The Giving Tree

This was originally going to be a Wordless Wednesday with a cool meme I found from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire on Tumblr, but then I decided to write about it more because I don’t really know how to shut up.


My obsession with this Trilogy knows no bounds. One of my first blog posts that generated attention for this blog was defending Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. Shortly before the first film was released, I gave my the angriest tween my copies of the books to read. I won’t post spoilers for those who haven’t read them, but after completing the series (and her sobbing at the fate of one of the book’s supporting character), I asked her what she learned and she gave me an answer that shocked even my adult friends who read the books:

“War doesn’t discriminate against anyone. Katniss is a beacon of hope even though she’s not a nice person. Also, Peeta was the only truly good person in all of Panem.”

My friends all were like “Katniss is a good person,” and she corrected them. “No she’s not. She’s selfish and rude and uses Peeta to survive and the only person she cares about is her sister. She’s strong and she’s cool but she’s not nice. Only Peeta is nice. Only Peeta cares about other people, only Peeta cares Katniss.”

It’s true. War brings out the worst in people. Katniss cares only about survival. During a poignant scene when her two potential suitors, Peeta and Gale talk while they believe Katniss is sleeping, Gale mentions that the one who has her heart is the one she cannot survive without, a sentiment that hurts the Mockingjay. Katniss is willing to kill anyone she has to in order to survive while Peeta cares about preserving life. Katniss is petulant, spoiled, and rude. Stephen King was once quoted as saying that Suzanne Collins made Katniss a character to root for despite her not being very likable.

But Peeta is the opposite. Peeta loves Katniss. Peeta forgives Katniss’s failings, even her manipulating him in the Hunger Games arena. Peeta does everything to save Katniss, uses any chance he has to save himself to save Katniss. Everything is for his beloved girl from the seam. We could all hope to be loved as much as Peeta loves Katniss. Like Haymitch says to her “You could live a million lifetimes and not deserve him.”

But Peeta cannot survive in a world like Panem. The cruelness of the war torn life tears away at Peeta bit by bit. Much like Katniss needs Peeta to get out of the Hunger Games arena, Peeta needs Katniss to help him get through the harshness of life. They rely on each other to make it through and I was so proud that my child figured this out on her own.

The world could use more real people like Peeta, who simply love and want to protect the person they adore, so much that they’d die for them. However, we also need people like Katniss, who are a titch bit selfish and are only willing to protect a select few and only care about saving their own arse. We need a little bit of each of us if we’re going to muddle through life, because life, much like war, doesn’t discriminate between the good and the bad and good people can be ripped apart just as much as the selfish and we all need to develop some strength and self preservation to make it through.