After reading the first book, I initially predicted Katniss’s death. In my mind I was picturing a tragic ending like the ones in Tess of the D'Urbervilles and The Mill on the Floss… a sacrifice… the heroine’s death with her lovers respecting her memory as they try to move on. I had pictured Gale as a mix of Angel Clare and Stephen Guest, both of whom still mourn the loss of their respective loves, but have also moved on with their lives. I thought eventually Gale would transfer his affections to Katniss’s sister, like what Angel Clare does with Liza-lu, Tess’s younger sibling. And that Peeta would resemble Phillip Wakem, steadfast in his love for the girl he’s lost, trying his best to keep her memory alive. But as soon as I considered the significance of Mockingjay’s
title, I knew my prediction would be wrong.Mockingjay
is one of those titles heavily leaden with symbolism. On the one hand, it represents the bird that was born out of the ashes of one of the Capitol’s failed genetic experiments, a new species surviving against the odds. On the other, it serves as a symbol for Katniss and her position in the middle of this civil war among the districts and the Capitol and her own struggle for survival.
The preceding books to the trilogy show how a single personal choice based on conscience can be manipulated into this grand symbolic gesture of defiance against the current state of rule, giving credence to the need for change, leading to the birth of the resistance movement. From the beginning, Katniss was being used… a young girl thrust into the center of this war game, a silent piece forced into play under the rules of the adults in control.
I liked how Collins portrays both sides of the war. There’s no clear delineation of which side really represents the baddies. It’s apparent from the start that the practices of the Capitol are disconcerting and sick. But as soon as we’re immersed into the center of the resistance movement, it becomes readily apparent that their interests aren’t as innocent either. Katniss is stuck in the middle, trying to make sense of it all… to figure out the correct route she can take that will help her survive against all the odds: a choice still heavily immersed in conscience.
Well, turns out that my suspicions regarding Gale were well founded. It serves as another example of how well can you trust your narrator. Truly liked how Collins does this. Katniss’s stories regarding Gale’s background gives the idealized version of Gale. In this final installment to the trilogy, the true essence of Gale’s character comes out through his dialogue. I kind of smiled at the Les Misérables reference… how Gale declaims Katniss’s style team for stealing the piece of bread and how he associates this small act of defiance as a symbol of the evil that the Capitol represents.
As for the ending, I quite liked it… how the characters are placed into a situation where they’re forced to learn how to accept and trust each other, and how those initial steps build on those feelings, developing them into something more… an acceptance and affection that I believe is better founded now than any relationship that would’ve formed had that initial situation not have occurred.
Definitely ranked among my favorites.