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I have included the link below which will take you to the enotes summary and study section of this novel. I would think that the best way of answering this question is to tell you to read the novel! It is a gripping read, and I don't think you will find it boring. However, given that time is of the essence, I would suggest you focus on the three central ideas below.
Firstly, bear in mind that this novel is set in a future dystopian world where the Capitol has control over the twelve districts. So total is there power that they are able to live in luxury whilst the districts have to struggle to survive, as is shown by the daily struggle of Katniss to provide for her family. Note too that it is the Capitol that demands that each district send two children to fight to the death in the Hunger Games each year. The tensions between Katniss and the Capitol run throughout the novel, especially in the way that she forces them to concede both her and Peta an joint winners.
Secondly, it is hard to escape the grim, brutal violence of children killing children in this novel. This is a disturbing element that cannot be ignored. Even Rue, the sweet twelve year old that reminds Katniss of her sister, is brutally slaughtered. Katniss herself kills other teenagers, forcing us to question morals and ethical standards and reinforcing the savagery of the Capitol and the regime in power.
Lastly, and linked to the second point, all of this violence is viewed as entertainment in a kind of future reality show. However, Katniss is able to exploit this for her own ends, faking a love for Peta that she is not sure that she feels to ensure that they both survive. Thus an irony is introduced between what is seen and transmitted on the outside and the internal Katniss and what she really thinks and feels.
1. When her sister Prim is chosen by lottery to become the female contestant for District 12 in the Hunger Games, Katniss takes her place. Her hunting partner Gale promises to care for her family.
2. Peeta, the baker's son, is selected as the male contestant from District 12.
3. Katniss and Peeta become an "item" for the cameras when Peeta professes his love for Katniss. She initially believes it is part of "act" created to ensure gifts from viewers but later is not so sure.
4. When Katniss and Peeta are placed in the Games, Katniss runs into the forest where she almost dies of thirst. She later hears Peeta with a group of tributes that has been trained to be in the games and thinks he has sided against her, but he later tells Katniss to run when they are approaching.
5. When the Game Creators in the Capitol decide that the storyline of two star-crossed lovers will increase rating, they decide that two tributes from the same district may survive, Katniss finds Peeta injured and helps heal him.
6. The Game Creators later reverse their decision in the hope of increasing their ratings for the Hunger Games, but Peeta and Katniss are facing death but threaten to commit suicide by eating poisonous berries. This forces the Game Creators to choose between two winners or no winners. They choose to name both Peeta and Katniss the winners.
7. The pair is sent back to District 12, but Katniss now is in danger as the Capitol has been challenged.
8. Peeta is in love with Katniss, and he is saddened when she tells him that star-crossed lover idea was for show, however Katniss is confused about her feelings for both Peeta and Gale. This leads into the sequel Catching Fire.
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