The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins
Food, Glorious Food
Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
Anyone else hungry after reading The Hunger Games? We know we were. With all of those descriptions of big hot plates of lamb stew and dishes brimming with orange chicken (and cream sauce!), how could you not be?
Food symbolizes wealth, plenty, and comfort in The Hunger Games; it is the dividing line between the Haves and the Have Nots. (That is, the rich and the poor.)
In the Capitol, food – decadent, sumptuous, and delicious food – is simply everywhere. Any meal you could possibly desire is only a button-push away. This shows very clearly that the people in the Capitol are consumers – they thoughtlessly and wastefully consume tons of food, just like they carelessly consume the lives of the people in the districts.
The constant availability of food is mind-boggling to someone like Katniss:
What must it be like, I wonder, to live in a world where food appears at the press of a button? How would I spend the hours I now commit to combing the woods for sustenance if it were so easy to come by? (5.27)
As Katniss tells us here, food is quite scarce in the poorer districts of the country where starvation is a serious threat. Katniss's entire existence, in fact, is dedicated to gathering the daily food needed by her family. What would her life be like, she wonders, if her family had enough food to eat? What would it mean if Katniss's daily life weren't a battle against hunger?