How does what Katniss learned affect what the author wanted to show us about life in The Hunger Games?
In The Hunger Games, Katniss assumes that she can live her own life and it will not impact other people. The author wants us to appreciate that this is not possible for Katniss, and on a smaller scale, it is not possible for us either.
Katniss is independent and self-sufficient. Since her father died and her mother sunk into a deep depression, she has pretty much had to take care of feeding the household. This independence bodes well for her in the Games, but she also has to learn to depend on other people and understand that she has an impact on others.
Katniss rebelled against the Capitol by refusing to kill Peeta and threatening to have them both commit suicide. At the time, she did not think about the consequences of her decision. When Katniss leaves the Games, Haymitch takes her aside and warns her.
“Listen up. You’re in trouble. Word is the Capitol’s furious about you showing them up in the arena. The one thing they can’t stand is being laughed at and they’re the joke of Panem,” says Haymitch. (ch 20, p. 356).
Katniss does not realize how many people are impacted by her actions. Since they could spark a revolution, she could be responsible for thousands of deaths.
As with Katniss, nothing we do happens inside a vacuum. Our lives are deeply intertwined with other people’s lives. Katniss did not intentionally become a symbol, but she did. Once she made that choice, she had to live with the consequences. This is something we all need to learn. Our decisions affect others.