REMINDER: POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD
Time for our second round of questions!
Symbolism is prevalent throughout most good stories.
An obvious example in this story is the mockingjay, a symbol of hope and courage by the people in the districts. Did anything else strike you as symbolic in this novel?
Snares — the setting of them, the idea of not seeing a trap until you’re already caught, the idea that setting one may be harder than you thought and might bite the setter, not just the prey
Fire and its parallels with love, passion, compassion, and other strong emotions — as simultaneously a warming, nurturing, rousing and painful/destructive force
Drugs and narcotics, including sleep and the related associations to turning away, ignoring, numbing, forgetting, and going passive… as well as our human need for these things at times
The world’s division into the other twelve districts and a central capital — we have deep-seated cultural and religious associations with this number as a “natural” and “perfect” division (because of the number of hours in a day). This is connected with the importance of time in the story, the games, and our lives, and also with District 13 and all the associations we have with that number, including the fact that it does not appear on a clock and is therefore “beyond time”
I think the characters themselves were very symbolic, even the minor ones.
Darius, one of the Peacekeepers for District 12, who represented Kat’s old, comfortable way of life. When he was turned into an Avox for interfering with the government, it was a symbol of the drastic hobbling of the district itself. The same can be said for Gale, really.
Cinna, Kat’s personal tailor and close friend, who represented the unspoken discontent and dissent among the Capitol citizens and later turned Kat into the mockingjay that meant so much to the people.
Finnick, one of Kat’s unlikely allies in the Quell, who represented strength and fortitude when Kat couldn’t find it in herself or Peeta.
Johanna, a competitor in the Quell, who until the very end represented the uncertainty of the Games with her good/bad actions and callous nature.
And of course, the dark and evil that is President Snow who represented, well…all things dark and evil.
What did you enjoy about the novel that hasn’t yet been mentioned?
In the Hunger Games books, Suzanne Collins does a fantastic job of describing advancements in technology – and new technologies (or medical treatments) – without explaining them too much. Hovercrafts that no one can hear and that appear out of nowhere? That’s just how it is. There’s no awkward exposition on why this might be. Medical technology that can cure a deaf ear? We don’t need to know how it’s done, it’s just done. I have to commend her for being able to easily weave fancy technology into the story, without allowing it to bog down the story-telling. The world she has created is so well done that we accept its nuances without much question. I may want to know how an Arena is created and where the cameras are and how muttations are made so quickly, but it’s not pertinent to the story so it’s not explained. I accept this as a reader, and as a writer I applaud her.
The ongoing tension between self-protection and survival and the need to consider, protect, or be loyal to others: family members, lovers, innocents, “alliance” partners, society as a whole. Katniss struggled with these issues without a lot of consistency, bouncing around between motivations and priorities, which I think is utterly realistic given the dilemmas she faced.
One of the best tools an author has to keep a reader on his/her toes is the element of surprise. How do you feel the author handled that in this case?
On surprise, overall I thought it was fantastic. I was surprised at the ending. I was surprised at the choice to send Katniss and Peeta back to the arena. In these ways, I thought Ms. Collins did a great job. One surprise I did not find a surprise at all was the pocket watch. As soon as he pulled it out and showed it to Katniss (with the image of the mockingjay) the element of surprise was gone here. I knew she had a friend on the inside.
For me, it wasn’t that anything was particularly surprising. Most of what happened I could predict based on the previous book. But the way in which the “surprise” was delivered was what caught me. For example, I knew Cinna would be in trouble for the mockingjay costume, but I didn’t know they’d beat him before Kat’s eyes when she was trapped on the pod, waiting to enter the arena. I knew something had to be up with Finn constantly handling and counting the loaves of bread in the arena, but I didn’t know it was a communication method. and I knew the monkeys were creepy, rabid beasties, but I didn’t know the deranged woman would run into their path, saving Peeta.
Lastly, any predictions for the the third novel?
Linda Joy Singleton:
I am really hoping there isn’t another game unless it’s the organizers that have to survive in their own sick competition. I’m hoping to see more uniting of all the lesser districts as they gain intelligence and power. I’m guessing one of Kat’s love interests won’t make it, probably Gale. I hope no one else readers care about dies. I’d like to see Kat succeed with bold actions that lead to the fall of the games. Justice and romance would make a great finale.
There will have to be a third set of games, right? Because those games are really what this series is about, and they’re the most fascinating part of the trilogy. But whether Katniss will be a contender or will have another role remains to be seen, because I’m not sure how the budding revolution will allow for a realistic set-up of another round of games.
So, readers, what do YOU predict for Book 3?