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What are the exposition, rising action, and climax of The Hunger Games by Suzanne...

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iwilkerson | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 4, 2013 at 1:51 AM via web

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What are the exposition, rising action, and climax of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins?

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 4, 2013 at 2:52 AM (Answer #1)

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Unfortunately, you asked more than one question; it seems to me this one would give you the most information, so I edited out the other.

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins is set in the future in a country named Panem (formerly America). The Capitol of Panem is rich and prosperous, a stark contrast to the poverty of the thirteen districts. District twelve is the poorest district, and that is where the protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, lives.

She is hunting with her friend when the story begins, and we quickly get the sense of poverty in this district. Each year in Panem, one boy and one girl are chosen from each district to compete in the Hunger Games. It is a competition to the death as a punishment for some long-ago rebellion by the districts against the Capitol, and this year Prim Everdeen's name is drawn.

Everything up to this point is the novel's exposition. Katniss volunteers to take Prim's place as Tribute, knowing she is better equipped that Prim to fight and survive the Games; that is the inciting action which begins the rising action.

Kaitness and her District twelve partner, Peeta, begin training with Haymitch. Though the man is a former winner of the Hunger Games, he is also a drunkard; however, Haymitch is the best chance Peeta and Katniss have to succeed, so they heed his instruction. 

The rising action continues as, one by one, the other Tributes die or are killed. Soon the unthinkable happens, and only the two district twelve Tributes are left in the Games, and they refuse to obey the new rule which says there can only be one winner. 

The climax of the story has to be when Katniss and Peeta threaten to commit suicide by eating poisonous berries Katniss has. She cannot explain the complete plan to Peeta because they are being watched so intensely, but she asks him to trust her and he does. Katniss narrates the moment:

He holds my gaze for a long moment then lets go. I loosen the top of the pouch and pour a few spoonfuls of berries into his palm. Then I fill my own. "On the count of three?" Peeta leans down and kisses me once, very gently. "The count of three," he says. We stand, our backs pressed together, our empty hands locked tight. "Hold them out. I want everyone to see," he says. I spread out my fingers, and the dark berries glisten in the sun. I give Peeta's hand one last squeeze as a signal, as a good-bye, and we begin counting. "One." Maybe I'm wrong. "Two." Maybe they don't care if we both die. "Three!" It's too late to change my mind. I lift my hand to my mouth taking one last look at the world. The berries have just passed my lips when the trumpets begin to blare. The frantic voice of Claudius Templesmith shouts above them. "Stop! Stop! Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to present the victors of the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark! I give you - the tributes of District 12!” 

Clearly this is the moment of most intense action; everything after this is falling action and resolution. 

Sources:

Lori Steinbach

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