Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Why Katniss Everdeen Is A New Role Model

I apologize for being on the back end of the bell curve with all of this. Although the Hunger Games books were written a while ago, and the movie has been out for a while, I hadn’t read or seen the story until just recently—and I love it.

What is so refreshing is that the lead protagonist is Katniss Everdeen, a young strong female who provides emotional and financial support for her family. She never thinks about her looks as an asset for success. Instead, she relies on her intelligence and physical hunting prowess to survive in a world governed by a cruel, overbearing government. Although there is a strong love triangle in the story, Katniss’s looks and sexuality are never part of it. Her allure comes from her personality and spirit. When Katniss enters the games she has a makeup team and stylist who make her look beautiful to the society’s standards; Katniss doesn’t reject it, but she doesn’t really see it as important to her person.

What is even more refreshing is that our society is eating up the stories and loving it. Usually bestsellers have male protagonists, not female ones. The female protagonists who do grace best sellers are usually not portrayed in such a strong light. Way to go Suzanne Collins! Way to go Society!

For the movie, Jennifer Lawrence was cast and she provided a naturally beautiful look to the character. Yes, the actress is beautiful; but in a natural way that most done up Hollywood actresses lack. Lawrence seems like a lovely girl you used to live next to or something like that. 

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen

Now, if you haven’t read Catching Fire or The Mockingjay, don’t read further.

Although the first book in the series is a masterpiece, I was not as pleased with how Collins treated the second and third books.

Stylistically, she used much more exposition than she did in The Hunger Games. She used a certain technique over and over where Katniss is in the heat of an intense action scene but gets knocked out somehow, then Katniss (and the reader) discover the action in a second hand account. It’s ok to use this technique in some cases, but Collins does it so much and even cheats the reader out of being in the heat of the moment in the final climax scene of capturing the President.

I also was frustrated with how Katniss's character started out so strong and brave even on and off the battlefield in the first book and got progressively weaker with the second and third books. Although it makes sense that she would suffer mental trauma through all she’s been through, it was painful to read. I looked up to Katniss because she was able to stay strong through all the hardships and come out on top, in a way, she doesn’t really come out on top at the end. Sure she ends up with someone she loves and has children, but everything she was before died. I identified with Katniss’s character so much that the fact that she weakened towards the end made me fear that there is no hope for me when I go through hardships. I know that’s not the case, but it is how I perceived it. I know others perceive it much differently. Here's someone else's take on Katniss.

Whether you are man or woman you should check out The Hunger Games! Better yet, teens should read the books to learn about strength and that beauty and sexuality is not a woman’s best attribute.