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The Hunger Games operates on two main levels: one is the story and plot, which are set as a thrilling adventure story; the other is a satire about modern society and the ways the media manipulates harsh realities to keep the public uninformed and placid. One way this is shown in the novel is by the addition of Sponsors, wealthy viewers who bet on the survival of their favorite Tributes. When they feel their chosen Tribute has performed well, they are allowed to send useful gifts like medicine or food. Katniss is forced to play to their expectations of a romance with Peeta in order to save his life:
I'm about to leave when I remember the importance of sustaining the starcrossed lover routine and I lean over and give Peeta a long, lingering kiss. I imagine the teary sighs emanating from the Capitol and pretend to brush away a tear...
(Collins, The Hunger Games, Google Books)
Although the reality is harsh and cruel -- children forced to fight to the death -- the image for the wealthy and decadent people in the Capitol is barely more than a soap opera; there are heroes and villains, alliances and betrayals, and storylines. By playing to their desire for interesting entertainment, Katniss manipulates them as much as they are manipulated for the audience. This satirizes the modern media, which often glamorizes, diminishes, or alters the truth in order to gain ratings and ad sponsorship. By throwing this aspect of society into sharp relief, Collins is able to reveal the inherent dishonesty of the media; they don't care if Katniss and Peeta's romance is real as long as it gets good ratings, and the real media doesn't care who is hurt by their coverage for the same reason.
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