Trust, communication, and friendship found from a small pin of a Mocking Jay in The Hunger Games.

(Essay Date June 11 2012) In this Criticism S. M. explains the role of the mockingjay in the novel The Hunger Games. A small pin with little meaning to one person, has the ability to build a friendship and grows to have a deeper meaning in communication.

“That’s how I decided I could trust you.”

A simple pin brings hope and faith to Katniss Everdeen while she fights for her life in the Hunger Games held by the corrupt country Panem. In the Panem society, the Mockingjay is a hybrid between a jabberjay and a mocking bird. It is able to repeat and carry out musical melodies.

Collins uses a pin of a mocking jay to ally together two people who are supposed to be killing each other. Originally the pin was a gift to Katniss. The mocking jay symbol does not have a deep meaning to Katniss at first. Katniss wears the pin as a token from and in remembrance of her home in District 12. Katniss understands a deeper use and meaning of a mockingjay when she meets Rue. To Rue, the mockingjay feels like home. Mockingjays are used in her district for communications among workers on their way home from work. They also bring sweet music to Rue. The thought of a mocking jay is comforting.

The mockingjay pin leads to trust between Katniss and Rue. The girls are supposed to be on route to kill each other, however, a great friendship arises. Rue says to Katniss referring to the mockingjay pin, ”I like to see it on you. That’s how I decided I could trust you.” (Collins 212). Through a simple symbol two people find each other and are able to make the best of things. Collins develops the new friendship just as they do when people are in time of despair or danger. When there is no one else to trust, finding someone with something in common as you helps getting through difficult times a little easier.

The Mockingjay represents communication also. The country of Panem is extremely corrupt. There is very little truthful communication between the leaders and the people. The two new friends, Katniss and Rue, use Mockingjays to communicate in a way no one else understands. While devising a plan to fight the other tributes during the Games, the girls use Mockingjays to communicate with each other when they are out of reach or can’t speak at all. It allows them to be subtle and allows for others not understanding what they are saying. The melody that Rue teaches Katniss is from Rue’s district. The girls whistle melodies to the birds who will then repeat them. Depending on the melody, the girls will know if the other is alright. When Katniss asks if there are a lot of mockingjays to carry the songs, Collins includes Rue’s response, “Haven’t you seen them? They’ve got nests everywhere” (213). Collins includes this representing the fact that communication is everywhere and always possible. Even with a new friendship, understanding one another can come from a simple song. Katniss teaches these communication skills to her other ally Peeta, allowing for the fact the communication is possible among everyone.

Originally the mockingjay pins has no other meaning to Katniss besides it being a token from home. As the novel continues, Collins transforms a pin into an incredible friendship and a communication tool. The Mockingjay grows to have a deeper meaning that helps Katniss survive in a dangerous game of life or death.

(SM, 2012)

Corrupt Society leads to rebellion in Collins’ Catching Fire

(Essay Date June 11 2012) In this essay, S.M. examines role and effect of the Governmental control in a corrupt society leading to rebellion in Collins’ novel Catching Fire.

“There was a plan to break us out of the arena from the moment the Quell was announced. The victor tributes from 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, and 11 had varying degrees of knowledge about it. Plutarch Heavensbee has been, for several years, part of an undercover group aiming to overthrow the Capitol.”

A main theme in Catching Fire is the effect of a corrupt society on the People. In Collins’ first book of the series, The Hunger Games, the reader feels the tension and hate the people of Panem have with the government and Capitol.

Although Katniss disliked the yearly Hunger Games, she fights and wins. In the next book, Catching Fire, the corrupt government changes laws forcing her to reenter and fight in another Hunger Game. The over powerful and misleading government changes rules in the time old traditional game, for their own enjoyment in the suffering of the people. In this novel there is a new Head Gamemaker,Plutarch Heavensbee in charge of creating the twists in the game. Because the 75th Annual Hunger Game occurs in Catching Fire, a special twist had to be added to the game. This results in Katniss’s nightmares coming to life again. As a punishment for Katniss’s out thinking the government and making them look bad at the end of the first book, when she created a way to have two winners, the government is forcing all past winners of the games to fight again.

Katniss’s life being at risk, causes her to think of running away and leaving the society. She meets others who are running away from the dictatorial society. Rebellions brake out throughout the districts of Panem. Collins’ writing shows that the actions of the government pushing too far, creates a stir in the people causing them to fight back.

In fact, people had been working against the government for a long period of time. The strong will and fighter inside Katniss forces her to fight back again the games, she blows up the entire arena causing the end of the game. This helps Plutarch Heavensbee, who had been working in others to fight the government for years. Without knowing each other’s goal, Katniss and Plutarch helped each other. Collins’s writing shows that those working towards a similar goal even though not doing it together such as Katniss and Plutarch causes change. After years of constraints pushed by the government people with the same goals end up helping each other achieve it.

This theme appears throughout the whole novel. It represents that even after many years of the government pushing for conformity and pushing restrictions, in this case 75 years, it’s always a good time to fight back. Help from others and perseverance will be necessary to succeed a common goal.

(SM 2012)

The Hunger Games Book 1: The analysis of the mocking jay.

(Essay Date June 11 2012) In the following essay, VK discusses the symbolic significance of the mocking jay which belongs to Katniss Everdeen)

"They didn't die off. Instead, the jabberjays mated with the female mockingbirds, creating a whole new species that could replicate both bird whistles and human melodies.They had lost the ability to enunciate words but could still mimic a range of of human vocal sounds"-The hunger games
The mocking jay is on a gold pin that is a huge symbol throughout the book, and it represents hope, determination, and rebellion which are main themes in the novel. The mocking jay are birds that go against the all mighty Capitol that controls all the function of society, they were expected to die off, but no one anticipated there will to live or there capabilities to adapting to their environments. They lived peacefully, and can repeat human melodies.
The mocking jay represents hope by having it connect to everyone in this society, it was the icon that even though the parents would have to give there children up in obedience to the Capitol and to the reaping that occurs each year in remembrance to the rebellion of the people and this pin keeps the morale of the citizens up and to give them hope that their children will win the hunger games and come back safe. Panem, or this society is very impoverished the pin gives society the hope that they can rise to a higher socioeconomic standing, even though the odds are really against them.
Next, The mocking jay is the symbol of determination to never give up, and that is more apparent during the hunger games themselves where children have to fight to the death to win and become victorious. It is a very cruel and difficult environment that they have to survive in, and Katniss keeps the pin close to her. During the day of the reaping her younger sister was called to go, and instead the pin and her love makes Katniss volunteer instead, and so she is a volunteered fighter which is fairly rare.
She later meets a character named Rue who she becomes very close to and wants to give the pin to her, but she refuses, it was what made her trust Katniss in the beginning, but then Rue dies and Katniss has the biggest urge to give up, but due to the pin and the closeness with Rue doesn't and wins.
Finally, the pin represents rebellion of the capital, a very evil place where the rich live and control society and execute the hunger games each year. They are truly evil and society has wanted to rebel against them many times, the pin is used as rebellion for Katniss to save her best friend Peta's life by taking poisonous forbidden berries and eat them at the same time, and have no winner, and the capital did not want this so they let them both win, sparking the revolution that an ordinary non Capitol citizen can defeat the Capitol, and the pin is connected to it all.
The pin is widely used in the novel, for all of the reasons listed above for the purpose to gather the main concepts of the story, like rebellion, and hope, for that is all that they can receive, The book has a lot of symbolism in it to gather our reader's, and to see the truly despicable society of Panem.

The mockingjay echos the voice of the people who are oppressed in this book. The mockingjay is the symbol for the voices which are not heard.

(VK, 2012)


The Hunger Games Book Two Catching Fire: No one is Safe

(Essay Date June 11 2012) in the following essay, VK discusses the deep control the Capitol has and how no one is safe from its control.)

"Why dont you just kill me now" - the hunger games: Katniss, while talking to president snow
In the nation of Panem no one is safe. The Capitol controls everything and all the other districts are at its mercy. The reaping shows that the children of each district aren't safe and the Capitol can kill them as they choose and make it into entertainment even. The Capitol creates a twist in the game when the 75th anniversary of the hunger games comes and the Capitol decides that each district must send in winners of the past into the hunger games.

This was a punishment from president snow who disliked the trickery that Katniss did on the capitol so both her and Peta could live. He saw it as a reason why the districts revolted and determined that victors of the hunger games could not have this much power. The Capitol does not allow anyone other then the Capitol to have power and they prove it with each year at the hunger games. And not only does the capitol have the power to put the most beloved people in each of the districts in an arena and force them to kill each other but it also turns it into a game enjoyed by the Capitol.
It is a demonstration that if you live in the districts other than the capitol you are absolutely not safe. It may have been thought that if you were to survive the hunger games that you would live a comforting life and the Capitol would not bother you any longer. This forced former survivors who were elderly and peaceful and put the hunger games behind them to become suddenly terrified for their lives. There were revolts and the 75th Hunger Games has forced previous victor's back into the arena.

Katniss was under the impression that she could live the life that she wanted but then she was told that she would be seen as against the capitol if she did not marry Peta she could be killed for treason. So because she feared for her life and the lives of her loved ones she decided to marry him and act like she loved him even though her love for him was not romantic. She loved another named gale but he would die if the Capitol knew that.

The Capitol also wanted Katniss to publicly discourage any sort of revolution and after she failed president snow made her compete with the plan of her loosing the hunger games without causing an uproar because the hunger becaume a part of life. An everlasting symbol that no one is safe

(VK, 2012)





A Simple Song in Mockingjay

(Essay Date June 10 2011) In the following essay, KL discusses the symbolic significance of the poem “The Hanging Tree” sung by Katniss Everdeen.)


“Are you, are you
Coming to the tree?
Where they strung up a man they say murdered three.
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree.

Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
Where the dead man called out for his love to flee.
Strange things did happen there
No stranger would it be
If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree

Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
Where I told you to run, so we’d both be free
Strange things did happen there
No stranger would it be
If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree

Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
Wear a necklace of rope, side by side with me
Strange things did happen there
No stranger would it be
If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree”
(Collins 123-124).

The poem signifies death as an escape from reality so that the two lovers, the man and the woman, can be together again. However, when it is sung by Katniss, it symbolizes hope that Katniss instills among the people of Panem.



The plot in the poem provides an alternate perspective to Katniss and Peeta’s relationship. Since Peeta’s capture, Katniss constantly debates whether or not she should give up hope that Peeta may be alive. However, the torture that Peeta now has to go through weakens Katniss’s faith that he will make it out alive. Living with the guilt that Peeta has been captured to save her life thrusts Katniss into a state of depression.This poem represents her struggle to remain strong despite her hardships.


The dead man, representing Peeta, calls out to his lover, which signifies Katniss saying “Are you, are you coming to the tree”. Although Peeta and Katniss are far apart, this line represents his love for Katniss. He is figuratively asking her to come to him. The line, “Where they strung up a man who murdered thee" signifies Peeta's pain and torture, which destroy his spirit. But there appears to be an escape when it states, "Wear a necklace of rope, side by side with me”. This tempts Katniss to follow in Peeta’s path. Dying would be the easy escape to be with each other again without facing their harsh reality.



However, Katniss’s death would not only be the loss of a life, but the loss of hope and strength for the entire population of Panem. Katniss is the mockingjay, the symbol of the rebellion. Her every action and every word is mimicked by the people and used as an inspiration to the rebels to fight through the hardships. But the burden of the pain and the lives that are mounting on her shoulder proves too difficult for our 14 year old protagonist as she struggles to keep her hope.


On the other hand, Katniss knows that her surrender will result in the surrender of the rebellion and Peeta’s capture, the war, and the lives that are lost will have meant nothing. So does she live with the guilt and pain knowing that choosing to lead the rebellion will cost more lives?



In the end, Katniss’s family and the support from her friends encourages her to embrace her strength and become the leader of the rebellion. Her choice, however, is bigger than herself. By choosing to lead, she realizes that the issue does not affect her own life, but the lives of millions of others under oppression from the Capitol. She could have easily turned down and let the flames of weakness consume her. Instead, Peeta and the lives of those who died became her motivation, further strengthening her spirit, which allows her to thrive.



When she sings this melancholy melody, it is repeated by several mockingjays that mimic her sounds. The playback of the song signifies Katniss’s influence to make a congregation of people to take action. Once the song was sung, mockingjays began to flood the woods near Katniss, representing Katniss’s continuous support for the rebellion. Her voice, she realizes, can have an impact and empowers her to be strong for the people.






(KL 2011)

The Complex Protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, in Catching Fire

(Essay Date June 10 2011) In the following essay, KL analyzes the main protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, and discusses how her destructive society shapes her dominant character and contributes to her personal struggle.)


Our surroundings shape the beliefs that fuel our lives. As a young girl, Katniss Everdeen is taught to be a survivor. When her father is abruptly killed in a coal mining accident, it was up to Katniss to be the strong caretaker for her sister while her mother fell into depression. At school, her lessons drilled Panem’s history, where the rebels were terminated in their foolish attempt at challenging the Capitol. Learning from other’s mistakes, the teachers preached, was the only way to thrive in the future society of America.Then there’s the Hunger Games themselves, a sharp reminder to all 12 Districts that life is survival of the fittest. But the games never end. The betrayal of the Capitol, their continuous torment, and their hunger for power generate a dangerous continent plagued with fear. It is from these surroundings that Katniss cultivates herindependence and strength despite the betrayal she has faced. In the sequel to The Hunger Games, Katniss gradually begins to deteriorate her shell of bitterness and fear, softening to love,trust,and loyalty: three traits that were previously intangible to her.


The Hunger Games is the primary factor that softens Katniss’s anger. After spending two weeks fighting for her life with Peeta, she learns the power of teamwork and the comfort of friendship. Her previous fear that she is alone in her struggle to survive has now been contradicted and Katniss finally allows herself to make amends. “Since I’ve been home I’ve been trying hard to mend my relationship with my mother. Asking her to do things for me instead of brushing aside any offer of help, as I did for years out of anger…My time in the arena made me realize how I needed to stop punishing her for something she couldn’t help…” (Collins 31). By trusting others once more, Katniss deteriorates the wall that alienates her from other people. What she discovers as a result is that she is able to relate to her mother, Haymitch, Peeta, and several others through her pain. Sharing the common experience then makes her realize she does not have to fight against the destruction of their surroundings alone.


But what is the destructive power of her surroundings? Katniss struggles with herself and with others because of the trepidation that plagues her. President Snow’s visit makes it lucid that nothing is or can be hidden from the Capitol’s vigilant eye. It serves as a warning to all that any action or word spoken to challenge “the system” is never insinuated. But the cast-iron control of the Capitol ensures that this fear never escapes her.



The Capitol maintains its dominance over Panem and Katniss through fear. So after years of asperity and hardship, Katniss builds the wall that leads her to the emotional ache of loneliness. After all, who can be trusted when anyone can be an enemy? Alone and fragile, Katniss fell prey to the Capitol, being weakened by its treacherous dominance. But Peeta surrounds her with the love and faith that she has lost and once she softens, she discovers her own strength. The power that she gains then permeates into others and catches like fire.



Once Katniss discovers her own strength, she begins to witness its influence over others who feel powerless against the Capitol. Her pain helped her to relate, and the bond she develops with others unite the districts and gives them strength.



Although Katniss never fully escapes her nightmares that haunt her memories, her strength and independence shows her the love, loyalty, and trust that can be shared. Chiefly, her character contributes to the novel's theme of hope and the internal strength that enables us to withstand against the challenges that stand in our way.




(KL 2011)


The Hunger Games: The Power Behind the Mockingjay

(Essay June 9, 2011) In this essay CH examines the symbolism behind a simple Mockingjay Pin in Suzanne Collin’s novel, The Hunger Games.

The mockingjay pin is the circular gold token Katniss wears during the Games to represent District 12. Each tribute is allowed one item to remind them of their friends and family in their home district; the small pin bearing the image of a bird in flight is Katniss's.

external image MockingjayPin.jpg

The mockingjay pin was originally given to Katniss by Madge, the mayor's daughter, before Katniss's departure to the Capitol to participate in the Hunger Games. Though Katniss forgets about the pin during her training sessions, Cinna, her stylist, is sure to place the mockingjay prominently on Katniss's outfit for the arena. He tells her that the little pin "barely cleared the review board" since the authorities thought Katniss might be able to use the pin as a weapon. While the thought of a tiny little pin being used as a weapon might seem silly to us, the image of the mockingjay, as we will find out, is indeed an incredibly powerful and important weapon.

What is a mockingjay? A mockingjay is a bird, of course, but a hybrid one. Their lineage can be traced to a species known as the jabberjay. Jabberjays were birds that had been genetically engineered by the Capitol as spies during the rebellion of the 13 districts. They were meant to overhear subversive conversations, and bring that information to the Capitol, and repeat what they heard. This was all fine and dandy, of course, until the rebels caught on and started feeding the jabberjays false information. Once the Capitol discovered this, the birds became useless to them. The jabberjays were left alone in the wild where they mated with female mockingbirds. After a few generations, the mutated birds could no longer repeat or carry information, but they instead learned to carry a tune and to repeat songs and melodies. Hence, the mockingjay was born.

The mockingjays appear not only on Katniss's pin, but in several portions of the novel. For example, the bird reminds Katniss of her father, who loved mockingjays very much, and loved to whistle and sing with them. Rue, another music lover, is also associated with mockingjays, since she sings to the birds in order to send messages to the other agricultural workers back in District 11. After Katniss and Rue team up in the arena, Rue teaches Katniss one of her mockingjay signals, which, if Katniss hears it, should mean that Rue is alive and well.

Katniss's mockingjay pin, like the bird itself, symbolizes a creature with a spirit of its own. As hybrid creatures that have broken free of the control of the Capitol, they suggest the inability of the Capitol to enforce their power over all living creatures. These birds are signs of resistance and rebellion. As Katniss says, they're "something of a slap in the face to the Capitol" (pg. 355). In many ways, as we will see in the novel, Katniss herself is very much like a mockingjay and will come to identify with the bird.


"The bird, the pin, the song, the berries, the watch, the cracker, the dress that burst into flames. I am the mockingjay. The one that survived despite the Capitol's plans. The symbol of the rebellion." (pg. 247)


Both should have never existed. Katniss's life should have been taken years ago when she hunted illegally against the capitol. The jabberjay was left to die by the capitol, but survived all odds. But why is Katniss the Mockingjay and not Peeta? Peeta is the one who is strong in words and who understands emotions, so why did the people of the districts see Katniss as the Mockinjay? Katniss is the one who speaks with actions, and actions speak louder than words. Her actions and emotions are relatable to other people, her story is one that most people in the districts live through everyday. And the people of the Districts look to her as the Mockingjay, the slap in the face to the Government because from the moment Katniss took her sister Prim’s place during the reaping, she has been showing something that the Government has been trying to destroy in the people of the Districts.

Katniss has found her own source of power, through the hope and survival of the Mockingjay.

(CH 2011)


The Hunger Games’ sequel Catching Fire: Governmental Control

( Essay June 9, 2011) In this essay CH analyses the major theme of Panem’s “Big Brother” and questions how much power is too much power. Also CH proves that the Hunger Games are there strongest source of control.

There were talks of a rebellion against the Capitol, one that Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark may have catalyzed. Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled a rebellion and what scares her more is that she’s not entirely convinced she should try to stop it. President Snow, ruler of Panem and the 12 districts, catches wind of this, resulting in a grueling future for Katniss and Peeta.


"And if a girl from District Twelve of all places can defy the Capitol and walk away unharmed, what is to stop them from doing the same?" he says. "What is to prevent, say, an uprising?" (pg. 21)


Here in a post-apocalyptic world in the country of Panem where North America once stood, a powerful government working in a central city called the Capitol holds power. In the book, the Hunger Games are an annual televised event where the Capitol chooses one boy and one girl from each district to fight to the death. The Hunger Games exist to demonstrate not even children are beyond the reach of the Capitol's power. In the first novel we understand that both Peeta and Katniss perform a final act against the Capitol by threatening to kill themselves, leaving no victor for their precious Hunger Games. No one defies the Capitol without consequences.

According to social sciences, the term government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized. Now Panem is no bureaucracy. After every selfish governmental action, it seems more and more resembling of a dictatorship.

For example, President Snow uses intimidation and threats to achieve his goal of returning the districts back to order, by the will of love between Katniss and Peeta. After their proposal and professed love for each other did not please President Snow, the threat of death consumed the minds of Katniss and Peeta. They are the icon of rebellion, which is the exact opposite of what the president intended. To fix this problem, it is announced that for the 75th Hunger Games, 24 victors from previous years will be forced to compete once again. Being the two tributes from District 12, Katniss and Peeta are surely being sent to their deaths. How easily and conveniently the president can discard of the tributes without commotion in the Capitol. He alone announced this quarter quell (75th games) to achieve his goal once again.


"Taking the kids from our districts, forcing them to kill one another while we watch – this is the Capitol’s way of reminding us how totally we are at their mercy. How little chance we would stand of surviving another rebellion. Whatever words they use, the real message is clear. “Look how we take your children and sacrifice them and there’s nothing you can do. If you lift a finger, we will destroy every last one of you. Just as we did in District Thirteen.” (1.76)

Why do the Hunger Games even exist? They are not just a form of gruesome, grotesque entertainment for the Capitol; they are a punishment and a reminder of President Snow’s rule. It becomes a way for the rulers in the Capitol to flex their big old muscles. The main purpose is to remind the Districts how weak they are – and that their deaths are basically televised entertainment. In this sense, the Games are a form of control. Pitting districts’ children against each other in a reality TV show also creates tension between each district, allowing no room for organized uprising and rebellion. It is a perfect plan. Just as Adolf Hitler enthusiastically supported nationalism of blonde Germans against the Jews of Europe, President Snow promotes the same in each district through the use of the Games.

Gamemakers design and control the Hunger Games. They design the arena, the outfits, and a number of the deaths. From the tiniest detail to the biggest bloodbath, the Gamemakers are in charge of entertaining the Capitol to the fullest. A dry and boring Hunger Games means that the head Gamemaker's life is in peril. A bloody and fantastic Games that keeps the crowd on the edge of their seats brings the Gamemakers fame and fortune. Although the Gamemakers are in charge of the Games, President Snow's opinion is what matters most. If something happens that he doesn't like, someone will pay by death. The people of the Capitol believe that they live great lives, when really most live in fear. That is no way to live at all. Yes, there is a constant threat of instant death by the enforcing Capitol, but each district faces death by starvation alone. it is the games that truly hold the most power for President Snow and his control. Panem, marked as a super power, shows great strength, but is paid with the blood of the innocent. How far will the president go until he obtains exactly what he wants?


Panem's government has gone to the most extreme and has taken the role of God. During the Games, everything from the trees, plants and animals to the actual island itself has been created by the Capitol; all with the approval through the president. These tributes lives are manipulated constantly, as much as controlling the weather during the games, to create more action or drama. They have provided a means of escape for some and a gruesome planned death for others. How much further does this Capitol need to go to flaunt its control? How long will it take for a rebellion of occur? The districts have only taken so much pushing around. A rebellion has formed, and the President has reached his final peak of power.


(CH 2011)