The Costs of War

When Mockingjay begins, Panem is at war with itself. The outlying districts have all begun to launch rebellions against the Capitol and its agents; responsible for the brutality of the Hunger Games, the Capitol indeed seems to be a regime worth rebelling against. But as the civil war continues, the rebels begin to adopt the merciless tactics of their oppressors. Gale in particular appears to lose any sense of humanity as he designs weapons that exploit the compassion of his victims. Gale’s traps strongly recall President Snow’s decision to bomb a hospital because the surviving rebels are likely to be there tending to the wounded. By the end of the novel, it is clear that although Gale is loyal to Katniss, he will stop at nothing to destroy the power that firebombed his home.

Although Katniss holds out longer than Gale, she too is permanently scarred by the war. When Katniss opposes Gale’s plan to bury the District 2 soldiers in an avalanche, she does so because the plan reminds her of how her father was killed in a collapsed mine. However, at the end of the novel, Katniss is given the choice to have another Hunger Games with the children of the Capitol. Aghast, Peeta argues that this is exactly the sort of barbarism that the rebellion fought against. Katniss inexplicably argues that the games should continue. Having lost her sister, she no longer feels for the suffering of others. Although Katniss goes on to have children, she has been permanently damaged by the violence and suffering that she has witnessed and that she has caused.

Throughout the series, the brutality of war is reflected. However, in Mockingjay, additional costs are revealed. The transformations that are suffered by heroes like Gale and Katniss point to costs that scar the victor. Ultimately, Collins invites readers to consider whether wars are ever worth pursuing.


Throughout The Hunger...

(The entire section is 633 words.)