The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins
Contributed by Machelle Schuler
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Motifs
Motifs are devices or structures that are used by artists or authors to help in the development of a theme.
Real vs. Fake

The line between what’s real and what’s a farce is heavily blurred through the entire Hunger Games trilogy and is first introduced as a major motif in this first novel. This motif is particularly important with regards to the relationship between Katniss and Peeta. From the moment that Peeta tells all of Panem he loves Katniss during his interview with Caesar, their relationship is put under a huge magnifying glass. From that moment on, they must act the roles of “the star-crossed lovers from District 12." Katniss believes the intimacy between her and Peeta is mostly a façade, a tactic they must use to get sponsors and win the Games. However, Peeta actually does love Katniss, and, unfortunately, he thinks her feelings are real when she begins to ostensibly return them. This misunderstanding causes a strain between the two Victors at the end of the novel, when their differing feelings come to light.

Survival

The topic of survival, in various forms and modes of expression, is a central idea in The Hunger Games. It is a motivator that causes characters to act in certain ways and do particular things. It is a justification for characters when they commit unethical acts. It is the reason why Katniss plays along when Peeta declares his love for her, and later on, why she escalates their relationship by kissing him in the arena. She realizes that the more “in love” with Peeta she acts, the more help Haymitch with send them in the Games. Finally, survival is the weapon the Capitol and the Gamemakers leverage against the tributes. They rely on the idea that, when tested, the human will to survive will be stronger than the human sense of right and wrong.

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