Thursday, December 20, 2012

A (VERY) Serious Review: The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

This is an academic Review I had to write for college. My Professor wished for us to publish it, so here I am, publishing it. Sort of. This is a very formal, very serious review, so don't you guys get used to it. LOL. It was a LOT of hard work. Hopefully it'll get me a good grade. Now, if you feel like it, read it and let me know what you think. ;)

Review: The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins.
COLLINS, S. Hunger Games. 1st edition. New York: Scholastic Press, 2008.

       Hundreds of books out there feature many different social problems, such as poverty, starvation, the effects of war, and oppressing governments. The Hunger Games also features such issues, but in a way no other book has ever done so before.

     The Hunger Games is a Young adult novel by American writer Suzanne Collins, and was originally published by Scholastic in the United States on September 14th, 2008. It was then translated into over 26 languages, and publishing rights have been sold in over 38 territories. The novel is the first in a trilogy, followed by Catching Fire (2009) and Mockingjay (2010). A film adaptation, directed by Gary Ross and co-written and co-produced by Collins herself, was released in 2012. Shortly after the release of the movie was announced, the trilogy joined the list of Banned Books, coming in at #3 on the list. The wildly popular ‘Hunger Games’ trilogy joined such perennial favorites as ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and ‘Brave New World,’ the latter of which was published 80 years ago.

       Collins was inspired to start writing the trilogy while channel surfing between reality TV programming and actual war coverage. She admits to a significant influence from the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. The myth tells how in punishment for past deeds, Athens periodically had to send seven youths and seven maidens to Crete, where they were thrown in the Labyrinth and devoured by the monstrous Minotaur. Set in a miserable future, Hunger Games joins a growing wave in the Market of best-sellers: that of the dystopian/anti-utopian and post-apocalyptic novels. The Hunger Games takes place in a nation known as Panem, established in North America after the destruction of the continent's civilization by an unknown apocalyptic event. The nation consists of the wealthy Capitol and twelve surrounding, poorer districts, united under the Capitol's control.

     As punishment for a past rebellion against the Capitol, in which a 13th district was destroyed, one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 from each district are selected by an annual lottery to participate in the Hunger Games, an event in which the participants (or "tributes") must fight to the death in an outdoor arena controlled by the Capitol, until only one individual remains. The story is narrated by 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, a girl from District 12 who volunteers for the 74th annual Hunger Games in place of her younger sister, Primrose. The male tribute chosen from District 12 is Peeta Mellark, a former schoolmate of Katniss who once gave her bread from his family's bakery when her family was starving.

    The Hunger Games tackles issues like severe poverty, starvation, tyrannical oppression, economical contrast, and the effects of war, among others. The main themes are government control, propaganda and personal independence. Collins criticizes a society that cares more about the spectacle of The Hunger Games than about the lives lost to it, in a disturbingly well-portrayed new version of ‘Bread and Circuses’ (from Latin: panem et circenses). In fact, the name of the country, Panem, originates from the latin expression that describes a populace that no longer values civic virtues and the public life. It connotes the triviality and frivolity that is strongly present throughout the book. The thematic of Collins’ books have been compared to other famous literary works, such as George Orwell’s 1984’s ‘Big Brother’, Koushun Takami’s Battle Royale, and even Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.

     The book is organized in 27 chapters, but divided into three main parts: ‘The Tributes’, chapter 1 to 9, ‘The Games’, chapter 10 to 18, and the third and last part, named ‘The Victors’, goes from chapter 19 to 27. The narrative of the book presents readers with logical and chronological sequences, and natural and transparent language, which makes use of many figures of speech, favoring metaphors, prosopopoeia, and oxymorons, among countless others. The main character, our heroine Katniss Everdeen, is the representation of the post-modern female. She goes against most stereotypes by being portrayed as a strong, smart, gun-wielding, alpha provider. But, at the same time, she is an attractive, maternal adolescent, forced to mature into the roles of both mother and father due to various circumstances.

     The Hunger Games is like a ride on a –terrifyingly- exciting roller-coaster. It manages to bring out every single emotion from its readers. We get to meet the characters and their personal dramatic pasts, which starts to create a connection, and when we least expect it… we find ourselves really caring about them. Collins makes us care for all of her fictional characters, even the ‘bad guys’, once we get to know them better. It is impossible not to just lose yourself in her world. When you start to think that maybe all is lost, the events take on an unexpected turn and we get what we want… only to find out we never really had it from the start. It’s a highly unnerving, dizzying and strongly addicting read.

      Even if I did not agree with some of the decisions the main leads made, and found some parts to be more violent than we usually expect from a Young Adult book, The Hunger Games made for an absolutely amazing read. There is never a dull-moment and it is impossible to put this book down. It is highly advisable that you acquire the other volumes of the series, for you will not want to stop until you have read it all.


Biography of Suzanne Collins. Available at: <>. Acesso em 20 de maio de 2012.

COLLINS, S. Hunger Games. 1st edition. New York: Scholastic Press, 2008.

FERREIRA, A. C.; SOUZA GROSSI, Y. de. A narrativa na trama da subjetividade: perspectivas e desafios. Economia & Gestão, Belo Horizonte, v. 2, n. 3, p. 120-134, 2002.

GANCHO, C. V. Como Analisar Narrativas. 7ª edição. São Paulo: Ática, 2002.

KJOS, Berit. ‘Hunger games’ the orwellian theme behind the movie. Crossroad, March 26. 2012. Available at: <>. Accessed on: Sep 28 2012.

MESQUITA, S. N. de. O enredo. 4ª edição São Paulo: Ática, 2006.

SAMPSON, Mike. ‘The hunger games’ joins the top 10 “banned books” list. Screen Crush, April 10, 2012. Available at: < >. Accessed on: Sep 28 2012.


  1. I love the Hunger Games, for all the reasons you stated above; I also love how she inadvertently starts a rebellion, just by being herself. It gives us hope for humanity. Maybe there is someone out there right now like Katniss who can change our future for the better. Great review, I hope you get a good grade!

    1. I know! It does give us hope. :) I just saw my grade, actually. He gave me 9,5/10. Some parts were too 'informal' and 'deictic' at times. He even left me a link for a dictionary definition of 'deictic'. That was slightly offensive, but... I'll let it go. LOL.
      Thank you for stopping by!

  2. ""Panem, originates from the latin expression that describes a populace that no longer values civic virtues and the public life."" I never knew this, but it's great discovering new symbolism in a book. Writing academic papers are a pain (I have recently learned) I had to write a paper and I had trouble working with APA references. Although I think if my assignment was a academic review I would have had some fun, which I'm sure you had at least.

    1. This was fun to do. :) What wasn't much fun were the three research papers I had to do afterwards, on SLA. >.>


I would love to read what you have to say. :)