The following table presents a timeline of the events of The Hunger Games, the first book in the popular series by Suzanne Collins. It focuses specifically on the passage of time by paying attention to details about days and nights.
This timeline is intended for an audience that has already read the book. Beware of spoilers. Yet, at the same time, this is not intended to be a synopsis of the book, so there are major plot points that are left unmentioned.
Tue - 0 DPR (see notes 1 and 2)
Reaping Day. Katniss volunteers to take her sister's place as tribute. Katniss says goodbye to her family and friends and boards a train to the Capitol. Haymitch passes out drunk, and Peeta cleans him up and puts him to bed.
Wed - 1 DPR
The train arrives at the Capitol. The opening ceremonies take place. Katniss meets the red-haired Avox and speaks with Peeta on the roof for the first time.
Thu - 2 DPR
The first day of group training.
Fri - 3 DPR
The second day of group training. Peeta points out Rue to Katniss.
Sat - 4 DPR
The third day of group training. Private sessions with the Gamemakers are held in the afternoon, and scores are announced that evening.
Sun - 5 DPR
Katniss and Peeta are coached for their televised interviews. That night, Katniss apologizes to the Avox girl.
Mon - 6 DPR
The televised interviews take place. Katniss speaks with Peeta on the roof for the second time.
Tue - 7 DPR
The Hunger Games begin. That night, Katniss sees that Peeta has teamed up with the career tributes.
Wed - 8 DPR
Katniss searches unsuccessfully for water and spends the night sleeping in a tree.
Thu - 9 DPR
Katniss finds water. Her night is interrupted by the fire.
Fri - 10 DPR
Katniss finds a pool and soothes her leg. She climbs a tree to escape the career tributes. With Rue's help, she plans to drop a nest of tracker jackers on them.
Sat - 11 DPR
Katniss drops the tracker jacker nest on the careers. She gets the bow and arrows before passing out.
Sun - 12 DPR (see note 3)
Katniss is unconscious.
Mon - 13 DPR
Katniss forms an alliance with Rue. They start planning to attack the career tributes' food supply.
Tue - 14 DPR
Katniss blows up the food, losing her hearing in the process.
Wed - 15 DPR
Katniss regains hearing in one ear. Rue is killed.
Thu - 16 DPR
The Gamemakers announce that two tributes from the same district can win.
Fri - 17 DPR
Katniss finds Peeta and treats his wounds. They spend the night in the cave.
Sat - 18 DPR
Peeta develops blood poisoning. The feast is announced that evening.
Sun - 19 DPR
Katniss goes to the feast. She gets medicine for Peeta and returns to the cave. She passes out right after she administers the shot.
Mon - 20 DPR (see note 4)
Katniss and Peeta continue to wait in the cave during a rainstorm.
Tue - 21 DPR
Katniss and Peeta are still stuck in the cave due to the rain. Katniss plays up their romance and is rewarded with a large meal from Haymitch. That evening, Katniss and Peeta discover that Thresh has died.
Wed - 22 DPR
Katniss and Peeta go hunting and find the poison berries.
Thu - 23 DPR
Katniss and Peeta discover that the pools and streams have dried up, forcing them to the lake. Peeta's leg is wounded by the muttations. They spend the night on the Cornucopia.
Fri - 24 DPR
The Hunger Games ends. Katniss is tranquilized. She sleeps on and off, unaware of how much time has passed.
Mon - 27 DPR (?) (see note 5)
Katniss wakes and her reunion with Peeta is televised to the nation. They attend the Victory Banquet.
Tue - 28 DPR (?)
Katniss and Peeta have their final televised interviews. They board the train for District 12. Katniss confesses her confused feelings to Peeta.
Wed - 29 DPR (?)
Katniss and Peeta arrive back in District 12.
Notes Regarding the Timeline
1 The book doesn't give a specific date for when these things occur, so I've labeled the days by the number of days that have elapsed since Reaping Day. The term "DPR" means "Days Past Reaping."
2 The days of the week were determined from the book's narrative. On the fifth day after the reaping, the narrative tells us that it is a Sunday.
3 The passage of time is not at first clear during the narrative, as Katniss is unconscious after being stung by tracker jackers. But when she forms an alliance with Rue, Rue informs her about how much time has passed.
4 The passage of time is again unclear when she passes out after administering medication to Peeta. At first, Peeta tells her he's not sure how long she's been asleep, since she was already sleeping when he woke up. However, he tells Katniss that he woke up "yesterday evening," and then later says that he saw Clove's picture in the sky that night, so that tells us he must have woken up the same day that Katniss returned to the cave, and Katniss awoke the following day.
5 Katniss once again loses track of time immediately after the Hunger Games end, as she is drugged and sleeps most of the time (waking from time to time to eat) for an "indeterminate" length of time. I have guessed three days, since the book mentions that there are usually "a few" days between the end of the games and the final interviews.
As the timeline makes clear, twenty-four days pass from Reaping Day until the final winners are known. It is another five days before they reach their homes and their loved ones. Understanding this caused me to appreciate the plight of the characters involved even more than I had before. Because of the book's fast pace and quick readability, it is easy to lose sight of just how much time is passing for Katniss, Peeta, and the other tributes during this book. Knowing just how much time passes from the day of the reaping until the day the winners return to their districts adds to the horror of the games for not only the contestants, but their loved ones back home in their districts who must endure watching them unfold.
me on August 30, 2019:
thank you i have a summer packet and this really helped withnmy summary
Jimmy John on December 06, 2018:
I actually hate Hunger Games but I have to read in in a Reading Group so these will work out great for my answers thx
Sarah Kenatz (author) from Kansas, USA on May 05, 2013:
I probably won't have a similar timeline for all of Catching Fire, because the action in that book is reported differently. The Hunger Games actually gives a day-by-day report of the day's events and is careful to note the transitions between day and night. If I recall correctly (and it has been a few months since I read it so I could be mistaken!), Catching Fire takes place over a longer span of time in the first half of the book without making reference to the passage of each day, and a comparatively short span of time in the second half of the book. I'm just not sure it's suited for this kind of analysis.
Becki Rizzuti from Indiana, USA on March 20, 2013:
This table is actually really useful. Think you'll do one for Catching Fire?
sji on January 19, 2013:
nice book but better than the movie of course
Sarah Kenatz (author) from Kansas, USA on October 17, 2012:
I'm not sure I would've enjoyed the movie quite as much if I hadn't read the book first. I think there were a few things that were left unexplained in the movie (although it's hard for me to know for sure, since I read the book first and so was aware of the things that were left out of the movie). Thanks for the comment!
JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on October 16, 2012:
Nice day to day summary of the Hunger Games. I really enjoyed the book. The movie also held on its own. But just like any other book junkie, I prefer reading.
There are some books that I like reading over and over this is one of them. Thanks for whetting my appetite to read it once more.