How does the scene where Katniss debuts her flaming gown relate to the title of the novel?

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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President Snow ordered Cinna to make Katniss wear one of the wedding dresses from the photo shoot to the tribute interviews with Caesar Flickerman.  Of course, during the highly emotional interview, both Caesar and the crowd become emotional seeing Katniss in her wedding gown that she will most likely never get to wear again.  Katniss uses the emotions of the crowd to shame Snow's actions, even affecting a voice tremble as she asks the audience if it isn't "the most beautiful thing?" (251).  Mirroring her previous interview, Katniss twirls once again in her dress for the audience, and Collins' strong diction creates a powerful image of a girl catching fire.  Katniss panics to see "smoke [...] something much more real that devours [her] dress" until she is "completely engulfed in strange flames" (252).  Cinna has rigged Katniss' costume so that it would burn away, almost like a phoenix to reveal the bold design of a mockingjay rising from the ashes.  This moment in the novel connects strongly to the title Catching Fire because Cinna's clever design literally portrays Katniss as a girl on fire, but also as a revolutionary figurehead--a girl who embodies the symbol of the uprising against the cruelty of the Capitol and President Snow.

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