6 Life Lessons from The Hunger Games

“The Hunger Games” undeniably took the world by storm, first by the novels and then by the films. The fact that this series targeted a younger audience did not deter people of all ages, both men and women, from diving right into the storyline. We all feel connected to the characters as if we knew them on a personal level.

When Katniss sacrificed herself for her sister, it pulled at our heartstrings; after the announcement that two victors could win the overall games, we felt hope for Katniss and Peeta; when Rue’s district began the uprising, we felt pride for the underdog.

The underlying meaning behind the interactions present in “The Hunger Games” taught us valuable lessons and ones that can be applied to any, and all aspects of life.

  • Be selfless.

Even those not familiar with the franchise have heard the words: “I volunteer as tribute.” This simple sentence launched District Twelve’s first female victor of the Hunger Games: Katniss Everdeen. Those who have read the novels and seen the films are aware that Katniss’ name was never supposed to be drawn in the reaping – it was her sister, Primrose, whose name was called.

Vividly aware of the violent fate that would await Prim in the arena, Katniss made the ultimate sacrifice on her sister’s behalf. If she had stayed silent and watched quietly from a distance as Prim was slaughtered in the arena, the ground that Panem stood upon would never have been shifted. Deceptively simple, selflessness was the catalyst for not only Katniss and Peeta’s victory, but also the revolution against the Capitol as a whole.

  • People are not always who they appear to be.

Effie may appear air-headed and self-absorbed at first, but as the novels progresses, she proves herself to be a loyal, caring friend and ally to Katniss and Peeta. Peeta appears to be lying about having feelings for Katniss at first, but it doesn’t take long for her to figure out his feelings are genuine. Heavensbee, a Game Maker, is also revealed to be on Katniss’ side as well as a rebel.

This just proves the old say – Never judge a book by its cover.

  • Be self-sufficient.

Katniss would be nothing without her ability to fend for herself. Not only is she a wizard with a bow, but she is also resourceful, innovative, and intelligent. She harnessed her best traits and utilized them to her advantage.

At the end of the day, your survival is contingent upon yourself. You need to realize what it is that you personally need to strive and to prosper.

  • Be kind to your enemies.

Katniss sees the humanity in her competitors. Rue may never have been Katniss’ enemy outside the arena, but they were supposed to be enemies in the Games. Rue and Katniss genuinely cared about each other and wanted to help each other, perhaps an understated yet powerful statement against the Capitol and the Hunger Games. 

Katniss’ simple gesture of kindness to Rue, even in her death, earned her respect and started a movement in the Districts against the evils of the Capitol. A single act of kindness can spark change like wildfire.

  • Know when to break the rules.

One of the best facets Katniss’ character is her refusal to obey orders blindly, and do what everyone expects from her district. From her more refined table manners to hunting boldly in front of authorities, she knows when to fall in line and when to shoot an arrow through authority.

Remember to always question things that you hear and remain true to yourself at your core. Choosing to do the right thing is nearly always the correct choice to make – regardless of who tells you otherwise.

  • Stay true to who you are until the very end.

Peeta explains to Katniss the night before the Hunger Games, “If I die, I still want to be me.” Just because the government is seeking control of everything and everyone, he is not standing for it. Despite being forced into the arena, he wants his character to remain intact.

If you sacrifice your individuality, you will risk losing your identity. At the end of the day, isn’t it most important to stay true to your values and beliefs? Don’t conform to someone else’s idea if it is not something you believe in. People will respect you a hell of a lot more if you are confident in your motives and beliefs.

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