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aislinntlc ([personal profile] aislinnsdair) wrote2010-08-30 12:08 am
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Thoughts on Katniss

OK, I pretty much never post here, and very few will see this, but I feel the need to get some thoughts on Katniss from the Hunger Games down on "paper". I'll put them behind a cut, (I hope) in case they end up on anyone's friend page who hasn't read Mockingjay or doesn't care. Given the fact I should be going to sleep instead, this may only be semi-coherent, lol.

Katniss' actions at the end of Mockingjay at first glance seem to be a surprise for some people. After all, she is the one who stood up for the little guy, acted to right wrongs, was the catalyst for the revolution. How could she be so willing to kill, first Snow, but ultimately Coin? How could she vote to hold another Hunger Games, when she herself had been through not one, but two such hells?

I think that her actions are actually consistent with the girl we have come to know through the three books. She is, first and foremost, a survivor. All of her actions are built around the act of ensuring her survival or the survival of someone with whom she feels a connection. The choices she makes, again and again, are not based on ideology, but on pragmatics. Her sister would not survive the games - she volunteers. She sees everyone in the first game(and the Quarter Quell for a while) as an adversary, until there are pragmatic reasons not to. She doesn't see the bigger picture that Peeta sees, doesn't understand what he says to her on the roof about choices - at least, not until two books later. Her actions are very much in the moment, based on her feelings at that time. The choice with the poisonous berries at the end of the first book is not a well thought out strategy - it's an impulsive act of defiance, when she thinks she has nothing to lose. By the time she has reached the 13th District in Mockingjay and they try to get her to be their spokesperson, she's pathetic at it, because it means nothing to her in the abstract. It is not until she is roused by the personal connections she feels in meeting the people in the hospital in District 8, that she is stirred to be the Mockingjay her handlers have been trying to portray. That is not to say that she has no compassion or ability to recognize right or wrong in actions - she objected to the weaponry that Gale was developing, because it had great potential to harm innocents. It's just that, for most of the time that we know her, she is actively having to play the game, whether it's an official Hunger Game, or an unofficial one, and her primary thought process is that of survival.

By the time she is brought into the room with the other Game victors, she is less than 24 hours past hearing from Snow that it was her own side that killed her sister, but not yet at a point where she has let herself believe it to be true. She asks Gale if it was his bomb, and he can't deny it, and right after that, she is prepared and led into the room with the others. Her sister, the entire reason that she ever was swept into the Games at all, was blown up in front of her face, and she is just now hearing that it was the people she was fighting with, who in turn were fighting against the people who had burned up her district, killed people she loved. She had been warned previously by Beetee that Coin saw her as a threat, since she wasn't speaking in support of Coin. In her mind, sitting at that table, I think she still felt like she was in the middle of the Games. Nothing had happened to make her feel like the danger was over to herself or to her loved ones - threats still existed all around her. When Coin comes in to present the option of the Games, for a girl whose psyche is actively playing the Game she is in, I think it make sense that she would choose to vote yes for the final Hunger Games as punishment to the guilty of the Capitol. She understands better than many that threatening one's loved ones is a more potent threat, a more painful punishment, than a threat to yourself. There are so many reasons for her to do so - vengeance for her sister, while not noble, is a real human impulse. Surviving the Games of the past meant that you killed everyone else and made sure you were the last one standing - choosing to agree to one last Games may feel like a way to do that in the Game she still felt like she was playing. Simple despair, which is the emotion described in the book, a sense of the inevitability of it all, that nothing could be made better - that can be a valid reason in itself. After all, she had fought so hard to protect her sister and Peeta, yet look what happened to both of them. To me, it looked very much like the survivor type of decisions that she made early in times of threat during the previous Games. Yet, mere moments later, when she was standing there, ready to shoot Snow, once again her choice took on a different, more catalytic quality - faced with all of the horrendous truths, she once again acted out of defiance, her arrow for Coin being another handful of deadly berries.

Katniss to me is a deeply flawed character, one who was shaped into a hard person by the brutal reality of her world. I also think she has some real INTP qualities, but that's another discussion, lol. She has a core of goodness, and a fierce vibrant quality that draws people to her - she is a flame that inspires. But not in the way that Peeta does, with thoughts and words. In her actions in each moment, she chooses to survive and protect those she cares about, and inspires others to do the same.