Suzanne Collins, the visionary mind behind the iconic dystopian novel “The Hunger Games,” embarked on a creative journey fueled by a unique blend of inspiration and personal experiences.
The inspiration for the story ignited as Collins engaged in a mundane yet serendipitous activity—channel surfing on television. The convergence of two disparate scenes captured her imagination: the cutthroat competition of a reality show and the stark reality of the Iraq War.
In Collins’ mind, these two seemingly unrelated images began to intertwine and blur, giving birth to the unsettling and captivating premise of “The Hunger Games.”
The Greek myth of Theseus served as a foundational pillar for Collins’ narrative. Drawing parallels between her protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, and the mythic hero Theseus, Collins envisioned a futuristic counterpart navigating a labyrinth of challenges. The Roman gladiatorial games provided an additional framework, infusing the narrative with elements of survival, combat, and societal spectacle.
Beyond mythology and reality television, Collins’ personal history cast a profound shadow over the narrative landscape. The specter of loss, a sentiment she intimately understood through her father’s service in the Vietnam War, found expression in Katniss Everdeen’s character.
Katniss, too, had lost her father at a tender age of 11, setting the emotional tone for the story that unfolds five years later. This intersection of personal experience and creative expression lent depth and authenticity to the character’s journey.
Acknowledging the challenges inherent in crafting a story that explores dark themes, including the deaths of young characters, Collins revealed that these were the most difficult parts of the book to write.
However, she recognized the narrative necessity of such passages, understanding that they contributed to the story’s emotional weight and integrity. Counterbalancing these intense moments, Collins found solace and enjoyment in crafting the reflections of Katniss on happier moments from her past.