1. Pythonforger
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    Pythonforger Carrier of Insanity

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    Hunger Games:Katniss overtly sentimental!

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Pythonforger, May 11, 2012.

    This really ruined my enjoyment of the Hunger Games Trilogy. Katniss, you see, is supposed to be portrayed as this consummate survivor(she survived one and a half Hunger Games and managed to avoid starving by poaching in the woods), but for some reason she has this "unfortunate sentimental streak"(President Snow describing Seneca Crane) in her.

    Let's begin.

    1)If she had the heart to kill Peeta, there wouldn't be a war. She would be a clean victor and enjoy the money for the rest of her life. Instead she plucked some nightlock from her pouch and started Panem War Two. And also sent the Capitol racing to kill her and Peeta, as well as their families.

    2)She was alone with President Snow in the study. It would have been beyond easy to attack him and kill him, or at least disable him until she can pull out her knife and kill him properly.

    3)She should have backstabbed Johanna Mason and Finnick Odair the moment she got the chance. They're too good at their respective weapons to be allowed to live.

    4)She should have let go of her obsession with Peeta, because worry over him drives her near-crazy.

    5)She should have immediately agreed to be the Mockingjay. There is no harm and it will help the rebels win the war. There's no point making the Mockingjay Deal-if the victors were really as innocent as she thinks, they would be found Not Guilty and let go anyway. "But she can't take the slightest risk that Peeta might die," I hear you cry. Well, see point four.

    6)She should have shot Peeta the moment Coin transferred him to her team. For God's sakes, you can't have a loose cannon-no, not even that, a pure psycho running amok as you're going on a suicide mission to kill Snow!

    7)She should have shot President Snow, not President Coin. Although Coin may be power hungry, she IS a damn good leader. And Katniss is too beloved for Coin to have assassinated. Hell, she should even support Coin, because as stated above, she is a damn good leader. And if she supports Coin, Coin has no reason to kill her.
     
  2. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    Well, it's a story. There's conflict, there's resolution and then some form of ending. Personally, if in real life, I would have told the kids to band together, kill their oppressors and foment a rebellion. The book would have lasted 20 pages, there would not be sequels and no billion dollar box-office.

    A robot tried to kill Sarah Connor. Luke Skywalker lost a hand. I killed my lead in the first chapter. All bad things. But good stories. That's the nature of our craft.
     
  3. Leia
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    Leia Member

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    It's overly sentimental to do all you can to avoid killing someone you care about? And, most of your points are things she couldn't have possibly known the ramifications of (she's just a kid remember). There's an awful lot of "should"s in your post...seems like an excellent opportunity to try your hand at writing a character for yourself that fits all of those lofty ideals.

    Besides, good characters make mistakes, otherwise there would be no books, only really cool looking pages.
     
  4. ithestargazer
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    ithestargazer Active Member

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    Yeah, a book without conflict or personal entanglements would be pretty boring. The entire point of fiction is to explore these human conditions. The lengths people go to for love, the choices we make whilst in the dark, the courage it takes to face your opponents...

    It's easy to pinpoint things that could have been done differently but we as readers have the benefit of retrospect. As Leia said above, we can read through the book, see her decisions and judge them through hindsight. If you were in that position and had to make such profound choices (of which you can't possibly know the outcome) then how would you fair? How is one to know how the Capitol would react to her defiance? It could have been a slap on the wrist but it wasn't in this case. We all make decisions that we might change or regret with hindsight and that's the nature of time.

    I don't think Katniss made any decisions that were outrageous for her character in her place at her time. It's when characters are completely reckless and made preposterous decisions that really bug me (I think this is the case for you here.)

    I'm finding myself on the defense about this which is unusual. I guess the books are just fresh in my mind.
     
  5. C.B Harrington
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    C.B Harrington Member

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    Your analysis isn't uncalled for or bad, but you're making comments about the novels based on your understanding of how things turn out. If you want to argue for why a character should or shouldn't have made a decision, you need to find the reasons why, in the previous sections of the book.

    Are Katniss's actions wrong because of who the character is, based on what is written about her, or are they wrong because it frustrates you to watch the conflict unfold and you being you, can't identify with the choices of Katniss being Katniss?

    Conflict is essential, but you can still have transparent writing that shows the authors hand more than the MC's decisions. Do you have examples of those, which support your ideas? That's my only real question.
     
  6. Kaymindless
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    Kaymindless Contributing Member

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    1.) There had already been a war. It's my honest opinion, that in the situation created in these books, war was going to happen eventually. One way or another. Also, my understanding is she never thought she would win in the first place. Money was never important to her because, as you said. she easily survived off of hunting outside of the district. Had she not been part of the games, she would have continued doing so. Had she killed Peeta, she would have done the same. The money promised would have (and did) make her family comfortable but not her.

    4.) A lot of nonsense drove her crazy which is when I stopped enjoying the books myself. Peeta, while a major influence, was not all that did that.

    6.) Honestly, with the state of all of them, really... none of them should have been on that team.

    All in all, I'm really going to agree with C.B.
     
  7. Cassiopeia Phoenix
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    Cassiopeia Phoenix Contributing Member

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    I don't like the Hunger Games saga, but I've read the first two books and I'm going to tell you this: I decided to read it because I thought Katniss was... Well, I thought she would have more agency than most protagonists I saw. But I found instead that she does crucial actions in crucial moments and in result, she turns herself into a symbol -- not a fighter as I imagined.

    Which does fit what my history teacher said the other day that who makes the revolutions are the people, not the politicians. My country ended slavery after a princess signed a document -- I don't know how to write the name of the document in English, though -- but by then, 95% of the slaves were already free. So, who freed the slaves...?

    Hunger Games is about the same, and I don't think Katniss is overtly emotional. I think she is not the fighter I thought she was.
     
  8. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think you're forgetting that Katniss is human and a teenage girl - from your analysis, she should've basically had no emotion and having emotions at all is your main critique. If she did do everything you said she should've on your list, then what we would have would not have been a human teenage girl - what we would have is just another stereotypical "hero" that every other author churns out, with no real humanity in them, no realism, and nothing to relate to.

    Put yourself in Katniss' shoes - would you really have "shot Peeta the moment he got transferred the team"? Are you decisions in the day-to-day so cold-blooded? Between your sister or father or best friend or partner being insane and alive and you murdering them because they'd hinder a mission - which would you really choose? If you honestly believed that you brought death on loads of people whom you cared for, would you really be unaffected?

    Katniss showed she had values she held to and integrity precisely by having that "emotional streak" - and that very emotional streak was also her weakness, I grant you - but aren't MCs meant to have weaknesses? They're meant to make bad decisions, they're meant to act irrationally sometimes, as humans do in real life. The fact that Katniss does these things makes her more human, and therefore more 3-dimensional.

    Shooting Coin made sense - as far as Katniss believed, Coin was responsible for Prim's death. If someone killed your loved one and you found out who was responsible, and you had a weapon and the person responsible was right there, clueless and defenceless - wouldn't you contemplate doing just what Katniss did? And even if it was an irrational decision - which is kinda was - it fits within the story. Katniss was mentally and emotionally very unstable by that stage. But I liked this. Which of you, after watching your home bombed to shreds and people you cared for killed and the man you love brainwashed into a monster and then witnessed the death of the person you loved the most - which of you would NOT go a little crazy, as Katniss did? Which of you would NOT simply lose it?

    The fact is, Katniss wasn't the typical perfect hero that you cheer for (although there were certainly cliche moments where she fitted this stereotype) - Katniss was a human girl, and a normal human being would be as shaken up as she was, should they go through the same things.

    If you wanted a regular "hero" with no flaws and no emotion and always acts according to dramatic conventions, then don't read a book as good as THG - read some action thriller bestseller instead. That kinda hero is also entertaining to read and exists everywhere. Whereas Katniss was one in a thousand, because she was real.
     
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  9. Bob Magness
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    Bob Magness Senior Member

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    That would have been quite a boring story, frankly.
     
  10. Man in the Box
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    Man in the Box Active Member

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    Are we supposed to excuse character stupidity to have good stories?
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Let's keep the discussion to the character development of Katniss, and dispense with name calling and unsupported labels.
     
  12. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, actually. Foolishness and its consequences can make for very good stories.
     
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  13. Northern Phil
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    It would have been so easy for her to have done those things, but then it would have been a boring book.

    What you forget is this character is a loving and compassionate person. If she had have done all of those above, then that would have turned her into a souless and horrible person. She went into The Hunger Games to save her sister and all the actions through the first Hunger Games were so that she could get back to her family and make sure that they were cared for and supported properly. In point 1 for instance she did that because whether she wanted to admit it or not she had fallen in love with Peeta and she couldn't bare to kill him.

    Letting someone you love deeply just disappear in a heartbeat is a difficult thing to do. In fact I enjoyed the whole should she kill Peeta or shouldn't she. I thought it made it a richer story.
     
  14. Cassiopeia Phoenix
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    Cassiopeia Phoenix Contributing Member

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    That's why I like villains. And that's why my MCs are always kind of "gray" characters: they all have the cunning inteligence often found in villains, and they don't make mistakes just to move the plot forward and make the story "good" (which happens painfully often in stories with heroes).

    Moving on to Katniss, I guess she's like any other hero in literature, but in a different gender, and that made all the difference in analyzing her, which made everyone go like: "Katniss is so different, everyone can go home" when in fact, I found her to be common ground. Though she's a woman, and there aren't many of those being protagonists in not romantic stories so while she represents an important step for literature and how media portrays women, she's not that altogether a bold move from the author, character wise. The only thing different about her is the gender. I tend to dislike characters in Katniss' fashion, man,boy, girl or woman. Or dog, or salmon.

    I feel like a bad feminist typing this, but I can't help it.
     
  15. MissRis
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    This doesn't make you a bad feminist, but a critical reader that doesn't fall into the trappings of "strong female leads" because they wield a weapon. She is more of a feminist character than most -- assertive, doesn't seem to be dragged around by other characters, and is all around kick ass. However, she is the ultimate martyr, which makes her questionable as a female role model. Not to say that her reasons for sacrifice aren't valid -- family is everything and if you're not willing to sacrifice yourself for them then who?

    The agency question that everyone seems to bring up as her number one downfall is problematic because no one has agency in the book. The Capitol removes any sense of agency any of the characters could possibly have. This is why Katniss's movement in THG to take nightlock with Peeta was the ultimate defiance. If the Capitol can change the rules on a whim and they can't win together, then they'll die together instead. There is no winner. There is no hope.
     
  16. Luna13
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    Luna13 Active Member

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    I did like how Katniss had her own strength and didn't depend on a bunch of handsome warriors to save her, but Collins sort of made it feel like for a female to be strong she can't be feminine. Basically, if she started calling Katniss "he," changed her name, and made Gale and Peeta girls, she would be a boy. Not much else would have to change.

    What message is that giving? That the average girl - the one who daydreams about boys, who wears jewelry, who has BFFs and slumber parties and sits locked in her room chatting on the phone for hours on end - can never be strong?
     
  17. CheddarCheese
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    CheddarCheese Contributing Member

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    It seems that you would prefer if Katniss was an emotionless, psychopathic individual with no regard for others lives or emotions. Sure, Katniss was a survivor, but that doesn't mean she completely lacked emotions. Just because she learned to poach in the woods to survive, certainly doesn't mean she would know the 'best' course of action in every situation of The Hunger Games. She's human, not a robot.

    Unless Katniss is devoid of any sort of emotional response, this is illogical. Peeta was someone she knew from her own district, and someone who had helped her out in harsh situations. Would you kill a friend for a million dollars? I certainly wouldn't. And Katniss most likely didn't know that her actions would start a second rebellion; she just wanted to survive. And hey, it worked.

    As the President himself put it (when Katniss asks why he doesn't simply kill her): "Publicly? That would only add fuel to the flames." President Snow is the overruling leader of the Capitol, whose citizens and soldiers are already brainwashed into enjoying the sight of children killing each other on television. If their 'great leader' was suddenly killed by some rebellious girl, you can bet that they'll quickly antagonize her.

    Additionally, like I said before, unless Katniss is a psychopath, she wouldn't simply kill people in peaceful situations.

    They were good, but they were people. By this logic, Katniss should have shot Rue as soon as she saw her, due to her admirably high score before the Games. But she didn't. Why? Well, she's human, not a serial killer.

    If this was something that could be 'let go' by the flick of a switch, I'd agree with you. But if you've any experience with any sort of attachment, you'd know this is much, much easier said than done.

    We humans can sometimes be selfish creatures. Some of us tend to think of ourselves, or what we possess before others, many times inadvertently. Katniss wasn't thinking entirely about the war when she was offered this position, she was thinking about how it would effect her and her own life. And to be honest, if Katniss didn't have flaws like this, it'd make her an incredibly boring character.

    It's funny you call him that, since you believe it's alright for Katniss to be a 'pure psycho'. :p Again, you're saying that she should mercilessly kill someone she knew and loved. Although you may argue that he is no longer himself due to the hijacking, if there's any chance he might get better (and he does), Katniss wouldn't shoot him.

    This is actually the one point that I disagree with the most on this list. Coin is power hungry and she is a good leader. You know who else was like that? President Snow! He was also power hungry, and he was also a good leader. That's how he managed to keep his country running, how he managed to quell a rebellion, and keep all the districts in check for so long. You know who else? Napoleon was also a brilliant leader. He was also power hungry. So was Hitler. So was Genghis Khan. If I was Katniss, I would have shot both of them, just to be sure.

    Besides, Coin wouldn't have any use for Katniss after the war was over, and probably would have gotten rid of her.

    Just my input. Cheers.
     
  18. Lasers123
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    Lasers123 New Member

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    In my opinion, its good that Katniss didnt kill Peeta, Finnik, Johanna and the others. Thats a factor that makes us like her as a protagonist. She is a teenager who has lost her father, and loves her little sister more than anything else. Meaning that she understands the preciousness of life. There is no justification in killing someone who didnt do anything wrong - thats how Katniss felt throughout the series - why she was reluctant and hesitant when thinking about killing Peeta and the others. Even when she killed the tributes in the games, she felt horrible. People admire Katniss because she had emotion. She showed herself as being truly human - fighting for a worthy cause and killing only when necessary.
    I think the character of Katniss is quite spectacular and inspiring.

    To me the biggest upset was Prim's death at the end.
     
  19. Lasers123
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    Lasers123 New Member

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    In my opinion, its good that Katniss didnt kill Peeta, Finnik, Johanna and the others. Thats a factor that makes us like her as a protagonist. She is a teenager who has lost her father, and loves her little sister more than anything else. Meaning that she understands the preciousness of life. There is no justification in killing someone who didnt do anything wrong - thats how Katniss felt throughout the series - why she was reluctant and hesitant when thinking about killing Peeta and the others. Even when she killed the tributes in the games, she felt horrible. People admire Katniss because she had emotion. She showed herself as being truly human - fighting for a worthy cause and killing only when necessary.
    I think the character of Katniss is quite spectacular and inspiring.

    To me the biggest upset was Prim's death at the end.
     
  20. thecoopertempleclause
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    thecoopertempleclause Contributing Member

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    The books make it clear that there would have been a war no matter what. District 13 was just waiting for a spark to start it all off. Additionally, he future after the games would have involved the severe psychological trauma, coupled with the Capitol using her as a prostitute for the rest of her life, threatening to execute her family if she didn't comply.

    He wouldn't have gone in the room with her if he thought there was a chance she'd kill him, besides, at that point it wouldn't have done much. There's always a second-in-command who's equally vicious.

    Perhaps, but Katniss only ever killed people in the games when they posed an immediate threat to her. She never turned on allies unprovoked.

    The book is written in first-person, so we know what Katniss knows, but it's quite easy to discern that she fell in love with Peeta during the first hunger games she took part in, she just never admitted it to herself until the very end of Mockingjay. That's the point where her mind finally confronts the fact that her feelings for Peeta are real, not an act.

    She was in a rare position of power. This was the only point where she had that kindf of leverage. I would have thought it completely nonsensical to not secure the future of those she cared about.

    See answer to 4

    This was the whole point of her epiphany in Mockingjay. It was revealed that 13 started the revolution 75 years ago, used the districts against each other and then only thought of themselves when things went wrong. The point was that 13 and the Capitol were exactly the same. Both cared more about power than the districts. Coin's idea to hold a final hunger games to punish the Capitol showed that she would use the murder of children to support her grasp of power. Her treatment of Snow prior to his execution showed that she considered him a political opponent, not a heinous enemy. Finally, the very strong implication that she personally arranged for Prim to be in the Capitol, and set of the bombs which killed the Capitol's children and the rebel medical squad showed that far from being the best in a bad situation, her regime was likely to be even more monstrous than Snow's. Snow ended up being the second villain of the series, because despite his evilness, he told Katniss the truth in the end. Something she would never have gotten from Coin.

    Her action in executing Coin changed the game somewhat. It paved the way for a democratic Panem (which Collins somewhat saccharinly compares to old America as the ideal). Also, Coin would have had her killed no matter what. She had too much sway over the people, and Coin could never have that shadow over her. Katniss' nature showed that she was never going to support anyone completely without hesitation. So Coin knew there was always a chance she could turn the people against her.
     

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