Story Deconstruction: The Hunger Games Part 6

Last post in this series we discussed the mid-point shift. Today, we’ll work up to the second pinch point, which happens neatly in the middle of the halfway and three-quarter points of the story.

From the 4/8 to 5/8 mark of the story, a whole lot happens. Before the 4/8 mark Katniss has reacted and responded and prepared, but she has not really acted, not until she killed some of her opponents with the tracker jackers.

And right after that scene, we go right into a sequel. Her two days of enduring the poison are summarized in a few paragraphs. She is reminded a little of home, but just a few sentences worth, not enough for a real flashback.

Re-reading this part of the book, I count the alliance with Rue as part of the sequel. Because in their conversations, they recount their dilemma: they can not win against the Careers if the Careers aren’t hungry. And so, they make a plan of attack. (Reaction, Dilemma, Decision).

The scene begins as Katniss goes to the camp and destroys it. We get a moment-by-moment account of what happens. And her actions are not without consequences; she wins (the food is destroyed) but she loses (she gets hurt).

Another sequel, as she waits it out. Back into another scene when she tells herself that Rue must be alive and she goes looking for her. Make no mistake that Katniss “accidentally” calls Rue by her sister’s name. We need to know how important Rue is to Katniss and likely a savvy reader would know what happens next.

Rue dies, killed by the boy from District 1. And without too much warning, we’re thrust into the second pinch point. In case, for a moment, we would be confused as to who the real enemy here is, Katniss tells us:

To hate the boy from District 1, who also appears so vulnerable to death, seems inadequate. It’s the Capitol I hate, for doing this to all of us.

The sequence continues and Katniss honors her friend.

The next story landmark we’re looking for is the second plot point, and the text from the 5/8 mark to the 6/8 mark will take us right to it!

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3 Responses to Story Deconstruction: The Hunger Games Part 6

  1. Pingback: NaNo: Scene and Sequel | Barb Rude

  2. I think it’s hard to tell what the second Pinch Point is. I think it’s between Rue’s death (b/c of the Capitol) Or the game twist (two tributes can win). Or perhaps there are two! Afterall, the primary antagonistic force (Game makers) are the ones in charge of the game rules… And we do learn later on that this was just a move on their part to rev up the “love story”. In the end, it was a lie for drama.

    • barb says:

      Obviously I’m in the camp of Rue’s death being the second pinch… but here’s why I disagree that Two-Can-Win twist is a pinch: It does change what Katniss can do, and it is the Gamemakers exploiting their absolute power, but it does not actually set the protag back. It moves her forward. It gives her hope (false hope, it’s true!). In Story Engineering’s definition of Pinch, we’re supposed to see the protag hurt, her plans destroyed. In this case, it’s her alliance with Rue. And there is one strange thing about that as a pinch: the Capitol was only indirectly involved with Rue’s death. Sure, it’s the bad guy who put them all in that situation in the first place, but it wasn’t as direct as, for example, the time where they sent fire at Katniss to corral her towards the fight. In the case of Rue’s death, it was just a little bad luck with another tribute finding her. The Capitol didn’t seem to do anything to kill her–other than administer the Games.

      Thanks for the discussion and thoughts. 🙂

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