After rereading Catching Fire, I am convinced that Katniss Everdeen is demisexual.
In the scene where she first encounters all the other victors, they try to throw her off by kissing, flirting, stripping and Peeta explains it’s because she’s so sort of ‘innocent’, like how she would not look at him naked in the arena even when he was dying. It shows that there is something different about her and everyone else is aware of it.
She mentions in a slightly puzzled manner that she had never found Finnick Odair attractive and she wasn’t sure why. And she never uses language hinting at physical response to anyone, not even Peeta and Gale. In fact, she specifically mentions how Peeta’s kisses calm her because they are a show of affection. When she mentions kissing Gale, it is always as some sort of declaration of allegience, showing him she has chosen him over Peeta.
But one of the main reasons I think Katniss is demisexual, is that when she kisses Peeta on the beach in the arena, a big deal is made about how she, for the first time, enjoys the act of kissing, it’s the first time she seems to sense any kind of physical desire. And this is only after, as she mentions on the train, she has let go of everyone at home, of Gale, and let herself find comfort and partnership in Peeta, convinced she will die. Only after becoming very emotionally entwined with Peeta, sleeping in his arms, finding comfort at his touch, does she specifically mention anything about any form olf desire.
For Katniss kisses and physical affection like that are largely described as a sort of tactic. It takes a real connection for her to refer to them in any other way. When describing appearance she also seems to speak with a somewhat objective air. And she also repeatedly mentions how she has no idea how to be sexy or flirtatious etc.
This is the kind of stuff I say on Twitter, if you were curious.
Since I can never let anything go and I get weirdly self-conscious whenever my commentary starts to spread around the internet, I thought it’d be a good time to elaborate on these two quippy tweets I made the other day.
This is a point I make with some frequency, although it’s kind of divorced of context here because, you know, Twitter. Basically, I get a really bad case of eyeroll whenever I see/hear people complaining about how the romance/love triangle in THG was “unnecessary” or “annoying” or any of the other million words people use to say they think the series would have been better if Katniss was a lone fox who never kissed anyone.
Here are my main problems with this.
1) The initial “romance” between Katniss and Peeta was LITERALLY STAGED. SHE DIDN’T REALLY CARE OR WANT TO DO IT. There’s an entire subplot dedicated to Peeta’s sadfeels about the fact that Katniss wasn’t really into him and did it for the cameras/survival.
2) The subsequent actual developed romance between both Gale and Peeta was about a frightened, confused teenage girl hashing out some very complicated feelings about life, death, love, and friendship/family. The girl was loaded with a whole lot of baggage she didn’t ask for or deserve. I’m perfectly okay with her wanting to kiss a boy once in a while as escapism or just getting a jolly in amidst the misery. If I were a teenager whose life was in literal danger all the time, I’d want some nice memories, too.
3) Anyone who’s actually read the books knows that, comparatively speaking, the “romance” takes up very little of the series. It’s a subplot at best. She does have feelings for and cares for both boys, who have very intimate, personal ties to her and her constant near-death experiences. Sue her or something.
4) In my mind, Gale/Peeta has always been a metaphor of choice between revenge and healing for Katniss. That’s how I read it. I hate seeing it reduced to some throwaway kissy-face to appeal to the teenybopper girls or whatever.
5) The “Team Peeta vs Team Gale” stuff has always been spearheaded by the media, not the series itself.
These are the reasons I tend to eyeroll whenever The Hunger Games is criticized for being too heavy on the romance, or Collins accused of bowing to the corporate publishers’ desire for sexy kissy-time. It grates on me.
THAT SAID, the context of these particular tweets is steeped partially in these observations, and also in some other, overreaching personal observations. As background, I first read 1984 as a 17-year-old senior in my AP English unit of utopian/dystopian literature. I loved the book. LOVED it. Liked it more than Brave New World, which I also read during that same unit. I have no doubt that it was formative in my love of dystopian literature.
To get this out of the way, I’ll admit that every time I make this point, I *always* hear the following arguments:
You can’t compare 1984 to The Hunger Games because one’s a literary classic and one’s a contemporary commercial bestseller.
You can’t compare them because the context in which they’re read is different and THG is at the forefront of media and fandom in the modern age, while 1984 isn’t read that way.
And here’s my response to those arguments: that’s not the context in which I’m making the commentary here. I’m fully aware that it’s pretty much impossible to accurately compare the two works because they’re from different times and often read in wildly different contexts (academic vs pop culture). But that’s also part of the issue.
Academia is not some untouchable monolith whose intentions are always pure and true, first of all. Academia is far and away influenced by carefully selected “quality” literature filtered through a lot of sieves that end up producing a lot of books by white guys. We’re at a period in history where the past is largely overwhelmed by dominant voices and minority voices are still only just being recognized as worthy, when they’re recognized at all. Books we consider classics today are classics because we’re told they’re classics. They’re the books that survived and were labeled “literature.”
I’m not here to argue that THG is destined to become a classic. Probably not. But who knows? Ultimately, my argument is that these two books are books that we feed teenagers. They read 1984 for class as assigned reading, they read THG at home for pleasure. The context is that we make snide remarks about a teenage girl written by a woman as having needless romantic entanglements that muddy the story, while we teach that the man sleeping with a woman is expressing love in a society devoid of it.
We read Winston and Julia as metaphors, as foils, as illustrations of the opposing themes of the novel. This is what we tell young adults reading the book for the first time — this relationship is a metaphor, it has a purpose.
Katniss’ relationships, however, are stupid. Pointless. Meaningless fluff to appeal to girls and distract from the “real” story. This is what we’re telling young adults, too. That THIS relationship, in THIS dystopia, in THIS context, is totally the worst and not worthy of exploration.
Time and time again, I hear people argue that men who wrote the literary classics knew how to write love/sex without making it “distracting” from the core literary thread. Ladies, however, remain the damned mob of scribbling women who can’t write a single kiss scene without it ruining an otherwise worthwhile story.
Can we really compare 1984 and The Hunger Games? I think so, on some level. They’re the same genre. They explore similar themes of destructive totalitarian governments and oppressed citizens. There’s love, hate, betrayal, destruction, misery. It’s not a far stretch, really.
Can they ever play on the same field? Well, I don’t know. We don’t really let them, do we? 1984 is removed because it’s an academic classic engrained in our curriculum because somewhere down the line someone thought it was worth it. We don’t have to give THG that distinction. We can write it off.
(And before people argue that 1984 is THE dystopian novel, I’ll just remind you that dystopia in fiction existed decades earlier)
Can we argue they’re the same quality with the same teaching potential? Yeah, I think we can. They’re different, certainly, but we have a tendency to write off modern literature as lacking when compared to the classics. We do it in art, in literature, in music… always. Nothing that’s made today is ever good enough to compare. Except that it is, and some of the art we create today WILL survive and WILL be “classic” a century from now. It all depends on how the cards shake out, doesn’t it?
Anyway. I’m rambling. This is why I don’t try to make elaborate arguments on Twitter. That’s what my Tumblr’s for.
THESE ARE MY THOUGHTS, I HOPE YOU ENJOYED THEM. If people want to make counter-arguments, that’s cool. I laid my cards on the table. Let it lead to wherever.
I wonder if Effie would lie awake at night thinking about what would have happened if she had only moved her hand slightly to the left or right when picking a name
he got the bracelet from a duck
He is so ugly and annoying.
no, he is fab
NO HAYMITCH IS ONE OF THE BEST CHARACTERS IN THG. THAT MAN WENT THROUGH SO MUCH. AFTER HE WON THE GAMES, THEY KILLED HIS FAMILY. HE HAD NO ONE REALLY UNTIL THESE TWO KIDS CAME AROUND. HE WAS ALWAYS DRUNK BECAUSE HE HAD FUCKING NO ONE. THATS HOW HE GOT RID OF HIS NIGHTMARES AND THE PAIN BY DRINKING. THATS WHY KATNISS GOT DRUNK IN CF WITH HAYMITCH AFTER SHE FOUND SHE WAS GOING BACK INTO THE ARENA. HE STARTED THE WHOLE STAR CROSSED LOVERS THING TO MAKE SURE KATNISS OR PEETA WOULD WIN THE GAMES BECAUSE HE CARED FOR THEM. HAYMITCH LITERALLY WENT THROUGH SO MUCH AND HIS CHARACTER IS SO COMPLEX SO NO HES NOT UGLY OR ANNOYING. HE IS FAB JUST LIKE E-VERDEEN SAID GOODBYE
NOT TO MENTION HE WAS THE WINNER OF THE QUARTER QUELL SO HE HAD TO WATCH TWICE AS MANY PEOPLE DIE IN HIS GAMES NOT TO MENTION ALL THE DISTRICT 12 TRIBUTES THAT COME BEFORE KATNISS AND PEETA SO FUCK YOU
YES and can we all remember that when he says he’s there “for the refreshments” he’s just making light of his situation. He’s actually there because he has no choice, because as the only living Victor of District 12 the Capitol fucking force him to return to the games as mentor year after year. Can you imagine what it’s like watching two kids from your district who are under your protection get butchered every year, and knowing that even if you moved heaven and earth to try and protect them they don’t have the faintest chance of survival against the Careers? No wonder he numbs the pain with alcohol, and pushes everyone (particularly the Tributes) away from him, because HE KNOWS HOW DANGEROUS IT IS TO ALLOW YOURSELF TO CARE ABOUT PEOPLE. His mother, brother and girlfriend were MURDERED by President Snow just because Haymitch had the audacity to use his wits to survive the Quarter Quell. Caring about others has only ever brought him agony and loss. But you know what’s so fucking awesome about Haymitch? When he realises that despite everything, Katniss actually has a chance of doing well in the Games, he cleans up his act and tries his absolute best to help and protect her and Peeta. He grows to care for them, despite how dangerous he knows that to be. Yes he is cynical, and bitter, and self-destructive. Yes, he is an addict. But many people in his position would have probably killed themselves or lost their minds completely, but in the end he finds the courage fight back against the people who stole his life from him. The Capitol may have wounded him beyond all hope of repair but they didn’t break him, not completely. So don’t you ever try to tell me that Haymitch Abernathy is not a strong and brilliant character because I got no time for that shit.
Haymitch is actually a really fucking awesome person. I wish we got to see the footage of his games the CF movie and learned what happened to his mom, brother and girlfriend bc like all of that made him who he is today. President Snow had them killed because of how Haymitch won the games, using the forcefield of the arena was apparently too clever. I wanted to at lest see some of his alliance with Maysilee Donner, because the way he stayed with her and held her when she died kind of mirrored what Katniss did for Rue.
Sidenote: HE WAS FUCKING STILL ABLE TO WIN EVEN THOUGH HE HAD TAKEN AN AXE TO THE GUT. HE WAS HOLDING HIS INTESTINES IN WITH HIS HANDS.
The idea of being strong for someone else having never entered their heads, I find myself in the position of having to console them. Since I’m the person going in to be slaughtered, this is somewhat annoying.
catching fire was really good
i’m so glad they stayed so close to the book
now i hope they change mockingjay completely
this broke my heart
like he looks at her like she’s his little sister
and they’re playing some game
Can I have the AU where the two that survived were Rue and Thresh? Imagine Rue finds Thresh right away and they team up and Thresh makes a pact with her — he promises if he can get them both to the end that he will make sure she is the one who goes home. Where he says, “Fuck and their games. I’m going to protect you, little bird. I’m going to get you home.”
Watch the gamekeepers try to kill them right away because of what Thresh says. Because he’s fighting, not to win, but to protect Rue from the games. But the sponsors keep sending her and Thresh food and medicine and the Districts too because watching Thresh carry Rue through fire and get injured protecting her is too much to bear.
Can I have the AU where it’s Thresh and Rue with the nightlock, after the mutts attack and Cato is dead and it’s Thresh about to take the poison and send her home? But it’s Rue who won’t let her ‘big brother’ go alone after so many already died protecting her (imagine Katniss dies protecting her) and they decide, okay, together and…
Rue has always been the Mockingjay, but imagine that she lived.
Can we just stop and talk about this for a minute?
Thresh doesn’t make an alliance. Thresh doesn’t waste time liking her. Thresh knows that either he must kill her or she must kill him for one of them to win.
But this is the only way he can repay her for protecting Rue when he couldn’t. It’s the only way he can repay her for honoring Rue when he couldn’t. He honors her by sparing her friend, the girl who would have died for her.
The revolution really doesn’t start with Katniss.
It starts with Rue.
SOMEBODY FINALLY SAID IT