Mockingjay

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Roses Symbol Icon
President Snow sends roses to Katniss at several points in the novel—most shockingly, just after he orders her home, District 12, to be bombed. Because roses are typically a sign of affection and love, Snow’s message—that is, the juxtaposition of roses and violence—is far more appalling than violence by itself could ever be. This kind of juxtaposition is typical of the government’s political “style”: during the Hunger Games, for instance, the government combines entertainment and pleasure with violence. In general, then, roses symbolize the government at its gaudiest and most terrifying.

Roses Quotes in Mockingjay

The Mockingjay quotes below all refer to the symbol of Roses. 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 1 Quotes

No one will fully understand—how it's not just a flower, not even just President Snow's flower, but a promise of revenge—because no one else sat in the study with him when he threatened me before the Victory Tour. Positioned on my dresser, that white-as-snow rose is a personal message to me. It speaks of unfinished business. It whispers, I can find you. I can reach you. Perhaps I am watching you now.

Related Characters: Katniss Everdeen (speaker), President Coriolanus Snow
Related Symbols: Roses
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

Shortly before the beginning of the novel, Katniss's hometown, District 12, is bombed by the Panem government headed by President Snow in retaliation for Katniss's acts of rebellion. When Katniss walks through the ashes of her town, she's surprised to find a rose in the remains of her house. Although there's no message attached to the rose, Katniss has no doubt about who placed it there, or what it means: she's positive that President Snow sent the rose to remind Katniss that he's watching her at all times, and will try to hunt her down and kill her.

It is interesting that we're not told if Katniss is correct in her interpretation of the rose. Her thought process seems reasonable—President Snow is famous for waging psychological warfare on his enemies. And yet Katniss has been wrong before when she tries to interpret ambiguous symbols (in the prequel to Mockingjay, she completely misinterpreted Plutarch Heavensbee's watch, a "symbol" that helped to save her life). We're reminded that signs and symbols—of which the rose is certainly an example—can never be understood with complete certainty. In the end, the quotation says as much about Katniss's current state of mind as it does about President Snow. Whether Snow placed the rose in District 12 or not, Katniss has become paranoid, frightened, and constantly anxious, haunted by her traumatic past.

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Roses Symbol Timeline in Mockingjay

The timeline below shows where the symbol Roses appears in Mockingjay. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Revolution and Its Problems Theme Icon
The Power and Danger of Symbols Theme Icon
...District 12 before she’s discovered. As Katniss turns to leave she notices a small white rose lying on her dresser. She realizes that this rose—clearly placed here only a few days... (full context)
Chapter 11
Revolution and Its Problems Theme Icon
The Power and Danger of Symbols Theme Icon
Trauma and Love Theme Icon
...which she finds in ruins. She also notices a huge pile of white and red roses, which she assumes is an ironic gift from President Snow, matching the rose in the... (full context)
Chapter 25
Revolution and Its Problems Theme Icon
The Power and Danger of Symbols Theme Icon
Compassion, Callousness, and Revenge Theme Icon
...to see Katniss one more time. Katniss notices that there is a bed of red roses in his cell, whose color contrasts with Snow’s sickly, almost green skin. She also considers... (full context)