The Skimpy Layers of The Hunger Games

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I admit it. I am going crazy trying to figure out the meaning associated with the anecdotes, symbols and colors in the simple book that I was carrying for weeks. I think I read it more than I should. It seems feeble and not worth the time consumed but I just had to figure it out.

Oh, for those who haven’t completed The Hunger Games trilogy, please feel free to divert to other post.

So I check several pages. One, a Biology-Character Analysis, another long explanation from A ll Girls Are Weird and from Hogwarts Professor who has some creepy ideas about the formulation of the trilogy. I might agree with some but the rest are just random speculations, like the Zombie Apocalypse (not offense. Those were good findings)

So I should start with the basics.

As mentioned by the writer, the trilogy was based from an Ancient Greek myth. The man responsible was Theseus and his battle with the Minotaur formed the base of the Hunger Games.

In one of the versions ‘When King Minos had heard of what befell his son, he ordered the Cretan fleet to set sail for Athens. Minos asked Aegeus for his son’s assassins, and if they were to be handed to him, the town would be spared. However, not knowing who the assassins were, King Aegeus surrendered the whole town to Minos’ mercy. His retribution was that, at the end of every Great Year (seven solar years), the seven most courageous youths and the seven most beautiful maidens were to board a boat and be sent as tribute to Crete, never to be seen again.’

The star of the book is a powerful character called Katniss Everdeen. The name was ridiculed by many but it seems natural when you realized that Katniss (an aquatic plant), also known as ‘sagittaria’ (which co-relates to the zodiac and constellation Sagittarius, the Archer) also known as ‘arrowhead’, a tuber of which the generic name means ‘belonging to an arrow’ indirectly explains why Katniss is an exceptional hunter, archer and has a strong affinity towards water.

Peeta Mellark is her accomplice, ally, friend and lover. In the book the name mentioned after Katniss’ best friend, Gale Hawthorne but his character and their relationship proved to be the most essential for the coming plot and the journey towards the end.

Gale, as the name suggested is in fact one of the forces of nature; strong wind. The character carries the same weight as the name suggested. Strong, unhinged and deadly. He is Katniss’ best friend. The harmony of the relationship disrupted when Katniss volunteered as one of the tributes in the 75th Hunger Games, alongside with another local acquaintance, Peeta Mellark.

Peeta, a son of the local baker is the youngest of 3 brothers. He was in the same class with Katniss and has been in love with her all his miserable life but never interacted until the fated day of The Reaping. They were of a different class where Katniss lives in the Seam, known as a place for poor family and coal miners wherelse Peeta, lives in town and belonged in the merchant class. The class also separated by facial characteristics (Blond, pale skin and blue eyes community is the rich merchant class and dark hair, grey eyes and olive skin being poor people from the Seam.) As the name suggested (pita bread), bread is the key for survival in District 12 where all the key characters live. The rest of the supporting characters are scattered all over Panem.

The name, Peeta (pita) coincides with the name of the country, Panem which is ‘bread’ in Latin.

Peeta, also coincide with Peter, derived from Latin, ‘Petra’ which gives the meaning rock, or stone. As described by Katniss, he’s rock solid and stable. He has great talent with art, words and compassionate.

It’s too much of a coincidence, isn’t it?

If we can take some time to notice subtle hints from the author, we might put more value to the mentioned book.

As the category ‘Young Adult Fiction’ might suggest, there would be some conflict and tug-of-love that will follow. Cheesy love story, as mentioned by a lot of people. I am suggesting that the love interests: Gale and Peeta are in reality 2 paths of which Katniss must choose to free Panem from the claws of Capitol. Some Tumblr posts surfaced with the same suggestions.

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Take the relationship of Katniss and Gale for instance. It’s fueled by survival and trust. He is almost her soulmate in the beginning. They mirrored each other. But all they ever manage to plan was running away, twice (it didn’t happen though), which will not have any desired effect whatsoever in their past, present and future. While it’s completely the opposite with Peeta. Although she did not realize it, the relationship with Peeta was in direct defiance with the Capitol since he decided that his life purpose was to protect Katniss. When Katniss realize that she also doesn’t want to be a part of the Games, that’s it. After Rue’s death (the lullaby singing and flower tucking), Thresh refusing to kill her and the berries. That was all it took to set the motion in the districts. An uprising that later snowballed to a revolution.

We must not fail to understand that The Hunger Games has been the ultimate tool for the Capitol to arouse fear in the 12 Districts of Panem, to keep them under control. All of the tributes are expected to kill one another and the last one standing is the winner. So it is a slap in the face of the Gamemakers when their strategy to humiliate, torture and bully the children of the people who revolted against them in the Dark Days backfired. Refusing to   play the Games is a spark, accepted as a bold act of defiance against the Capitol nationwide and that is when the love triangle gets complicated.

Many wondered why the charater Rue died. Well she has to, and I tell you why. Let us start by considering Rue, the tribute we knew from district 11. Isn’t it a coincidence that rue is also a yellow flower, as evening primrose (referring to Primrose Everdeen)? Katniss mentioned that their similar characteristics and sometimes she confused of which one of the girls is her biggest priority. Dandelion, her hope and rebirth symbol is also a yellow flower. The flower that gave her the courage to survive, the day after receiving the gift of bread from Peeta (who is a blond – can we consider that yellow too?) Yellow is sunshine, warmth.

Also, rue is another word for a kind of herb, a magic plant of which Hermes gave to Odysseus. One of the magical properties listed was to cure blindness. As you might notice now, the author cleverly use the number three. 3 books, 3 chapters, Peeta’s heart stopped 3 times altogether, 3 ‘something’ stirring kisses with Peeta, etc. In Rue’s tragic case, she actually ‘cured’ Katniss’ blindness. She told her about the glasses that made her see in the darkness (for her to see her way in the Games), she told her that Peeta’s act was not for the camera (Katniss was not convinced, but it’s an advice to see her life as it is) and when Rue died (Katniss finally understood what Peeta said on the roof, she realized that Panem should not bow for the Capitol anymore and decided to do something to humiliate the Gamemakers.)

Although a lot of people has different opinion about the ending. Some feminist say Katniss could have ended up alone or with Gale but you just cannot ignore the littered hints by the author. She has a Master of Fine Arts in Dramatic Writing from New York University and I believe that everything was put there intentionally.

I am not Team Katniss or Team Peeta or Team Gale or Team Seneca Crane’s Beard or Team Buttercup, just a simple reader trying to figure out the layers put by Ms. Collins.

Though Katniss is a practical, strong, impulsive, etc. We may add she is also lacking in reading social cues, manipulative, doesn’t trust people easily and doesn’t have the capability to make peace with herself with all the killing she did and witnessed, resulting in nightmares. She is quite an emotionally dependent person and in constant need of a human contact/touch. Personally I don’t think she could do it alone.

Katniss could not have ended with Gale because she is not the same person when she entered the arena. She changed but he remained the same vengeful person and paid the bitter price. They no longer share the same idea or values (towards the end) and he knew that he can never face Katniss after Prim’s death.

As for Peeta, she first started comparing most of his actions to her father’s. The way his protective arms stretched around her and she never felt safe since the death of her father, the way he catches her hands and kisses it like her father did to her mother and how Peeta made her realize that she stopped singing after her father was gone. He even helps with the family book. Although Gale and Katniss’ father shared the same hobby/job which is hunting, she never narrated anything that relates the two men. Just both their fathers died in the same blast, she just smiles when they both hunting in the wood and told Gale that she doesn’t want any children.

The book doesn’t mention if she told Peeta that she doesn’t want any children. She always knew that if anyone that could have been a parent, that would be Peeta, right after he told her that she would be a great mother. She even took the time to wonder about Peeta’s child in a world without the Games where the Capitol is gone playing in the Meadows listening to the song she sung to Rue’s death. All these happened years later.

It was quite obvious that she would not end up with anyone else but Peeta.

Lastly in the epilogue you should read that both children of Katniss and Peeta bear the resemblance of the parents. Cute. Note that Katniss’s father and mother came from different social class too and the two siblings (Katniss and Primrose) bear the noticeable trace of separate class while the children, of which both parents coming from the same separate class have mixed characteristics saying that by ending The Hunger Games and that includes the unjust system of tessarae, there is no longer separation between the Seam and Merchant class of District 12. Of course it could be genetics but I refuse to believe it is.

The latest discussion of Hogwarts Professor about Panem Saga can be found here (my reference above was written pre-Mockingjay). Credit to author himself.

More analysis can be found here and the one that I like most is from Rachel Schneider and Atrossbooks.

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Published by bcdcompostela

Dreamer. Too much faith in humankind. Could be wicked sometimes. Europhile. Permanent head to heart damage. Crybaby. Fan of vanilla. Random act of kindness. Supports freedom to be yourself. Might scream in public. Dance. Fall in and out of love. Beautiful soul. Believer. On and off writer. Good at listening. Functions with honey. Sweet-tooth. Rebel. Travel Quotes

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2 Comments

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