Usage of Imagery and Figurative Language in The Hunger Games
What would you do if you were coerced into a game where you had to murder other children, and you had to fight people who had been training their entire life for one opportunity- the opportunity of fame and fortune? The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, is a novel that unfolds in Panem, an apocalyptic world. The story is centered on a 16-year-old girl, Katniss Everdeen and her struggle for survival in dystopia. Each year, as a punishment for the failed rebellion by District 13, the 12 Panem Districts are forced to pay tribute to the ruthless Capitol regime. The story begins on the day of “the reaping” at District Twelve. A day that each district is required to offer two tributes, a boy and a girl aged 12 to 18 years to participate in the games. This was going to be the 74th hunger games. Throughout this story, the author uses diction, figurative language, and imagery to characterize Katniss as a survivor.
The book, The Hunger Games is a bit of a diction wonderland. Through the use of diction, not only does the author pinpoint how but also emphasizes just how much of a survivor Katniss is. With examples such as, “It was slow-going at first, but I was determined to feed us. I stole eggs from nests, caught fish in nets, sometimes managed to shoot a squirrel or rabbit for stew, and gathered the various plants that sprung up beneath my feet. Plants are tricky. Many are edible, but one false mouthful and you’re dead. I checked and double-checked the plants I “harvested” with my father’s pictures. I kept us alive (Collins 4.19).” Collins proves just how much Katniss has had to do to keep her and her family surviving. By using words such as “harvested” and “various”, it makes it seem more professional and really grasps my attention as a reader, because she could have just said simpler words such as gathered and different. Lastly, by using these words it makes the situation live up to the importance of the text as a whole-the importance of survival. Another example of Katniss’s is one that is solely based on the reader’s interpretation, it reads as follows, “Prim!” The strangled cry comes out of my throat and my muscles begin to move again (Collins 22).” This proves Katniss’s will to survive by her willingness to sacrifice herself for the survival of her family. Katniss’s mom would not emotionally live if Prim would have went to the games. So for Katniss to volunteer herself, the fact that she plans on surviving and winning is therefore self-explanatory. Diction is used all throughout The Hunger Games, and so is imagery, which is talked about in the next paragraph
Throughout The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins just totally engulfs each and every sentence with figurative language. Examples like this, “There’s never been anything romantic between Gale and me… It makes me jealous [the thought of Gale finding a wife] but not for the reasons people would think. Good hunting partners are hard to find (Collins 10).” can be found everywhere throughout the story. By referring to Gale as a “good hunting partner”, she is referring to him not by name but rather by what he is associated with, thus utilizing a type of figurative language by the name of metonymy. Also by doing this, it shows how she sees him, (as a good hunting partner) which shows he plays a key role in her survival. These examples not only provide the reader with interest but also clarity as to exactly how dire situations are such as when Collins writes, “got to give the audience something more to care about. Star-crossed lovers desperate to get home together. Two hearts beating as one. Romance,” (Collins 19.93) showing Katniss must kiss Peeta if she wants to survive because a love story will likely get more sponsors. This shows that Katniss is quite clever, and uses that trait to her advantage when survival is at the utmost of importance. Also the usage of “star-crossed lovers” is an allusion to William Shakespeare”s Romeo and Juliet, which also just adds on to the vast amounts of figurative language found throughout The Hunger Games. As you have seen, diction and figurative language are often used throughout this book, which leaves us with our last topic, imagery.
The Hunger Games is quite a visual book consisting of tons of imagery to help the reader visualize the events taking place. When Suzanne Collins is describing the people of “The Seam” of district twelve, which is composed of the poorest families of this specific district, she says they have “hunched shoulders and “swollen knuckles” with nails and faces full of coal dust (Collins 10). This proves that the conditions are quite harsh, which adds on to Katniss’s mind-blowing ability to survive. Also another example of imagery which relates to Katniss’s survival is when Katniss describes her sister Prim’s cat and the reader can almost see it staring back at them. Katniss describes it as having a “mashed-in nose, half of one ear missing, eyes the color of rotting squash (Collins 3).” This further proves that life in district 12 is not easy by any means. When applying the inference based concept “A healthy family equals a healthy pet”, that Katniss and her family are not healthy and barely surviving. If this was not the case, then their pet would be healthy. This goes to show that the people’s struggle to survive is coherent with the pets or animals struggle to survive.
Finally, it may be concluded that found embedded in what seems like every page of The Hunger Games are examples of diction, figurative language, and imagery, many of which prove just how determined Katniss is to survive. Suzanne Collins is so articulate and exact when employing these literary devices that it grasps the attention and interest of the reader and thus make the reader want to continue to indulging in the diction rich words, the figurative language embedded with such precision that it is almost non-human, and lastly the imagery that is so vivid that it is like you are battling in the games along with Katniss.
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