In The Hunger Games, we see some examples of sacrifice for the sake of love. Katniss volunteers to be a part of this terrifying and likely deadly experience to spare her little sister going through the Games. Peeta also puts himself in danger to try to protect Katniss, and at the end the two of them offer to sacrifice themselves on the chance that the Gamemakers will let them both live. These sacrifices both show the jaded people of the Capitol that life can actually mean something but also the strength and power of love. Their main survival strategy was in fact showing the audience that they were in love, which Katniss struggled with but she couldn’t deny that she did have some serious feelings for Peeta. As her feelings grew for him, she also thought about the love she felt for Gale and struggled with the fact that she has feelings for them both.
Despite the totalitarian nature of the Panem government, many of the characters perform acts of defiance. The novel starts with Katniss and Gale hunting to feed their starving families, and selling their extra game in the district’s black market; both of which are illegal. One of the main symbols of the novel is the mockingjay, which Katniss described as something of a slap in the face of the Capitol since they were the outcome of a failed project by the Capitol to spy on their citizens during the last uprising.
The gesture of respects that the citizens of District 12 make to Katniss and also Katniss’ gesture of respect to the District 11 citizens after Rue’s death are signs of a unity of the people. The Capitol encourages the district citizens to applaud the tributes and act cheerful that they are going to the Games, and their gesture of respect defies that wish.
Katniss covers Rue in flowers after she dies, prompting the audience to think of Rue as a person and not just some tribute who is there for their entertainment. She gives the gesture of respect to District 11 symbolizing a sign of unity between the districts, which the Capitol strongly discourages. Peeta and Katniss even defy the Gamemakers by refusing to kill one another at the end and instead force them to accept them both as the winners of the Games. These small acts of defiance are shown around the nation and are a powerful tool of hope to the oppressed citizens.