The Construction of Identity on Panem

“- I don’t know how to say it exactly. Only… I want to die as myself. (…) I don’t want them to change me in there. Turn me into some kind of monster that I’m not.” 

– Peeta Mellark, The Hunger Games, pgae 104

There is, with no doubt, a big theme that glues this trilogy and the theme of Identity is the one that strongly sticks. Not simply because our protagonists are going through crucial moments in terms of the construction of their identity as adults but because the world they live in turns a hard process into a almost impossible one. There is a natural struggle of preservation of who we are in opposition to the world we live in as we start the transformation to become adults. That is why teenagers feel so much angst. They are not what others say they are and they fight so hard against the expectations that sometimes grave mistakes are made. The anger feeds the angst that is, in its turn, feed by rash judgement decisions that create a cycle.

By thinking deeply i noticed that a parallel can be made, not just the natural one where teenagers can relate to the struggles of the main characters, one that is uncanny. Let’s think about it.

Peeta’s thought may seem to Katniss at the moment it is said that it does not apply to her but the reality may be the opposite if we start analyzing her a bit better until we reach the conclusion that this is her struggle. Katniss, the girl that hunt in the woods in secrecy stops existing once other personas are forced upon her for her survival. The volunteer, the tribute, the star crossed lover, the tumultuous survivor, the foolish in love girl, the doomed pregnancy, the symbol of the revolution. The roles that she must play to please an audience that is never pleased.

From this point on, we can begin treading the eerie web.

This is not the story of Katniss, the mockingjay.

This is the story of the destruction of Katniss.

This is the story of the destruction of the Capitol.

So, a mutually assured annihilation with no possible happy ending… Not in the romantic way novels present. Collins deconstructs her character to a point of almost no return that can only end with the termination of that persona. Think with me… Katniss was, for all effects, a product of the Capitol. All her existence, for good or evil, was tied in a very narrow and close way to the dystopian state of Panem. All her identity came from being the huntress that feeds her family by breaking all the rules.

As a perfect opposite, the Capitol at this moment was a solid regime on the bases of fear and oppression. A well oiled machine where all fits and works in perfection. That is, until Katniss starts to twist it.

She was the first volunteer of district 12. She was the first to defy the Capitol in such a public and visible way by throwing the arrow to the producers, to show and use the berries as way to break the rule that only one tribute wins the game. While Katniss was an outlier, everything was just fine. When the two collide is the beginning of the end.

They both suffer with the events if the arena, they both lose themselves slowly.

  Katniss gets by living an hollow life with the traumatic events surfacing in every association with the arena, even small things. She starts questioning herself, suffers with the weight if the decisions she must make, it’s manipulated and let it happen in an stiff apathy believing that it will change things, ignorant to the fact that nothing she does can hold the civil uprising in the Capitol, that starts rusting and cracking under pressure.

By the last book, in an open war where the end of the Capitol is just a matter of days, Katniss is just a empty shell. A pawn, again, in political games, with no power over the decisions made and doomed to be the face of a movement she doesn’t feel empathy towards she gives up. It’s swallowed by grief and the awful psychological scars that terrify her. With the final events that glimpse a repeat of the known cycle, she makes the ultimate sacrifice by killing Coin, ending with herself in the eyes of others. It’s doomed to a label and isolation. Forgotten.

This is the mutual destruction i mentioned. Katniss is gone. And so is the Capitol.

But is it a bad ending?

I believe not… Even though Katniss will always have the scars of all she been through, she find peace on being forgotten as the symbol of the rebellion and away from all that brings her sorrow. She finds harmony and peace living in nature, a wish she expressed many times during the novels in the wish of getting lost in the forest. So, how can this not be the ending she deserved?

I believe that you should read the trilogy. Hope it all made sense and the video i made did not suck that much. Share your feelings and random thoughts.

May The Almighty GIP be with you, L.T:Htlls

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