Thursday, February 23, 2012

What Was It Even For, Then?

Beware! There be spoilers below!

Hunger Game Trilogy spoilers!

I'm serious, y'all.

She's serious, humans.

I was seriously unhappy with the ending of this otherwise electrifying series.

Stop now if you don't want to know!

1.Prim’s death.
Prim was the reason for the entire series. Katniss did everything for Prim. So that Prim could be free, so Prim could live without fear, so Prim could determine her own fate in the world and not be subjected to the whims of those in power. More on this in a moment.

2.The aftermath of the assassination of Coin.

The reason Katniss did this was obvious. The Capital District represented the horrors of plutocracy: the very few controlling all the resources and using poverty and fear to control those providing the labor for utilizing those resources. The people in the other districts were too afraid to speak out, to rise up, they just went about their routines, trying to keep themselves and their families afloat. Even the people of District One, who had a cozy relationship with the Capitol, were being used for their willingness to oppress others for the opportunity to not be as mistreated as the other Districts.

District 13 at first seems like a wonderful haven to the people of the other Districts, after years of starvation and fear. They are safe, there is enough food. But it is a benign sort of totalitarian government. There is no real freedom.

Katniss’ assassination of Coin (she knew Snow was going to die soon anyway, so her execution of him would have been an empty gesture) was because she realized that trading one form of oppression for another wasn’t the answer. The people of the Districts, after so much suffering and death and bravery should be free to choose their own path. That is why she did it. Because that was what she wanted for Prim.

But the narrative of the book never explains that. Instead, Katniss is whisked away, drugged into a coma while she is pronounced “insane” by an unseen court. She is then sent away to do nothing for the rest of her life.

If Prim had to die, then all of Katniss’ hopes and dreams for Prim – freedom, safety, self determination – should have been transferred to the people of the Districts. Katniss should have stood up and stood strong for Prim, in her memory. To send Katniss away was to make Prim’s death for nothing. Nothing.

To create such a strong female character and then have her collapse (permanently) into helplessness was a slap in the face to those who followed the story, who cheered for Katniss, who tried to draw some of her strength into our own lives.


Anonymous said...

I have to admit, I read the spoiler and it was. I have been trying to get into the series, just started on the first book. Had trouble 'getting into it' - not one that I couldn't put down. It was because I didn't like the concept, BUT, thought it possibly worthwhile if good would prevail. But now that I've read your final synopsis, won't be reading it or seeing the movie. What do you think is responsible for immense popularity? Is it just the first in the trilogy and no one knows the outcome? At least the "Girl..." series ended well. Auntie Anon

JanetLee said...

Auntie D - then why'd you read the spoiler silly woman? I must admit that I began the series very reluctantly, thinking that I would not like the violence that the story would have to contain. But it was very well done and the focus was on the challenges and growth of the characters rather than gory violence.

The character of Katniss was so strong, even when she didn't think she was, it came innately from her and I loved how the author showed this.

That was why I felt it was a cheat to wrap it up the way she did. Too many threads dangling, too little resolution for the governing of the Districts. And Jason said something that made sense (even if I didn't like it) that by the end, Katniss was too damaged for Gale.

JanetLee said...

And, ew, yes this new comment thing is the yuck. Sorry.