The Hunger Games Themes

  • Friendship is a form of resistance in the world of The Hunger Games. Katniss' friendships with Gale, Peeta, Cinna, and Rue help her survive the Hunger Games.
  • Family is also an important theme in the novel. Katniss' love for her sister Prim leads her to volunteer for the Hunger Games. It also motivates her to win the competition.

  • Oppression seems well entrenched in this society, but a single act of courage shakes its foundations and destabilizes the Capitol’s rule.

  • The consequences of materialism are plain in the contrast between the wealthy Capitol and the struggling districts: exploitation enables excess.


Friendship is seen in many forms throughout the novel. Katniss has two important friendships that are also potentially blossoming romances. The first is with Gale, who can relate to the difficult circumstances of providing food and sustenance for a family. Gale has supported Katniss through their struggle to survive in a dreary world. The second friendship is with Peeta, who formed a bond with Katniss the day he gave her bread when they were younger. Peeta becomes an invaluable friend and ally through the chaos and tragedy of the Hunger Games. Katniss also develops a close friendship with Rue, a younger tribute in the Games, who reminds her of her sister, Prim. Rue is a sweet girl, and together they form a friendship that is unusual in the harsh circumstances of the Games. Haymitch is also a friend to Katniss and Peeta, even if an unconventional one. He does the best he can to garner support for District 12 in the Games and ends up giving them good advice. Friendships are forged too between Katniss and her preparation team, especially with Cinna, who is in charge of her outfits. Cinna becomes a silent supporter and is greatly responsible for District 12's success in the arena. Through all of these relationships, friendship is revealed to be a crucial factor in the triumph of Katniss over very barbaric and trying circumstances.

Family is the motivation for Katniss in joining the Hunger Games; it is also what keeps her going through the dangers of the arena and her battles against other tributes. She knows that if she were to die, her family might not survive. It is her relationship with Prim that buoys her and even prompts her unusual friendship with Rue in the Hunger Games arena. Gale too is motivated by family to hunt and to remain in District 12, even though he wants to flee and make a better life for himself. Throughout the novel, family is an integral unit that helps people survive and find...

(The entire section is 645 words.)