One of my greatest peeves regarding The Hunger Games, amongst a host of others—-I’m not too fond the series, in short (Where in the world are the Asians, seeing as this is meant to be a futuristic America? Why do all the African American characters–Rue, Cinna, and Thresh–end up dead?)—is how unrealistic the tributes’ reactions are to being thrown into an arena where they are forced to fight to the death.
There are no panic attacks, no breakdowns; the kids (yes, they’re only teenagers) segue instantly into warrior-mode, and are suddenly able to kill and evade those who want to kill them without blubbering or going crazy. If you or I were actually in a situation where we were forced to fight to the death, we would most likely lose our wits, not get a surge of adrenaline and jump right into getting our hands dirty. Despite the fact that grown men who have had years of training still freeze up in the midst of battle or go crazy from the pressure and the constant exposure to carnage, all the teenagers in the book, at least while in the arena, remain remarkably sane, even after killing others, or narrowly missing death themselves.
It doesn’t make any sense.
But nevermind that. Let’s consider, as the title of this post suggests, what would happen if an INFP were to be chosen as one of the twelve tributes in the next Hunger Games.
First, once the realisation hits, one can expect a great deal of crying, with perhaps a panic attack or two thrown in for good measure. When meeting with her family, most likely for the last time, the INFP will probably sob and beg for them not to take her away, though of course, her pleas will be disregarded.
On the train ride to the Capitol she (or he, but for the convenience of this piece I’ll just refer to the INFP in question in the feminine) will most likely become very, very quiet, and sink into a deep state of existential depression, spending lots of time in her cabin, lying in bed and staring up at the ceiling, or watching the scenery stream past outside the window, pondering over the meaninglessness of death
Eventually, two things will happen. Either the INFP will resign herself to her fate, simply because she has no choice, or she will attempt suicide and then resign herself to her fate after she is unsuccessful in ending her life, not because the knife didn’t penetrate deep enough, but because she found herself unable to stick it into herself in the first place. The attempt will be conducted so secretly, and with so little success, she won’t even kept on close watch by the Capitol authorities so she isn’t able to do it again.
The Capitol is certain to disgust the INFP to a greater extent than the other tributes in the way it flaunts wealth, consumerism and exploitation. Anger will grow in the INFP at the sight of the lavish lifestyles of Capitol citizens enjoy while those living in the districts are poor and starving, smoldering like an old flame beneath her soft exterior, which she will most likely release by eating herself sick, or entertaining private fantasies of revenge.
At the training centre, where she gets a good look at the other tributes for the first time, the INFP will be highly intimidated. If you think about it, being chosen to fight in the violent Hunger Games is kind of the worst situation for a peace-loving person like the INFP to be in. Therefore she is likely to make a wide berth of the dangerous weapons most useful for survival, as well as the other tributes, perhaps even give a little shudder at the keen sharpness of the knives, and spend the sessions keeping her head down and fiddling with ropes and memorizing edible plants.
If she is a little sociable, she might attempt to convince the other tributes to move towards harmony by promising to not to kill each other in the arena and letting the Gamekeepers pick them off one by one instead. As her reasoning will go, if they refuse to kill each other, they will be able to, in their own small way, rebel against the Capitol, as it denies its citizens a good show. Some will consider the idea, but others, the more realistic, will tell her, with a little pity in their voice, that once in the arena, all promises are nothing more than air. If just one person kills, then everyone will start to kill, and the prize, a life free from economic penury, is too tantalising for everyone to resist. No-one will approach her for an alliance in advance, or pay her much attention, because she is too weak to be considered a true threat. In that assumption, they will be correct.
Likewise, during the televised interviews, the INFP is likely to be unmemorable, very shy and awkward, too anxious to reveal any of her deep-seated anger in her answers to Caesar Flickerman’s questions. Her performance in front of the judges will likely involve tying a little fancy knot, and for that, she will receive a score of 1, or 2 if it was a particularly interesting knot and the judges were feeling particularly generous and tipsy by the time it was her turn.
At this point the other tributes will see her as nothing more than a flea, easily flicked out of the way, and if there is someone else also shy and scared amongst the tributes, the INFP is sure to have sensed them and befriended them by now, because in life the frightened and awkward usually have only each other for comfort.
The night before the tributes are released into the arena, the INFP is sure to have another breakdown, a serious one this time, bordering on psychosis, because her imagination will be very good at envisioning how the next day will play out. It will most likely not have a good ending. She will try and find a way to escape, running drunkenly everywhere through the building searching for hiding places or exits, and eventually be found by Capitol staff, weeping and hysterical, and be tranquilised.
When she next awakens, she will find herself in the glass tube traveling traveling slowly upwards into the light. Again, she will become hysterical, start beating at the glass, sobbing, crying out, the thought of composure and preparing herself for the battle ahead never crossing her mind. When the tube finally rises completely into the sunshine, and the countdown begins, the INFP might, if especially brave, deliberately step off the platform early and get blown up than be killed at the hand of someone else, or forced to kill another human being.
More likely, however, when the countdown ends, she will start running for her life towards the woods. Under no circumstances would an INFP ever risk visiting the Cornucopia, as that would mean willingly putting herself in conflict. Instead, if she is not killed in the initial bloodbath, she will keep on running through the woods, crying and panting and hysterical, until she can run not a step further.
It is then, lost and broken and frightened, that she will reach an epiphany, and resolve to win the Games for the sake of her family and her district, to use her victory as a way to rebel against the Capitol. As she made herself seem less of a threat in the beginning, she will go on to evade and slyly kill the other tributes without them ever knowing what hit them, win the Games, and return home traumatized but alive.
She’ll probably just try climb a tree and conceal herself amongst the foliage, or find some other hiding place inside or under some bushes. There she will stay, in her hiding place, still and quiet, too afraid to expose herself and search for food and water, and if the Gamekeepers don’t interfere, the INFP will probably die, after trying to eat leaves or bark for several days, of thirst.
Because let’s face it, the chances of an INFP winning the Hunger Games are exactly nil.