Posted: Saturday, November 24, 2012 7:14:24 PM
Katniss Everdeen, the girl on fire. Many people know Katniss as the heroine in Suzanne Collin's "The Hunger Games" trilogy books. With the high popularity of young adult trilogy books over the last decade, many people have analyzed who writes such stories, what kind of role models are endorsed by the authors, and what kinds of challenging situations the characters are put in. For "The Hunger Games," Collins has Katniss selflessly volunteer herself in the annual brutal tradition of having 24 teenagers fight for survival in front of the nation as a reminder of what violence and war can bring to the people. Aside from the idea that Collins created a female hero (in contrast to JK Rowling's Harry Potter character), Collins developed a different kind of female character (in contrast to Stephanie Meyer's "damsel in distress" Bella Swan). Katniss is presented with a tough, smart persona who provides for her family physically and emotionally. She is independent and critical of others' motives. Unlike the stereotypical "butt-kicking" kind of girl, Katniss does not attract the boys with her appearance. She attracts them with her wit. She is not perfect though. During her times in the Games, she struggles with trusting others and understanding her potential to make a significant change within the larger political arena. By the end of the trilogy, readers get a good sense of who Katniss is and feel that it is all right to have some flaws.
I got more out of the trilogy than I had expected. Aside from having a great time reading about a strong and smart heroine, I also gained much inspiration to continue writing my own story. Since the age of 18, I began writing a script-format story about a female young adult who struggles in a world that has become extremely obsessed with physical appearance. After reading "The Hunger Games," I decided to add a political twist to the story that involved extreme government control at a level higher than that in the trilogy. In adding this aspect, I better defined each of the characters' motives, values, and overall personalities. Since reading the trilogy, my story has greatly developed in pace, length, and depth. I may not finish my script any time soon, but I know that when I finish, I will have a story that is relevant to today's social issues, thought-provoking, and full of strong-willed characters that are not often seen in other stories. I thank Suzanne Collins for the inspiration.