The Hunger Games 2, justifiable killing
by Andrea Elizabeth
To page 48, hardcover version, I am feeling distanced after initially identifying with her, because she so readily assumes the viewpoint that she is going to try to be the last one of twenty-four standing, and this will involve killing people, including someone who had suffered for her in the past. But I have to consider that protagonists’ thoughts may not always be justifiable, though I hope they are understandable if not relatable. Perhaps the author’s life can provide a clue.
Collins says that the inspiration to write The Hunger Games came from channel surfing on television. On one channel she observed people competing on a reality show and on another she saw footage of the invasion of Iraq. The two “began to blur in this very unsettling way” and the idea for the book was formed. The Greek myth of Theseus served as basis for the story, with Collins describing Katniss as a futuristic Theseus, and that Roman gladiatorial games formed the framework. The sense of loss that Collins developed through her father’s service in the Vietnam War also affected the story, whose heroine lost her father at age eleven, five years before the story begins. Collins stated that the deaths of the young characters and other “dark passages” were the hardest parts of the book to write, but she had accepted she would be writing such scenes. She considered the moments where Katniss reflects on happier moments in her past to be the more enjoyable passages to write.
And from here, ” Another inspiration was her father’s career in the Air Force, which allowed her to better understand poverty, starvation, and the effects of war.”
Katniss’ rationalization is that she needs to survive in order to care for her little sister, Prim, whom she does not want to lose her childhood or girl-ness as she herself did. But her mother has a job now, and two others have offered to help. Katniss also said she can’t turn down a fight. She worries about having human opponents because she only has experience hunting animals. At least she realizes that is “awful” to think of them as animals to psych herself into it. This sounds like the author is portraying the mindset that soldiers assume to help them kill monstrous enemies. But Peeta isn’t an enemy. If she really feels it will be ok to kill him for her sister, it brings up another question. What does placing our loved ones before others mean? Even pacifists admit that if someone threatened their family, they may be driven to kill. Katniss’ rationalization is a lot less direct, but it’s still the same. But it seems like pride to think her protection is what is necessary to the point of killing others to maintain it.
But before being too hard on her, how many subtle ways do we get rid of our own competition? Arguments, gossip, bribery, to name a few. Distinctions can be made, but they are the same, they just have more of a possibility of being reversed than death. Or do they?