Posted by: dystopiandaze | February 11, 2011

Til death do us part?

At this point you may have already guessed it, but Katniss ends up being the District 12 female tribute for the Hunger Games. After promising her safe return to her younger sister, she is whisked away from her family and her home along with Peeta, the handsome, vaguely familiar boy chosen to be the male tribute from her district. Katniss is treated to an unimaginable number of luxuries while traveling to the Capitol to prepare for the Games; everything from roast chicken to warm showers is new to Katniss. As she prepares herself for a task that will test her emotionally and physically, Katniss begins to learn that life at the Capitol is entirely different from life in District 12.

The Capitol prospers at the expense of its Districts. The wealthy citizens of the Capitol don’t really work, but spend much of their time working on their own image and enjoying themselves at parties. The Hunger Games offers them a fascinating diversion from their daily lives, a source of entertainment unlike any other. Yes, to the people of the Capitol, the Hunger Games are simply a reality television show; any political subtext is buried by the superficial distractions, such as the tribute makeovers and interviews with celebrity talk-show host Caesar Flickerman.

But why should Katniss care? Well, to make the Games more entertaining and less predictable, the location and resources of the Games change each year. From desert wasteland to frozen tundra, Katniss has seen tributes die from hunger, thirst and disease almost as often as from a murderous competing tribute. However, tributes who prove especially entertaining can garnish sponsors who send gifts of food, weapons or medicine at critical points in the Games.  Katniss knows that gaining sponsors is critical to her survival, but doesn’t realize her coach Haymitch’s plan, until it’s too late. Peeta confesses his undying love for Katniss during his inverview, shocking and charming the entire country.

“You’re all they’re talking about. The star-crossed lovers from District Twelve!” says Haymitch.

“But we’re not star-crossed lovers!” I say.

Haymitch grabs my shoulders and pins me against the wall. “Who cares? It’s all a big show. It’s all how you’re perceived. The most I could say about you was that you were nice enough… now I can say you’re a heartbreaker. Oh, oh, oh how the boys back home fall longingly at your feet. Which do you think will get you more sponsors?”

-Pg. 135, The Hunger Games

For the rest of the book, Katniss tries to not only survive the Games, but keep up the appearances of her romantic situation with Peeta. You’d think that people would notice, right? But I begin to think that much like our own reality television, we’re having a hard time figuring out what’s actually real. I’m guessing that we aren’t the only ones, either. Katniss begins to questions whether her feelings for Peeta are entirely fabricated. Do you think that Bret Michaels, Tila Tequila or any of the Bachelorettes ever wondered if it was love talking or the competition talking?

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