Hunger Games - FOOD and the REAPING

FOOD and the REAPING (Illustration) Civil Rights Film Geography Social Studies STEM Ethics Fiction Dystopia or Science Fiction

Reaping is associated with harvesting food—as depicted in this painting, entitled "A Finished Study for Reaping," which British artist John Linnell created in 1858. The government of Panem associates "Reaping" with harvesting children, from each of the country's Districts, to fight each other to the death. Image online via Wikimedia Commons.


Katniss and Prim Everdeen are not the only children whose father died in a terrible mine explosion.  Gale Hawthorne's father was also killed in the same event.

Without their fathers, Katniss (age 11) and Gale (age 13) became instantly responsible for hunting and gathering food for their families.  Food, however, has always been scarce in the Seam.

If food is scarce in the Seam, how can Katniss (now 16) and Gale (now 18) feed their families?

The Seam is near District 12's border with an adjacent forest.  Although The Capitol does not allow anyone to leave the district for the forest, Katniss and Gale disregard the government's orders.  They know it is impossible to gather plants and hunt animals in the Seam.  They have to work the forest, in addition to growing their gardens. 

Although they are not legally permitted to leave District 12, the two teenagers decide for themselves which path to follow.  Government regulations are significantly less-important to them than the well-being of their families. 

Katniss, who was very close to her father when he was alive, knows how to use a bow and arrow.  Her father taught her archery, among other things, and she remembers what he said. 

Patient, when it comes to hunting prey, Katniss has great instincts for finding birds and squirrels.  She also knows what plants to gather or avoid - some are edible, some are poisonous - because her father showed her pictures. 

It's a great day when she finds in-season Katniss tubers.  Delicious when roasted, those "duck potatoes" are a treat for the Everdeens.  If she has more than enough food to feed her family, Katniss can trade some of her trophies for other things, such as bread.

Because of its location near the coal mines, the Seam is not the best place to grow and harvest food.  Yet, the individuals who run The Capitol use the Seam - like they use other areas throughout the 12 Districts - as a place to harvest something else.  That something else is ... children. 

Children - between the ages of twelve and eighteen - are selected, once each year, to participate in "The Hunger Games." 

Pairing "hunger" with "games" is a concept envisioned by individuals who are never hungry (because they run the government) and who always play games (because they can).  They are people able to distort reality, at will, because they have both the power and the tools to do so. 

Panem's Capitol - take a tour via the link - is filled with consumers, not producers.  It is populated by takers, not givers.  It is crowded with those who value themselves, not others. 

The government of Panem is run by people who use the word "reaping" - the idea of "harvest," when farmers remove their crops from the fields and get them ready for consumers - as the way to select Hunger-Game participants. 

The Capitol, in other words, reaps Panem's children in order to consume them.  Children become part of the food supply feeding a corrupt society's need for violent, live entertainment.  Even Roman gladiators were not 12-year-old children!

Panem's government calls the Hunger-Game participants "Tributes."  That name was similarly used, long ago, in Greek mythology.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Mar 01, 2012

Updated Last Revision: May 08, 2015

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"FOOD and the REAPING" AwesomeStories.com. Mar 01, 2012. Feb 27, 2020.
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