All posts by kmd011

Hey there! My name is Kat and I am a college student on the East Coast. I plan to use this blog for both a class blog and a personal blog, so expect some variety here.

Mockingjay Alternate Ending

Mockingjay Alternate Ending

 Note: Sections in Italics are from the actual text of Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins. I do not own the characters or the book, I just wrote an alternate ending for a final assignment in my Hunger Games class. 

 

As she passes me, I hold up the glass with the rose. “Can you see that Snow’s wearing this? Just over his heart?”

Coin smiles. “Of course. And I’ll make sure he knows about the Games.”

“Thank you,” I say.

People sweep into the room, surround me. The last touch of powder, the instructions from Plutarch as I’m guided to the front doors of the mansion. The City Circle runs over, spills people down the side streets. The others take their places outside. Guards. Officials. Rebel leaders. Victors. I hear the cheers that indicate Coin has appeared on the balcony. Then Effie taps my shoulder, and I step out into the cold winter sunlight. Walk to my position, accompanied by the deafening roar of the crowd. As directed, I turn so they see me in profile, and wait. When they march Snow out the door, the audience goes insane. They secure his hands behind a post, which is unnecessary. He’s not going anywhere. There’s nowhere to go. This is not the roomy stage before the Training Center but the narrow terrace in front of the president’s mansion. No wonder no one bothered to have me practice. He’s ten yards away.

I feel the bow purring in my hand. Reach back and grasp the arrow. Position it, aim at the rose, but watch his face. He coughs and a bloody dribble runs down his chin. His tongue flicks over his puffy lips. I search his eyes for the slightest sign of anything, fear, remorse, anger. But there’s only the same look of amusement that ended our last conversation. It’s as if he’s speaking the words again. “Oh, my dear Miss Everdeen. I thought we had agreed not to lie to each other.”

He’s right. We did.

The point of my arrow shifts upward. I prepare to release the string.

As I prepare, Snow begins coughing once again and I lower my arrow, waiting for it to pass. Even after everything President Snow put me and my family through, he would be dead soon anyway from the sickness he hid for years. I nod to him, as a sign of respect and ending.  I hear a commotion down below and as I look up, Peeta is sprinting toward President Coin in her balcony up above. The guards try frantically to contain him, but his own strength and the adrenaline from the episode that had him clearly trapped in his own mind made him impossible to stop. As he reached President Coin, he lifted her over his head and threw her from her balcony. She hit the ground below with a sickening crunch as the people around her started to scream.

Chapter 27

            Everything was a blur after Coin fell to the ground. I looked around in a panic, and as I did, I heard President Snow’s laughter as he too died in front of the crowd that was no longer paying any attention to him. As the guards drag Peeta away and out of the sight of the people of the Capitol, I turn and try run to Peeta to find out what happened, but Commander Paylor takes my arm from the shadows. “Leave him, Mockingjay,” she says. “I promise he won’t be executed or tortured any further at our hands, he has been through enough.”

            I freeze, trying to come to terms with the grisly scene before me, and then I nod and walk into the mansion with Commander Paylor. I start to look for the signs of destruction that would show me where Peeta was taken. It is clear that his episode has not ended as the hallways are littered with broken decorations and the fresh residue of blood. We follow through a series of hallways and pathways until we reach a set of rooms that I recognize – the training center rooms that Peeta and I stayed in during our time before each of the Games. I run to the door of Peeta’s room as the guards are exiting and locking the door. “Let me see him,” I demand angrily.

They look at Commander Paylor and she nods. As they reopen the door, I hear them caution her, “Careful, he is out of control again.” I see him chained to the wall on the far side of the room, blindfolded and still thrashing in an attempt to escape. I walk over and carefully remove his blindfold before taking a few large steps back.

“Why?” I ask, unable to understand what motivated him to attack someone other than me during this episode. Most of his previously healing wounds were torn open during the struggle, and he was bleeding steadily onto the floor. I feel myself getting angry at the guards callous treatment of him, he has already suffered too much at the hands of the Capitol and District 13. However, I take a few deep breaths, not wanting to worsen the intensity of his episode.

He looked at me, seeming torn about sharing any information with the mutt. “She was using me, just like you do!” he said angrily.  “She only brought me onto the team to kill you! She wanted to restart the Hunger Games, too! How could you agree to that? That is the only thing that makes sense!” He looks hurt, and torn again, as he turns to Commander Paylor and said, “I just don’t know what is true anymore.”

He turns and looks back at me, his eyes full out anger once again, “I still don’t trust you.” However, his confusion and his pain still lingered in his eyes, and it was clear that he wished that the situation could be different.

Commander Paylor nods at him, looking concerned and then gestures for both of us to leave him to rest. On the way out the door, she turns to him and says, “We may have to put you on trial for President Coin’s death, but since you were tortured and your mental state is well recorded, I will be recommending long term therapy. The chains will be removed once we are sure that you are not going to hurt yourself.”

A medical team walks into the room as we walk out. She opens a panel on the wall so that I can reassure myself that he is being treated well. The medical team gives him his medication and tends to his various wounds, and slowly he drifts off to sleep.

Chapter 28

            Commander Paylor was elected the next President of Panem during the time which I remained in the Capitol, and as her first official act, she pardoned Peeta for any wrongdoing on the part of President Coin’s death. After I shared with her my concern that Peeta killed President Coin because of her desire to have me killed, no one even insisted that he should be put on trial. The Capitol was appeased by the idea that the star crossed lovers were once again protecting each other against the world, and the rebellion knew that Peeta’s mental state was the real reason for his decision to murder President Coin and since it was Capitol created, they too agreed that he should not be punished. However, the newly-elected President Paylor did insist that he remain in the Capitol until he was deemed safe to go home.

            A few weeks after the elections, I was sent back to District 12 to recover from my own trauma. Dr. Aurelius was convinced that I would not even begin to recover while still in the Capitol and Peeta was not allowed to see me anyway because he was still unstable. They planned to perform an experimental surgery on him soon that should lessen the effects of the hijacking. He would never be completely cured, but it would at least give him more control over his actions during the episodes.

When I returned to the ruins of District 12, everything was still in ruins. I returned to the home in the Victors Village that I hated and simply shut myself away from the world. I only ate when Greasy Sae returned and started refusing to leave until I ate enough to survive. I forgot to shower, to clean, and to retain any remnants of a life outside of my house. Haymitch, who returned to District 12 with me, gave up on dragging me out of my house and returned to drinking away his own sorrows. Every day, and every night, my thoughts were haunted by Prim and everyone else who was lost. I received various letters from my mother and Gale, who moved to other Districts after the war, begging me to call them and to let them help me. Gale’s letters stopped over time, rarely opened and never answered.

Eventually, at Greasy Sae’s insistence, I start eating with her and her granddaughter and start hunting once again. Dr. Aurelius insisted that going through the motions would at least keep me mostly sane. However, the flashbacks in the woods are terrible, so more often then not, I hunt only in the meadow. Even hunting, the memories of the people who died and the people who left linger in my mind. Some days I am able to hunt, but others I simply sit in the meadow and cry near the mass grave that I realize is mostly my fault.

When Peeta returned to District 12, after nearly a year of surgeries, therapy, and recovery in the Capitol, I was too broken to go see him. Haymitch stopped by long enough to let me know that he was back, and while there was a brief moment of hope, my own despair crushed my resolve. What if he still hated me? I heard from various people that he was doing better, but even without the hijacking he would have every reason to hate me after everything that I put him through.

One morning, I wake with a start. Pale morning light comes around the edges of the shutters. The scraping of the shovel continues. Still half in the nightmare, I run down the hall, out the front door, and around the side of the house, because now I’m pretty sure I can scream at the dead. When I see him, I pull up short. His face is flushed from digging up the ground under the windows. In a wheelbarrow are five scraggly bushes.

“You’re back,” I say.

“Dr. Aurelius wouldn’t let me leave the Capitol until yesterday,” Peeta says. “By the way, he said to tell you he can’t keep pretending he’s treating you forever. You have to pick up the phone.

“He looks well. Thin and covered with burn scars like me, but his eyes have lost that clouded, tortured look. He’s frowning slightly, though, as he takes me in. I make a halfhearted effort to push my hair out of my eyes and realize it’s matted into clumps. I feel defensive. “What are you doing?”

“I went to the woods this morning and dug these up. For her,” he says. “I thought we could plant them along the side of the house.” I nod, and then flee the house towards the woods.

When I return from the woods, I invite Peeta inside and we start to clean the house of President Snow’s smell and the state of disrepair I let it fall into. Greasy Sae cooks breakfast for us both, glad to finally see us talking once again. Over time, Peeta, Haymitch, and I fall into a routine that helps us retain our sanity. I hear Peeta on the phone sometimes, talking to Dr. Aurelius and someone else that he refuses to share with me. All I hear on those calls is pleading for them to come out to District 12 and help.

When Peeta drags me along to the train station one morning, I assume it must be the woman he has been calling to visit. I am shocked when I see my mother step off the train, crying but clearly surviving. She runs up to me, “I am sorry for abandoning you again, Katniss. I could not handle Prim’s death, but Peeta called and made me realize that I need to be there for you and that maybe we can help each other heal.”

I feel myself slide to the ground as I begin to sob, my mother sitting next to me and holding onto me tightly. “I’m so sorry,” she says, over and over again. Peeta lets us cry and mourn, but after a while he pulls us both to our feet and helps guide us back to the house. My mother sniffles and takes a good look at me, “You look such as mess Katniss, go shower and I’ll help Peeta make some lunch.”

Peeta, Haymitch, and I still receive compensation from the Capitol, as do all of the surviving victors, so we are able to live comfortably. However instead of relying on the Capitol, I started hunting in the woods again and selling game to the people who returned to District 12, as well as some new people as well. Peeta baked bread for the people who are rebuilding, and after people recovered enough, he reopened the bakery. Late at night, both of us spend long hours with Haymitch working on our memory book of everyone that we have lost. Life moved on in District 12 and Peeta and I were finally able to grow close without the threat of the Capitol hanging over us. My mother ran a small clinic in town after making an agreement with the new medicine factory to get access to better medicine in the case of accident’s and injury. Annie, unable to remain in District 4 without Finnick, eventually traveled to District 12 and moved into Peeta’s house with my mother. They grew close while my mother was working in District 4, and it was a relief to both of them to be back together again. With the baby and Annie around to take care of, my mother starts being able to move on from Prim’s death, instead of working to try and forget, she learns to remember Prim and all the good that she brought into our life.

There are still moments when he clutches the back of a chair and hangs on until the flashbacks are over. I wake screaming from nightmares of mutts and lost children. But his arms are there to comfort me. And eventually his lips. His episodes get less intense as the experimental surgery that he had in the Capitol, which gave him greater control over his ability to distinguish reality, took hold. The episodes will likely never go away completely, but it is enough that he is safe from harming himself or others now. Each night, Peeta and I are able to lay down to sleep together and know that we are still broken, but we are recovering.

On the night I feel that thing again, the hunger that overtook me on the beach, I know this would have happened anyway. That what I need to survive is not Gale’s fire, kindled with rage and hatred. I have plenty of fire myself. What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again. And only Peeta can give me that.

So after, when he whispers, “You love me. Real or not real?”

I tell him, “Real.”

 

 

End of the Semester Recap

This semester, I had the pleasure of taking a class on the Hunger Games that looked at various academic disciplines and how they played out in the series. I enjoyed all of the topics that we examined during the semester, although admittedly some more than others. I really enjoyed the discussion on the nature of evil because it was thought provoking, but he still let us come to our own conclusions about if any of the characters were evil and why. I learned a lot about the philosophical idea of evil, and from there it was really interesting to take the time and apply it to some of the prominent characters through the weekly blog entry.

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I also enjoyed our discussions on the gender roles and the role reversal that Peeta and Katniss show in their interactions, as well as considering how she and Gale would not have been able to balance each other out. It added a new dynamic to their triangle that I had not really considered before the class. It also helped that several people presented on the issue as well, which further added to our discussions and the word study that one of the students did was fascinating. Overall, I learned a lot about the different social and cultural aspects of the book through our examinations of them in our class.

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There are a few things that I would have liked to improve or add to the class. I would have liked to see a physical sciences or technology based guest to talk about the various technologies available and their capabilities. I also would have liked to have a cinema person come and examine the movies as well, maybe to discuss some of the changes between the book and the movie and why the filmmaker might have made those decisions. I also would have preferred the lectures be an hour long and always have a half hour set aside to discuss the lecture or to do a creative project related to it.

Katniss as an Action Heroine/Gender Roles Presentation

For our blog this week, we have to discuss one of our student presentations. The presentation that I am going to discuss was on the gender roles on the Hunger Games. The presenter specifically talked about Katniss as a new type of action heroine and how Katniss and Peeta are portrayed.

She also looked at where gender did and did not matter in Panem. For example, in District 12 – mostly men work in the mines and women wear dresses and men pants to the reaping. However, for education and survival it doesn’t matter – for example, Katniss becomes a hunter to help her family.  In the Capitol, all of the people in charge are men and the tributes are usually dressed in a gendered way for the interviews. However, among the people of the Capitol – everyone wears bright colors, has a high pitch voice, and stuff like that.

Capitol Life

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In her discussion of Katniss as an action heroine, she looked at the action heroines of the past and how they were different. She mentioned the overly sexualized women, then the very masculine heroines, then the girl power movement, then Bella Swan from Twilight all leading to Katniss. The original female heroine from the 1960s wore skin tight clothing and fought men effectively. The next generation of action heroine wore masculine clothing, had large muscles, and basically played the role of a man. The girl power heroines included people like Kim Possible and Buffy the Vampire Slayer of the 1990s – strong fighters who still lead normal female lives outside of their heroine role. Then, of course, there was Bella Swan, whose role was dominated by her love triangle and her desire to be something different than simply herself.

Modern Heroines

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Katniss is a strong female character, who is only sexualized by the Capitol against her will. She plays both masculine and feminine roles and in her word study of Katniss, the words that came up were primarily masculine and neutral words. Her word study of Peeta came up with primarily feminine words like caring and kind, and she discussed his place as the traditional movie girlfriend and that he seems okay with it. For example, in the first Hunger Games, he jokes with Katniss about him taking the bow because he is not a hunter at all.

Katniss as an Action Heroine

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She briefly talked about Gale as a typically masculine character, and how the fan base overwhelmingly prefers Katniss to end up with Peeta. My personal theory is that because Katniss has some of those masculine traits and he has some of the more feminine ones, they balance each other out better than she would with Gale.

Team Peeta or Team Gale

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Her presentation took an interesting approach by looking at how Katniss is different from typical action heroes, and she entertained the question of whether or not Katniss is the start of a new type of action heroine…I suppose only time will tell.

Who is Evil in the Hunger Games (The Nature of Evil in the Hunger Games)

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If Snow or Katniss were true evil, would the world burn? 

Is President Snow evil? What about President Coin? Is our well-respected heroine, Katniss, evil? Almost every character in the Hunger Games trilogy has to make tough decisions at some point during the books, and many of those decisions cause death and despair. In order to answer those questions, we have to look first at the nature of evil and whether or not a person is evil or if it is simply individual decisions that they make that are evil. If the only requirement to be evil is to act evil, then all three of these characters fit the requirement at some point in the books, but I think there is a lot more to it.

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Who or What Defines Evil? 

Evil is a hard concept to define, and in our class lecture on the nature of evil, we talked about what made a good person in order to determine what an evil person is. We talked about the Greater Happiness Principle, which is the idea that the right action is the one that creates the most happiness. Utility is one possible form of a good person, which states that the action that has the most utility is the good action. This defines the best option as the one that creates the most utility after the fact. In the idea of duty, Kant said in deontology that the morally right action is independent of consequences and focuses on duty and obligations. We also talked about Aristotle’s Golden Mean, which has the idea that a good person is the one who reacts without excess or deficiency based on their emotional responses.

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Where do Katniss, Coin, and Snow reside on the spectrum? 

We also had a lecture by a Holocaust survivor, who talked about his experiences throughout this terrible era of history. He talked about the fact that they were deprived of food, forced to work for long days with little or no hydration, and much more. His suffering was a result of the decisions of Hitler and other people in Germany to persecute the Jewish people throughout Europe and many other minorities as well. While the discussion wasn’t directly about the Hunger Games, it gave a harsh, real world perspective on the pain that evil actions and evil people can cause.

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How does the suffering of the victims in the Holocaust mirror the Hunger Games?

That brings me back to our questions? Who is evil in the Hunger Games. Snow is a very obvious first answer, but I am not so sure. Many of Snow’s individual actions were evil, he created mass suffering in Panem in order to retain his own power, he killed any competition to his power, and he used torture, threats, and more to control and coerce the victors and other prominent figures into compliance with his regime. He also ordered the destruction of District 12 to punish Katniss and to try and quell the rebellion. However, many of his actions had the goal of retaining the stability of Panem too, which would have prevented mass loss of life. In the end, I do not think Snow is truly evil. Is he a good person? No, probably not, but he did try to protect Panem in his own way. Unlike the villians in many other books, like Lord Voldemort of the Harry Potter series, Snow did seek good in his own way. Would everyone agree that the ends justified the means, of course not, but he did not seek to destroy. Snow only destroyed people when he could not get what was necessary through other means.

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Do they belong in the same picture? 

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What about Katniss Everdeen? Is Katniss evil? She killed people in the arena in anger, after the death of Rue – granted, that was also self-defense. She killed Cato out of pity, but only after allowing the dogs to work on eating him for hours. She was even quicker to want to fight and to let her arrows fly during Catching Fire. Further, her rebellious nature triggered a war that led to many deaths. However, even if a few of her actions were ill advised and could be perceived as evil; her intent was not. She wanted to have the opportunity to live her life and to protect her family. She wanted to keep the people that she cared about safe. If anything, she caused a lot of harm solely because she cared more about what happened to the people around her than herself. She fits Aristotle’s Golden Mean in a way, because she finds a good balance between excess and deficiency – she is courageous instead of rash or cowardly. While she does sometime lean toward the excess side of the spectrum, she has good intentions and her confusion and her anger often help her to push through and survive.

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What if this was her response? 

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What about President Coin? Was her decision to manipulate and then try to kill Katniss a sign that she is an evil person. Much like President Snow, she willingly caused immense suffering in order to rise to a position of power. She forced everyone in District 13 into a tight, military regime in order to cement her authority. She controlled Katniss by manipulating her desire to help the people she cared about. She tried to have Katniss killed as soon as she no longer needed The Mockingjay so that Katniss could not threaten her power. Coin is the one character that I would argue might actually be evil. Her thirst for power and her decision not to care about the people who help her get there show that she is firmly on the excess side of the spectrum for the Golden Mean, and she also violates several of the other ideas of a “good person.”

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Was Coin or Snow the lesser of two evils?