What is the importance of setting in the book/movie The Hunger Games?

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As in any dystopian novel, The Hunger Games(all of the novels and films in the series) establishes a specific setting that is similar to our world in some ways but also vastly different, highlighting the danger and fear felt by those who inhabit it.

Suzanne Collins sets The Hunger...

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As in any dystopian novel, The Hunger Games (all of the novels and films in the series) establishes a specific setting that is similar to our world in some ways but also vastly different, highlighting the danger and fear felt by those who inhabit it.

Suzanne Collins sets The Hunger Games series in a near-future United States. The country, though, is now called Panem and is broken into 13 districts and a capitol, where the government is based. Each district is basically specialized around one resource, and District 12, where protagonist Katniss Everdeen lives, is a coal-mining district. Life in District 12 is very bare-bones; the Everdeen family and many of their neighbors are poor. Katniss's father was killed in an explosion at the mine, and her mother is emotionally fragile (at least at the start of the series). Therefore, Katniss uses her hunting skills and strong will to keep her family alive, namely to protect her younger sister, Prim. Hunting is illegal, though, and there are other strict rules over the lives of the people in Panem.

The most egregious abuse of the government is the annual Hunger Games, where each district must send one male and one female child/teen to compete in a battle to the death. When Prim is called at the reaping, Katniss swiftly volunteers to take her sister's place.

Once Katniss is part of the Games, she is escorted to the Capitol for a period of training and preparation. While in the Capitol, Katniss witnesses the extravagance of those who live there. This is especially vivid in the film, where we can see the colorful, frilly outfits of the Capitol citizens and their excessive makeup. They see the Games as entertainment; they get excited about them, choose favorites, and bet on winners. There is even a parade and an interview show with each "contestant" before the Games begin. The scenes in the Capitol showcase the wide gap between those in District 12 and those in the Capitol. Katniss and fellow competitor Peeta are treated to the best food and lodgings, but this is only as preparation for their seemingly inevitable deaths in the competition.

Once the Games themselves begin, the "tributes" are transported to the "arena" in which they will compete. The first book and film showcase a forest arena. Later in the series, Catching Fire features an arena surrounded by watery areas. In the final book and films, Mockingjay, the characters are mostly in the Capitol, but they also stay in the supposedly-destroyed District 13 and make a return trip to District 12 to see its ruins.

All of the settings in The Hunger Games series serve to portray a complex dystopian society and to draw contrasts between the lifestyles of the few and those of the many.

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The setting for this story is important, because it makes the world that everything takes place in somewhat believable to readers. The author has created a dystopian world of the future in which teenagers are made to fight to the death for entertainment purposes. It's reminiscent of the movie The Running Man, which also takes place in the future. This somewhat science fiction setting is necessary, because it far removes the reader from the current world. The basic premise is so unbelievable that it only works in a future science fiction world. The setting is also necessary in order to set up the incredibly overdone standard hero set up. A standard heroic journey introduces the hero in an non-heroic, mundane fashion. Katniss is from one of the poorest districts, and she's been reduced to breaking the law in order to feed herself and her family. Setting Katniss in this initial setting allows for her story arch to follow a classic underdog path complete with help from "odd" and "mystical" helpers like Cinna and Haymitch.

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The setting inThe Hunger Gamesplays a pivotal role in revealing the differences between the Capitol and the Districts, as well as

Collins uses the setting to differentiate between the conspicuous consumption found in the Capitol and the 'have-nots' of the Districts.  The setting of the Capitol is decadent and larger than life, where "although evening is fallin, the "City Circle is brigher than a summer's day" (124).

Katniss feels over-whelmed by the luxury of her quarters, where everything is "plush" and "have so many automatic gadgets that [she's] sure [she] won't have tim to press all the buttons" (75).

The Capitol represents a life of leisure and consumerism.  Standing in stark opposition, the Districts reflect hardship and sacrifice, where citizens barter for necessities in "an abandoned warehouse that once held coal" and the local soup seller finds "wild dog" a welcome ingredient, because "once it's in the soup, [she'll] call it beef" (11).   The Districts focus merely on trying to survive from moment to moment with families who:

 "will pull their shutters, lock their doors, and try to figure out how they will survive the painful weeks to come" (10). 

 Collin's use of setting reveals important details and characterization between the Districts and the Capitol.

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