Bookish

Why ‘The Hunger Games’ is Such an Important Story

Image result for the hunger games book“Happy Hunger Games, and may the odds be ever in your favor.”

Many people think The Hunger Games is a gruesome, violent, disturbing series that’s only about kids killing each other for sport. I know many people who either aren’t allowed or have no desire to read it, simply because its a YA dystopian book full of violence and “bad stuff.” However, I first read this series when I was 13, and I’ve come to believe it’s one of the most important and impactful stories of our generation. Here’s why.

Katniss Everdeen lives in District 12 of Panem, the oppressive and futuristic country that was once the United States of America. Every year, Panem hosts the annual Hunger Games: a fight to the death broadcasted live as a form of entertainment for all to see. Each of the 12 Districts must randomly select 2 contestants – one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 – to participate in the competition. The 24 teens are then thrown into an arena to kill each other until only one remains alive. The winner is then rewarded with food, clothing, and money – things that the majority of the country envies.

When Katniss Everdeen volunteers to participate in the games to save her sister, she must use the skills she has to survive. Can she manipulate, out-smart, and change not only the players in the game, but also the authorities controlling it? From beginning to end, this series focuses on power that leads to oppression, and oppression that leads to revolution. It’s eye-opening in regards to what could happen in the future of our world, and how scary power really is.

Power. That’s the key word here. When someone or something gains too much power, things begin to go terribly wrong. That’s exactly what happened to the country of Panem in ‘The Hunger Games’ trilogy. When the book first opens, we are entering into the 74th Annual Hunger Games, which also marks the 74th year of the government’s ultimate control of the nation. The citizens in the Districts are poor, starving, and slaves to the government. The people of Panem have practically no freedom, and their only purpose in life is to fulfill and satisfy the needs of the Capitol – the largest and richest city in the country. The people in the Capitol live lavish and luxurious lives, and they have more than they could ever need or want. They eat only the finest food, wear only the best clothes, and sleep only in the most comfortable beds. They are completely blind to what’s happening in the Districts, and eagerly anticipate the Hunger Games each year. The Capitol people view the Hunger Games as simply a show – a spectacle put on for their ultimate enjoyment. But is that real purpose of the Hunger Games?

We learn throughout the series that there was once a District 13. Notice the past tense. Over 75 years ago, before the first Hunger Games, the Districts rebelled against the Capitol’s oppressive rule. As a result, the Capitol bombed and destroyed District 13, the leader of the rebellion, annihilating everyone and everything in it.  The Capitol made an example of District 13, and sent an obvious message to the other Districts – if you continue to rebel, this will happen to you, too. The Capitol re-gained control over the Districts, and the Treaty of Treason was signed, instigating the annual Hunger Games.

The Hunger Games were put in place in order to instill fear into the citizens of Panem, and to keep them from uprising again. However, you may be wondering why the Capitol doesn’t just execute random people. Why do they go to all this fuss to put on the Hunger Games? Random executions would be a lot faster and much less trouble. The answer is hope. “Hope, it is the only thing stronger than fear. A little hope is effective, a lot of hope is dangerous,” says President Snow. “A spark is fine, as long as it’s contained.” That’s why the Hunger Games has a winner. Only one of the 24 teens will come out alive, and it gives the Districts just enough hope to keep going, but the fear is what keeps them in line.

So where am I going with this? Why is this such an important story? The Hunger Games is a warning. A warning of what could happen in the future if we don’t keep our eyes open to the world around us. We must make good decisions regarding the future of our country and our world. That can range from electing leaders into office, to simply talking to our children about current events. We need to think for ourselves, to make decisions based on our thoughts and opinions rather than someone else’s. We need to thank God every single day for the freedoms we have in this country – the freedom of speech, press, religion, and much more. So many opportunities are available to us because we have the freedom to chase our dreams and pursue our interests. We need to hold on to those freedoms, and we can’t let them be taken away. If our freedom is gradually imposed upon, little by little, year by year, we could soon be living in an oppressive society like Panem. Do we want that? Of course not! So we must make sure to hold on to our rights and freedoms as citizens of this great nation. That’s the real message of The Hunger Games – to guard our freedom. Because if that’s taken away, we lose everything.


Have you read The Hunger Games? What are your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments – I’d love to hear from you!

30 thoughts on “Why ‘The Hunger Games’ is Such an Important Story”

  1. Great thoughts, Meredith! I really like the Hunger Games, and the way you described it all!
    But, on a different note, tell me it’s not just me who imagens what would happen if they were reaped for the Hunger Games. I mean, I even know what I would wear, where I would go, and how would I fight and all. But obviously, I thought of myself winning. Very, very, unlikely of that.
    But yeah, I love the Hunger Games, and when I had just read it, I literally couldn’t stop thinking about it for like a week. I still sometimes think about it . . .

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    1. Thank you so much, Ana!
      You’re definitely not alone – the entire time I was reading the series (and even after I was finished) I was trying to imagine what I would have done in Katniss’ position or in general. (And yeah, I’d like to think I’d win, but that’s not probable XD)
      YES, it was soooo good! I think about it all the time.
      Thanks for reading! :)

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  2. A fantastic post. I think you have written the takeaway really well. 1984 (by George Orwell) is also more of a warning just like the hunger games series. Once again, great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve never read The Hunger Games, and honestly I’m not all too interested in it– only because of the love triangle. *headdesk* I hate love triangles. xD

    But anyways, books are so important in our world, and I think the dystopian genre is one of the most important genres. Well-written dystopian reveals a truth that lies in the future– or a truth that lies in the present. I don’t actually read much dystopian fiction, mainly because almost all of it happens in future America and I really can’t relate that much to that because of how the world is in some places. But I think American dystopians should be read by Americans because it paints an accurate portrayal for what the future could be. “Dystopian” isn’t really a fiction genre in China :/

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    1. Those are some great thoughts, Merie!Thanks for sharing! :D
      That’s interesting that dystopian ins’t a genre in China. Do you not have the books at all or are they just not popular?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. :)
        Actually, we do have books translated from really popular series like the Hunger Games. That’s hard to avoid. (and the Lunar Chronicles– <3 <3 <3) But I've just never seen a Chinese dystopian book.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Quite honestly, I haven’t read The Hunger Games (although I’m interested in them), but one thing that one of my favorite authors said about them was that there is no God, or even higher power, and so the books can be disturbing and leave a wrong impression because they suggest that we have everything we need to succeed on our own. (Again, I haven’t read it, so I could be wrong.) What do you think?

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    1. First of all, thank you for your very thought provoking comment! Thats definitely a view I’ve never thought about before!
      When people read a book, everyone takes away something different. The main messages that I saw in this story were political, not spiritual. However, to answer your question, I think it’s safe to say that God, or any spiritual figure/higher power, is non-existent in Panem. You’re right, the characters don’t look to God for guidance, because the government has become the all-powerful force in their lives. The government wants the people of the Districts to view them as the supreme authority over everyone and everything. Even if the people wanted to worship, it would be illegal. God has been forgotten, and this series demonstrates what could happen to a society that is living without Him.

      If you have any more questions or would like to discuss it further, please don’t hesitate to shoot me an email on my contact page! I’d love to talk to you some more! 😄 (P.S. What author were you referring to? I’m curious now!)

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      1. Thanks! I’m definitely not opposed to reading them, but I think that the popularity of dystopia shows a definite trend in our culture that I’m not a fan of. (I prefer fantasy because there’s almost always a higher power, even if it’s not a “god.”)
        I can’t remember which author it was, but it was either N.D. Wilson or Adam Andrews. Both of them have talked about the Hunger Games as good writing that they didn’t love because a) no God and b) characters are encouraged to do things that Christians view as morally wrong.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. True, “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe” is a great example of that!

        Oh ok! I’ve read some of N.D. Wilson but I’ve never heard of Adam Andrews. Those are good points that they made about the series!

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  5. *slow claps* As someone who was always warned to stay away from books like The Hunger Games (did we talk about this when we met up? I forget :P) It’s only now I’m realizing how rich the books are and how important they are in our world- especially the messages it teaches. It’s as if if you don’t talk about it, it doesn’t exist- and we don’t even know what “it” could be.
    Now I wanna read the whole thing. :P Keep doing more of these, Meredith! They’re really insightful. :D

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    1. Thank you! Yes, they have a very strong message to them and I believe they’re very important, especially in our society today. If you end up reading them (which I’d highly recommend) I’d love to hear your thoughts on them! 😄

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve never read the Hunger Games, and to be honest, I’ve been hesitant about reading it. But your post has shed some light on it in a perspective I haven’t heard before. Very interesting; I appreciate it. 😉

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    1. I’m glad it gave you some insight into them! I’d highly recommend the series – they’re one of my favorites. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the series if you read them! 😄

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I love the Hunger Games! You are so right – many people see it as a terrible book that is not fit for kids and look down upon it, but it’s so much more than that. I think a lot of people are afraid of dystopian novels because they might actually become reality.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re so right. Not enough people realize the importance of these kinds of books and avoid them because they are “bad.” The kids in The Hunger Games aren’t killing each other for fun, but because they’re forced to. Through the violence in the books you can see their humanity – sacrifice, compassion, friendship, etc. These are important for us to read because it exposes us to what could happen, and helps us make better decisions to safeguard our future.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This is part of the whole protecting kids from unpleasant truths thing. Slavery is not going to disappear from history if you keep it a secret from kids, so educate them about it and don’t sweep it under the rug.

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