by Kristen Palermo

There has been much controversy about the movie The Hunger Games as to whether or not Director Gary Ross portrayed Suzanne Collins’ best-selling novel successfully enough. While Ross incorporates most of the major events and characters in the movie, he leaves out details that are minor enough for the people who did not read the novel to understand the plot. For the book lovers, however, the neglected details, which were creatively crafted by author Suzanne Collins, are not so minor.

A character which plays a large role in the novel, but is left out of the movie, is Madge, the daughter of the mayor of District 12. Katniss admits that she does not have many friends in her district besides Gale, however, Madge is described as one of Katniss’s only friends in school. On the day of the reaping, Madge presents Katniss with an important item, the mocking jay pin. The movie changes this scene entirely; Katniss obtains the mocking jay pin while she is in the Hob therefore eliminating Madge’s character and Katniss’s connection to the mayor from the story line completely.

Katniss’s best friend and confidant, Gale, plays a more heart felt role in the book than in the movie. Although Gale’s emotions during the Games are shown, the profound connection between Katniss and Gale is not. By cutting out the emotional connection between Gale and Katniss, which appears in the novel, Ross is putting less emphasis on the love triangle. Peeta becomes the more favored male character and wins the audience’s heart with ease, whereas much ambiguity clouds the relationship between Peeta and Katniss in the text.

During the scenes which occur in the Capitol, the cuts out the role of the Avox Girl, a mutilated servant. Although she is a minor character, her connection with Katniss is profound. Katniss witnesses the capture of the Avox girl by the government and subsequently regrets not saving the girl when she had the chance.

One of the biggest differences between the novel and the movie is the turn of events which occur in the finale. The mutant dogs, which contribute the the ending of the Games, are in actuality deceased tributes in mutated form. This climactic detail is left out of the movie entirely by downgrading the mutants to savage dog-like creatures. Through this downgrade, the act of revenge which is being displayed by the mutant tributes is removed from the scene.

Collins uses Peeta’s father, the baker, as symbol of unity among the members of District 12. After the reaping, Peeta’s father visits Katniss and tells her that he will make sure her litter sister is eating; he looks out for Prim while Katniss looks out for Peeta. But the audience is robbed of this realization because they do not get the chance to meet the baker.

Even without these details, The Hunger Games is an exceptional movie that is well casted and captures the main plot of the novel. In reality, there is no way the director could have accommodated each and every detail of the novel, but these changes compromise a large portion of the text that readers have become attached to.

To read the opposing argument by Amy Rice, click this link: