This post is going to discuss the second book and movie in the Hunger Games Trilogy, Catching Fire. There will be discussion of the plot, so if you haven’t read or watched the movie and don’t want to be spoiled, wander away now.
I love the Hunger Games series. I love the writing, I love the depth of the characters, and I love that the main character is an incredibly traumatised teenager who is doing her best to protect those she loves and who tries to be strong despite suffering from untreated PTSD.
Jason Kottke put together quotes from two interesting posts on Gender Roles and Monogamy in the Hunger Games, and the quotes are interesting (I haven’t yet read them in full), and then he makes an incredibly gendered slur and messes the whole post up.
Maybe this is why the end of Catching Fire (minor spoilers!) — Katniss as the cliched irrational hysterical woman who can’t be trusted with information — felt so out of place compared to her gender fluidity throughout the rest of the movie.
Now, I don’t know if Kottke has actually read the books, but he clearly failed to grasp the second last scene of the movie. Katniss (who is a teenager and I think that really needs to be kept in mind), wakes up in a Captiol aircraft, after thinking she was dead. She takes off the oxygen mask, pulls the drip out of her arm and grabs the first weapon to hand – because she’s not only traumatised, she’s also rightly paranoid. She listens to the voices on the other side of a door, and then charges in asking where Peeta is.
When she discovers who is on the other side of the door, and that Peeta isn’t there she is upset and furious. She is not “hysterical” which is a gendered slur. She is not “irrational”, another gendered slur. She is upset that Peeta has been left behind because she knows what will happen to him, after watching the beating of Cinna at the beginning of the Quarter Quell.
And the reasons that Haymitch gave her for not letting her in on the plot was actually entirely reasonable, Snow was watching her, and with them watching her, the rest of them were free to wheel, deal and do everything else behind her. It was in everyone’s interest that she not be told. I didn’t see her fury at being kept in the dark about that, but about the fact that the promises made to her that Peeta would be kept safe even if she dies, were betrayed. She cared more about him living than she did about herself, and those who had made promises to keep him safe had broken those promises. Of course she was pissed off, she had every right to be. She was not irrational and she was not hysterical.