to the Hunger Games because the Games distract Panem’s residents from the reality of the Capitol’s control. Instead, citizens focus on watching the Games to see who will be killed next and who will become the winner, earning food (bread) and rewards for their district.
Bread is also a catalyst for change in The Hunger Games. First, there’s Katniss’s memory of the time Peeta saved her life by throwing burnt bread loaves her way. His act of kindness gave her hope and made her realize that there was a way she could keep her family alive—by foraging and hunting in the woods. And then, during the Games, Rue’s district sends Katniss a loaf of bread to signal their appreciation for her treatment of Rue. In this unprecedented demonstration of solidarity between districts, there’s a threat to the order of the Capitol, which relies on division of the districts in order to maintain control.
Bread Quotes in The Hunger Games
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.