Hunger Games; Can I relate to Katniss Everdeen?
My review of her as a character so far…
I was technically going to focus on writing mostly on the weekdays; you know, not overdue it or bore you all to death but here I am at 1:30 in the morning and I had the itch to write. I’ve been writing more consistently these days so having not written today, almost feels too strange.
It will be a short one (at least thats the plan) and since my next door neighbors are having a full out; tent, D.J. chairs, tables and P.A. System for the D.J.’s voice to echo all throughout the vicinity of our block, kind of birthday party with no plans of ending it anytime soon; I’m awake.
No chance of falling asleep anytime soon.
SO! Today I decided that I wanted to attempt not just finally reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins but also, try and finish it in one day. I figured “hey, I got through Divergent in two days. This books slightly smaller. I can do it!”
I’m on a reading binge lately because now that I have delve into not just reading YA Books specifically, but also emerging myself into the entire world, community of YA literature and it’s readers, I am purposely wanting to catch up on all the big, familiar titles that are well known within the community.
Funny enough, two nights ago my best friend (who lives states away; I nicknamed her Therlee), we were discussing my female lead character from the novel I’m writing. I was honored to hear that she can relate to her. Her inner dialogue gives Therlee a sense of who she is, no matter the unusual situation she is finding herself in, Therlee could relate to her emotions throughout (let me just say-off topic here-that this brings such joy in my heart. Really makes me excited to continue this writing journey. Anyway back to the point.) This conversation is what led us to discuss characters such as Katniss Everdeen and Bella Swan. (I will focus on discussing only Katniss in this post)
Now, Therlee had never read the books but from what she saw from the movie and what she researched about the book, which was a full on spoilers-and-all synopsis it; she said that she found it hard to relate to Katniss.
Her character seems so strong, almost too strong all the time. Most times she can come off somewhat cold, that it makes it difficult, as a reader, she imagined, to believe that she could ever be Katniss. Within these crazy circumstances, she couldnt connect with who she was as a person.
It took me a moment and I realized that, though I hadnt worked out those thoughts before, I did have the same ones. When I thought of Katniss, I could not see myself as her; in her shoes, relating to her, her decisions and actions. I was more invested at the possible story line of her and Gale even more than Peeta, because I believed her completely indifferent to Peeta. I thought she was just using him. You still root for her because clearly she’s a good person in the sense that she was not a vicious, murderous monster who could sacrifice an innocent life in order to save her own.
Now that I have been reading the novel today, (I’m a little over half way through. I’m on page 222 where she has just shot the arrows through the burlap sack of apples, and set off the mines to blow the Careers supply pyramid up-just like in the movie) I have been pleasantly surprised to say that though, yes, Katniss is hard and at times emotionless on the outside, there is most definitely a lot going on inside her head.
There are still aspects of her inner dialogue, thought processing and decision making, that I would not do or think, so I do not relate to her there but that is due to her circumstance of living; what’s she’s been through, what she’s seen since childhood.
As a young girl, to take on the burden of a family on the brink of starvation, seeing the dead fall around her constantly, living within the rotting stench of people, animals, filth and waste; imagine how that would change you as a child and then as a young adult? (I think we also forget-due to Jennifer Lawrence seeming definitely older-that Katniss is a sixteen year old girl)
What I have appreciated is also experiencing her inner dialogue and struggle with Peeta. I couldn’t get that from the movie and how could you? Who she must appear to be on the outside within this situation, lends you absolutely no understanding or preview of all that’s raging on the inside. Why? Cause Katniss wasn’t built that way.
Me on the other hand, I can’t for the life of me hide my true feelings and emotions. I can try and believe genuinely I’m doing well at it but most times than not, I’ve been proven wrong. I wear it all on my face! Clearly, Katniss and I are very different.
(yea, sorry, I intended for this to be short)
All that to say, that it’s been nice getting a peek into her mind, true thoughts and emotions. Can I relate to Katniss in the same way as perhaps other book characters? For the most part no, but I bet there are plenty who can. Thats the beauty of these people on these pages we read; just like us, they’re all different.
Can I still enjoy her as a character, and go on this journey with her? Most definitely because there are still situations that she’s not just going through alone, you’re going through it with her. You’re wondering the same things she is, about Peeta. Why did he do that? What does he really think or feel? (of course, not counting already seeing the movie)
I will say this…as much as the general rule seems to be, “don’t read the book before the movie, the movie will only disappoint you” I prefer reading the book first.
Reading this book after seeing and knowing the movie so well, gives me little to anticipate, expect or wait to be revelaed. I almost subconsciously have wanted to skip certain parts thinking, “I’ve seen the movie, I know what happens, I wanna move on.” But I stop, slap my wrist and I do not allow myself to do it. I read on. Now seeing it come to life AFTER I’ve read it, works better for me. Just an observation I had about myself just today.
Well, there it is. My assessment of seeing Katniss Everdeen on screen vs. reading Katniss Everdeen in print.
The neighbors have finally shut the party down and silence has been returned to us at last…I may only read a few more pages and resume tomorrow. It’s 2:12am now. Good night!
Happy Reading, Living, Loving!