Finding the Chink in the Fence

After reading the first book of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games Trilogy, I was a goner. I was hooked like a tuna on Wicked Tuna.

Atlantic bluefin tuna, Malta

Instantaneously, I became fixated with finding the first movie; I had to see how Hollywood portrayed the book. After two trips to Red Box and one round of scratched discs, I devoured the film…twice. Seeing how my depictions differed with the movie fascinated me.

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After I finished Catching Fire, I took no break and moved straight to Mockingjay. After an hour sob-session upon completion of Mockinjay, I pulled myself together to rehash the final events that sent me into a tailspin.

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The conclusion of the trilogy left nothing to imagination; the ends were tied up and the characters’ true colors became known. Death multiplied as the books progressed and the happy ending left readers eerily cheerless. Yet, beneath all of the sorrow, as with any great piece of fiction, readers can learn and apply Katniss’ hard-learned lessons to enhance their own lives.

Throughout the three books, Collins reiterates Katniss’ accumulation of debts. The debts began in her childhood, when Peeta gave her bread to feed her starving family. His simple gesture gave Katniss the gumption to continue fighting in order to live. From that point forward, she knew she could never stop owing him; she could do no act of kindness or pay no amount of money that would compensate for his generosity that day.

Flash forward to the Hunger Games arena, where Katniss continued to rack up debt as Peeta protected her at every opportunity. In the second round of games, she owed Finnick for saving Peeta. She owed Haymitch for providing them with water. She owed Mags for sacrificing her life to let Peeta live. Soon after, she also owed Tigris for hiding her team.

Despite colossal effort, Katniss could never repay her ceaseless debts; she would never get back to ground-zero. However, although she forever owed scores of people, Katniss chose to live a life worthy of their sacrifices. As the Mockingjay, she became worthy of the sacrifices, leading Panem out of its sickening tyranny and oppression.

Yet, before taking on the role as Mockingjay, Katniss had to discover and address her weaknesses. To be worthy of Cinna’s Mockingjay suit, she had to overcome her weak points and become the face of rebellion. With every citizen of Panem watching her every move, she had no time to grieve.

In order to earn the role of Mockinjay, Katniss not only had to conquer her own weaknesses, she also had to address the Capitol’s weaknesses. The essence of the Capitol was the Hunger Games itself, and Katniss knew she would continue to be a pawn in their games unless she crushed the games entirely. At the conclusion of Catching Fire, Katniss found the Capitol’s weakness; she knew how to destroy the games.

She found the chink in the fence.

By sending an arrow into the weak spot of the force field, Katniss became the epitome of the revolution. Without the force field, the Capitol lost its hold on the games, which allowed rebel powers to rescue the tributes. She defeated the games and, in turn, defeated the Capitol’s stronghold on Panem.

By becoming worthy of her debts and finding the chink in the fence, Katniss’ character truly grows on readers. She sets the example for young people everywhere: use your wits and do not let your age define your limitations.

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