The Curious Little Pin – Part One

It was the most curious little thing.

The golden pin was introduced to the readers as Katniss and Gale were interacting with Madge, Mayor Undersee’s daughter. The tesserae system was mentioned not long after and we had a glimpse of the invisible division between the rich and poor; the merchant and the people from the Seam.

Nonetheless, Madge did not seem to care about it and apart of Katniss, I was quite surprised when she gave her the pin. Token from the district, she said. It sounded insignificant at first. Who would worry about a pretty brooch while being trapped in the arena with other 23 kids trying their best to murder you? Call me insensitive but I would have not even cared.

But the thing about Suzanne Collins was that she is a master of simplicity. It’s all in the little things. How love actually started an uprising. How a handful of berries fueled the revolution. How a whistle started a collective stand. How an innocent song translated as a tool for action. How a flower suggested hope. How a painting made powerful men cringe. How a book full of lost memories healed broken people.

O.K. Focus.

Back to the pin.

It was once belonged to Maysilee Donner, Madge’s late aunt who was Mayor Undersee’s wife’s twin sister. She was reaped 24 years ago in the 50th Hunger Games, otherwise known as the 2nd Quarter Quell. Unfortunately she didn’t make it back home and the victor for that particular year was none other than Haymitch Abernathy, Katniss’s and Peeta’s drunken mentor.

You could tell that Madge wanted to be just like her aunt, another brave soul. Unfortunately the odd was not in her favor. Theoretically, she could have waited for the coming year, when she would stand another chance in The Reaping but she decided to give the pin to Katniss. I do wonder that if for the briefest moment, she’d failed to do so…What would happen then? Would Katniss still be The Mockingjay? Will the bird stand a chance to be incorporated as the symbol of the revolution? Assuming everything else went according to the story; Katniss would still be recognized as The Girl on Fire. Wasn’t fire enough? Why did the writer have to invent a long story for an accidental hybrid bird mutt for the simple purpose of fueling the revolution?

Say we reverse the situation. Say Madge was picked by Effie instead of Prim. Would there still be a revolution? Was there really a plot designed by the rebels? (read a well elaborated plan called The Pearl Plot by Hogwarts Professor. Some people might agree but I did not buy it.) Would Madge even survive the 74th Hunger Games and gave the same impact to Panem as Katniss did? 

Very curious indeed.

Personally, I think fire is not a good choice because it could easily manipulated, tamed, crushed and put out. It doesn’t have the will and reason to survive, like the mockingjay.

As shared by Katniss, it was a slap in the face for the Capitol. The Jabberjays, a carefully engineered weapon backfired as the rebels figured out their sneaky purpose. The birds were left to die but they found new life instead by mating with the mockingbirds. The mockingjays, the instant result of two species had the best of both worlds. They can repeat a range of human vocal sounds and recreate songs.

This is foreshadowing another string of stories.

We perfectly knew that The Hunger Games was designed as the ultimate weapon by the Capitol. Imagine their surprise when a boy had such an impact in his interview only by using simple words and then a girl sang her heart out for her fallen ally. Like the mockingjays, they used love as their defense.Together they survived the looming death by protecting each other. Can’t you see? They are the mockingjay.

Of course we will go into this as one.” [Catching Fire, Chapter 15]

Fire Women: The Similarities Between Katniss Everdeen and Mrs. Mellark

Our Katniss’s turn.

mellark

By the end of chapter 2, we got a glimpse of the kind of family Peeta and Katniss grew up with.

We can assume that the Mellarks are blond, pale and with blue eyes. They are of the normal merchant class family but did not have an easy life since Mr. Mellark had to trade squirrels from Katniss (he could have had bought beef from the butcher if they were doing fine) and eat stale breads to survive.

a

Katniss mentioned the burnt scars she saw when Mr. Mellark came to say goodbye. I had a little theory that this is foreshadowing his private struggle with his wife. Mrs. Mellark seems to be the total opposite of Mr. Mellark. While her husband is generous and kind, she failed to offer any sympathy for Katniss or anyone from the Seam and had been abusing her son emotionally and physically since he was young.

The witch, as Katniss refers to her.

Katniss does not like Mrs. Mellark but I think Peeta care a lot about his family, even after all he’d been through. He visits them and regularly has lunch with them. I think there is no way that he would register hatred for his mother.

And mothers usually have big influence in their sons’ life, positive and negative ones included. Little boys often grow up subconsciously looking for the same quality in their wives.

Do you think it’s logic, that maybe Mrs. Mellark and Katniss Everdeen had more things in common than meets the eyes?

Let’s think about it.

1)   Both are fire women. Well, Mrs. Mellark’s fire ‘consumed’ Mr. Mellark. She’s the kind of fire that destroys things in her way. Strong, but destructive. Katniss’s fire is the opposite. Her fire is more like a catalyst, an element for chemical reaction that catapulted change.

2)   Both are committed to the survival of their family. O.K. You have a lot of room to argue in this one. Here’s what I think. Mrs. Mellark was furious when Peeta burnt the bread because it was expensive; she doesn’t want anything to go to waste since their life is already miserable, they don’t make much and even surviving with meager meals so it was quite a commotion on her part. She was willing to hurt people (even her own son), use angry word to chase away hungry strangers and chose not to feel sympathy at all. Being kind has a cost and her defense helped her to cope.

Katniss, on the other hand broke a handful of laws to put food on the table but was lucky since a lot of people needed her service and was not punished for that. It was important for her to brush away feelings and she sees it as a form of weakness. You might not realize this but she does push people away in her own little way. Also, you have to admit that Katniss we first knew was not a kind person.

The women both did what it takes to make sure their families are fully provided. Both women chase people away. Both treated their relationship with others no less than transactions. You give therefore I take or vice versa.

3)  Both are fierce women. It must have taken Mrs. Mellark a burst of powerful emotion to react in such a way. Normal, considerate people would just let it go but she decided to act upon it – strike her own son. She undoubtedly has strong feelings but channeled it in a negative way. Her anger translated as punishment to her children and intimidated other people. She also didn’t care about other people’s feelings. That woman is quite fierce, if you ask me. In the book she doesn’t really sound like she was a good mother, just a horrible person because we saw her from Katniss’s point of view, the victim. But to be honest, insecurity does many things to people so it’s not fair to judge her that way. We knew that she guarded her house/family from the people from the Seam and stayed with the same man until her death. Whatever her reason doing so, we will never know.

Remember how Katniss deal with Rue’s murder? She killed and determined to kill more. Her instinct was to protect. We can see that in how she acted at the reaping, how she reacted to Gale’s whipping and Peeta’s abduction. She has strong emotions too but her anger usually translated as impulsive actions that mostly got her into trouble. When she decided to love someone, then it’s until death threw them apart. I would say that’s a fierce lady, right there.

Maybe these were the reasons why Peeta had paid more attention to her though you can argue that with the singing. I’d say it’s something inside of her that reminds him of his mother, the kind of love that he wished he had. As Peeta had been installed with hope, he had no qualms that one day this strong, fierce and fiery woman, or so-called The Girl on Fire would be a great mother to his children.

So as written by fate, he decided that the poor little soul deserves his death, that’s the least he could do. If his own mother did not love him, then why should Katniss?

I am glad that he was wrong.

The Hunter and the Baker: The Similarities Between Mr. Everdeen and Peeta Mellark

A little bit about Peeta, quoting Katniss below.

h i j (2) k l

It’s quite a stretch saying that Mr. Everdeen and our hero has a lot of things in common but daughters normally chose qualities close to their father so I put down some that I think should not escape us.

The Everdeens live in a section called the Seam. They are the poorest of the poorest people in the poorest district of Panem. The characteristics called for olive skin, dark, straight hair and grey eyes. The Everdeens are fairly an exception since Mr. Everdeen, a hunter/coal miner got married to someone outside of his circle, something unthinkable for the society. He chose the daughter of a merchant. Mrs. Everdeen left everything just to be with him.

One thousand points for Peeta for having one thing in common with Mrs. Everdeen – ditching family and friends for love.

O.K now let’s see if Peeta has a lot of things in common with Mr. Everdeen.

1) Both are really charming. We never found out if Mr. Everdeen was as good with words but his actions are often mirrored in Peeta’s. Like when he caught Katniss’s hand and kiss it. Katniss remembered that her father did the same thing to her mother. There is a paragraph in which Katniss tried to imagine being in love. Her only reference was her parents.

Never been in love, this is going to be a real trick. I think of my parents. The way my father never failed to bring gifts from the woods. The way my mother’s face would light up at the sound of his boots at the door. The way she almost stopped living when she died.” [The Hunger Games, Chapter 19]

Let’s analyze a bit.

a) Never failed to bring gifts? Come on! I’d checked this one with the cheese buns.

b) Face lighting up? Remember how giddy she was before Peeta choked her? Even Haymitch was getting that vibe.

c) Stopped living when she thought that he died? No explanation needed here. She literally gave everything up.

It’s all of the above!

It’s amazing how only Peeta could make Katniss realize why indeed she used to like singing. He connected the dots to her father. Remember, she wasn’t really keen on singing when she met Rue though she did sing when Rue died. For the first time, she laid down her guards and showed her feelings. Note that she was determined to wipe all sort of expression when she was reaped. You can see her journey as a person trying to suppress feelings to someone baring her soul on live national television.

It strikes me that my own reluctance to sing, my own dismissal of music might not really be that I think that it’s a waste of time. It might be because it reminds me too much of my father.” [The Hunger Games, Chapter 22]

If Peeta’s best way to channel his feelings was painting then Katniss’s was singing. She did, eventually in Mockingjay while waiting for her trial. She is finally free.

2) Both men love beauty and art. Though a hunter and a baker didn’t seem like professions that have things in common, (except that they’ll use a knife at some point) Mr. Everdeen and Peeta had serious admiration for eccentric beauty and art.

I think the fact that Mr. Everdeen was married to Mrs. Everdeen showed that he valued certain traits and character that he did not find in the Seam (she’s a healer), and for him that’s beauty.  So does Peeta. He admired Katniss as she continues to impress him from being the little girl singing openly in public to the young girl with unreadable face that shoots squirrels right in the eye. For him, that’s beautiful.

Mr. Everdeen as we know had a talent in singing and must have had some skills in drawing too. If not, how would he fill that edible plant section in the medicinal herb book? Some basic drawings would have been required. That was how Katniss and Prim learned to recognize the stuff that they can eat.

Peeta, in turn has a talent in drawing and had no problems continuing with the legacy.

3) Both recall security. O.K, here’s the deal. When you sleep, normally you would take the most comfortable position or when you are threatened with danger, you put on a defensive mode. So when someone sleeps and put their arms around you to protect you, which indirectly means that you can do whatever you want and I have complete faith in you, but if anything bad happens, let it be me who gets it first.

That is one heck of a security.

Katniss immediately points this form of safe feeling to her father.

Since my father died and I stopped trusting my mother, no one else’s arms have made me feel this safe.” [The Hunger Games, Chapter 22]

That was a huge compliment. She was the one doing all the protecting until she met Peeta (and she lets him. She pushed away her own mother from any emotional attachment) and he was not even up to that challenge, being sick and injured but he did it anyway. That’s his instinct  – to protect Katniss though he knew very well that Katniss could have done a better job herself.

Curiously, though Gale and Mr. Everdeen shared the same profession, being a hunter and coal miner, Katniss rarely talk about the similarity of both men. All that I can remember was that she mentioned that she trusted Gale’s hands (as opposed to Peeta’s arms) but no direct mention of Mr. Everdeen. I think Gale does have protective instincts but he didn’t offer much of it since he saw that Katniss was pretty good in her own way. Say he did offer it, she might have rejected it.

Ask yourself why. Why would she accept the protection of a stranger, an injured boy rather than the arms of her long time hunter friend that was fully capable of doing so without much effort? There must have been serious dangers in the woods. They have been hunting for years but sadly nothing triggered memories of her father or even mellow feelings.

Peeta, it seemed was not the only one with the crush.

The Hunter and the Baker: The Similarities Between Mr. Everdeen and Peeta Mellark

Yep. It’s Peeta’s turn.

The Everdeens live in a section called the Seam. They are the poorest of the poorest people in the poorest district of Panem. The characteristics called for olive skin, dark, straight hair and grey eyes. The Everdeens are fairly an exception since Mr. Everdeen, a hunter/coal miner got married to someone outside of his circle, something unthinkable for the society. He chose the daughter of a merchant. Mrs. Everdeen left everything just to be with him.

One thousand points for Peeta for having one thing in common with Mrs. Everdeen – ditching family and friends for love.

O.K now let’s see if Peeta has a lot of things in common with Mr. Everdeen.

1) Both are really charming. We never found out if Mr. Everdeen was as good with words but his actions are often mirrored in Peeta’s. Like when he caught Katniss’s hand and kiss it. Katniss remembered that her father did the same thing to her mother. There is a paragraph in which Katniss tried to imagine being in love. Her only reference was her parents.

 Never been in love, this is going to be a real trick. I think of my parents. The way my father never failed to bring gifts from the woods. The way my mother’s face would light up at the sound of his boots at the door. The way she almost stopped living when she died.” [The Hunger Games, Chapter 19]

Let’s analyze a bit.

a) Never failed to bring gifts? Come on! I’d checked this one with the cheese buns.

b) Face lighting up? Remember how giddy she was before Peeta choked her? Even Haymitch was getting that vibe.

c) Stopped living when she thought that he died? No explanation needed here. She literally gave everything up.

It’s all of the above!

It’s amazing how only Peeta could make Katniss realize why indeed she used to like singing. He connected the dots to her father. Remember, she wasn’t really keen on singing when she met Rue though she did sing when Rue died. For the first time, she laid down her guards and showed her feelings. Note that she was determined to wipe all sort of expression when she was reaped. You can see her journey as a person trying to suppress feelings to someone baring her soul on live national television.

 It strikes me that my own reluctance to sing, my own dismissal of music might not really be that I think that it’s a waste of time. It might be because it reminds me too much of my father.” [The Hunger Games, Chapter 22]

If Peeta’s best way to channel his feelings was painting then Katniss’s was singing. She did, eventually in Mockingjay while waiting for her trial. She is finally free.

2) Both men love beauty and art. Though a hunter and a baker didn’t seem like professions that have things in common, (except that they’ll use a knife at some point) Mr. Everdeen and Peeta had serious admiration for eccentric beauty and art.

I think the fact that Mr. Everdeen was married to Mrs. Everdeen showed that he valued certain traits and character that he did not find in the Seam (she’s a healer), and for him that’s beauty.  So does Peeta. He admired Katniss as she continues to impress him from being the little girl singing openly in public to the young girl with unreadable face that shoots squirrels right in the eye. For him, that’s beautiful.

Mr. Everdeen as we know had a talent in singing and must have had some skills in drawing too. If not, how would he fill that edible plant section in the medicinal herb book? Some basic drawings would have been required. That was how Katniss and Prim learned to recognize the stuff that they can eat.

Peeta, in turn has a talent in drawing and had no problems continuing with the legacy.

3) Both recall security. O.K, here’s the deal. When you sleep, normally you would take the most comfortable position or when you are threatened with danger, you put on a defensive mode. So when someone sleeps and put their arms around you to protect you, which indirectly means that you can do whatever you want and I have complete faith in you, but if anything bad happens, let it be me who gets it first.

That is one heck of a security.

Katniss immediately points this form of safe feeling to her father.

Since my father died and I stopped trusting my mother, no one else’s arms have made me feel this safe.” [The Hunger Games, Chapter 22]

That was a huge compliment. She was the one doing all the protecting until she met Peeta (and she lets him. She pushed away her own mother from any emotional attachment) and he was not even up to that challenge, being sick and injured but he did it anyway. That’s his instinct  – to protect Katniss though he knew very well that Katniss could have done a better job herself.

Curiously, though Gale and Mr. Everdeen shared the same profession, being a hunter and coal miner, Katniss rarely talk about the similarity of both men. All that I can remember was that she mentioned that she trusted Gale’s hands (as opposed to Peeta’s arms) but no direct mention of Mr. Everdeen. I think Gale does have protective instincts but he didn’t offer much of it since he saw that Katniss was pretty good in her own way. Say he did offer it, she might have rejected it.

Ask yourself why. Why would she accept the protection of a stranger, an injured boy rather than the arms of her long time hunter friend that was fully capable of doing so without much effort? There must have been serious dangers in the woods. They have been hunting for years but sadly nothing triggered memories of her father or even mellow feelings.

Peeta, it seemed was not the only one with the crush.

Fire Women: The Similarities Between Katniss Everdeen and Mrs. Mellark

By the end of chapter 2, we got a glimpse of the kind of family Peeta and Katniss grew up with.

We can assume that the Mellarks are blond, pale and with blue eyes. They are of the normal merchant class family but did not have an easy life since Mr. Mellark had to trade squirrels from Katniss (he could have had bought beef from the butcher if they were doing fine) and eat stale breads to survive.

Katniss mentioned the burnt scars she saw when Mr. Mellark came to say goodbye. I had a little theory that this is foreshadowing his private struggle with his wife. Mrs. Mellark seems to be the total opposite of Mr. Mellark. While her husband is generous and kind, she failed to offer any sympathy for Katniss or anyone from the Seam and had been abusing her son emotionally and physically since he was young.

The witch, as Katniss refers to her.

Katniss does not like Mrs. Mellark but I think Peeta care a lot about his family, even after all he’d been through. He visits them and regularly has lunch with them. I think there is no way that he would register hatred for his mother.

And mothers usually have big influence in their sons’ life, positive and negative ones included. Little boys often grow up subconsciously looking for the same quality in their wives.

Do you think it’s logic, that maybe Mrs. Mellark and Katniss Everdeen had more things in common than meets the eyes?

Let’s think about it.

1)   Both are fire women. Well, Mrs. Mellark’s fire ‘consumed’ Mr. Mellark. She’s the kind of fire that destroys things in her way. Strong, but destructive. Katniss’s fire is the opposite. Her fire is more like a catalyst, an element for chemical reaction that catapulted change.

2)   Both are committed to the survival of their family. O.K. You have a lot of room to argue in this one. Here’s what I think. Mrs. Mellark was furious when Peeta burnt the bread because it was expensive; she doesn’t want anything to go to waste since their life is already miserable, they don’t make much and even surviving with meager meals so it was quite a commotion on her part. She was willing to hurt people (even her own son), use angry word to chase away hungry strangers and chose not to feel sympathy at all. Being kind has a cost and her defense helped her to cope.

Katniss, on the other hand broke a handful of laws to put food on the table but was lucky since a lot of people needed her service and was not punished for that. It was important for her to brush away feelings and she sees it as a form of weakness. You might not realize this but she does push people away in her own little way. Also, you have to admit that Katniss we first knew was not a kind person.

The women both did what it takes to make sure their families are fully provided. Both women chase people away. Both treated their relationship with others no less than transactions. You give therefore I take or vice versa.

3)  Both are fierce women. It must have taken Mrs. Mellark a burst of powerful emotion to react in such a way. Normal, considerate people would just let it go but she decided to act upon it – strike her own son. She undoubtedly has strong feelings but channeled it in a negative way. Her anger translated as punishment to her children and intimidated other people. She also didn’t care about other people’s feelings. That woman is quite fierce, if you ask me. In the book she doesn’t really sound like she was a good mother, just a horrible person because we saw her from Katniss’s point of view, the victim. But to be honest, insecurity does many things to people so it’s not fair to judge her that way. We knew that she guarded her house/family from the people from the Seam and stayed with the same man until her death. Whatever her reason doing so, we will never know.

Remember how Katniss deal with Rue’s murder? She killed and determined to kill more. Her instinct was to protect. We can see that in how she acted at the reaping, how she reacted to Gale’s whipping and Peeta’s abduction. She has strong emotions too but her anger usually translated as impulsive actions that mostly got her into trouble. When she decided to love someone, then it’s until death threw them apart. I would say that’s a fierce lady, right there.

Maybe these were the reasons why Peeta had paid more attention to her though you can argue that with the singing. I’d say it’s something inside of her that reminds him of his mother, the kind of love that he wished he had. As Peeta had been installed with hope, he had no qualms that one day this strong, fierce and fiery woman, or so-called The Girl on Fire would be a great mother to his children.

So as written by fate, he decided that the poor little soul deserves his death, that’s the least he could do. If his own mother did not love him, then why should Katniss?

I am glad that he was wrong.

Chapter 2 – Part 2

–          Peeta is always potrayed as the rock, warmth, the sun, golden hues, yellow, orange, gentleness and steadiness. I noticed the first fire when she told us in the flashback with Peeta. That particular time, the Everdeen ladies were in a tight spot. They ran out of coal and all she had was a smoky fire from damp branches. She was losing hope. She went to the public market to try to barter the baby clothes but ended up at the bakery’s backyard. There was a glow, fire, the smell of breads. A baker is someone that controls and manipulates it to make bread, food for sustenance. Curiously she mentioned in the Games that Peeta is a whiz with fire, coaxing fire out of damp branches. He was hope. He coaxed hope out of her damp soul. When she said she didn’t want to lose the boy with the bread she meant that she doesn’t want to lose hope.

She also mentioned that the baker, Peeta’s father had burnt scars all over. She did not mention anything of the sort about Peeta, just ‘arms that made her feel safe‘. She mentioned that she trusts Gale’s hands. I love hands (I normally judge people by looking at their hands. Guilty pleasure!) so I think Collins is up to something but I think I have a theory coming.

Well, it’s a shallow one. You normally shake hands with a friend but arms are more private. Not everyone can wrap their arms around you. It’s saved for someone intimate or special. In the baker’s case, his wife ‘burned’ him. That’s all.

I noticed that when the Prep Team came to style her for the wedding dress she casually mentioned that she felt like a dough (Chapter 12, Catching Fire) being kneaded and reshaped again and again.

Well played, Collins.

n

–          Peeta always talk fondly about his father and they seemed quite close. I wonder how Mrs. Mellark felt when Peeta announced that Mr. Mellark had a thing for Mrs. Everdeen on national television. Must be really awkward for the 3 of them back home. Mrs. Mellark probably got that figured out long before. Maybe that is one of the reason why she was so bitter. I picture this man was just as kind as his son and would not treat him like his mother. I think he always brings a pack of biscuits for the child who has been reaped. It’s the last thing he could do – to cheer them up. He gave them to Katniss anyway as if saying that it’s okay. It’s not her fault. Whatever happens, he would not hold grudges, he would not think of Katniss as the murderer of his son.

–          Peeta, being abused since young probably grew up idealizing a loving mother and wanting a loving spouse/mother for his children. He did not have a good role model but why was he so convinced that Katniss would make a great mother? We did not have his point of view but this much we know is true. Katniss took care of Prim and she’s determined to do anything for her. She’s loyal and fiercely protective. Like the Mockingjay, (as forshadowed by Rue) is very protective of her nest.

We didn’t know if Peeta was close to his brothers but their love didn’t surpass Katniss’s for Prim. She was willing to die for her. Besides unconditional love for Prim, what else that might trigger love for Peeta? Apart of the singing that he declared ‘he was a goner’?He declared that he was infatuated by the little girl who sang the valley song, the one his father pointed out. Will he still like her if Mr. Mellark failed to do so? We will never know. I can safely say that he admired her, how she singlehandedly turned to be the head of the family (breadwinner, pun intended) and she continued to impress him.

s

It was lovely when he told her about his father and him taking their time admiring her squirrels (Mellark men and Everdeen ladies. It’s genetic!) I remember his expression when Mr. Mellark told him that Mrs. Everdeen ran off with a coal miner. It’s as if that’s the most ridiculous thing in the world. He probably wondered why and ended up watching the Everdeen family and saw love. Maybe that was how he learned about love.

It’s amazing when you realized that both Katniss and Peeta never put themselves first. It’s always the others.

I try to imagine being in Katniss shoe. It’s family first. I would be very touched to know that a stranger had made me a priority. A debt must be paid. I try to be Peeta. A tragic case of unrequited love. I would never believed it that the girl of my dreams decided to sacrifice her life for me. That’s my job!

Conflicting values, complex characters and odds that favors no one.

Well, actually it favors love 🙂

Chapter 2 – Part 2

–          Peeta is always potrayed as the rock, warmth, the sun, golden hues, yellow, orange, gentleness and steadiness. I noticed the first fire when she told us in the flashback with Peeta. That particular time, the Everdeen ladies were in a tight spot. They ran out of coal and all she had was a smoky fire from damp branches. She was losing hope. She went to the public market to try to barter the baby clothes but ended up at the bakery’s backyard. There was a glow, fire, the smell of breads. A baker is someone that controls and manipulates it to make bread, food for sustenance. Curiously she mentioned in the Games that Peeta is a whiz with fire, coaxing fire out of damp branches. He was hope. He coaxed hope out of her damp soul. When she said she didn’t want to lose the boy with the bread she meant that she doesn’t want to lose hope.

She also mentioned that the baker, Peeta’s father had burnt scars all over. She did not mention anything of the sort about Peeta, just ‘arms that made her feel safe’. She mentioned that she trusts Gale’s hands. I love hands (I normally judge people by looking at their hands. Guilty pleasure!) so I think Collins is up to something but I think I have a theory coming.

Well, it’s a shallow one. You normally shake hands with a friend but arms are more private. Not everyone can wrap their arms around you. It’s saved for someone intimate or special. In the baker’s case, his wife ‘burned’ him. That’s all.

I noticed that when the Prep Team came to style her for the wedding dress she casually mentioned that she felt like a dough (Chapter 12, Catching Fire) being kneaded and reshaped again and again.

Well played, Collins.

–          Peeta always talk fondly about his father and they seemed quite close. I wonder how Mrs. Mellark felt when Peeta announced that Mr. Mellark had a thing for Mrs. Everdeen on national television. Must be really awkward for the 3 of them back home. Mrs. Mellark probably got that figured out long before. Maybe that is one of the reason why she was so bitter. I picture this man was just as kind as his son and would not treat him like his mother. I think he always brings a pack of biscuits for the child who has been reaped. It’s the last thing he could do – to cheer them up. He gave them to Katniss anyway as if saying that it’s okay. It’s not her fault. Whatever happens, he would not hold grudges, he would not think of Katniss as the murderer of his son.

–          Peeta, being abused since young probably grew up idealizing a loving mother and wanting a loving spouse/mother for his children. He did not have a good role model but why was he so convinced that Katniss would make a great mother? We did not have his point of view but this much we know is true. Katniss took care of Prim and she’s determined to do anything for her. She’s loyal and fiercely protective. Like the Mockingjay, (as forshadowed by Rue) is very protective of her nest.

We didn’t know if Peeta was close to his brothers but their love didn’t surpass Katniss’s for Prim. She was willing to die for her. Besides unconditional love for Prim, what else that might trigger love for Peeta? Apart of the singing that he declared ‘he was a goner’?He declared that he was infatuated by the little girl who sang the valley song, the one his father pointed out. Will he still like her if Mr. Mellark failed to do so? We will never know. I can safely say that he admired her, how she singlehandedly turned to be the head of the family (breadwinner, pun intended) and she continued to impress him.

It was lovely when he told her about his father and him taking their time admiring her squirrels (Mellark men and Everdeen ladies. It’s genetic!) I remember his expression when Mr. Mellark told him that Mrs. Everdeen ran off with a coal miner. It’s as if that’s the most ridiculous thing in the world. He probably wondered why and ended up watching the Everdeen family and saw love. Maybe that was how he learned about love.

It’s amazing when you realized that both Katniss and Peeta never put themselves first. It’s always the others.

I try to imagine being in Katniss shoe. It’s family first. I would be very touched to know that a stranger had made me a priority. A debt must be paid. I try to be Peeta. A tragic case of unrequited love. I would never believed it that the girl of my dreams decided to sacrifice her life for me. That’s my job!

Conflicting values, complex characters and odds that favors no one.

Well, actually it favors love 🙂

Chapter 2 – Part 1

A bit of Chapter 1

–          I don’t know what the goat, Lady symbolizes. It must symbolized something; if not Suzanne Collins would not spend a few pages of a story of Katniss telling Peeta about how she got it for Prim. The same story repeated during the anti-hijacking session with very little success on Peeta’s behalf and the goat probably died in the end. I just don’t get it. Why? Does it represent Prim? Or was it Peeta? Was it a take on sacrifice? Was it just demonstrating how Katniss try to justify her action without success?

I hope someone would be able to help me to understand the goat.

Chapter 2

–          The first unity declaration by District 12 done was on the day of the reaping when Katniss volunteered. It was the first step to defy the Capitol on national television: silence, not clapping and the silent admiration salute. All of it changed in Catching Fire when the majority barely supported Katniss at the square when Gale was whipped. It was all downhill after that. It’s as if they blamed her (and Peeta) for all the bad things that happened in District 12. This was a complete reversal of attitude from the first book. It doesn’t change much in Mockingjay when they are all in District 13. District 12 was not very keen on violence though the face of rebellion originated from their own Seam.

–          Peeta haven’t spoken to Katniss until they were on the train. 11 years passed since he noticed her and he didn’t even say a word, not even after he gave her that bread 5 years ago. She noticed him glancing her way at school several times but both have this unspoken rule about not approaching each other. Why? It could have been a very easy/nice way to start a conversation. All of a sudden, ‘How was that bread?’, ‘are you okay?’, ’how’s everything with your family?’

O.K. That was awkward. A bread and now we’re like, friends?

The obvious issue was class separation between the Seam and merchant kids. The tesserae severed the little trust that they have for each other besides living in separate part of District 12. Katniss does not belong in Peeta’s circle and vice versa so they let it be that way.

I also think that Peeta is a kind boy and he helped her without expecting anything in return, maybe because he loves her, maybe because he’s just being kind. Maybe the combination of both. He doesn’t seem the kind of person that will let injustice prevails or ignore people suffering. He was disgusted at Capitol’s party in Catching Fire and had the idea to fan the fire of the rebellion. He is genuinely a good person with a big heart.

Unfortunately that fated day, Katniss saw him got beaten by his own mother. She called him a ‘stupid creature’, for God’s sake! Not a boy, but something less than that. Almost like an animal. He already liked her since forever and finding his own mother calling him such a thing in front of her did not help with his confidence. I highly doubt it if he ever thought to confess his love (or even get the girl.) He did it because he was convinced that his death would benefit Katniss somehow, in the term of sponsors. His sole life purpose was to die in order to keep Katniss alive. That was his ultimate plan.

If we look on the other side, we know that Katniss was never good with words and seeing Peeta being with other merchant friends would make her nervous since she doesn’t really socialize well. She doesn’t even consider Madge her friend although she was the one Katniss end up with every time. That’s how slow she is with feelings. So we could assume that it would be out of character if she suddenly approach Peeta to say thank you and left.

Taking note of what Peeta said in the cave about the bakery making apple and goat cheese tarts but they only eat stale ones, Katniss realized that she was wrong about the baker family. She thought they had a ‘soft’ life and silently thought that it was not fair. Also, this means that the bread Peeta gave her was expensive, even the family cannot afford to eat it, let alone waste it. That was why he was punished dearly for being so careless.

This act of kindness saved his life. She was touched by it and I consider it the most crucial and important moment of the book.

If he didn’t throw her that bread (he could have ignored her since he knew what’s coming), she would have not owed him nor paid attention to him (although he had a serious crush on her.) She would never realize that fact ever. Furthermore, she would not feel as guilty and might take him out easily but the whole thing with the bread make her think and feel. It’s against her instinct for survival, against her stoic expression and many attempts to feign indifference towards her competitors.

Her alliance with Rue made her feel more. She was almost like her sister, Prim and her death was one of the most ‘despicable‘ quoting Peeta. After that, Katniss realized what Peeta said on the roof was true. They are not pieces of the Capitol’s game. This journey from being a person who refused feelings and thought that being expressionless will gain her more sponsors changed to another person capable of mourning and crying. The interesting part was that when she started to embrace her feelings (singing for Rue’s death, caring for Peeta), and that is when the people of Panem responded better. These feelings kindled her fire.

Still, she has no idea the effect that she can have, how she can move the districts by a song, a handful of berries and several chosen words for Thresh and Rue.

The feelings grew when she met Peeta and it has been growing ever since.

Chapter 2 – Part 1

A bit of Chapter 1

–          I don’t know what the goat, Lady symbolizes. It must symbolize something; if not Suzanne Collins would not spend a few pages of a story of Katniss telling Peeta about how she got it for Prim. The same story repeated during the anti-hijacking session with very little success on Peeta’s behalf and the goat probably died in the end. I just don’t get it. Why? Does it represent Prim? Was it a take on sacrifice? Was it just demonstrating how Katniss try to justify her action without success?

I hope someone would be able to help me to understand the goat.

Chapter 2

–          The first unity declaration by District 12 done was on the day of the reaping when Katniss volunteered. It was the first step to defy the Capitol on national television: silence, not clapping and the silent admiration salute. All of it changed in Catching Fire when the majority barely supported Katniss at the square when Gale was whipped. It was all downhill after that. It’s as if they blamed her (and Peeta) for all the bad things that happened in District 12. This was a complete reversal of attitude from the first book. It doesn’t change much in Mockingjay when they are all in District 13. District 12 was not very keen on violence though the face of rebellion originated from their own Seam.

ff

–          Peeta haven’t spoken to Katniss until they were on the train. 11 years passed since he noticed her and he didn’t even say a word, not even after he gave her that bread 5 years ago. She noticed him glancing her way at school several times but both have this unspoken rule about not approaching each other. Why? It could have been a very easy/nice way to start a conversation. All of a sudden, ‘How was that bread?’, ‘are you okay?’, ’how’s everything with your family?’

O.K. That was awkward. A bread and now we’re like, friends?

The obvious issue was class separation between the Seam and merchant kids. The tesserae severed the little trust that they have for each other besides living in separate part of District 12. Katniss does not belong in Peeta’s circle and vice versa so they let it be that way.

I also think that Peeta is a kind boy and he helped her without expecting anything in return, maybe because he loves her, maybe because he’s just being kind. Maybe the combination of both. He doesn’t seem the kind of person that will let injustice prevails or ignore people suffering. He was disgusted at Capitol’s party in Catching Fire and had the idea to fan the fire of the rebellion. He is genuinely a good person with a big heart.

Unfortunately that fated day, Katniss saw him got beaten by his own mother. She called him a ‘stupid creature’, for God’s sake! Not a boy, but something less than that. Almost like an animal. He already liked her since forever and finding his own mother calling him such a thing in front of her did not help with his confidence. I highly doubt it if he ever thought to confess his love (or even get the girl.) He did it because he was convinced that his death would benefit Katniss somehow, in the term of sponsors. His sole life purpose was to die in order to keep Katniss alive.

If we look on the other side, we know that Katniss was never good with words and seeing Peeta being with other merchant friends would make her nervous since she doesn’t really socialize well. She doesn’t even consider Madge her friend although she was the one Katniss end up with every time. So we could assume that it would be out of character if she suddenly approach Peeta to say thank you and left.

Taking note of what Peeta said in the cave about the bakery making apple and goat cheese tarts but they only eat stale ones, Katniss realized that she was wrong about the baker family. She thought they had a ‘soft’ life. Also, this means that the bread Peeta gave her was expensive, even the family cannot afford to eat it, let alone waste it. That was why he was punished dearly for being so careless.

This act of kindness saved his life. She was touched by it and I considered it the most crucial and important moment of the book.

If he didn’t throw her that bread (he could have ignored her since he knew what’s coming), she would have not owed him nor paid attention to him although he had a serious crush on her. She would never realize that fact ever. Furthermore, she would not feel as guilty and might take him out easily but the whole thing with the bread make her think and feel. It’s against her instinct for survival, against her stoic expression and many attempts to feign indifference towards her competitors.

Her alliance with Rue made her feel more. She was almost like her sister, Prim and her death was one of the most ‘despicable’ as said by Peeta. After that, Katniss realized what Peeta said on the roof was true. They are not pieces of the Capitol’s game. This journey from being a person who refused feelings and thought that being expressionless will gain her more sponsors changed to another person capable of mourning and crying. The interesting part was that when she started to embrace her feelings (singing for Rue’s death, caring for Peeta), and that is when the people of Panem responded better. These feelings kindled her fire.

Still, she has no idea the effect that she can have.

g (2)

The feelings grew when she met Peeta and it has been growing ever since.

Chapter 1 – Part 3

Moving on with Chapter 1.

In the first book, The Hunger Games, Gale has suggested to Katniss that they could have ran away (was it in an indirect way saying that he loves her and wants to spend his life with her? Was it for the safety of their families? Or both?) and in Catching Fire vice versa (Snow was not convinced of the romance and Katniss could not think of anything else better than running away) which did not help in any way possible. In both situations they would end up dead or being turned into Avoxes. They are brave hunters and survivors but choosing to avoid the big theme was in no way guarantees their safety. They must know deep down inside that this is not going to work, not in the long run.

The story would be much shorter and Panem would always be oppressed by the Snow’s regime. Gale cannot provide the spark though he has the full strength of the wind to blow it. Pun intended.

bakery

Strangely, Peeta, the boy with the bread, (who is a whiz with fire. He coaxed fire out of damp branches and even Katniss can’t do that although curiously she is the Girl on Fire) the one that had no knowledge of hunting or killing, started the ball rolling by confessing his tragic love story on national television which resulted to a chain of very strange consequences, rules changed and uprisings included. He didn’t even expect to live by the end of The 74th Hunger Games, didn’t expect to win the girl in Catching Fire (Everything: his life, his love, his future, that’s what he gave Katniss and expected nothing in return) and went crazy in Mockingjay (he lost his most prized possession: his mind.) He lost his entire family, half of his leg, his identity but he provided a spark that liberated Panem. Without his love, nothing of the sort would happen. Can you imagine such power? This is the price he had paid for being in love.

I know Gale too, is in love with Katniss. It would be unfair to compare the levels of love professed by the two men since we know so little of Gale. Glimpses of this and that (stolen kiss, whipping, hunting flashbacks) doesn’t provide us with the full detailed story. I know they had a lot of happy moments and she remembered it fondly. They were quite a team, soul mates perhaps at the start of the story.

Maybe some people like to be loved like this, like Gale did. I have to admit that his love is quite superficial, to me. Some people might disagree. He admitted kissing girls (I see that as bragging) around District 12 and only felt something after Darius flirted with Katniss (competitive edge) and later see Peeta as a competitor too. He expected Katniss to love him back, got upset when she mentioned Peeta and scraped the plan he told Katniss 100% he was in. I am very annoyed when he started to guilt-trip Katniss with the talk of his pain and how that’s the only way that Katniss would pay any attention to him. Peeta had far worse incidents and did not come up with such excuse, rather encouraged them to be together. He was never a threat to anyone until he was hijacked.

Gale’s love is strong but wind and fire is not a good combination.

Don’t get me wrong. Both men are strong and smart in very different ways. Gale knows how to hunt, kill, good with traps and snares and a fine soldier, very much like Katniss herself. Peeta on the other hand is very domesticated but he’s kind, warm, has the ability to think straight in the midst of chaos and understood the big picture.

But the author had Katniss included in a big plan. The two men in her life represented the past and future of Panem and she chose the future. It could never worked for Gale however hard she tried.

The kids issue came up early and Katniss clearly stated that she doesn’t want any. Her constant reasoning was the Games. She seemed adamant that love is weakness. She sees her mother as a victim of it. She reinforced the idea of not having children with Gale (while pretending to be pregnant with Peeta’s child and had no problem with it). She even said that it was ‘a mistake’ if she and Gale had children but convinced that Peeta would definitely be a better parent. Since Peeta cannot procreate alone, it’s quite safe to assume his choice had always included Katniss. Peeta, on the other hand thought Katniss would be a great mother seeing her fierce love with her sibling and how she protects Prim anyway she could. In a way they both obviously admire the qualities that the other has and see the full potential he/she could grow into. Her little imagination in Catching Fire brought the reality in the Epilogue. I think she never subconsciously considered Gale as her romantic partner.

In the first book, The Hunger Games, Katniss made it clear that she doesn’t have anything romantic between her and Gale. But towards the end she was not very consistent with her affirmation in the first chapter. Not that I don’t trust her but she’s very slow in processing feelings or meanings. I think she was not ready to like Peeta or to feel something towards him but she did anyway despite all of her reminding herself not to.

Since the triangle theme came up only after she met Peeta (not Darius, though we can safely say that he liked her), I think she tried to set her mind against Peeta. The topic might not come up if Effie reaped someone else. She might go hunting merrily for years later until confronted by the love topic when she’s older. Marrying Gale or ending up with him is the right thing to do (everybody expected her to do that, it’s the norm) but she was caught by surprised when she couldn’t after Peeta declared his love. It made her look weak, she said.

Since debt is Katniss’s favourite subject I think this is one of her reasons to try and choose Gale. They’re best friends and had been through a lot. Both have experienced lost, both born rebels, survivors, main family breadwinners though not having enough food. Their family knew each other and they’re used to each other’s rhythm until she volunteered for Prim. Although many people would claimed that she fell in love with Peeta in Catching Fire or by the end of the Quarter Quell, I think she had set her eyes on him since they were eleven, when he tossed her that burned bread.

As a person who treats any relationship as a transaction (Gale and her has a symbiotic kind of relationship, both benefit from the other) she cannot comprehend kindness and that focused her attention to him, subconsciously. She had wondered why since then. If we examine her relationship with Gale, she actually didn’t trust him immediately. It took her months to return a smile. They weren’t even in a life and death situation, not even in a competition and there were plenty of preys abound in the woods. What took her so long to trust Gale? Was it because he’s a stranger? But the funny thing with Peeta was that he was also a stranger and a very treacherous one at it, too but she has a strong instinct to trust him. Although they’re in a game to fight to the death, she has to remind herself to not trust him again and again.

Many times that she caught herself surprised with her actions towards Peeta. The obvious one is the kind warning before the private session, other times how she subconsciously look at Peeta though regretting it almost immediately. Note that they were actually joking when they met in the train at Haymitch’s expense. She smiled. She warmed up to him a lot faster when she knew very well that he can spin a very convincing lie, planning a strategy ahead and this was before Haymitch ordered them to be friends. She told him about the Avox and counted her debts owed to the boy with the bread. I don’t think she ever meant debts. That was the moments that pulled her heart towards him.

I think she has a special spot for him since they were young, that day when she was sprawled under the apple tree waiting to die and that was what she meant by ‘it would have happened anyway.’ It has always been him.

It has always been the boy with the bread.