One of the most poignant examples that Collins uses to create a theme of hardship occurs in Chapter Two when Katniss describes how her family nearly starved after her father's death in the mines:
"Starvation's not an uncommon fate in District 12. Who hasn't seen the victims? Older people who can't work. Children from a family with too many to feed. Those injured in the mines. Straggling though the streets" (27).
Katniss' grim picture of the reality of life in the Seam reveals the hardship faced by the people of District 12. Her flashback recalls a time when her family had no food, and she had to rummage in the garbage bins for leftovers.
Hardship and misery continue to be a constant in the rest of The Hunger Games, especially when contrasted by the conspicuous consumption of the Capitol when Katniss arrives there for the Games. She is struck by their wastefulness and can only reminisce about those moments shown in chapter two when she was desperate to provide for her baby sister and ailing mother.