Suzanne Collins was born August 10, 1962 and is a television writer and novelist best known as the author of the Hunger Games Trilogy and the Underland Chronicles. Suzanne graduated from Indiana University with a double major in Drama and Telecommunications. She began her career in 1991 as a writer for television shows. In September 2008, Scholastic Press released The Hunger Games which were partly inspired by her father’s career in the Air Force which allowed her to have a more in depth understanding of the effects of war and poverty.
The Hunger Games was on The New York Times Best Seller list for over 60 weeks and Collins was named one of Time Magazine’s most influential people of 2010. In 2012, Collins was announced to be the best-selling Kindle author of all time by Amazon.com. In March 2012, The Hunger Games movie was released, with Collins writing the script adaptation. It had the third-highest opening weekend in history. The Hunger Games Trilogy is available in 50 different languages, with over 18 million copies of The Hunger Games in print.
The Hunger Games is an example of dystopian literature. Dystopian novels usually depict totalitarian governments that dehumanize their citizens and cause a decline in society. They are often set in the future and have a science fiction element to their stories. Dystopian literature is used to question and examine issues in our society such as politics, technology, caring for the environment, and the inequality between classes. These novels speculate what these issues may look like in the future and can act as a warning to the readers. Some popular dystopian novels include George Orwell’s “1984,” Aldous Huxley’s “A Brave New World,” and Alan Moore’s “V for Vendetta.”
'The Hunger Games takes place in Panem, a country which rose from the ashes of North America after a series of disasters set in the future. Panem was originally split into 13 districts. The readers find out that civil war had broken out between the districts, and the uprising of the Districts against the Capitol was called the “Dark Days.” After District 13 was destroyed, the Treaty of Treason was signed to end the fighting and the Hunger Games were instituted annually to remind the Districts that this uprising must never be repeated. The name Panem comes from the Latin phrase “Panem et Circenses,” which translates to “Bread and Circuses.” This is alluding to the famous Roman technique of keeping the masses happy and docile by keeping the people entertained and well fed.
Within Panem, the settings for this book include District 12 (Where our protagonist is from), as well as the Capitol and the Arena where the Hunger Games are held.
Katniss Everdeen, who is the protagonist, lives in District 12 which is known as the coal mining district that is surrounded by an electric fence and is known throughout Panem as the poorest district. Furthermore, Katniss and her family live in the poorest section of District 12 known as the Seam, which is where the coal miners live and work. The Seam is covered in a thin layer of coal dust and often does not have electricity for more than a few hours a day.
Katniss has only seen District 12 until she travels to the Capitol to compete in the Hunger Games. The Capitol is estimated to be just west of the Rocky Mountain range and is a technologically advanced, utopian city where the nation's most wealthy and powerful reside. The Capitol is known as a city of abundant wealth and grandeur. The people of the Capitol are known to be shallow and greatly value appearances and possessions. Fashion and a unique sense of style are very important to the citizens of the Capitol and they often tattoo and dye their bodies bright colors and often have gemstones implanted into their skin. People from the other Districts view them as alien looking and odd. The Capitol is also another name for the government of Panem. The 12 Districts are ruled from the Capitol and the Hunger Games are organized and celebrated there. The contestants of the Hunger Games are presented to the public there and train there for their time in the Arena, where the actual games take place.
The arena is a large outdoor arena that is enclosed by a force field which makes escape impossible. Each arena is designed differently by the Gamemakers and could include any type of terrain and wildlife. The arena used in the book has a cornucopia in the middle. There is a large lake and a large wooded area where most of the tributes set up their camp. There is also a marshy area and a rocky area with numerous caves next to a stream. There are several mutated animals in the arena such as tracker jackers, mockingjays, and wild dogs as well as animals native to a forested area. The Gamemakers alter the temperatures in the game periodically and set up various traps throughout the games such as trees that shoot fireballs. The arenas are considered to be historical landmarks after the Games have concluded and are known to be popular tourist destinations for the people of the Capitol.