Mockingjay

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The Double Bomb Symbol Analysis

The Double Bomb Symbol Icon
The double bomb that kills Katniss Everdeen’s sister, Primrose, was designed by two rebels: Beetee and Gale, Katniss’s lifelong friend. Previously, Gale had explained that the double bombs are designed to appeal to mankind’s weakness for compassion. The first round of bombs, he goes on, is brutal, but the second round, which goes off shortly after the first—once a large crowd of sympathetic helpers show up—is far deadlier. Setting aside the double bombs’ obvious links to tragedy, betrayal, and the way they represent the rebels’ willingness to be just as bloody and underhanded as Snow in achieving their aims, they’re also an apt metaphor for Katniss’s state of mind throughout Mockingjay. The first “round” of pain that Katniss experiences is physical in nature: wounds she sustains during the Hunger Games themselves, rebel battles, the destruction of District 12, etc. The “second round” of devastation is always more painful for Katniss, however, because it appeals to her innate sense of compassion, rather than her body. Katniss is more pained by guilt than by her physical wounds—after the Hunger Games, for instance, Katniss is more upset at having abandoned Peeta to be kidnapped than at having hurt her arm.

The Double Bomb Quotes in Mockingjay

The Mockingjay quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Double Bomb. 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 24 Quotes

First I get a glimpse of the blond braid down her back. Then, as she yanks off her coat to cover a wailing child, I notice the duck tail formed by her untucked shirt. I have the same reaction I did the day Effie Trinket called her name at the reaping. At least, I must go limp, because I find myself at the base of the flagpole, unable to account for the last few seconds. Then I am pushing through the crowd, just as I did before. Trying to shout her name above the roar. I'm almost there, almost to the barricade, when I think she hears me. Because for just a moment, she catches sight of me, her lips form my name. And that's when the rest of the parachutes go off.

Related Characters: Katniss Everdeen (speaker), Effie Trinket , Primrose (Prim) Everdeen
Related Symbols: The Double Bomb
Page Number: 347
Explanation and Analysis:

Katniss manages to sneak into the center of the Capitol. Just as she's about to arrive at President Snow's mansion, airplanes drop bombs on the rioting people of the Capitol. To Katniss's amazement, one of the people marching through the streets of the Capitol is Katniss's own younger sister, Primrose. Katniss watches in horror as Prim walks to the site of a bombing, hoping to help some of the survivors. Katniss recognizes, too late, that the bomb is actually a double-bomb, designed to kill the first responders to the catastrophe. The double-bomb was designed by Katniss's supposed allies in the rebel alliance—but now it's being used to kill Katniss's family members. In the most striking way, then, the quotation reminds us (and Katniss) that Katniss's supposed friends among the rebels weren't really her friends at all.

The quotation describes arguably the most traumatizing event in the novel: the death of Katniss's own sister, before Katniss's very eyes. The entire passage has a tone of utter futility. Katniss knows that Prim is about to be killed, tries to save her, and fails. In this sense, the quotation is a forecast of the trauma Katniss will be dealing with for the rest of her life: she'll always blame herself for failing to protect her family, and her mind will replay over and over the image of her sister being killed.

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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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The Double Bomb Symbol Timeline in Mockingjay

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Double Bomb appears in Mockingjay. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 13
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
...collaborating on. One weapon appeals to a basic human weakness: compassion. It consists of two bombs: when the first bomb goes off, people rush in to help wounded—and then the second,... (full context)
Chapter 24
Revolution and Its Problems Theme Icon
Compassion, Callousness, and Revenge Theme Icon
Trauma and Love Theme Icon
...run toward the parachutes, eager for care and nourishment—only to find that the parachutes contain bombs. The bombs detonate, killing thousands. Almost immediately a wave of sympathetic people and experienced medics... (full context)
Chapter 25
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
...would be apologizing for this. Snow urges Katniss to look at the facts: a hovercraft bombed a huge crowd of children, many of whom were Capitol citizens. If Snow himself had... (full context)
Revolution and Its Problems Theme Icon
The Power and Danger of Symbols Theme Icon
Trauma and Love Theme Icon
...Mockingjay. Katniss remembers the weapon she discussed with Gale and Beetee: it consisted of two bombs, and was designed to appeal to people’s compassion. Katniss, shaking with surprise and anger, tells... (full context)
Chapter 26
Revolution and Its Problems Theme Icon
The Power and Danger of Symbols Theme Icon
...thinking about everything she’s just learned. It’s possible that Snow was lying, and the Capitol bombed its own citizens to distract the rebels. It’s also possible that the rebels bombed the... (full context)
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
...which she’s supposed to kill Snow and end the war. Katniss asks Gale about the bomb that killed her sister. Gale quietly says that nothing he says will make Katniss feel... (full context)