Mockingjay

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Arrow Symbol Icon
At the end of Mockingjay, when the government headed by President Snow has been defeated, Katniss is invited to shoot Snow with an arrow given to her by the new leader, President Coin. Just as she’s about to carry out her duties and execute Snow, Katniss turns and shoots Coin (with whom she’s become greatly disillusioned), killing her instantly. The arrow sums up Katniss’s dilemma as Mockingjay: she’s forced to stick to a script—in this case, she’s supposed to use her arrow to kill Snow, according to Coin’s wishes. At the same time, an arrow is a weapon, and the only one who can control a weapon is the person who carries it. Thus, the arrow represents Katniss’s potential for going “off-script,” disobeying authorities, and using her considerable talents for her own purposes.

Arrow Quotes in Mockingjay

The Mockingjay quotes below all refer to the symbol of Arrow. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Revolution and Its Problems Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Scholastic Press edition of Mockingjay published in 2014.
Chapter 18 Quotes

I don't think they quite know what to do with the three of us, particularly me. I have my Mockingjay outfit with me, but I've only been taped in my uniform. Sometimes I use a gun, sometimes they ask me to shoot with my bow and arrows. It's as if they don't want to entirely lose the Mockingjay, but they want to downgrade my role to foot soldier. Since I don't care, it's amusing rather than upsetting to imagine the arguments going on back in 13.

Related Characters: Katniss Everdeen (speaker)
Related Symbols: Mockingjay, Arrow
Page Number: 260
Explanation and Analysis:

Katniss has been recruited for a top-secret mission to the Capitol of Panem, where the rebels are planning to overthrow President Snow. At first, Katniss was forbidden to participate in the mission. Now, however, she's convinced her superiors that she'd be a valuable addition to the team. Nevertheless, it's clear that Katniss's commanders don't really know what to do with her. They don't know if she should be a propaganda star (stay out of danger and try to inspire rebels across Panem) or a legitimate soldier (face real danger and risk her life).

The rebels' confusion about how to use Katniss on the mission reminds us that, for the majority of her time with the rebels, Katniss wasn't a proper soldier at all. She walked through battle-torn districts, and even saw some active combat, but her purpose was never to fire a gun or kill her opponents. Katniss was always more valuable as a symbol of the rebel cause. A foot soldier can kill only a few enemies, but a symbol can inspire thousands of new allies at once.

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Chapter 26 Quotes

"I brought you this." Gale holds up a sheath. When I take it, I notice it holds a single, ordinary arrow.
"It's supposed to be symbolic. You firing the last shot of the war."
"What if I miss?" I say. "Does Coin retrieve it and bring it back to me? Or just shoot Snow through the head herself?"
"You won't miss." Gale adjusts the sheath on my shoulder. We stand there, face-to-face, not meeting each other's eyes.
"You didn't come see me in the hospital."
He doesn't answer, so finally I just say it.
"Was it your bomb?"
"I don't know. Neither does Beetee," he says. "Does it matter? You'll always be thinking about it."

Related Characters: Katniss Everdeen (speaker), Gale Hawthorne (speaker), President Alma Coin , President Coriolanus Snow , Beetee
Related Symbols: Arrow, The Double Bomb
Page Number: 366-367
Explanation and Analysis:

In this tense scene, Katniss reunites with her childhood friend Gale, who presents her with an arrow. Katniss is supposed to use the arrow to execute President Snow, the leader of the former government of Panem. By firing the shot, Katniss is supposed to officially end the rebels' war with Snow, ushering in a new government headed by President Alma Coin. Although Gale has known Katniss for almost her entire life, there's no trace of intimacy in his interaction with her now. On the contrary, he acts like a messenger, delivering information to Katniss on behalf of his real allies, the rebels. Gale's behavior reflects his shifting allegiances: although he's always been loyal to Katniss in the fact, he's moved away from his old friend in order to become more powerful in the growing rebel government.

The ultimate example of Gale's shifting allegiances, which Katniss alludes to in this quotation, is the bomb he may or may not have sent to the Capitol—the bomb that killed Katniss's little sister, Prim. Gale doesn't know whether or not he sent the bomb that killed Prim. But whether or not Gale personally sent the bomb, the message is clear: Gale has become hopelessly divided from Katniss. He has chosen the rebels over Katniss, and Prim's death will always be an unbridgeable chasm between the two former friends. This moment also marks the breaking of the "love triangle" between Katniss, Peeta and Gale. Where Gale turns his back on his old friend, Peeta intuitively understands Katniss's pain, and tries to help her.

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Arrow Symbol Timeline in Mockingjay

The timeline below shows where the symbol Arrow appears in Mockingjay. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Revolution and Its Problems Theme Icon
The Power and Danger of Symbols Theme Icon
Peeta continues describing the final moments of the Hunger Games. Katniss fired an arrow at the force field trapping the competitors in the vast arena of the Games. Flickerman... (full context)
Revolution and Its Problems Theme Icon
The Power and Danger of Symbols Theme Icon
...going to do. Katniss thinks of the destruction in District 12, and remembers shooting an arrow at the force field during the Hunger Games. She did so, she recalls, because she... (full context)
Chapter 4
Revolution and Its Problems Theme Icon
The Power and Danger of Symbols Theme Icon
Compassion, Callousness, and Revenge Theme Icon
...ground. They proceed by elevator to the surface of the Earth, armed with bows and arrows they’ve been issued by the district. At the surface, there are wild animals, such as... (full context)
Chapter 5
Revolution and Its Problems Theme Icon
The Power and Danger of Symbols Theme Icon
Compassion, Callousness, and Revenge Theme Icon
...Katniss to the weapons he’s been designing. He presents Katniss with a lethal-looking bow and arrow, fitted with scopes and gadgetry—the bow, he explains, is voice-activated. He also shows Gale guns,... (full context)
Chapter 6
Compassion, Callousness, and Revenge Theme Icon
Trauma and Love Theme Icon
...which she’ll wear during her time “in the field.” He also supplies her with special arrows, some of which are explosive. Boggs, Coin’s strong, muscular assistant, enters the room, accompanied by... (full context)
Chapter 7
Revolution and Its Problems Theme Icon
The Power and Danger of Symbols Theme Icon
Role-Playing, Authenticity, Television, and the Self Theme Icon
Compassion, Callousness, and Revenge Theme Icon
...fight the Capitol’s hovercrafts. Paylor, impressed with her courage, advises her to use her flaming arrows. Together, Katniss and Gale fire at a “V” of hovercrafts. Katniss succeeds in setting fire... (full context)
Chapter 24
Revolution and Its Problems Theme Icon
Role-Playing, Authenticity, Television, and the Self Theme Icon
Compassion, Callousness, and Revenge Theme Icon
...Katniss and the rest of the mission with elaborate clothes that conceal their weapons—bows and arrows. Peeta praises her designs, and Tigris blushes with pride. The group thanks Tigris and leaves... (full context)
Chapter 26
Revolution and Its Problems Theme Icon
The Power and Danger of Symbols Theme Icon
Compassion, Callousness, and Revenge Theme Icon
Trauma and Love Theme Icon
...Coin to keep her alive. Gale arrives at Katniss’s house, and shows her a single arrow, with which she’s supposed to kill Snow and end the war. Katniss asks Gale about... (full context)
Revolution and Its Problems Theme Icon
The Power and Danger of Symbols Theme Icon
Role-Playing, Authenticity, Television, and the Self Theme Icon
Compassion, Callousness, and Revenge Theme Icon
Trauma and Love Theme Icon
...if she’s sleepwalking. At the end of the ceremony, she is meant to fire an arrow at Snow. Just before she’s about to shoot him, she realizes that he was telling... (full context)