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

Our Katniss’s turn.


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.

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.