Saturday, January 1, 2011

To Kill a Mockingjay

     Welcome to 2011, everybody! Now, I could go on and on right now about how my New Year's Eve went and the horror I faced when watching Ke$ha reveal her New Year's Resolution to Ryan Seacrest, but I will not digress:
      The plot: Katniss Everdeen has after narrowly escaping her death once again in the Hunger Games found a safe refuge: District Thirteen, a place that was once thought to be destroyed by the Capitol at the denouement of the first civil war in Panem. And not only did 13 rescue Katniss, Beetee, and Finnick (all former victors who participated in the Quarter Quell with Katniss) from the arena, but they also welcomed all of the survivors of the Capitol's bombing of District 12 into their midst. This attack occurred when Katniss executed a cumulative act of defiance to the Capitol by blowing up the force field that surrounded the Quarter Quell arena. The good news: Prim, Katniss's sister, Katniss's mother, and Gale, Katniss's hunting partner/lover, all survived the chaos. The bad news: Peeta, Katniss's other lover and companion throughout the games, was captured by the Capitol before District Thirteen's forces could get to him in the arena. However, the Capitol has other problems than Katniss escaping from their clutches-because of Katniss's public showing of rebellion, most of the districts are now participating in another civil war against their government as well.  Within a few days, the rebels leaders in 13 tell Katniss of her role in this war: to be the poster girl of the rebel cause, to be the Mockingjay that unites all of the districts so that their oppressor can be brought down to a horrible death. And eventually, she agrees.
     So what makes this book a masterpiece, you may ask? Well, you would think that District 13 is the ultimate "good side" of Panem with goodwill the driving force in government and leaders who are selfless and not power-hungry, but that is not true. Just as the Capitol used  Katniss and other teenagers from the districts as puppets to insure district subordination to the Capitol, 13 does more than make Katniss a poster girl-they make her their own puppet that gathers support from all of the districts for the rebel cause. She is dressed in sleek armor that makes her look similar to a Mockingjay and remade by her prep-team all in order to make her message more poignant. When she actually ventures into the field of battle, she and her "squad" are directed towards areas of less vigorous fighting so that she isn't hurt and the camera team that always trails behind her is able to record enough footage for substantial propaganda.  And then there is the leader of District 13: President Coin, an immensely shrewd woman who really only cares about Katniss when it comes to her ability to act as her puppet, the Mockingjay. It becomes clear that the only reason she wants Katniss alive is to support the rebels when she sends a homicidal Peeta, whose mind has been twisted by the Capitol to think that Katniss is an evil mutt who needs to be murdered, to be a part of Katniss's squadron in the Captitol invasion at the end of the novel. Coin has reasons that if Katniss is killed, the rebels will have a martyr to fight for when they invade the City Circle, the Panem equivalent of our Capitol Building. The ambiguity of Coin is further proved when (SPOILER WARNING) after the rebels prevail in taking the City Circle, she suggests having a final Hunger Games with the children of Capitol officials so that the people of the districts could satisfy their need for revenge against their former government. Katniss realizes this, and at the end of the story she commits one final act of revolution not against the Capitol, not against District 13, but against evil and moral ambiguity itself. That is why this book is so amazing-good and evil is not so blatantly presented to us here as it is in other book series, you must look deeper within the literary world created by the words to see it. 
     There are about fifty thousand morals we can take away from this novel, but the one that I have just spent about half a paragraph explaining is the most effective in the world today. So for all of you who find yourself in a situation where you must choose between two opposing sides, just know this: just because a force is opposing evil does not mean that the force is good, it just means that it has something against the evil force. You can only decide what good and evil are, and I pray that all of you think that good does not include anyone innocent, anyone innocent, losing their lives, which is yet another lesson learned from Mockingjay. The only exception to this is if that death will save the lives of many more innocent people, but still, one should always try to get tasks accomplish with the least losses of life as possible. It is very easy to share peoples' aggression and join them in supporting radical actions. Many times the aggression is very justifiable and the creators of the aggression were only victims of circumstance, but don't let your sympathy towards them transform into a hatred towards other people-that is how many destructive situations that can be avoided transpire. If all who can internalize this reasoning do so, then we will live in an ultimately peaceful world with only minor skirmishes here and there that can be feasibly expunged.
      So now I will enjoy my last two days of Christmas Vacation with some banana bread I just baked and the writing of my novel. Oh, and if you wanted to see what Ke$ha's resolution was, click here, but trust me, you really don't. Really.

1 comment:

  1. I didnt like how Gale was portrayed at the end of the book. I felt like there was something else there that i needed to know.


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