I am a reader. A voracious reader. A reader with eclectic tastes and a strong lean towards strong female protagonists. I enjoy a well crafted sentence and a thoroughly researched subject. My favorite author, Diana Gabaldon, is a female who has made me a better reader and a better writer. Since reading her Outlander series of books, I now read all other fictional work with a more critical eye. I can still be carried away involuntarily with the gift of a true story teller, but I see the subtle nuances and well honed sentences with more appreciation.
This being said, I was surprised by the unexpected thrill I found when I read The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I can honestly say I wasn't even sure what a YA book was until I found this series. I have now found myself seeking Young Adult fiction and incorporating it into my repertoire of loved books. The central character, Katniss, is a strong female who is confident, selfless, compassionate and a great shot with a bow and arrow. She starts out as a young girl who does anything to keep her family alive during a time of great despair and succeeds in compassion while taking no grief from anyone in the process. When she makes the choice to keep her young sister from a deadly game run by a controlling government, she steps into an arena ill prepared to stay alive as she is sought out by other pawns who wish to be the last one standing. By the end of the first book she finds herself the chosen symbol for a revolution.
I have read the series through at least three times and have seen the movies an almost equal number of times. This past Friday I was able to go with my daughter and friends to the first showing of Mockingjay 1. The first of a two part finale. At our pre movie dinner, I looked around the table at the women and thought about the pull of this movie and it's plot. Not one of us were young adults. We aged from 58 to 29 years old, and yet there we were to see a fascinating tale of the ultimate sacrifice....to lay down your life for another.
One particular scene brought forth an emotional response of tears and the compelling desire to join in the three fingered salute of District 12. As the hero of the story, Katniss Everdeen, walks into a hospital of severely wounded people, the wounded lift their fingers in salute to the young girl. At that moment I asked myself....What would it feel like to be the face of a Revolution?
How many people throughout history began as ordinary citizens of their own life, only to discover that their presence and very personhood would require them to be a figure to follow as a rebel. I think of the individual who knelt down in Tiananmen Square in opposition of the government there. Mohamed Bouazizi who ignited the Tunisan Revolution and enough public outrage that the president of that country had to step down. With the release of the movie, people being oppressed in different cultures are finding this salute a perfect expression to their own cries of decision.
I get that this is only a movie and that the characters do not imitate real life. But there have been revolutions around the world where the unlikely leaders were put into positions of becoming the face of a rebellion. Decisions have been made to take a stand on less than the reasons found in The Hunger Games series, but I doubt anyone wakes up realizing that they will be the one to lead a revolt.
Thank you for your consideration.