What inspired Suzanne Collins to write The Hunger Games?
Suzanne Collins has stated that her main goal in writing The Hunger Games was to make children more aware of the subject and consequences of war. She believed that if children saw how war affected their lives and their families, they would grow up to make better decisions as societal leaders. Collins grew up in a military family, and she learned about the realities of war at a young age; she also learned the importance of understanding reality instead of fiction from her father, who took her to war memorials and site and explained how the battles actually occurred.
"We think we're sheltering them, but what we're doing is putting them at a disadvantage."
(Collins, "Suzanne Collins’s War Stories for Kids," nytimes.com)
The Hunger Games serves as Collins's indictment of both war and the media coverage of war. In her view, the media glorification and exploitation of war for ratings and political purposes is a reflection of the degradation of society; the shallow citizens of the Capitol view the Games as mere entertainment, something to watch to take up time. Since the consequences of the Games are very real to the families and friends of the Tributes, the Capitol acts as the exploiters rather than the protectors of society, as they claim. This is similar to the role of media in today's society, where news is manipulated to fit the "cycle" and war is treated as an everyday fact of life, not to be reported on it depth unless there is a useful political angle to be exploited. By showing children the realities of war in a venue that they can understand, Collins hopes to first clarify the reality, then open their minds to new ideas and differing opinions; more information and more education creates the ability to make informed decisions in adulthood.