The Hunger Games has several themes, but one of the most dominant themes that carries throughout the entire novel is the theme of survival. From the very beginning of the first chapter, Collins introduces a dystopian world in which survival in the Districts does not come easily. From the perspective of her protagonist Katniss, Collins reveals just how difficult daily life in District Twelve and the 'Seam' can be; from scrounging for food, signing up for tesserae, learning how to trap and hunt, Katniss has been honing her survival skills for years before she ever set a foot in the Hunger Games arena.
Katniss proves herself to be a consummate survivor throughout the entire reaping, grooming, and training process before the Games begin; she forces herself to remain mentally tough and focused. Once in the arena, Katniss falls back on her knowledge of hunting and trapping from her life in District Twelve to aid in her survival. The deprivation and hardships she faced in her youth have strengthened her ability and resolve to overcome the challenges within the Hunger Games arena.