The Hunger Games Questions and Answers
by Suzanne Collins

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In The Hunger Games, in what ways is Katniss prepared to be a contestant in the Hunger Games?  

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Katniss is prepared for the games because she knows how to use a bow and arrow and she has good survival instincts.

Even before the Hunger Games, Katniss is tough.  She is probably the one person from her district who had a chance of winning.  Her skill with a bow and arrow is very useful, but more importantly she is independent, strong-willed, and a fighter.

Katniss desires to survive.  She has never had much, so surviving is what she has done all her life.  She would illegally hunt in the forests outside of her village to feed her family.  Her...

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Katniss, the protagonist of the novel and tribute from District 12, is prepared to be a contestant in the Hunger Games in many ways.

Unlike many prior District 12 tributes, Katniss has experience handling weapons, foraging for food, and surviving in the wilderness. Her years of hunting with Gale in order to provide for her family has given her these skills that could, and eventually do, help her succeed in the Hunger Games. Her ability to set traps and snares allows her to feed herself and not rely on gifts in the beginning parts of the Games.

This experience hunting and foraging also allowed her to develop stamina and endurance. Katniss's ability to run for long distances over time helps her outpace the other tributes. She is able to get farther from the Cornucopia than others and ensure her safety for a time. 

 

Another way in which Katniss is prepared for the Hunger Games is her ability to be an independent thinker. Many of the other tributes form alliances to increase their odds of winning, though this often backfires by the end of the Games. Katniss, on the other hand, does not need anyone else's help to survive. Her incredible survival skills allow her the freedom to move about the arena unhindered by others and learn about the other tributes from a safe and secure distance. This also allows her to force the hand of the game makers towards the end of the novel when she plans to eat the poisonous berries with Peeta. Instead of playing into the hands of the Capitol, Katniss made her own decision, marking herself as independent from their control and a symbol for hope to those suffering in Panem.

More interestingly, Katniss is prepared for the Hunger Games because of her mental toughness. After losing her father in a mining accident, Katniss's mother is no longer able to care for her children for quite some time. Katniss takes command of the family in this dire time and is able to pull them off of the brink of starvation through her determination and survival instincts. She knows what it is like to suffer, make tough decisions, and put the well-being of others ahead of herself. This gives her a mental strength that the other tributes lack, including Peeta. Unlike the other tributes, Katniss isn't competing for fame and glory, or even herself; her sole desire is to stay alive so that she can return home to care for her sister Primrose.