Teaching Conflict in The Hunger Games
As one might guess, a book about teens forced to fight to the death on a nationally televised broadcast in an oppressive dystopia provides ample opportunity to teach conflict.
Just about every character has both internal and external conflicts, and your students will want to talk about them, which makes The Hunger Games the perfect text for teaching conflict.
I usually introduce (or review) the four types of conflict near the beginning of the novel…
– person vs. person
– person vs. nature
– person vs. society
– person vs. self
…and then periodically pause during the unit to talk and write about the various conflicts going on at particular points in the plot.
The external conflicts are numerous and obvious. Katniss and the other Tributes face all three types throughout the entire Hunger Games. They are in conflict with society having been forced to participate in the deadly games. They are in conflict with nature while in the diabolical arena. And they are clearly in conflict with each other as they fight to the death.
They all likely also experience inner conflict, though none more than Katniss. Katniss is the perfect character to use when teaching inner conflict (person vs. self).
Katniss has confused feelings for both Peeta and Gale, an inner conflict which she reports on in detail throughout the novel. She also feels very conflicted about having to kill other Tributes.
After we discuss each type of conflict, I usually have my students write a short paragraphs using examples from The Hunger Games.
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