Saturday, August 18, 2012

Why Katniss should be every young girl’s role model

It should come as no surprise to anyone that I love ‘The Hunger Games.’

In fact, I was at Meijer at midnight last night to get my hands on a blu ray copy of the movie – which I proceeded to take home and watch not once but twice before going to bed.

What is a surprise is that I wasn’t the only one in line.

In fact, there were a good 50 people waiting right along with me – including some very excited young girls that were loading up on Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, Keebler cookies and popcorn so they could rush home and watch the flick too.

‘The Hunger Games’ is one of those rare stories that manages to touch people of every generation – yet it particularly appeals to young girls.


The heroine of ‘The Hunger Games,’ Katniss Everdeen, is not your typical action hero.

She’s not imbued with magical powers. She doesn’t have a sparkly boyfriend that seems to love her just because she’s pretty. And she doesn’t have a strong support system that will be there to pull her butt out of the fire.

No, Katniss is a hero that stands on her own two feet.

The story of ‘The Hunger Games’ isn’t exactly new – but it is told in a profound way.

For those that don’t know (and I doubt you’re reading this if you don’t) – Katniss is a teenage resident of District 12 in a dystopian society.

Her life isn’t easy. Because of a civil “uprising” more than 70 years before, the leaders of the society in which she lives instituted a decree that each year one female and one male tribute – between the ages of 12 and 17 – will be picked and transported to the capital where they will fight to the death.

In the end, there can be only one winner.

At the beginning of ‘The Hunger Games,’ we learn that the starving people in the districts can get access to more food if they put their names into the lottery – something both Katniss and her best friend Gale have done on a regular basis.

You see, in District 12 (and many of the other districts) food is a rare commodity.

Surprisingly, it’s Katniss’ sister Prim that gets selected as this year’s District 12 tribute. But Katniss volunteers to take her 12-year-old sister’s place – something that is most probably a death sentence.

Even in her despair at what she believes to be her imminent demise, Katniss is still thinking about her sister when she is hauled away from the only life she ever knows. She begs Gale not to let them starve when she’s gone.

When she gets to the capital, Katniss realizes that there is a vastly different world out there than the one she knows.

While she has been raised in abject poverty, the people in the capital are living it up in rich homes and walking around in ridiculously extravagant attire.

While Katniss struggles to find her place in this new world she is ever aware that she will be plunged into an arena in two weeks where 23 other kids will have to die for her to live.

What’s interesting about Katniss is that – even though she has tremendous survival instincts – she’s not willing to survive at the cost of others.

Even while in the arena she takes on one of the young children and feeds her and looks after her instead of killing her. In fact, the first tribute Katniss kills is in an attempt to protect a young Rue who – unfortunately – dies in her arms.

Still, even in the midst of all this ugliness, Katniss takes the time to place flowers around Rue’s body and then salute the district that has just lost her – a move that will inspire another great revolt down the road.

Katniss doesn’t stop there. She also risks her life repeatedly to save the other tribute from her district – Peeta – whenever she can. It should be noted, though, that Peeta is also working overtime to protect Katniss.

In this day and age – when so many kids are entitled whiners that take their cues from vapid heroines like Bella Swan – Katniss is a character that should be embraced.

Katniss is not a character that gets her self worth from having a boyfriend. She’s not the type of girl that would go to bed for six months because the guy she’s been dating for two weeks dumped her. And she’s not the type of girl willing to give up everything for a guy.

No, Katniss is a character that fights for herself and those that can’t fight for themselves. She isn’t self aware and she isn’t remotely selfish. Through her deeds – if not her words, she’s a little close-mouthed – she manages to inspire a nation.

Actually, Katniss has managed to inspire two nations. The first is the fictional world in which she lives. The second is the real world in which we live.

I think all young girls should aspire to be a little more like Katniss – especially since the lessons she teaches have a true value when learned.

What do you think? Is Katniss the best modern heroine out there right now?


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home