Welcome back to my series talking about the structure of The Hunger Games. I last touched on the first plot point. From there, we are thrust right into a sequel type of scene where Katniss must reconcile what she has done.
It’s no coincidence we’re reminded of her home right after a turning point.
And for the rest of this Part III (the story from the 1/4 mark to the 3/8 mark) we build up to the pinch point (the start of the Games). There is no surprise here, at plot level, though there are a couple character development surprises. Katniss is given a lot of “gifts” before her challenge.
This is interesting because in many other stories, a storyteller would choose to make things worse for his or her protagonist instead of better. For most stories, giving gifts and breaks would make things way too easy. But not for Katniss. We know what’s coming, so her receiving gifts actually increases tension. How will these gifts save her in the future? Will she able to use these things? Will her rash actions with the Gamemakers come to haunt her?
While she can’t sleep the night before the Games, we are taken back to the time she met Gale. Again, no coincidence, we see her trust issues right before Haymitch announces that Peeta wants to train separately. A glimpse of past slamming right into the present.
But that betrayal is a sequence that turns into a gift, of sorts. Peeta’s confession makes the news and comes into play later.
Which brings us to the First Pinch Point. I was going to spend a whole post on it but I don’t think it needs one.
Quite simply, in the First Pinch Point (which begins at the 3/8 mark, though in the Hunger Games it happens right at 39%), the Enemy rears its ugly head. In some stories, it happens offscreen and doesn’t change the story for the protagonist until much later. In others, like the Hunger Games, it has a most immediate effect. The Games begin. The antagonist in this book is the Capitol, no bones about it, they dump Katniss into the arena and make her fight for her life.
And that kicks us off into the next segment, Part IV, which is coming up soon.