Re-reading “The Hunger Games” #02: Denial

There was one point I forgot to comment on from Chapter 1.

His (Gale) rages seem pointless to me, although I never say so. It’s not that I don’t agree with him. I do. But what good is yelling about the Capitol in the middle of the woods? It doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t make things fair. It doesn’t fill our stomachs. In fact, it scares off the nearby game.

This resonates with me because, as I pointed out in an article I wrote recently, this is something I hear people say often. Humans value self-preservation by nature. If our survival is at stake, we don’t care about anything else. People who rarely experience being in that border between luxury and poverty, life and death, will label Katniss’ thinking as “uninvolved” or “selfish”.

We can’t really know how difficult the kind of life Katniss lives is until we experience it ourselves, but it’s also noteworthy that after she really saw what was going on in the Capitol, Katniss began to take a stand. Maybe in the real world, altruism is for those who can afford it, but it doesn’t always have to be that way. Maybe, as in Katniss’ case, empowerment is key.

Chapter 3

Okay, so THG also holds the distinction of making me cry 2 chapters in a row. Congratulations, Ms. Collins!

But it wasn’t the encounter between Katniss, Prim, and their mother that made me cry. I was somehow already prepared for that scene, and I was too busy giving Katniss an imaginary pat on the back for finally telling her mother what she always wanted to say.

I didn’t cry when Gale came in either, although I added yet another notch on the scoreboard in favor of “Katniss is in denial about Gale’s feelings.” Really, Katniss, he was going to say “And remember, Katniss, I LOVE YOU.” So there.

I cried when the Baker and Madge came in. Weird, I know, considering that they’re almost strangers to Katniss. They have no emotional attachment to her whatsoever, but that’s exactly what I reacted to. These people don’t know Katniss well enough, yet they came in to give her tokens and to wish her luck. I cried thinking how difficult it must have been for the Baker to face the girl who was virtually going to become his son’s murderer.

This early in the story, we can already glimpse the kind of impact Katniss will eventually have on District 12 and the entire nation, on people who barely know her but would come to care about her fate.

Chapter 4

A kind Peeta Mellark is far more dangerous to me than an unkind one. Kind people have a way of working their way inside me and rooting there. And I can’t let Peeta do this. Not where we’re going.

It’s too late for you, girl. If at that point in the Reaping you already felt numbed by the idea of killing Peeta, then this little strategy will not work now.

It’s interesting to see that despite knowing that the likelihood of being Reaped was high for both Katniss and Gale, they didn’t seem to have a planned strategy for how they will play the Game if they were reaped. Katniss seems surprised that Haymitch has a strategy in mind after he saw what Katniss and Peeta were capable of, and she was even more surprised that Peeta was already scheming on the train. Perhaps she is in denial about her odds of getting reaped, just as she is still in denial about what Gale feels for her.

♛ ♛ ♛

To be continued…

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