In this second book of the Hunger Games trilogy, readers are given a specific person to identify as the main villain or antagonist. President Snow is the person in charge of Panem and the orchestrator behind all the horrific actions of the Capitol, the Gamemakers, the Peacekeepers, etc. He is cunning, slippery, adroit, and manipulative. To help convey Snow’s characteristics, many parallels are drawn between snakes and him. For example, his eyes are described as snakelike, and his very presence is described as venomous. These adjectives create an image of a man who is a dangerous adversary.
During the Victory Tour, Katniss and Peeta travel through the other districts of Panem, a privilege that most people will never experience. The terrains of the districts are widely different, something that Katniss notices immediately as the Tour transitions from District 12 to 11. Unlike the densely wooded District 12, District 11 has wide-open fields full of crops and fruit orchards. The visual differences between the districts mirror their functional differences within the larger system of Panem.
Unrest in the Districts
The unrest in the districts following the Victory Tour is reminiscent of revolutions, rebellions, and uprisings that happen in the real world. To make parallels between the world of TheHunger Games and the real world, Collins uses language reminiscent of news outlets when describing the political shakeups happening in some of the districts. For example, when discussing the possibility of uprisings occurring, President Snow speaks of body counts and the dangers of unstable governments. As uprisings begin to occur, such as the one in District 8, angry mobs amass, buildings burn, Peacekeepers shoot at protestors, etc. All of these images can be seen in our world with the flip of a television remote, which articulates the idea that Panem is not so different from our own world.
The Destruction of the Arena
The destruction of the arena is a pivotal moment in the novel. Symbolically, it has many meanings. One, it shows that Katniss finally understands who the true enemy is: not the other tributes, not the other districts, but rather the Capitol. Two, it symbolizes the shattering of the Capitol’s seemingly unbreakable hold over Panem. Because this moment is so important, much attention is paid to how it is described. The dome of the arena “bursts into a dazzling blue light”; “[feathery] bits of matter rain” down on Katniss as the earth around her “explodes into showers of dirt and plant matter” (Collins 650). By making the fallout of Katniss’s electrifying arrow similar to that of a bomb attack, Collins taps into whatever past knowledge or experience the reader has of bombs in order to make the image of the arena’s destruction more powerful.
Catching Fire Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Catching Fire is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Bonnie nods. “We took what we could, but food's been so scarce. That's been gone for a while.” The quaver in her voice melts my remaining defenses. She is just a malnourished, injured girl fleeing the Capitol.