Collins’ works

Collins is best known as the author of the best selling series The Underland Chronicles and The Hunger Games trilogy (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay), dystopian novels written in the voice of 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in the future, post-apocalyptic nation of Panem in North America.

The plot

The Hunger Games is an annual event in which one boy and one girl aged 12–18 from each of the twelve districts surrounding the Capitol are selected by lottery to compete in a televised battle to the death. The story is narrated by a girl from District 12 who is telling about the process of drawing for the 74th Hunger Games, when her 12-year-old sister, Primrose is chosen by bad chance.

1. Read the excerpt from the novel and suggest what the heroine’s next words will be.


The rules of the Hunger Games are simple. In punishment for the uprising, each of the twelve districts must provide one girl and one boy, called tributes, to participate. The twenty-four tributes will be imprisoned in a vast outdoor arena that could hold anything from a burning desert to a frozen wasteland1. Over a period of several weeks, the competitors must fight to the death. The last tribute standing wins.

Taking the kids from our districts, forcing them to kill one another while we watch — this is the Capitol’s way of reminding us how totally we are at their mercy. How little chance we would stand of surviving another rebellion.

Whatever words they use, the real message is clear. “Look how we take your children and sacrifice them and there’s nothing you can do. If you lift a finger, we will destroy every last one of you. Just as we did in District Thirteen.”

To make it humiliating2 as well as torturous3, the Capitol requires us to treat the Hunger Games as a festivity, a sporting event pitting every district against the others. The last tribute alive receives a life of ease4 back home, and their district will be showered with prizes, largely consisting of food. All year, the Capitol will show the winning district gifts of grain and oil and even delicacies like sugar while the rest of us battle starvation.

“It is both a time for repentance and a time for thanks,” intones the mayor. ...

Through the crowd, I spot5 Gale looking back at me with a ghost of a smile. As reapings6 go, this one at least has a slight entertainment factor. But suddenly I am thinking of Gale and his forty-two names in that big glass ball and how the odds are not in his favor. Not compared to a lot of the boys. And maybe he’s thinking the same thing about me because his face darkens and he turns away. “But there are still thousands of slips7,” I wish I could whisper to him.

It’s time for the drawing8. Effie Trinket says as she always does, “Ladies first!” and crosses to the glass ball with the girls” names. She reaches in, digs her hand deep into the ball, and pulls out a slip of paper. The crowd draws in a collective breath9 and then you can hear a pin drop, and I’m feeling nauseous and so desperately hoping that it’s not me, that it’s not me, that it’s not me.

Effie Trinket crosses back to the podium, smoothes the slip of paper, and reads out the name in a clear voice. And it’s not me.

It’s Primrose Everdeen. …

Somewhere far away, I can hear the crowd murmuring10 unhappily, as they always do when a twelve-year-old gets chosen, because no one thinks this is fair. And then I see her, the blood drained from her face11, hands clenched in fists12 at her sides, walking with stiff, small steps up towards the stage, passing me, and I see the back of her blouse has become untucked13 and hangs out over her skirt. It’s this detail; the untucked blouse forming a duck’s tail, that brings me back to myself.

“Prim!” The strangled14 cry comes out of my throat, and my muscles begin to move again.

“Prim!” I don’t need to shove through15 the crowd. The other kids make way immediately, allowing me a straight path to the stage. I reach her just as she is about to mount the steps. With one sweep16 of my arm, I push her behind me.

1) an ugly often devastated or barely inhabitable place or area

2) extremely destructive to one’s self-respect or dignity

3) painfully difficult or slow

4) a comfortable life, without problems

5) notice, or recognize (someone or something) that is difficult to detect

6) cutting/harvesting grain from (a field)

7) small sheets of paper

8) lottery

9) to breathe more slowly

10) to complain about something that you disagree with, but not in a public way

11) immediately become pale because you are shocked or frightened

12) press or be pressed tightly together, especially with anger or so as to suppress a strong emotion

13) with the edges or ends hanging loose; not tucked in

14) a weak, high, interrupted sound made by an extremely frightened or worried and nervous person

15) to push along

16) movement

2. Answer the questions according to the text.

1) Outline Panem’s history. Focus on its development as well as the function and rules of the Hunger Games as officially presented by the Capitol. Why did the President decide on the Hunger Games?

2) Describe the Reaping system. How is it unfair? How many kids come from each district? Do children from the Capitol have to participate in the Hunger Games?

3) Analyze the narrator’s situation and her attitude to Panem and the way the Hunger Games are presented. Focus on point of view, choice of words and stylistic devices.

4) What kind of girl is Katniss?

3. Choose one of the following tasks.

1) Discuss the role and the options of an individual like Katniss in a future state like Panem. Refer to the extract as well as work done in class.

2) That night Katniss cannot sleep. She thinks about the day and her decision to volunteer as a tribute instead of her younger sister. In a personal letter to Primrose she expresses her fears and explains the reasons for her decision. Write her letter.

Матеріал до підручника Англійська мова 11 клас Нерсисян, Піроженко 2019

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