Monday, December 13, 2010

Mockingjay and War

Dear Bloggie,

  Sunday night I finished Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. Yes, I know, it came out MONTHS ago, but sadly I have had very limited time to read. Plus, I think there was a part of me that didn't want one of my favorite series to end. But life goes on so Saturday I sat myself down and continued (I had only read about 40 pages into the book prior) reading. Once I started, I could barely stop.


   I have heard a lot of mixed reviews, but personally I loved it. Though I must add, it was a lot older than the other two. The first book was more of the physical side of war (with the exception of Rue and the mutts with the other competitors eyes) which only took place in the arena. The second had hints of  psychological warfare, but still the true danger was in the arena. In Mockingjay, it was a big mixture. What will stay with you is the mental and emotional part of war. Those are the parts that will haunt you far past the last page. Still, the amount of death in this novel is so great that I can't say it's not as big. It's far from that. The book is just one big emotional, mental, and physical journey through hell that expresses what war really is like. Finishing this book, I felt devastated, hopeful, haunted by the ghosts of all who had died within it's pages, and physically drained.

   Still, I understand what people mean when they feel that Katniss was out of character in this book. In the past novels, though angry and resentful could describe her, she had also always been strong and brave. This novel, there were points in which I thought she would never be again.

   While normally you would think this is out of character, you have to take in consideration she is only a 17-year-old. Imagine yourself in her place, still young and already having seen more death and destruction then most will ever see in their life. Your enemy has discovered how to break you and is taking full advantage of it. Countless of people have died because they knew you. Others are being held hostage and beaten and broken for the same reason. All because you are the face of a revolution you never asked for. Both your enemies and your alleys have used/are using you. Besides your family and a select few friends, you don't know who you can trust. This is the reality Katniss lives with.

   This book deals greatly with the reality of war. We send our troops of into the field and expect them to be perfectly fine with killing others, with seeing their friends die. But they aren't OK. Many have PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) for years. Some never recover (take Vietnam for example; Google it is you don't know what I mean). Some take their lives for what they have done. You have to be pretty messed up not to feel sick after taking another's life. Still, we expect our service men and women to be all peachy.

   In Mockingjay, Katniss serves as a perfect example for what war can do to a person. She is broken to the point that she's numb. Then, when everything is all over, they expect her to move on like nothing happen. How can she when she has seen so many die because of her. She may have not had done it herself, but it makes no difference to her. These people knew her and now they are dead for it.

   Though I am fully aware of reality, I not-so-secretly expected her to win the war, return home to her family and friends, pick between Peeta or Gale (I was cheering for Peeta) and live happily ever after. Instead, what I found was a broken girl who had lost many of her friends, her beloved sister, and was quite happy if she died. Yes, in the end Katniss and Peeta ended up together, but there was a bitter-sweetness to it. After all that had happened beforehand, her finding love seemed insignificant. Still, at the same time, Katniss needed Peeta there. She couldn't rebuild her life alone. As Gale had predicted in one of the chapters, Katniss chose the person she needed to survive.

   Gale, like her, was fire. Though he cared for her and undoubtedly loved her, he had as much fight is not more than her. After all, she had first been recognized as The Girl On Fire. Fight and fire were some of the last things she needed after war. Add in that she would never be able to think of him without remembering the way that Prim had died, it was easy to see that they would never be.

   On the other hand, what Katniss needed was a calm baker. He soothed her, was there to reassure that the nightmares were over -- or at least they were over in the conscious world. They would never be over in her dreams. Like our own soldiers, the war would never be truly over for her. But life didn't need to be all bad, she would live on and move on as much as possible, it would just take some time.

                ~ Libby


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