Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins (New York: Scholastic, Inc., 2009. 391 pp)
*Spoiler Alert for Book One in Effect Throughout this Review*
“If it were up to me, I would try to forget the Hunger Games entirely. Never speak of them. Pretend they were nothing but a bad dream. But the Victory Tour makes that impossible. Strategically placed almost midway between the annual Games, it is the Capitol’s way of keeping the horror fresh and immediate. Not only are we in the districts forced to remember the iron grip of the Capitol’s power each year, we are forced to celebrate it. And this year, I am one of the stars of the show. I will have to travel from district to district, to stand before the cheering crowds who secretly loathe me, to look down into the faces of the families whose children I have killed…” (3-4).
Katniss is a believable character, to Collins’ merit. However, my problem has always been (and this is a personal view) she is just a little too whiny. Katniss never willingly seems to kill people in the Hunger Games as a survival instinct. Rather, she only killed her competitors when someone else was in danger, when someone else’s life was on the line. I believe, realistically, she would be much more brutal, as the instinct to survive is stronger than what Katniss portrays. Moreover, the crowds, viewing this spectacle on the television, would undoubtedly side with Katniss as the merciful competitor, as she didn’t kill willingly, only doing so as a last resort. The crowd wouldn’t look down on her and loathe her as Katniss seems to believe.
Repercussions and Self-Loathing
“The full impact of what he’s saying hits me. I will never have a life with Gale, even if I want to. I will never be allowed to live alone. I will have to be forever in love with Peeta. The Capitol will insist on it. I’ll have a few years maybe, because I’m still only sixteen, to stay with my mother and Prim…if I want to keep those I love alive and stay alive myself [,] I’ll have to marry Peeta” (44).
Continuing on her path of self-loathing and depression, Katniss takes her victory at the games incredibly hard.
“I’m selfish. I’m a coward. I’m the kind of girl who, when she might actually be of use, would run to stay alive and leave those who couldn’t follow to suffer and die…No wonder I won the Games. No decent person ever does” (117).
What do you think? Do you find Katniss to be a believable and compelling character? What about the plot? Share your thoughts below.
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