What are the features of the author's style of writing in The Hunger Games?
Suzanne Collins writes this novel in the first person, so that we see the world through the eyes of the teenaged Katniss Everdeen. Katniss is a flawed but highly sympathetic young woman, and Collins quickly enlists the reader on Katniss's side: this girl is tough and angry but compassionate, competent, and caring. Katniss has to struggle with a high level of adversity as she lives in the poorest district of Panem, a dystopic future world in which almost all the wealth of the society is funneled to a small group of people who live in the Capitol. We quickly come to identify with Katniss, who must use her wits to survive and protect her family, and who sacrifices herself to save her little sister Prim from the Hunger Games.
Because this was written as young adult literature, and because Katniss comes from an unsophisticated background, Collins uses very simple, direct prose. This is not the lyrical poetic style of Nick Carraway's first-person narration in The Great Gatsby. Collins uses plain, declarative sentences and a simple vocabulary. For instance, the last sentence of the first paragraph states: "This is the day of the reaping." This writing style makes the novel accessible to a wide range of readers.
Another aspect of Collins's style is to set up a simple, understandable dichotomy between "them" and "us," the suffering people of Panem's impoverished Districts versus the wealthy, effete elite of the Capitol. She constantly reinforces this with imagery that contrasts the harshness of life for the bulk of the people who experience cold, hunger, death, and fear with the gourmet tastes and fashion obsessions of the pampered rich.
One of the central aspects of the style of Suzanne Collins is the way she so successfully uses cliffhangers to engage her readers and make them want to carry on. This is something that has ensured the popularity of this book and also something that makes the story a very quick and gripping read. Each chapter is structured in such a way as to make sure that it ends on a cliffhanger which automatically makes the reader want to read on to find out what the dilemma or situation that is introduced at the end of that chapter is resolved. Collins uses short sentences that are given a paragraph to themselves often in order to do this. Consider how she ends Chapter 13:
It would be hard to miss a wall of fire descending on me.
Such an ending to a chapter is typical as it introduces a new element of danger that makes the reader fear for the life of Katniss and almost insists that the reader continues to find out how Katniss survives this latest danger. This use of the cliffhanger is one of the key stylistic features of this novel.