An Almost Made Up Poem

Paranoia, Panem, and Peeta: How Katniss Won Me Over
August 3, 2012, 2:24 am
Filed under: Book Review

As someone who considers herself an avid reader, I didn’t think I would enjoy Hunger Games as much as the tweens who squealed about its awesomeness. Never having been too fond of Twilight, I ruled out Hunger Games as that type of pop culture junk that becomes notoriously bad lit. I also knew that the premise of Hunger Games was not a new idea. In fact, I loved Battle Royal, a Japanese film about kids who battle until the death, so I didn’t think a young adult version of that same violent premise would catch my attention. However, I noticed that Hunger Games was becoming a must-read even in schools, and I wanted to know what was so different about this book that attracted so many different readers.  After finishing Hunger Games in just a few days, I realized what got me hooked to the series: Katniss Everdeen is a great female character.

In Panem, people within the capitol are endowed with certain privileges while the rest of the districts have to fight it out every year at the televised Hunger Games. One boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 represent their district at the games. They must fight until there is only one survivor, a victor, who wins a year’s supply of food for their district. Katniss volunteers to go to the Hunger Games instead of her little sister, Primrose. Small acts of rebellion that Katniss instigates in the
Game arena become the driving force of a full-scale revolution.

Hunger Games displays the importance of individual participation in government. Throughout the series, it is seventeen-year-old Katniss who refuses to play by the rules of Panem’s corrupt government, so she fuels political and social change. Katniss constantly fights to survive and to keep a sense of self. When Rue, her young ally, dies, Katniss puts flowers on her dead body before the government is able to take Rue’s body. Katniss memorializes Rue as a person, not as an object in Panem’s games. By doing this, Katniss draws attention to herself. By wearing a fire dress, shooting an arrow at the elite capitol officials, and refusing to kill Peeta, Katniss ultimately succeeds as becoming a symbol of rebellion, the Mockingjay.

Katniss thinks like no teenage girl I have ever met because she fights passionately for a real cause. She doesn’t care about Team Peeta or Team Gale, she just wants to see President Snow dead. Because Katniss is the narrator, the reader gets to experience her confusion about her love life. But the love triangle never detracts from everything else happening. Somehow, Katniss has bigger things on her mind than what boy to kiss. She rather kick some ass than sit around doting on boys. Katniss remains a strong female character all throughout the series and I really love her for that. I think there needs to be more female characters like Katniss, who are able to engage young women for all the right reasons. I might even go so far as to say that Katniss inspires me to express my inner Mockingjay. Here I am squealing about the awesomeness of the Hunger Games series like some sort of tween. I guess don’t judge a book by its audience.

2 Comments so far
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I’m with you on this – I haven’t been much of a fan of teen fiction, but this is waaaay better. have you read the other two? go read them! (I recently reviewed them with no spoilers) I also agree on your view of Katniss – what 16/17 year old girl is like that?

Comment by Claire Ady

I read the last book this week. I loved it! I also really enjoyed the movie, so I’m hoping that the other two will be as true to the novel. I’ll go check out your post. 🙂

Comment by almostmadeuppoem

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