The Hunger Games: The Blacks

Some time ago I came across a blog post titled Yes, There are Black People in Your Hunger Games.” Before that moment I had little to no interest in reading the book. Although I recommend it to many of our students at school, I didn’t believe I’d ever read it myself. But then you tell me the book has a few black characters and fans are unhappy with those particular movie casting choices—well, now I need to see what’s really going on.

Hunger Games is a definite page turner. And I especially I like that the author moved toward a future that showcases diversity–even if in the future blacks are returned to a slave lifestyle again. So, there are 2 definite black characters in Hunger Games, both from District 11, the agricultural district. Additionally, there’s another character who’s ethnicity is vague. Wiki has a pretty thorough Hunger Games page that describes the noted characters as such:


Being one of the youngest of the tributes at the age of 12, Rue was naturally the smallest – but this still gave her a heavy advantage for being light on her feet and agile. Suzanne Collins has stated that Rue is African-American,with thick dark hair, dark satiny brown skin and “golden eyes”. She always stood leaning forward, on her toes, with both arms slightly extended. This is how Prim, Katniss’s sister, also stood, which brings back memories of Rue whenever Katniss sees her own sister. This stance made her look like a bird, ready to take flight. Her swift and almost invisible movements through the treetops added to the bird-like description. Rue says that what she enjoys most in life is music, something which greatly confuses Katniss when she considers the hardship Rue has endured on the fields in District 11. She is described as 4′ 8″.


Thresh is adorned with dark brown skin and dark hair. He is described as having strange golden brown eyes. Katniss said that with his massive size, six and a half foot tall, and dark colored skin, he was set with muscles like an ox. He is also known for having the same skin tone as Rue, the female Tribute from his District, but it is mentioned in the book that “the resemblance stops there” in reference to the similarity in appearance between Thresh and the female counterpart from his District. Katniss often thinks of Thresh as a “physical wonder”.


Most people who live in the Capitol follow very absurd fashion trends, however this is not the case for Cinna. The first time he appears in the book, he is described as wearing a simple black shirt with matching pants. His one strange fashion choice is gold eyeliner, which brings out the gold flecks in his green eyes. Katniss describes this as attractive. Other than that, Cinna looks very normal, with short brown hair, which Katniss assumes is not dyed, and green eyes.

Again, Rue and Thresh come from the agricultural district. They work the fields all day and aren’t allowed to take anything that isn’t given to them. The people of their district are brutally beaten or killed for any minor infractions. Sounds kinda like slavery, eh? Excluding Cinna, are these characters stereotypical? Rue loves music and singing. Thresh is big, black, strong, and his presence naturally strikes fear in the other characters.

The truth is, I haven’t read anything this intriguing in awhile. When I decided to read this book, I also decided that I would only read the first book in the series. Now, I’m kinda curious as to where Collins could possibly go from here. 60 pages left.

Happy reading, y’all.


12 thoughts on “The Hunger Games: The Blacks

  1. Thanks for this post! I was debating about reading this book next. My daughter read it last week and is currently reading Catching Fire. She really likes it because she usually doesn’t read in English. your post has intrigued me and I want to read the hunger Games before the film comes out here in France – March 21. I had heard about the black characters. You should check out the series Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman, who is English. It ‘s YA lit and I had the pleasure to read the first book about 2 years ago – interesting!!! I guess I’m going to have to get on this book quick!


    • Thanks for the recommendation. You know I had to look up Noughts & Crosses just to read a quick summary. Might be worthy of a future blog post! Do you have any other black British literature to recommend?


      • Unfortunately no but I’m sure there are more out there. If and when I do find them I’ll let you know. Amazing I sa you just read Wench and Silver Sparrow. They are on my list to read this year. At the moment I’m reading A Mercy and am finding it captivating and informative. Just love Toni Morrison. She has a new book called Home coming out at the beginning of May. Check out Fleur de Curl. She’s done her latest post reviewing Wench. Happy reading…..


    • I took a Black British literature class in college and discovered a few new names. What’s sad is I didn’t even realize that such a thing existed. Yeah, I tried to catch up on my reading list by going through a few titles that I hear people talk about often. I read a sample of A Mercy and never returned to it, but I did read about Morrison’s new book release. I hate that you mentioned it because I’m going to do a blog post on it soon. lol

      Now the tough part is figuring out what I want to read next.


      • I know the feeling. I’m halfway through A Mercy and I’m already trying to line up what I’m reading next. So many goodies and so little time. I have a 50 book challenge this year.


  2. I just finished The Hunger Games too and had decided I wasn’t going to read it until it was on my book club list. I actually enjoyed it and although I get the similarities between slavery and the description of District 11 tributes, I really felt bad for all the tributes except the Careers. I thought it was more classist than racist.

    Naysue, I’ll check out Noughts & Crosses too.


  3. Like you I was kind of skeptical of reading the book until a blog I follow did a read along and I saw the trailer. I loved the book and after you get to the very end, it leaves you wanting more which causes you to read the other two books. When I started reading sites and saw that people were outright pissed about them having blacks in the movie, it disappointed in to no end. However it just reaffirm me on how we have not move so far along as people like to think. Smh…


  4. I enjoyed the Hunger Games’ series! I loved Rue and the actress that plays her is too cute. I didn’t mind Rue and Thresh’s backgrounds because the majority of the book’s characters seemed to be living hard lives. I must admit, I hadn’t thought about reading the book until Lenny Kravitz was attached to the movie. Swoon, swoon, swooon.


  5. I won this novel and just do not have a interest in reading dytopia novels but the reviews for this book is awesome so i might bit or at least go see the movie. love your reviews.


  6. Thanks a million for this exchange. I am always challenged with popularized literature, and the class and race undertones. I want so badly for my children to explore the world of literature. Discussions like this help me in finding authors, and publishers to consider.


  7. I dont think it was Rasist ,especially since none of the charecters had very good lifes, and since both Rue and Thresh were showen in a good light. And maybe Suziane collins,was very intrested in history about slavery, and wanted to show ,that it coud always return, if we are not careful. I also loved Noughts and crosses and read all Melorie Blackman books i coud find , i also loved the Pigs heart boy movie when i was younger.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s