Why is District 12 surrounded by fences?

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In chapter 1 of the first book in the Hunger Games trilogy, protagonist Katniss Everdeen states that the fence, which is meant to be electrified but generally isn't, is there to keep the predators that live in the woods out. These predators are described as "wild dogs, lone cougars and...

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In chapter 1 of the first book in the Hunger Games trilogy, protagonist Katniss Everdeen states that the fence, which is meant to be electrified but generally isn't, is there to keep the predators that live in the woods out. These predators are described as "wild dogs, lone cougars and bears," as well as "flesh-eaters."

As you read the trilogy, however, it becomes apparent that the fence is about a lot more than that. It is one of the myriad ways by which the powers that be in the Capitol attempt to control the lives of those who live in the districts. The fence is designed to restrict the movements of residents of District 12 and prevent them from hunting.

Hunting for Katniss and her close friend Gale Hawthorne is a lifeline and an invaluable source of both food and money. In the early stages of the trilogy, authorities largely turn a blind eye to this hunting activity (largely because the Peacekeepers enjoy the spoils of Katniss and Gale's hunting), but as the rebellion begins and the authorities clamp down on activities in the district, it gets harder and harder for residents of District 12 to hunt.

The electricity in the fence is later turned on, which the author uses to showcase the stricter rules and harsher penalties that residents of District 12 are faced with as the story progresses.

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In The Hunger Games, District 12 is surrounded by fences. The narrator of the story, Katniss Everdeen, lives in District 12. According to her, "Separating the Meadow from the woods, in fact enclosing all of District 12, is a high chain-link fence topped with barbed-wire loops." Katniss shares with us that the fences are there to keep predators such as wild dogs and bears out of the district. Another result of the fences is that the people of District 12 are more easily kept within their district.

While the fences are supposed to be electrified, Katniss finds that they are usually not supplied with electricity. She knows to listen for a hum to determine whether or not the fence is electrified. Katniss is one of the District 12 residents that often ventures beyond the fence into the woods to hunt. While this is against the rules, the Peacekeepers are typically quite forgiving of this activity because "they’re as hungry for fresh meat as anybody is."

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