The protagonist of the novel, sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen narrates in the first person with a wry sense of humor, a tough facade, and a deceptive vulnerability that makes her endearing and accessible to readers. She navigates the trials in her life with frank honesty and realistic confusion; she is unsure of her feelings toward friends, she is fiercely loyal to her family, and she is understandably angry and defiant against Panem and the oppressive forces in her society. An unwitting heroine, Katniss uses her feisty nature to be a catalyst for much needed changes in her world.
Eighteen-year-old Gale is Katniss's best friend and hunting companion. Although a fierce protector of his struggling family, he has a great sense of humor, dubbing Katniss "Catnip" and constantly lightening the mood of their difficult lives with play and jocularity. Gale is also a rebel; he even encourages Katniss to run away with him to fight against Panem and the Capitol. Gale's desire to better the world and his restless, action-oriented nature make him a perfect candidate for a future leader.
A baker's son with a gift for design and camouflage, Peeta is sixteen years old and chosen as a tribute in the Hunger Games along with Katniss. He is compassionate, steady, reliable, and grounded. He proves to be a calming influence for Katniss throughout the entire Games. His compassionate side is evident early in his life as he faces a potential beating from his mother for sneaking loaves of bread to Katniss, who was starving and scavenging for food for her family. He is selfless, kind, and always willing to comfort and support Katniss, whose disposition is more temperamental and volatile. He plays a crucial role in the story as a potential love interest for Katniss. And even though Katniss does not often admit it, he saves her again and again with his charm, his ability to be politic, and his steady, calming influence.
Katniss's little sister, Prim, twelve years old, is sweet-natured, loyal, and innocent. Her frail and beautiful countenance elicit a protective instinct from Katniss, who volunteers for the Games in Prim's place.
Before her husband died, Mrs. Everdeen was a good provider and caregiver, and a talented healer. Katniss holds obvious resentment for her mother's breakdown, but as the novel progresses, Mrs....
(The entire section is 718 words.)
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