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Discussion Questions

  1. Collins has said that The Hunger Games was inspired by the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur, the Roman gladiators, reality TV games, and actual TV footage of young people at war. What is the strongest parallel you see between the events of The Hunger Games and our society or history? Do you find any comparisons to events that have been part of your own life?
  2. The characters of Katniss and Peeta are so different. Which one did you like more? Which surprised you more? Why do you think Collins made Katniss the main character rather than Peeta? Do you think the characters' backgrounds explain the differences between them?
  3. Violence as entertainment plays a large part in The Hunger Games, and the novel itself is both violent and entertaining. What shocked you most about the book? What important points do you think the author makes about violence and its effects on society? violence in the media? violence and children?
  4. Katniss and Peeta and the other tributes must react for the camera from the moment they are chosen for the games, and in their totalitarian society, everyone must hide their dissent. How do you think your behavior would change if you knew that you were always being watched?
  5. Katniss feels ashamed when Peeta tells her, “I want to die as myself…I don't want them to change me in there. Turn me into some kind of monster that I'm not.” (p. 141) She had been worrying about survival, not principles. Do Katniss and Peeta become monstrous during the games? How do they reach the point of making their stand at the end of the games, when they stake their survival on a principle?
  6. The adults in this book seem to be very flawed. Why do you think Collins portrays them this way? Katniss's mother is one of the most important—do you think Katniss is too hard on her? What about other adults Katniss encounters?
  7. Nature is a large presence in the book. Is it an ally or an enemy? Are there periods of American history when we have regarded nature as one or the other? Have you seen changes in those attitudes in your own lifetime? Is nature or the animal world as much a part of our lives today?
  8. In a book about moral choices, God and religion never appear. Do you think they should have? What do you think are the book's most religious elements?
  9. Do you read much science fiction? Has The Hunger Games changed your opinion of it? The Hunger Games is a dystopian novel, like 1984 or Among the Hidden. Many books and movies, running the gamut from literary/artistic works to simple adventure stories, are part of this tradition. Why is it such a popular genre?
  10. There are so many issues to discuss in The Hunger Games! Which if any of these was most important to you: totalitarianism; reality TV; celebrity culture; violence in society and media; class and poverty; childhood and the effects of poverty, war, or hunger; competition; heroism and the hero's quest; moral choice; coming of age; the value of human life. Have you had a chance to discuss how the book affected you most strongly?
  11. Do you think teens and adults respond to this book differently? What do you think your response says about your generation?
  12. What did you think of the choice of this teen science fiction novel as the On the Same Page title for 2010?

More discussion questions are available on the Scholastic website.

Cover of The Hunger Games