What is the Reaping in The Hunger Games?

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In The Hunger Games, a 2008 young adult novel by Suzanne Collins which was followed by two sequels (2009's Catching Fire and 2010's Mockingjay), "reaping" or "the reaping" was an annual civic event in which two youths would be randomly selected from each of the twelve districts of the nation of Panem to compete in the eponymous gladiator contest the Hunger Games.

The only detailed textual description given of a reaping in the book occurs in chapters one and two. According to it, the name of each youth between the ages of 12 and 18 within a district would be placed in a container and--during a public event--a representative from the Capitol would blindly select that of one male and one female. Each youth within a district would have their name placed in the container one time, buth could choose to have their names placed in the container additional times in exchange for allocations of foodstuffs. The two persons selected within a district during the reaping were known as "tributes."

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what is the reaping

The reaping is the annual selection of tributes for the Hunger Games. Each district's tributes are chosen via drawing slips of paper from two glass balls. One ball contains the names of potential male tributes; the other, the female tributes. In order to qualify for reaping, one must be at least twelve years old. Attendance at the reaping ceremony is compulsory on pain of imprisonment; only those on their deathbeds are given permission not to attend.

In District 12, where Katniss Everdeen lives, the reaping takes place in the so-called Hall of Justice. On this particular occasion, Katniss's sister, Primrose, is chosen to represent District 12 in the Hunger Games, along with Peeta Mellark. Katniss is horrified at the news and immediately volunteers to take her sister's place. She is allowed to do so, so it will be Katniss who will now go on to compete for the honor of District 12 in the forthcoming Hunger Games.

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What is "the reaping"?

The Hunger Games is narrated by Katniss Everdeen, and she mentions the reaping in the very first paragraph of the book. Readers might feel a bit wary about it; however, we have no real reason to think that the reaping is good or bad until the sixth usage of the term.

Tonight. After the reaping, everyone is supposed to celebrate. And a lot of people do, out of relief that their children have been spared for another year. But at least two families will pull their shutters, lock their doors, and try to figure out how they will survive the painful weeks to come.

Those sentences make it clear that the reaping is most definitely something ominous. It is more than a boring town meeting or a gathering where bad news is given. Something evil happens at a reaping.

As readers continue reading the story, we will come to understand just how horrible a reaping is. A reaping is an annual event that takes place in every single district prior to that year's Hunger Games. The reaping is the gathering that chooses by lottery process which two tributes will compete in the Hunger Games. The lottery system randomly chooses one male and one female tribute. The tributes must be at least twelve years of age, and all kids are forced to put their name in the lottery through the age of eighteen. To make matters worse, the entries for each contestant are cumulative. This means that a twelve-year-old will enter his or her name once, but a thirteen-year-old must enter his or her name twice. This continues through the age of eighteen, which means that the child must enter his or her name a minimum of seven times. I say minimum because a child can apply for tesserae. The advantage to applying for tesserae is that it comes with food rationing for a year. The disadvantage is that the child is required to add his/her name into the reaping an additional time.

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