The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins
Society and Class Quotes in The Hunger Games
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
You can see why someone like Madge, who has never been at risk of needing a tessera, can set him off. The chance of her name being drawn is very slim compare to those of us who live in the Seam. Not impossible, but slim. And even though the rules were set up by the Capitol, not the districts, certainly not Madge's family, it's hard not to resent those who don't have to sign up for the tesserae. (1.51)
The tesserae make the poor in District 12 more vulnerable during the reaping (that is, the selection of the tributes). The result is a tension between the upper and lower classes, such as we see in the interaction between Gale and Madge, the rich mayor's daughter.
I try to imagine assembling this meal myself back home. Chickens are too expensive, but I could make do with a wild turkey. I'd need to shoot a second turkey to trade for an orange. Goat's milk would have to substitute for cream. We can grow peas in the garden. I'd have to get wild onions from the woods. I don't recognize the grain, our own tessera rations cook down to an unattractive brown mush. Fancy rolls would mean another trade with the baker, perhaps for two or three squirrels. As for the pudding, I can't even guess what's in it. Days of hunting and gathering for this one meal and even then it would be a poor substitution for the Capitol version. (5.26)
The Capitol is a place of seemingly infinite wealth, especially compared with District 12. One meal of theirs, as Katniss notes, would take her days to assemble. How does this make life in the Capitol different?
I can't win. Prim must know that in her heart. The competition will be far beyond my abilities. Kids from wealthier districts, where winning is a huge honor, who've been trained their whole lives for this. Boys who are two to three times my size. Girls who know twenty different ways to kill you with a knife. Oh, there'll be people like me, too. People to weed out before the real fun begins. (3.13)
Much like the reaping, the Hunger Games favor the rich: those who can afford the time and training it takes to compete. The Career Tributes (those who have been preparing for the Games all their lives) are therefore at an incredible advantage.