Unlocking ‘Mockingjay’: The Spiritual Allegory

It’s been almost two weeks now since we started the contemplative “slow mining” of Mockingjay, the thoughtful digging that John Ruskin said fine art required to come to the gold and jewels beneath its surface. The conversation for the most part has focused on the surface narrative features, i.e., Gale’s choices, the new Peeta, and Katniss’ “boy troubles,” as well as on the violence of the moral and allegorical layers. With the exception of the conversations about ‘The Hanging Tree‘ and ‘The Meadow Song,’ then, we haven’t got much deeper into this powerfully painful book than parsing the romantic partnership possibilities and deciphering the transparencies about the evils of war and television.

Guess what? I don’t think the Katniss-Peeta-Gale love triangle is why we love The Hunger Games. I’m pretty sure, too, that the postmodern morality message of ‘Real/Not Real‘ acts as little more than another hook, along with the romance and the allegorical tit-for-tat content about war and teevee, to engage the reader profoundly.

The real reason we love The Hunger Games and are moved and disturbed by the Mockingjay finale is the spiritual allegory and literary alchemy of the trilogy, the meaning we enter into and experience consequent to our engagement at the surface. Hunger Games is a retelling of Dante’s divinization; traveling alongside Katniss Everdeen on her harrowing journey through the Inferno and Purgatory to the White Rose of spiritual perfection in Paradise, we share imaginatively in her transformation from child of the Seam to Mockingjay-Phoenix and union with God.

For many readers, no doubt, this interpretation is simply ridiculous. As citizens of the Capitol who have grown up on CGI soma and with very little exposure either to literature or Dante-esque literary criticism (what Frye called “iconological criticism,” reading at four layers of meaning), I understand this reaction. We are immunized against the belief that there can be any knowing greater than sense perception, opinion, and deductive inferences made from data (‘science’) with the daily booster shots of materialist propos that matter and energy, i.e. physical quantities, are the only reality and our desires and pleasure the greatest good. The idea, consequently, that the power of literature and the purpose of its traditional artistry is to bring us into contact with immaterial realities and to transform us spiritually is nonsense; there are no such realities and the human being, at least according to the conventional view, has no greater faculty than mind which, ultimately, is no more than brain chemistry. Contemporary criticism, consequently, is restricted to narrow compare-and-contrast cattiness about degrees of political correctness (e.g., this Salon piece by Laura Miller about the relative virtues of Twilight and Hunger Games).

I understand the resistance to reading at depth. I am obliged, however, to point out that this essentially atheistic approach to art in general and literature specifically is a novelty of very recent vintage and contradictory not only to the understanding of every traditional culture in human history but, more importantly, to our empirical experience while reading. Some novels, certainly, serve only as a distraction and ‘break’ from the grind of our mundane ego concerns (if it would be an error to ignore why it is that fiction of any sort makes such a salutary ‘break’). There are special stories, though, that pull us into them and, after this immersion, we find that our view of the world has changed, and, to risk spiritual language, even that we feel uplifted.

These are the stories that we read and re-read. My thesis for why this is so, the heart really of each one of the books I have written and talks I have given on the artistry and meaning of C. S. Lewis, Joanne Rowling,and Stephenie Meyer’s works, is something I learned from an aside Mircea Eliade made in his The Sacred and the Profane. Eliade believed  that in a secular culture such as ours that entertainments, especially fiction, serve a mythic or religious function; seeing man as homo religiosus based on the objective observance of the species across history, cultures, and present experience, he concluded that, deprived of liturgical experience of the sacred, secular man satisfies the human design requirement for spiritual experience by finding it in novels, spectator sports, and cinema. Eliade is most famous, of course, as a professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago; it is good to remember, though, that he was also a fantasy novelist whose work featured hermetic themes and alchemical images.

My thesis, really a corollary to Eliade’s aside, has been that, as fiction serves a mythic or religious function in a secular culture, those books which best serve this function, i.e., those with the artistry to deliver archetypal experience, will be the most popular.

  • Potter-mania and Potter-panic, accordingly, were not just another example of extraordinary popular delusion and the madness of crowds but a function of Ms. Rowling’s use of traditional and innovative images, story structures, allegorical types, and anagogical meaning from English Gothic and fantasy literature after Coleridge (see Deathly Hallows Lectures for more on this).
  • Likewise, the Twilight books are as popular as they are, not because the millions of readers who love them — and you’re much mistaken if you have bought the media meme that this is a teen girl phenomenon — are stupid, but because Mrs. Meyer crafted an intricate alchemical drama inside a Gothic romance, an allegory of the seeking human heart’s pursuit of union with the Divine Mind (read Spotlight for the full story).

Both Harry Potter and Twilight are stories told within different genres (make that “different genre melanges”) with remarkably similar story elements. They each feature a young person with two friends, a child-becoming-adult protagonist whose adventures combating evil involve sacrificial death and resurrection, specific alchemical images and Christian symbols, and the transformation of the lead character into something of a world savior or super-hero. Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games books, though as different from Twilight and Harry Potter as story genres and settings can be, share these same mythic pieces and traditional artistry — and, not very surprisingly, Katniss Everdeen’s adventures are becoming as popular as the Forks and Hogwarts Sagas. Imagine the madness if Games had been a seven book set rather than just three!

Northrup Frye in Anatomy of Criticism explained that, on the spectrum of fiction, stories that work are those that exist between the ends of realism and pure myth. These fictions, those Frye qualifies collectively as ‘Romance,’ are just realistic enough to engage us sufficiently for our suspension of disbelief and experience of poetic faith. When we enter into the story through this realist door and imaginatively become the lead character, it becomes possible for us to experience the supernatural or mythic referents through the story symbolism, by which I mean specifically the transparencies and translucencies of the narrative line, the story structure, and of the principal characters.

I mentioned in my first long post on The Hunger Games back in February that the series was meant to be read as a re-telling of Dante’s Divine Comedy. The surface structure of the books tells us as much and Mockingjay confirms it with a single detail.

The story structure that is most obviously suggestive of Dante is the the host of 3’s in the three book series. In itself, of course, this clever use of threes — a trilogy of books, each having three sections, each section having 3-squared chapters, for 3-cubed chapters in each book, and 3-to-the-fourth chapters in the series — could be meaningless or just an affectation. Even if so, it is also, nonetheless, a marker or red flag for Dante’s influence. His Divine Comedy is in three books or canticas of 33 chapters or cantos each, all of it in rhyming three-line stanzas or tercets in the terza rima rhyme scheme. When a writer makes a point of stacking threes in her story structure, the serious reader asks herself, “Is she telling me to think Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso?”

I think she is. The appearance of the white rose in Mockingjay is the detail that nails this possibility down because Dante’s journey to and within Paradise begins its climax with the beatific vision of the heavenly Empyrean in the form of a white rose. If you think that’s an obscure rather than an unmistakable  literary reference, recall that Ms. Rowling makes even a more subtle reference to the same Dante marker in her Deathly Hallows Epilogue, a vignette of Harry’s later life about the first Hogwarts Express trip of his son Albus, whose name means “white, resplendent” in Latin and Ron and Hermione’s daughter Rose. It’s a reference better writers assume their readers will know and recognize.

This is important for at least two reasons.

(1) Dante in his letter to Con Grande explains to him how to read the Commedia, namely, at the four levels of human knowing: surface, corresponding with sense perception, moral, corresponding to opinion, allegory, corresponding with deductive knowledge, and the anagogical layer, corresponding with wisdom. (This letter’s relevant sections are quoted in the previously mentioned post, ‘Unlocking Hunger Games.’) The Dante links in Games story structures and symbolism strongly suggests that we are on the right track in reading these novels beyond the surface story elements and political messages embedded in it.

(2) Dante’s tour of Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise is the experience of the soul’s alchemical passage and transformation from the greatest distance from God to the vision of His energies, a knowledge beyond the Beatific Vision that Dante cannot and does not share.If Hunger Games is built on the model of the Commedia, than it is not a stretch to read it as a three part parable or allegory of the soul’s journey to Paradise, the beatific vision, and alchemical perfection.

As painful as it may be for readers immunized against ‘a Christian reading’ of the books (which includes, alas, too many Christians and otherwise thoughtful readers), this will mean understanding the major characters in the three Hunger Games novels as allegorical transparencies or story-ciphers for spiritual realities. More to the point, the narrative line and story formula repeated in each book should be read allegorically as a 21st century soul’s travels through salutary trials to an end much like Dante’s Easter theophany in 1300.

Katniss Everdeen’s Journey as Pilgrim and Christian ‘Everyman’

What makes this sort of reading easier than it might be is the evident un-real qualities of Katniss’ story. She has two teenage boys who love her, one of whom is frequently alone with her in the woods outside of any external stops to physical intimacy, the other who sleeps with her on a regular basis, and neither of whom violates her virgin purity. Much like Twilight, this fairy tale quality of the narrative invites an allegorical and spiritual interpretation.

Once the short hurdle of dystopian realism is cleared, deciphering the allegory by looking through the character transparencies to recognize the traditional referents is not a very difficult thing at all. In large part, it is a futuresque re-telling of Man’s fall in the Garden. Katniss is Adam and her story is the Man’s Fall, Redemption, and hope of Perfection in Christ.

Our first clue to this is Katniss’ relationship with her Father, the ‘God the Father’ of the story. He is never named in the book which corresponds to the human incapacity to know God in His essence or to name Him per se. She loves him and remembers her time when she hunted with him in the forest surrounding District 12. Everything she knows that makes her different comes from her time with him, the period in her life that corresponds with Adam and Eve’s time “walking and talking” with God in Eden (Genesis, Chapter 3). The song that her father teachers her is ‘The Hanging Tree,’ which, as explained in a previous post, corresponds to the Tree of Life or World Axis and Cross of Calvary, what in Genesis is called ‘The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.’

Katniss’ father departs from the story and she is betrayed by her mother, who retreats into something like catatonic shock at his absence. This disappearance and betrayal is the beginning of the Hunger Games story in several ways because it reflects the Fall of Man both in Eve/Mrs. Everdeen’s part in it and the agony of Adam and Eve in a life apart from God’s company and presence. Man, of course, is not left without a means of returning to the Garden and life with God. The Garden of Eden or Paradise, as explained in another post, is Ms. Collins’ story Meadow that Katniss sings about to Rue in Games and in her Mockingjay Capitol battle.

Enter Peeta, when Katniss, having forgotten how to find herself and be saved as her father taught her (by naming her after a nourishing root vegetable), is near death and desperate to save those her father left in her care. Like the Canaanite woman in the Gospel narratives who begged crumbs from Christ’s table like a dog (cf., Matthew 15: 21-28) and the Prodigal Son who was reduced to eating with pigs in his estrangement from his father (cf., Luke 15:16), so Katniss is reduced to searching the baker’s trash and to despair at the fence of a pig sty (Games, chapter 2, pp. 29-30).

The ‘Boy with the Bread’ saves her by giving her two loaves of bread. This gift is notable on allegorical grounds in several respects:

  • Peeta is beaten for this gift, i.e., it comes at the price of his physical sacrifice;
  • Eating this “hearty” bread (ibid, p. 31), Katniss feels that “spring had come overnight” (ibid, p. 32).
  • Katniss looks into Peeta’s blackened eyes at a distance the next day and, looking away in humility, she has a saving vision, “the first dandelion of the year” which reminded her of the family book her father had given her and that she could survive by using the knowledge she had learned from her father and what was recorded in his book (ibid).

Katniss, when Peeta is chosen at the reaping, thinks, “Why him?” (ibid, p. 26). “To this day, I can never shake the connection between this boy, Peeta Mellark, and the bread that gave me hope and the dandelion that reminded me that I was not doomed” (ibid, page 32). She returns to this moment both in her first real conversation with Mutt-Peeta after his rescue (Mockingjay, Chapter 16, page 231) and in Mockingjay’s close:

What I need [to survive] 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. (ibid, Chapter 27, p. 388)

To risk offending the thoughtful reader by pointing out the obvious, Peeta is the suffering Christ whose sacrifice is given to those living in His mystical Body, the Church, as bread for the illumination of their hearts and minds (see Luke 24: 13-35 about the eye-opening effect of sacramental bread).  Katniss eats Peeta’s “hearty” bread and looking to him sees the promise of the resurrection, “rebirth instead of destruction,” in the Paschal light of first life in the spring. Though his gift of sacrificial love, she remembers the Father who can only be known through Christ (cf., John 14:6) and his words, those she has learned from him herself and in his book. This book is a story cipher for scripture.

‘Peeta,’ the ‘Boy with the Bread,’ has a name that means bread (pita) as well as a vocation as a bread baker and artist.  His bread saves Katniss. In a world named ‘Bread’ (Panem is the accusative case form of the Latin word for Bread), beyond the reference to Juvenal’s Panem et Circenses I think it is transparent that Peeta or ‘Peter’ is an icon of the Christ, the world creator, Who in St. Peter’s church at least, is received as Bread, and Who loves the world and every soul in it sacrificially. As artist, actor, and self-less lover, he is, as the story’s Christ, Culture and Faith that are fostering  Katniss’ purity, vision, and individual will without ever demanding she surrender them to him.

Peeta-as-Christ is anything but a stretch, even in Mockingjay. From the several suicidal sacrifices he makes in the Games to his rising from the grave in Hunger Games and his CPR assisted resurrection in Catching Fire, not to mention Katniss’ commitment to serve him even at the cost of her life in the Quell, he is consistently the incarnation of “unconditional love,” as Katniss recalls in Mockingjay, during his recovery from Capitol hijacking (Chapter 14, p. 195). as discussed in previous posts, his gift to Katniss of a Pearl in Fire, is a not-especially opaque revelation of his role as the Light of the World giving “solid light” to his beloved in the luminescent Pearl of Great Price (cf., Matthew 13:44-46).

Think of Peeta’s father, another story stand-in for God the Father. He loved Katniss’ mother (cf., Games, Chapter 22, p. 300), call her ‘Eve,’ and reaches out to Katniss by visiting her after the first Reaping with a gift of cookies. He has “no words at all” (ibid, chapter 3, pp. 37-38; note the difference between the silent father and his his eloquent son whose words have magical effects), except that he will “keep an eye on the little girl” and feed her. His assurance that he will be watching over Prim relieves “the pressure in my chest” (ibid).

This link of Peeta’s father and Katniss’ father with the same spiritual referent is evident, too, in Haymitch’s Mockingjay report to Katniss about the first positive development in Peeta’s recovery. He remembers Katniss’ father singing ‘The Hanging Tree’ , “the first connection to [Katniss] that hasn’t triggered some mental breakdown” (Chapter 15, p. 211). In a book that is largely about spiritual memory, as we’ll see, that Peeta’s breakthrough is his recall of the song about Christ’s crucifixion and invitation to his beloved to take up her cross is no small thing. The Cross and Resurrection are the end and aim of the Incarnation, Peeta’s Christ identity.

We’ll return to Peeta to explain his superficially un-Christ like behaviors in Mockingjay, but we need to look at Gale through our allegorical glasses first. Who or what does he represent in this story of the pure heart’s spiritual transformation?

This is the first of three ‘Unlocking Mockingjay’ posts. Tune in tomorrow for more on the allegorical meaning of Gale and Peeta — and the alchemical alembic of Mockingjay! Unlocking Mockingjay: The Literary Alchemy’

Comments

  1. The more I think about this book, the more beautiful it is to me. Can’t wait for the rest of these posts.

  2. Thanks so much for this. I agree with Rochelle and it makes me love the books even more.

  3. It is going to take me some time to process this post because there is so much good information. However, I do think that you left out one of the clearest links between The Hunger Games and The Divine Comedy. I think that the scene at the end of Book 1 at the cornucopia is a reference to the seventh circle of hell in inferno.

    The seventh circle of hell is for perpetrators of violence and is the home of the Minotaur, the centaurs, and the harpies. All these creatures are part human and part animal. They represent a surrender of man to violent, animal nature.

    At the cornucopia, the muttations are violent animals who do everything in their power to tear apart the tributes. The attribute that makes them most frightening is that they have the eyes of the tributes who have already fallen. They represent a part human, part animal monster who has completely surrendered to violent animal nature.

  4. Great catch, SBark! As you point out, this post, overlong as it is, cannot do more than open the door to a Dante-Collins comparison, Commedia to Hunger Games.

    Let the fun begin!

  5. I can’t believe that I left the part about the suicide pact out of my first comment above. This is the scene in The Hunger Games where Katniss and Peeta eat the berries in the suicide pact. The seventh circle of hell is the location of suicides in Inferno. Stephanie Collins does an amazing job of piecing these elements into her story.

  6. Great post, John. It gives me a lot to think about. I think your remarks about the focus of the discussion thus far on more “material” or “concrete” or “superficial” aspects of the book, when compared with less discussion of the deeper levels of meaning are noteworthy. I know I’ve had very strong emotional reactions to “The Hanging Tree” and “The Meadow song” but as yet have had a hard time putting my experience of those two songs into words. I cried when Katniss sang “The Meadow Song” to Rue as she died and felt Collins tying it into the Epilogue was perfect, but unraveling the meaning of it, and “Hanging Tree” especially, is going to take more time and thought then I’ve had as of yet.
    One thing is abundantly clear to me: I really, really need to read Dante (right after I finish The Brothers Karamazov).

  7. dava_alix,

    I think Dante is a bit hard to follow. When you decide to tackle him, I would highly recommend the Yale Univeristy podcast by Giuseppe Mazzzotta named Dante in Translation. It’s available for free in ITunes under ITunes University. I have found it very helpful for understanding Dante better.

  8. I thought the simplicity of the final lines in Mockingjay were so fitting, but couldn’t point to why they felt so perfect. When Peeta says “You love me. Real or Not Real? And Katniss answers, “Real.” I had read previous posts about Peeta as a Christ figure. Oddly enough, the perfection of these final words struck me as I received communion the Sunday after finishing Mockingjay in the simple words we exchange when accepting the Eucharist. The body of Christ. Amen. The sentiments in Peeta’s and Katniss’ exchange seemed to mirror the acceptance of the “bread.”

  9. I see Kat/Peeta/Gale’s relationship within an ancient Greek construct rather than our modern times. That is, when we Moderns talk “love triangle” we’re discussing a sexual level; Moderns definition for love is so limiting and so inadequate in this case. The Greeks had a number of words for degrees of love. I believe that we moderns who haven’t been forged(brought through fire) can not understand Kat/Peeta/Gale’s relationship; we are limited by our language and our understanding of what love is. Only in the Capitol folks

    I read HG after finishing Coolidge’s Trojan War, and I was in the Greek mind frame when I read HG. Kat’s, Peeta’s, and Gale’s loyalty(that’s the only word I can think of right now) is so noble on so many levels that our term for love is inadequate and really degrades what is going on. Panem has been out of the Capitol loop so who’s to say how the concept of what’s needed for a relationship would change. For example, when you’re dealing with survival needs, you’re looking for the fittest not necessarily the cutest.

    I realize that some people are incredulous that two people could offer each other support without it going all animal sexual, but I wonder if Collins was exploring offering us a look into another way to explore the relationship. Does it always have to include sex? That’s so Capitol of us.

    I’d love for someone to address this idea. I can only think that those who are in the armed forces today have some idea about the type of bonds created through extreme duress.

  10. Sam,
    Great insight here! You are so on-target when you say we are limited by our language and understanding…how interesting to see HG/CF/MJ translated into the Greek with its variety of forms for the degrees of love you mention. I would not be able to read such a work…but to “see” Collins’ intentions aptly applied through the use of such terms??? Wow!!!

    I submit to you the idea that Collins has effectively intertwined the phileo/eros/agape levels of human interaction within the Kat/Peeta/Gale dynamic. As I understand them, “phileo” provides us a platform of understanding to the acts of friendship or acquaintance (the bread, hunting together, sharing food, etc), essentially the shared history of any of the three on a platonic level; “eros” identifies the deeper, more personal feelings ranging from puppy love (think of Peeta’s awareness of Kat throughout their adolescent years) to sexual attraction and ultimately to being in love; and finally, “agape”… the most spiritual, sacrificial pinnacle of love possible when the other person/cause becomes more important than self (Kat/Peeta/Gale individually qualify!).

    I found Katniss’ experiences with the Capitol prep team slightly mind-boggling; that she could be so clinical about her physical self…that the team treated Kat’s body less like a living person and more like a breathing mannequin. This interaction was initially very disconcerting. Perhaps this is the survivor mode you allude to that does not ignite “eros” due to the stress of staying alive at all cost…a separation of emotion from physicality? I am not saying that war does not bring about physical/sexual relationships; on the contrary…and to paraphrase a well-known saying: “War [politics] makes for strange bedfellows.” I felt the developing friendship (phileo) between Cinna and Kat morphed into sacrificial (agape) love on Cinna’s part…he put everything on the line for both Kat and the rebellion…and their relationship did not entertain “eros” behavior. In turn, Kat honored Cinna by her commitment to the ending of the Capitol’s rule. From this we learn that “agape” applied often replicates through the actions of the receiver.

    If there is a Greek word for familial love, I believe Cinna and Kat may have shared some of that, she trusted him so much. (At some point in the trilogy, I thought perhaps Cinna might have been Kat’s father returned from hiding and transformed by surgery to serve the rebellion forces!) Alas, I was completely out in left field on that one!!!

    Thanks for posting your ideas.

  11. pj, yes, there is a Greek word for familial love, storge.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storge

  12. Thank You, RevGeorge…I thought there might be such a word.
    Blessings on your weekend 🙂

  13. I was particularly moved by the scene in Catching Fire in which Katniss chose to slow her pace to carry Peeta away from the poisonous gas rather than fleeing to save her own life. To me it was a visual for Mark 8:34/Matthew 16:24 (denying one’s self and taking up their cross and following Christ) as well as Phillipians 1:21 (to live is Christ, to die is gain).

  14. I was actually watching the movie yesterday (for the kazillionth time) when I found myself in tears yet again…. Peeta’s first interview, when he confesses before all of Panem (the World) that he has “loved her forever” (I have loved you with an everlasting love, Jeremiah 31:3/we love because He first loved us, 1 John 4:19, etc). In the book, Caesar also asks, “she didn’t know?” Peeta shakes his head. “not until now” (this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, 1 John 4:10/while we were still sinners, Christ died for us, Romans 5:8, etc.). Katniss, of course, is shocked, because she did not know, and then her reaction is, “he made me look weak!” (no one comes to the Father but by Me, John 14:6/by grace are you saved, and not by works so that no one can boast, Ephesians 2:8-9, etc.) Then she is told, “He made you look desirable!” (My Father will honor the one who serves Me, John 12:26/He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, John 14:21, etc.)
    Am I stretching this?? All I know is suddenly it was such a beautiful picture….Is this not Jesus and us, His beloved? He loved us since before we even existed, since before we knew Him, since before we knew He loved us… and isn’t our reaction always, “I can do it myself, I don’t need You…” but we can’t do it ourselves, it is only Christ who makes us “look desirable” in the Father’s eyes.
    The entire gospel message presented so masterfully in this one short scene.
    I can’t believe that this was accidental.
    Thanks, Ms. Collins

  15. David DePerro says:

    Jennifer, this post touched me. Well done. Good movie comments elsewhere too.

  16. Just stumbling on here, ages after this was posted, but this article made me remember one line from THG especially, the first night that Peeta and Katniss spend together in the cave after his leg has been healed: “No one has held me like this in such a long time. Since my father died and I stopped trusting my mother, no one else’s arms have made me feel this safe.” p. 299

    It seems to fit so well, rediscovering the warmth and love of God through Christ after a period of losing faith.

    Excellent article! I had noticed parallels between Peeta’s character and Jesus, but I had not seen how deep it went. I can’t wait until I inevitably re-read the books, so I can immerse myself in this whole other level!

  17. Dear John, this is the first post I’m going to leave here. Before you start reading keep in mind that I appreciate your work, but I’m afraid you tend to “over-stretch” it.
    I am not convinced. Maybe I’m sensationalistic/too numb for subtleness about hints a single author gives you in order to accept that they are more than mere coincidences in the process of writing, but the quantity and quality of pointers to a christian meaning of Collins THG Tril. doesn’t seem to be meant to be read the way you guys do. Don’t get me wrong, I am fairly young myself (23 years old) and was both raised and “made” myself somewhere between an agnostic, atheist or pantheist. Coming back to the obvious pointers, before i stumbled across this site i reread the last two installments of Harry Potter, a series i grew up with and of which I have read every part several times except the last two, which I only visited twice (the last time before the discovery of this site included) and found the christian parallels overwhelming. The self sacrifice for beloved ones, the spirit/godfather/evil symbolism, the resurrections, the last offer to Voldemort for remorse, the protection before this very event, the trinity etc. are very obvious, and I discovered many more (the tombstone inscriptions), until i found the Hogwartsrofessor and read a little more about it.
    I found THG tril because I was in search of a quick thrill and watched the movie (so not through thi site). Having read the first novel left me hugely dissatisfied, being more of a screenplay and the – at that point, at least to me – one dimensional characters who only exhibited a slight hint at development at the ending of the book. I read the remainder of the tril and was thrilled, esp. when reading the last part. For me it was a story about war, PTBS, trauma, media manipulation (real or not real?) etc. and the overcoming of it, even the growth of a person to finally become the Mockingjay in a last statement (a hobbesian outlook to a kantian outlook), and thusly self sacrifice, the inability of a society to know how to handle it’s vets and a supposedly love triangle which wasn’t one, since the choice become more and more apparent (but i recognize it might have been an incentive for teenage girls to delve into the series, but to you it might mark the choice between what it right and what is easy?), and gale just being a literary device.
    The main concern I have here is the – for me, that is – big cover which is cast (if your theory is true) by Collins over the true meaning of her story. It comes down to my first objection that all the pointers might be coincidental and the vastness of the religious scriptures concerning Christianity which make it – based on the ground they cover – fairly easy to find parallels to/tap into in pretty much everything you put your hands on. Having said all this, I’m still open to discussion and am certain that you spend much more time reading the tril than i did, who only read it once and reread certain parts (i.e. the last chapters).

    I’m obligated to excuse my poor skills concerning your mother tongue.

  18. Thanks for all the interesting discussions on this site. I’ve enjoyed reading them. I tend to agree with those posters who say that it seems to be a search for Christian meaning after the fact and it may not be what Suzanne Collins intended at all. It’s a bit like reading the reviews on ‘Christian Spotlight on the Movies’ which always finds a Christian message hidden away somewhere.

    Perhaps there’s something in Jung’s idea of a collective consciousness and Peeta (the name which has also been theorized to be a misspelling of ‘pita’ a type of bread) fits one of the archetypes – maybe as a combination of ‘care-giver’ and ‘lover’ with Gale fitting the archetype of ‘hero’.

    Moreover, all stories borrow from what’s gone before and that includes Christian stories, so who’s to say what’s the original source?

  19. I’m finding allegory in Lauren Oliver’s the Delirium Trilogy and wondered if that series would ever be covered on this site? It’s particularly beautifully written….I would put it between Divergent and Hunger Games in quality.

  20. I didn’t read this through and through but I did get the gist of it… very insightful. I just saw Mockingjay Part 1 and it made me start thinking: “What draws people to this story?” And I knew it had to be spiritual. It could hardly not be spiritual with its raw emotion… the very writing in the book draws you emotionally; in a very raw way. But I had some insight into the whole spiritual gist of all the books. I recently read a very philosophical book written by a pastor called “Sex and the IWorld” in essence it was a book about how this generation has become all about ourselves and its fervent belief that sexual freedom is the greatest freedom. To me, in the HGTril I see that, in essence, the glamour of sex is all connected to the Capitol. The Districts community has become all about relationships and even Katniss herself is not interested in sex. Just in relationships. To me, it seems as if Collins is also sending a warning about the corruption of humanity. Not only that revolving around sex leads to decay but also that the human heart is evil. But it isn’t nihilism. The story isn’t hopeless. Katniss and Peeta, in the end live life. They are broken; but they get past their brokenness. They have children; love. This is not the utterly hopeless witty mumbo-jumbo The Fault in our Stars is. It ends in hope; not despair.

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