Mockingjay

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Mockingjay Chapter 20 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Katniss watches, horrified, as a bomb blows off Bogg’s legs. Jackson yells for the group to retreat. Suddenly, Katniss hears a yell: she turns and sees Peeta running toward her. The noise and confusion have retriggered his Capitol conditioning, meaning that he is trying to attack Katniss. The other soldiers try to restrain Peeta, but in the struggle he pushes one of them into a nearby explosive pod, killing him instantly. Eventually, the remaining soldiers succeed in knocking Peeta out.
The fact that Boggs’s death triggers Peeta to try to attack Katniss again reminds us that Boggs and Peeta are alike in many ways: both their lives have been endangered precisely because of Katniss’s actions. That Peeta kills someone in this scene is horrifying, but it also cements the bond between Katniss and Peeta: they’ve both caused other people to die for reasons that were ostensibly beyond their control—and yet also preventable.
Themes
Revolution and Its Problems Theme Icon
Role-Playing, Authenticity, Television, and the Self Theme Icon
Trauma and Love Theme Icon
As the soldiers try to carry Peeta away, Katniss, Jackson, and the others stagger toward a nearby building. Katniss passes Boggs, who is dying. He passes her the Holo containing the information on all the Pods. Before he dies, he whispers, “Don’t trust them. Don’t go back. Kill Peeta. Do what you came to do.”
Boggs’s words are ambiguous—it’s unclear who the “them” refers to, or why Boggs thinks Katniss needs to kill Peeta. But it seems clear enough that Boggs wants Katniss to kill Snow—and he also seems to be warning her not to trust Coin.
Themes
Revolution and Its Problems Theme Icon
The Power and Danger of Symbols Theme Icon
Role-Playing, Authenticity, Television, and the Self Theme Icon
Trauma and Love Theme Icon
Inside the nearby building, Jackson, Boggs’s second-in-command, orders Katniss to give her the Holo. Katniss refuses—she needs the Holo to leave the group and find Snow. She lies to Jackson and says that President Coin has sent her on a mission to assassinate Snow. Jackson says that she doesn’t believe Katniss, and demands the Holo. Unexpectedly, Cressida speaks out—she says that Katniss is telling the truth. Coin sent Peeta to Katniss, Cressida explains, because Peeta knows where Snow’s personal residence is—he can lead Katniss there and help kill the leader of the Capitol. Katniss has no idea why Cressida is lying on her behalf. In addition, she’s still puzzling over Boggs’s final words to her.
It’s darkly humorous that Cressida speaks out in favor of Katniss in this moment. Katniss is puzzled as to why Cressida would take her side, but the answer is obvious: Cressida wants Katniss to supply her with great television, and the only way to get it is to put Katniss’s life in danger. It’s doubly impressive that Cressida works Peeta’s presence into her lie—evidently, years of practice making propaganda has familiarized her with the finer points of telling convincing lies.
Themes
The Power and Danger of Symbols Theme Icon
Role-Playing, Authenticity, Television, and the Self Theme Icon
Jackson reluctantly agrees to follow Katniss’s lead and head toward President Snow. Finnick, Gale, and the rest of the team (including Cressida’s TV crew) resolve to follow. A few members of the team, including Pollux, a young citizen of District 13, carry Peeta, who is still knocked out. They set out toward the center of the Capitol. As they move, they hear the sounds of explosions in the distance. Suddenly, Gale notices a television screen in a nearby building. The screen shows the entire team, walking through the streets. A reporter says that Katniss and her followers have died in an explosion. This relieves Gale, as it means that the Capitol won’t be expecting Katniss.
Katniss now has a huge advantage: Snow thinks she’s dead. It’s hard to underestimate this when one considers how heavily Snow has based his strategy of attack on Katniss’s existence: broadcasting interviews with Peeta, attacking Katniss’s home, etc. Katniss may be able to enter Snow’s home unnoticed, now that Panem’s eyes are no longer focused on her.
Themes
The Power and Danger of Symbols Theme Icon
Role-Playing, Authenticity, Television, and the Self Theme Icon
Trauma and Love Theme Icon
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Katniss asks the group what to do next. To her surprise, the answer comes from Peeta, who has just regained consciousness. He whispers, “Our next move…is to kill me.”
Peeta is noble enough to recognize that in all practicality, he should be dead—he’s too dangerous to Katniss to be near her at such a crucial time. Typically, Collins reveals this “twist” in a dramatic cliffhanger.
Themes
Role-Playing, Authenticity, Television, and the Self Theme Icon
Trauma and Love Theme Icon