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tessarae is where you increase your chance of getting in the hunger games, but in exchange, you get more food.
Tessarae is the option to submit more tickets in the chance of getting into the hunger games, but in return, every month the capitol supplies the people who signed up for tessarae with grain and oil. You are allowed to sign up for one tessarae per family member.
The answer to this question can be found in Chapter One, when Katniss tells us about the Hunger Games, how the contenders are selected, and how a special system allows poorer people to be more likely to be selected than richer people in exchange for more food for their families. Note how Katniss explains the system of tessarae:
Say you are poor and starving as we were. You can opt to add your name more times in exchange for tesserae. Each tessera is worth a meager year's supply of grain and oil for one person. You may do this for each of your family members as well. So, at the age of twelve, I had my name entered four times. Once, because I had to, and three times for tesserae for grain and oil for myself, Prim, and my mother.
Thus the system of tessarae gives more food to the poor in exchange for having a greater chance of being selected. Katniss goes on to explain how the entries are cumulative, so that each year you add another four onto the number of entries bearing the name of Katniss. Thus the system is unfair because statistically, the poor are much more likely to be selected than the rich who do not need to partake of this system.
Tessarae is a choice given to families in the districts. One may sign up for tessarae once very month. Tessarae is the chance to get more food and oil by placing your name in the lottery again. Thus, children from poor families were typically choosen for the Hunger Games.
If someone has tesserae for their family it means their name is put into the reaping more times, but is beneficial for the families because more food would arrive at their house. This was mainly used by poorer families and this could increase your chance of being in the Hunger Games, which could result in a possible death for you, but others needed the food to survive.
A tesserae is food and in order to get a pound of it you have to enter your name once more in the ballot box. It's a disadvantage for people because it gives them a larger chance of getting entered into the hunger games.
When someone signs up to receive tesserae, their name is put in the raffle one more time. True, they receive an allotted amount of food and supplies that are necessary for surviving. On the flip side, because their name is in the raffle an extra time, their name is more likely to be drawn on Reaping Day compared to their peers who did not sign up for tesserae. While it may seem like one extra slip in a large ball containing everyone's names is much, it could be that the one extra is the one that forces a child into the Hunger Games.
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