What Can We Learn About Social Behavior from The Hunger Games?

Social behaviors in The Hunger Games trilogy on www.hungergameslessons.com

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Effie Trinket—a character from Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games—is the epitome of poise.

Yet, when she tries to teach Katniss and Peeta manners during their sojourns to the Capitol, she doesn't always exhibit the best of them herself. Take, for example, her response to Katniss and Peeta eating with forks in chapter 3 (p. 44); it was quite rude: "'At least, you two have decent manners...The pair last year ate everything with their hands like a couple of savages. It completely upset my digestion.'"
Sociology Connection: What can we learn about social behavior from The Hunger Games?
While Effie personifies prim and proper, she maintains a Capitol arrogance that practically prevents her from exhibiting an ideal etiquette. In fact, Peeta's social graces are probably most socially acceptable. (But ask your students their own opinions. Perhaps they will say Prim, Madge, or even the baker.)

So what can we learn from Effie on correct social behavior? What can we learn from other characters?

One discussion I have with my students while reading Part I of The Hunger Games is the irony of Effie's attitude toward the citizens of District 12. In chapter 6, Effie refers to the district citizens as barbarians. Yet, it is the Capitol citizens who are watching children kill one another for entertainment. Which citizens are the real barbarians?

Using Interactive Notebooks
My Hunger Games (and Catching Fire and Mockingjay) teaching units offer numerous opportunities to use interactive notebooks while reading. For this lesson, have your students create a T-chart with one column labeled District citizens and one column labeled Capitol citizens. (Feel free to make a copy of the Google Docs chart in the link. You can have your students use it as an online collaborative worksheet or an individual reading notebook activity.) Have your students add events, quotes, and examples from throughout the book, then answer the follow-up questions for deeper analysis. Make sure to have your students compare both columns to our own society. What does Panem reveal about us?

Classroom Connections: Social Behavior in The Hunger Games

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