Why the Craving for “The Hunger Games”?

Priyunka Maheshwari, News Editor

You can’t argue with the figures surrounding “The Hunger Games”—three million copies in print, translation into 26 different languages and a record number of pre-release tickets to the film adaptation. There is a cult-like phenomenon surrounding “The Hunger Games” and almost everybody has at least heard of the series. So what gives this book such a widespread appeal that elementary-school readers and middle-aged couples are reading intently?

As a huge fan of dystopian novels, I was not surprised to enjoy the premise and be enthralled by the suspense. However, I was shocked to realize how many people worldwide were reading a novel that was surprisingly brutal and designed to be for young-adults. After re-reading the novel, though, I understood why so many people connected with it.

Suzanne Collins, the author of “The Hunger Games”, is a brilliant writer who uses dark language to accent the gloomy qualities of despair, while enhancing the romance of the novel by emphasizing the feelings of the main character, Katniss. While the novel shows themes most people won’t have to deal with personally, like murder and poverty, the characters are relatable and in certain instances everyone can sympathize with the situation. Collins draws out emotions in readers as they picture how it would feel to never see their family again, to have to fight for their lives and to realize the viciousness of the world.

The novel is written so that despite all the bloodshed and death portrayed throughout the plot, there is always a bit of light and optimism that sneaks its way into the story. Collins creates the second main character, Peeta, as the foil to the destructiveness of the setting. Readers have something to connect to and empathize with. While many novels are underdeveloped and it is unclear why two characters have formed a bond, every part of “The Hunger Games” seems well thought-out, and her weaving of character traits into the book makes it impossible not to want to get to know the individuals detailed in the narrative. Another reason females may enjoy the novel is for the strong female protagonist who does not give in to the highly masculine world around her. In a sea of stereotypical plot lines, Collins illustrates a fantasy world that is far from idealistic, yet draws every reader in.

Sure, there are people out there who will read this literary work of art only because everyone else has praised it. There are going to be individuals who don’t understand the lure of the books, or get why people are marketing clothes, jewelry and of course a movie after the series. But for the majority of people, myself included, the dramatic writing, humanistic themes and relatable characters are just a few of the reasons why this series deserves the accolades it receives.