Can I just say that when I first read the Hunger Games, I did not like Katniss. Not really. I respected her, but I couldn’t entirely sympathize with her. As I’ve watched the movie and discussed the books with others, I find that I like her more than I did at first. You see, and I don’t know if you can tell from any of my posts, I am a very emotional person (and really this shouldn’t have affected me because I have come up against less emotional characters and liked them…I think) and it was hard for me to connect with Katniss shutting herself off all the time. I would like to blame some of this on modern society for bringing us up to believe that women need to be the emotional gender because this just is not true, and I think it’s part of why I didn’t like her to start with.
The funny thing is, that when I was reading, I knew it was a defense mechanism. She was protecting herself by walling up anything that could possibly hurt her or her family. And still I couldn’t reconcile, which is a little bit stupid, I realize. I think the other part to not really sympathizing is the huge differences in society. It doesn’t quite hit you will reading the Hunger Games how awful the characters’ lives are. When you watch the movie it hits you square in the face. I find my reaction of this ironic, too. I’ve read books where things really smacked me (at least I want to say I have) but somehow I cut myself off. Maybe it was just to awful to let myself comprehend, because it was happening to children, and I have a very special affinity for children (especially babies). I wish I could say that I could act differently from Katniss if I lived her life, but I can’t tell you how I would act at all. Volunteering as tribute goes without saying. I would do that in a heartbeat, no questions asked even if I knew that I would be killed in the first few minutes. Better me than any of my siblings. Giving up on the idea of a family would be hard. But then, if I’d grown up as a mother to my sister and a caretaker for my mother watching children die all of my life, then perhaps I would use the same process she does. God knows I commend her for it. That takes a strong will to give up on any hope of romance or family. To me, it’s almost condemning yourself to a solitary life. Even if you don’t believe in true love, living without anybody cannot be an entirely pleasant prospect (now I’m not saying she would have been completely without company, and it might be a pleasant prospect if you really hate people).
I am so glad that she was able to let go. That she was free to feel what was there instead of shoving it to the side because someone else needed her. She was free to be selfish for once. Selfishness wasn’t a luxury that she could afford with the Capitol around, not in her mind. Then for a bit, it just became expected of her to give. Gale expected it, Coin expected it, everyone from District 13 really. She wasn’t completely a person to them, yes, even to Gale and he was supposed to be her friend. I mean, come on. If he was really her friend (or even if he really loved her) he wouldn’t be so jealous of Peeta. He would be happy for her. Duh. He was crushing. And let’s admit it Tumblrverse, when you crush, you think the person you’re crushing on is your property. You give them an identity that is not theirs because you want them to be the perfect person for you. That was Gale crushing on Katniss. Coin and the rest of 13 saw her as a tool. She was a means to an end, and by God, they would use her to win their war. The sad thing about all that was that Katniss allowed herself to be used. At heart she wasn’t going to change, but they thought she would for various reasons. Peeta never expected her to be what she was. AND THAT IS WHY I AM TEAM PEETA. But the romance isn’t even the focus of the books, remember that, kiddies.
Katniss is one of literature’s strongest characters, and I love that she breaks out of traditional female roles. Yes, there are still some inherently feminine characteristics about her, but you cannot deny she is her own person. That’s what is the best. She is her own person. She doesn’t care what she looks like (she is frequently a mess) and she certainly doesn’t care about impressing anyone. Her family is number one (and only one). Hunting isn’t beyond her, she doesn’t worry about breaking a nail, and she knows how to bribe. She’s fucking awesome.
I hope I haven’t spoiled anything…I tried to be vague, but you know, I can’t watch everything. Look for my next post!