On the Hunger Games trilogy

Smoke and Mirrors

Reality vs. Unreality in the Hunger Games
By Elizabeth M. Rees

smoke and mirrors: cover-up; something that is intended to draw attention away from something else that somebody would prefer remain unnoticed

–Encarta World English Dictionary

smoke and mirrors: irrelevant or misleading information serving to obscure the truth of a situation

–Collins English Dictionary

When I was a kid my favorite game was “Let’s Pretend.” Every child plays one version or another. You create a world for a day, or an afternoon, complete with rules, with adventures, with tragedies and silly happenings, everything from tea parties to out-and-out galactic warfare. But then your mom calls you in for dinner, or to do chores or homework, and game time ends. Poof! The pretend world evaporates into thin air, never to exist in exactly the same way again.

But what if it never vanished? What if all that pretense, that make-believe, wasn’t imaginary at all? What if your whole world, day-in and day-out, was made up of pretense, lies, and deceit? What if your life or your death depended on rules that change on a whim? What if to survive at all, you too have to learn to play a game of smoke and mirrors–to master a game constructed of lies, one that you can never control?

Katniss Everdeen, in Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games series, is forced to do just that. Even as Katniss is engulfed in ever more vicious treachery, sinister tricks, and heartbreaking betrayals, her hero’s task is to penetrate the smoke and mirrors that delude herself and others until she can at last distinguish the real from the unreal, both in her own life and in Panem.

Homeschooled in Deception

At the beginning of the first  …

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