The Hunger Games book summary
The Hunger Games, written by Suzanne Collins
When North America is destroyed and turned into a TV-dominated dictatorship known as Panem, the oppressive government in the Capitol keeps the 12 districts in line by making them provide the “tributes” for the most publicized television entertainment. The Hunger Games is an annual event were 24 teenagers between the ages of 12 and 18 fight to the death in a giant, treacherous arena located at the capitol. The 24 are chosen by lottery—two from each district—the winner gets a life of ease while the losers get death.
Katniss and best friend Gale, are up at the crack of dawn hunting in the woods on the morning of the reaping. There is no reason why today should be different than any other day, passing the boundaries of district 12 and poaching wild game. Besides, if they didn’t their families would go hungry and death by a bullet would be quicker than death by starvation. Of course the Capitol provides tesserae for oil and grain if you are between the ages of twelve and eighteen and willing to place your name in the reaping that is already growing with slips of your name on it, one for each year that you are eligible for the games. However, the tesserae are only enough to prolong the slow painful death of starvation. It happens a lot in the seam of district twelve where bragging rights goes out to the old with their success of survival and to the hefty for having plenty to eat.
The reaping starts at 2 O’clock, and is held in the square where Effie will call out the names of the two tributes that will participate in the games this year. Everyone is required to attend! Katniss having twenty entries and Gale with forty-two, know they stand a good chance of having their names drawn. When the female name is read, the shocking result leaves district 12 with a lasting impression. Primrose Everdeen, Effie hollers out into the crowd, and after a few minutes Katniss realizes what had just happened. Prim, her twelve year old sister with only one slip of paper in the drawing is going to the hunger games.
Before Effie even has a chance to call for volunteers to take Prim’s place, Katniss runs forward. Katniss has protected her sister after their father was killed in the mines and Katniss has kept Prim from getting tesserae to keep her name safe from the reaping, however she could not stop the one mandatory name Prim had in the drawing. With much gratitude from the crowd, they show Katniss respect by their old and rarely used gesture of admiration with three middle fingers of their left hand, the crowd touched their lips and hold them out to Katniss.
Katniss feels no better about the name that was called next for the male tribute then her own. Peeta Mellark, the baker’s son who had saved her life with some bread when she just about starved to death. The two tributes were not friends, but Katniss felt she owed Peeta for that one kind act when she was eleven. Now, they would have to battle against each other as well as twenty-two more tributes from the
Katniss and Peeta are taken into the Justice Building where they will say a short goodbye to their families. From now on the two of them will be in the custody of Padem’s peacekeepers. The Hunger Games are such a huge televised ordeal that the gamemakers cannot risk a tribute escaping. With camera’s watching their every move, Katniss and Peeta are moved onto a train that will transport them to the Capitol. For a week all the tributes are pampered and fed the best of foods. In the Capitol, there are no one starving, but to Katniss and Peeta these people are strange with their fashion, makeup, and accents.
During the week in the Capitol, the tributes have busy schedules to keep. Guided by Effie and their mentor Haymitch, (the only one of two past winner of the games still alive from district 12), Katniss and Peeta are trained, portrayed, and earn sponsors while in the arena by their hands. Also helping out is Cinna and Portia with the costume designs. The two designers hit off the first public parade of the tributes since the reaping with fiery costumes that have actual flames. The crowd goes crazy for Katniss and she becomes the talk of the public.
During the Private session with the gamemakers the tributes have a chance to show off what talents they possess. Katniss using her bow blows the audience away with her shot through the apple and earns herself the top score of eleven. Peeta earns an impressive eight by throwing some weights around. However, during the televised interview with Caesar Flickerman he declares his love for Katniss and captivates the audience with his lover boy approach. Of course Haymitch had told the both of them to act like they liked each other, but Katniss was lost for words when Peeta declares his love.
The image Effie and Haymitch wanted Katniss and Peeta to play are star cross lovers caught in the antagonizing battle of the arena, but for Peeta the act is real. Katniss doesn’t know what to make of his feelings, she tries to throw the feelings off as an act, but in truth she has no time to think about it too much. Katniss has to keep her mind in the games and they both can’t win.
The time the tributes spent at the Capitol preparing for the arena, has gained district 12 much love and support for the game. However, the pampering and big meals have to come to an end, and Katniss and Peeta have to prepare for battle now. On the trip over, Katnisses only hope is that there will be trees and hopefully a bow and arrows she can get her hands on.
When the gong dings to release the tributes into the torturous killing grounds, a brutal battle takes the life of eleven tributes. Katniss escapes into the woods with only a few of the supplies that were spread out on the Cornucopia area. She has no water and only a little food to survive on. Her first mission is to find water; it will be her life support. But first, she needs go get as much distance between her and the career tributes as possible.
The first night in the arena Katniss camps out in the protection of the trees above the ground. The trees will be her favorite place to spend the night throughout the game. In the near distance however, another tribute starts a camp fire on the ground. Katniss fears the fire will only draw the other more aggressive tributes near and she was right when the girl gets killed, it’s by the hands of the career tributes. The shocking revolution was that Peeta had allied with them. Katniss doesn’t put too much thought into this insight at first so when the careers trap her in a tree on another day she doesn’t feel too bad about throwing a hive of wasp on the ground were the hunters are camped, Peeta included.
When the arena stays relatively calm for a while, the gamemakers have the job of making things more interesting. The first thing they do is start a wild fire that has Katniss running for her life and dodging fireballs shooting out of the trees. The goal of course is to draw the tributes out and make them fight. There were no deaths that night but the fire left several wounded and in new dangerous territory. The next day a few lives have been taken by the tracker jacker wasps and the rest were stung several times making them hallucinates and pass out for a while.
When Katniss comes to, she realizes that Peeta had saved her life. When he and the others came back to the place Katniss dropped the nest, Peeta told her to run then he had to take on Cato which didn’t go so well for Peeta. Badly wounded and out of the alliance, Peeta had to stay low while he waits for death to come.
Meanwhile, Katniss allies with Rue and the two of them make a plan that will take out the career’s food supply. The way Katniss has to destroy the food supply is by blowing it up with the bombs that are buried in the ground around it. The explosion leaves her deaf in one ear though, and when Rue is caught by one of the tributes, Katniss loses her ally.
Katniss spends only a little while longer alone when she hears the trumpets blow and an announcement made. There had been a rule change, for the first time in the history of the games; two people are allowed to win as long as they are from the same district. Katniss realizes that this means her and Peeta can survive, however she hasn’t seen Peeta sense he saved her life. She knows by overhearing Cato talk about him that he is badly injured and she knows he isn’t dead yet because she hasn’t seen his face in the sky when they show the dead tributes at night. She has to find him though. Even if he is no use to her and she will have to fight for both of them, she has to try to save him. How could she go home if she doesn’t try? For the first time in the game she allows herself some feelings for Peeta that might be less friendship and more on the lines of star cross lovers.
Katniss finds Peeta camouflaged into the side of the river bank. Caked with mud from head to toe, she didn’t see him until he wanted her to. Katniss gets him all cleaned up, but his wound on his leg is deep and becomes infected. Peeta will not survive if he doesn’t get medicine soon, and when the announcement is made following another trumpet blow, Katniss has a chance to get the medicine he needs. It means though that the other tributes will have the chance to receive what they need as well. With all the tributes left to gather at the Cornucopia a fight is bound to break out. When the fighting does start, Katniss barely survives with her life and is able to get back to Peeta and give him the medicine.
When Foxface accidently kills over from the berries Peeta had been picking, the only tributes left are Katniss, Peeta, and Cato. When morning comes Katniss can feel the sensation of this being their last day, and she knows it’s true when she finds the creak dry. The gamemakers dry the water so they would all have to meet by the lake.
When Katniss and Peeta get to the lake there is no sign of Cato so they sit there in the opening waiting. There is no reason to hide, Cato will be along anytime. When Cato does get to the lake he is running as fast as he can. Cato is being chased by a pack of mutated creatures created by the government. Half wolf half tributes that have been killed. They are angry beast and Katniss and Peeta have to run along with Cato to escape the wild mutations. The three tributes climb the golden cornucopia and are trapped. When Cato falls into the mist of the half animals, it takes all night for them to rip him apart. Finally Katniss has to send her last arrow into his head in order to put him out of his misery and win the game.
When the trumpet sounds and the announcer speaks it’s not the good news they have been waiting for. The Gamemakers have changed the rules back to only one winner. This news upsets Katniss so bad that her plan was they both eat the poisonous wild berries so the Capitol would have no winner. Of course the announcer stops them. They can’t have no winner, it would ruin the games, so Katniss and Peeta are quickly announced the winners and lifted up into the hovercraft.
Peeta is badly wounded and passes out. When Katniss sees that he may not make it she is hysterical and has to be sedated. When she comes to all renewed and ready to face the press, she learns Peeta did survive however; they are not out of trouble yet. The stunt with the berries upset the Gamemakers so Katniss has to be very careful not to rub it into their faces. When all goes well with the last interview on live television, the two of them are allowed to go home.