The Hunger Games (novel, Collins)

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The Hunger Games
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Summary of the Novel
from the Collection «The Hunger Games»

The novel is written on behalf of the main character, Kitniss Everdeen.

Part 1. Tributes

The state of Panem, formed on the North American continent after a series of natural disasters, is divided into twelve parts-districts and the capital, Capitol. There were once thirteen districts, but after a great rebellion, violently suppressed by the authorities, District 13 was completely destroyed. As punishment for the rebellion, the Capitol established the annual Hunger Games, which are televised nationwide. Each district is required to send a boy and a girl to the Games. Twenty-four tribe members kill each other in the Arena. The only surviving winner is assured a rich and prosperous life by the Capitol.

Seventeen-year-old Kitniss Everdeen lives in a poor neighborhood of District 12, whose inhabitants are coal miners. At the age of twelve, after the death of her coal miner father, Kitniss was left as the family's sole support and learned to hunt with a bow. The girl doesn't want to get married and have children who might make it to the Games. Today is Harvest Day, the time to choose the tributes. Kitniss has a good chance of getting into the Arena. The names of the tributes are written on cards that are thrown into two glass balls and pulled out like a lottery.

The rules are that you begin to participate in the Harvest from the age of twelve. The first time your name is entered once, at thirteen it's twice, and so on until you turn eighteen.

A starving poor man could put his name in one more time and get a meager food ration for a year. That's exactly what Kinniss did. Her name will be on 20 cards. The girl is reassured that there will only be one card with her younger sister Prim's name on it.

The reaping takes place in the main square of District 12 and is televised to all of Panem. In addition to the steward from the Capitol, the mayor and Haymitch Ebernathy, the only living winner from District-12, sit on the podium by the two glass balls. To Kitniss's dismay, the usher pulls out a card with Prim's name on it. By law, anyone can replace the tributes by volunteering. That's what Kitniss does, for her weak sister won't last a day in the Arena.

From the minute I stepped into Prim's shoes, something changed - I gained value.

Among the boys, the lot falls on Pete Mellark, the baker's son. Kitniss recalls how Pete saved her family from starvation just after his father died. He purposely ruined two loaves of bread and managed to give them to Kitniss, for which he was punished by his mother. The girl never dared to thank him.

After a heartbreaking farewell to her family, Kitniss and Pete are taken to the Capitol in a luxury train. The steward and Haymitch, the tributes' mentor, ride with them. Winning the Games depends not only on strength and dexterity, but also on the number of sponsors. The more there are, the more often the tributes will receive medicine, food and weapons in the Arena. The Tributes have to please the public. To that end, there is a grand parade before the Games, a training session watched by potential sponsors, and a series of interviews where each grandstander has to show what they can do.

A mentor ... is the only thread that connects the players to the outside world. Someone who gives advice, finds sponsors, and organizes gift giving.

By the end of the trip, Kitniss and Pete manage to bring the drunken Haymitch to his senses and get him to help. For the opening ceremony, they are sewn outfits embraced by tongues of synthetic flame, which produce a sensation. A series of training sessions follows. The Tributes live in a luxurious Training Center, where they are served by the voiceless, political criminals with severed tongues. Haymitch insists that, in public and in front of the other tributes, Kitniss and Pete behave as friends - it will add to their popularity and attract wealthy sponsors.

Nevertheless, there will come a point where we have to quit fooling around and become what we are -- violent adversaries.

Three days later, the individual screenings begin, where the stewards of the Games grade the tributes on a twelve-point scale. Daring Kitniss shoots an arrow at the stewards sitting at the table, knocks an apple out of a roast pig's mouth, and gets eleven points. Then it's the turn of the interview. In front of the whole country, Pete confesses that he has loved Kitniss since she was a child.

Part 2. Games

Kitniss doesn't trust Pete. She thinks he's pretending to be in love in order to get the attention of sponsors and survive in the Arena, and is angry at Pete because of the interview, even though the "unhappy lovers" have already become everyone's favorite. The night before the Games, Kitniss can't sleep. She goes up to the roof of the Center and catches Pete there. He does not expect to survive the Games and wants only one thing: not to break, not to turn into a monster, to die himself. Kitniss, on the other hand, is going to do whatever it takes to win.

I can't go without a fight. I just... want to somehow show the Capitol that I don't belong to it. That I'm more than a pawn in his games.

Early in the morning, the tributes are taken to the Arena, where they must survive for several weeks. For each Games, the Arena is redesigned. It may be a desert, a jungle or an active volcano. Deadly traps are set throughout the Arena, and the main steward sets them off. The 74th Hunger Games begins at the Arena with a lake and a pine forest. Between them, a Horn of Plenty, filled with items, food, and weapons, stands on a troweled platform. At the Horn itself, Kiniss sees a silver bow, but she can't get through there. She follows Haymitch's advice and escapes into the woods. A massacre begins at the Horn. Each tribute's death is announced by a cannon shot, and as darkness falls, the portraits of the dead are highlighted in the night sky.

For several days, Kitniss survives alone, sleeping in the trees, nearly dying of thirst, but finding water in time. Most of all, she fears the tributes from the wealthy districts. There, children are taught to fight from an early age. These tributes are strong and tall, and they often volunteer and win. The other participants in the Games call them pros. At the beginning of the Games, the pros form an alliance and kill the weakest. This is exactly the kind of gang Kitniss notices one night. With amazement, she notices Pete in this company.

From the pros' conversation, Kitniss realizes: they tolerate Pete so they can use him to find and kill her, a dangerous fool who got eleven points.

On the third day of the Games, the girl is caught in the middle of a forest fire. The firewave was summoned by the stewards to keep the Capitol audience from getting bored, because there were no murders that day. Kitniss is bombarded with fireballs, one of which grazes her leg.

By evening, the injured Kitniss is found by the pros, but they can't get to her - the girl is an excellent tree climber. So the pros wait under a tree. In a nearby tree, Katniss spots a little girl from District 11, Ruth. She points out to Kitniss a nest of genetically modified wasps whose stings cause maddening hallucinations. These wasps were bred by the Capitol to fight the rebels. At this time, the first gift from the sponsors, a burn ointment, descends in a silver parachute.

At dawn, Kitniss drops a wasp nest on the pros and takes their bow and quiver of arrows. Kitniss herself is also stung by killer wasps. Through a haze of hallucinations, she sees Pete, who forces her to hide from the pros, and protects her from the strongest, Cato. He wounds Pete with a knife.

Kitniss regains consciousness several days later. The girl gets her own food and makes an alliance with Ruta. They decide to disarm the pros by depriving them of their food supply. While the girl diverts their attention, Kitniss makes her way to the lake and discovers that a huge pile of supplies from the Horn of Plenty has been mined. The girl manages to activate the minefield. The supplies, without which the pros cannot survive in the woods, are destroyed, but Kitniss herself is concussed by the explosion and goes deaf in one ear.

It takes a long time for Kitniss to find Ruta and finds her entangled in a trap net. She doesn't have time to free the little girl - she is killed by one of the pros.

Ruta's death made me feel the injustice being done to us with all my skin.

Now Kitniss, like Pete, wants the Capitol to understand: the Tributes do not belong to it without rest. In protest, she adorns Ruta's body with flowers. Kitniss is exhausted. She hides in a tree until the voice of the Games announcing the changes in the rules comes from above. Now two can win the Games if they are from the same district.

Part 3. Winner

Kitniss goes looking for Pete and finds him badly wounded. She drags Pete into a small cave and tries to heal him. In order to get help from her sponsors, she has to act out her crush. Pete begins to get blood poisoning.

At this time, the host of the Games announces: each of the six surviving tributes by the lake is waiting for the essentials. Kitniss realizes that this is the only place where she can get the cure for Pete. Another surviving pair from Discreet 2 will be waiting for her at the lake. Pete is about to go with her, when another silver parachute brings a strong sleeping pill. Kitniss puts Pete to sleep and goes to get the medicine.

At dawn, a table of numbered backpacks appears at the Horn of Plenty. Kitniss manages to grab the tiny backpack number twelve when she is attacked by a girl from Discreet 2. A strong, tall pro pins Kitniss to the ground and wants to disfigure her. The girl is rescued by Ruta's countryman. After learning that Kitniss was Ruta's ally and destroyed her assassin, he lets the girl go. Wounded, Kitniss struggles to return to the cave, injects Pete with medicine, and loses consciousness. When she comes to, the girl sees Pete almost recovered.

It rains for two days. When it ends, the tributes go hunting. Pete finds poisonous berries. They are stolen by one of the Games participants, she dies, and the tributes are left with three. In the morning, Kitniss discovers that the stewards have drained the springs and streams in the Arena, leaving drinking water only in the lake to drive the remaining tributes to it.

As she approaches the lake, Kitniss spots a guy from Diskrit-2, but her arrows bounce off a tribute draped in chainmail. At this point, the stewards unleash the mutant overbreeders, a mixture of wolf and human. The tributes climb the Horn of Plenty, Pete manages to get wounded. The guy from Discreet 2 grabs Pete to cover him, but Kitniss shoots him in the arm, he falls into the clutches of the renegades and disappears inside the Horn. The girl puts a tourniquet on Pete's leg. They wait all night for the enemy to die, but in the morning he is still alive. Kitniss has to finish him off. Pete and Kitniss expect to be taken from the Arena as winners, but the announcer announces that the new rules have been repealed. There is still only one survivor. Pete asks to kill him, but Kitniss realizes:

Without a winner, all their cunning plans and all the Games are meaningless. The Capitol will be left a fool, and the stewards will be to blame.

Kitniss and Pete are about to eat poison berries when they are stopped by a terrified announcer and declared the winners of the 74th Hunger Games.

Pete's leg is amputated and an elaborate prosthetic is made. The entire Capitol cheers the winners, but Haymitch warns Kitniss that the Panem authorities are furious: the girl has made them a laughingstock. Her only chance to save herself is to play the part of a lover. Pete is unaware of this danger and appears to be in love, but Kitniss does not believe him. Finally they are taken home to District 12. On the way, Kitniss admits to Pete that she was pretending, and is amazed to realize that Pete actually loves her.