As she embarks on her “Victory Tour” of Panem at the start of the novel, Katniss faces a challenge—the government warns her to “behave,” or else they threaten to kill her loved ones. By going “off-script” in any way, President Snow explains, Katniss would send a subversive message to the twelve districts of Panem: that it’s okay to be disobedient to the government. Thus, she must stick to the script at all costs, smile and wave for the cameras, make bland speeches about the importance of the Hunger Games, and generally honor the formalities of the Victory Tour.
As a result of the government’s conniving, Katniss finds herself in a strange position. She despises the government for impoverishing her home, District 12, and forcing her to risk her life in the Hunger Games, yet as a result of having won the Hunger Games, the same government has given her a national platform from which to speak. In a sense, Katniss plays the part of a “Trojan Horse”—she’s fighting the government from the inside, using the government’s own weapons—a ubiquitous media, quick transportation, etc.—against it.
There are many disadvantages to Katniss’s “Trojan Horse” approach, however. To begin with, Katniss herself isn’t sure where her allegiances lie. For much of Catching Fire, she’s careful never to deviate from the script for any reason, since she’s concerned that she’s putting her mother and sister’s lives in jeopardy. This points to a general, obvious weakness in fighting the government from the inside: Katniss depends upon the government’s power to broadcast her message of rebellion, and thus she is at the government’s mercy in more ways than one.
Another problem with fighting the government from within is that Katniss’s message sometimes gets misinterpreted (See Symbols and Interpretations theme as well). While her mockingjay pin becomes a symbol of resistance to government tyranny in some districts, in the Capitol it’s seen as a symbol of the Hunger Games themselves—in other words, a symbol of the government’s power. As a consequence of her strategy to fight from within, Katniss is not only partnering with the government, she’s sometimes building support for it.
In general, fighting the government from the inside is a slow, fitful process, and it’s often difficult to tell if any progress is being made at all. Yet the “Trojan Horse” approach to rebellion has some advantages over its more obvious alternatives. Katniss’s friend Gale wants to use force and espionage to bring down the government in District 12, but he is no more successful than Katniss—in most ways, in fact, he is significantly less so. For disobeying the government’s rules, he’s savagely whipped, and as a result spends the next few weeks recovering. Though he wants to organize the miners of District 12 against President Snow, it quickly becomes clear that Gale will never defeat the government’s powerful, well-organized troops, no matter how many miners join him. Attacking President Snow’s government from the outside isn’t any more efficient or productive than attacking it from the inside.
At the end of Catching Fire, the government is still very much in power—in other words, the theme of attacking from within hasn’t been fully resolved. Yet Collins concludes with a single, powerful illustration of the advantages of the Trojan Horse strategy. Katniss, imprisoned in the Hunger Games arena, recognizes that her real enemies are not the people she’s fighting in the Games, but actually the government officials who created and run the Games. Thus, she fires an arrow at the force field surrounding the arena, freeing herself from her prison and, quite literally, attacking the government’s power from the inside. Katniss sends a clear message of rebellion to audiences watching her throughout Panem. Attacking the government from the inside is difficult and sometimes seems hopeless, but ultimately it’s an intelligent, productive way to battle tyranny and injustice.
Hidden Resistance vs. Direct Rebellion ThemeTracker
Hidden Resistance vs. Direct Rebellion Quotes in Catching Fire
People viewed your little trick with the berries as an act of defiance, not an act of love. And if a girl from District 12 of all places can defy the Capitol and walk away unharmed, what is to stop them from doing the same?
I think of Haymitch, unmarried, no family, blotting out the world with drink. He could have had his choice of any woman in the district. And he chose solitude.
Everything is happening too fast for me to process it. The warning, the shootings, the recognition that I may have set something of great consequence in motion. The whole thing is so improbable. And it would be one thing if I had planned to stir things up, but given the circumstances… how on earth did I cause so much trouble?
There was something strange about it. Almost clandestine. But why? Maybe he thinks someone else will steal his idea of putting a disappearing mockingjay on a watch face. Yes, he probably paid a fortune for it, and now he can’t show it to anyone, because he’s afraid someone will make a cheap, knockoff version. Only in the Capitol.
The jabberjays were muttations, genetically enhanced male birds […] The jabberjays were left to die. In a few years, they became extinct in the wild, but not before they had mated with female mockingbirds, creating an entirely new species.
But then the axe fell. Peacekeepers began to arrive by the thousands. Hovercrafts bombed the rebel strongholds into ashes. In the utter chaos that followed, it was all people could do to make it back to their homes alive.
[Gale] must also know that if we don’t revolt in 12, I’m destined to be Peeta’s bride. Seeing me lounging around in gorgeous gowns on his television… what can he do with that?
Kids in costumes are silly, but aging victors, it turns out, are pitiful. A few who are on the younger side, like Johanna and Finnick, or whose bodies haven’t fallen into disrepair, like Seeder and Brutus, can still manage to maintain a little dignity. But the majority, who are in the clutches of drink or morphling or illness, look grotesque in their costumes.
“I like the District Three victors,” I say. “Wiress and Beetee.”
“Really?” he asks. “They’re something of a joke to the others.”
“Why does that not surprise me?” I say. I think of how Peeta was always surrounded at school by a crowd of friends.
They will be looking for some sign that their battles have not been in vain. If I can make it clear that I’m still defying the Capitol right up to the end, the Capitol will have killed me …but not my spirit. What better way to give hope to the rebels?
A shadow of recognition flickers across Caesar’s face, and I can tell that he knows that the mockingjay isn’t just my token. That it’s come to symbolize so much more. That what will be seen as a flashy costume change in the Capitol is resonating in an entirely different way throughout the districts. But he makes the best of it.
One way or the other, I have a very valuable piece of information. And if they know I have it, they might do something to alter the force field so I can’t see the aberration anymore. So I lie.
I stare into the night, thinking of what a difference a day makes. How yesterday morning, Finnick was on my kill list, and now I’m willing to sleep with him as my guard. He saved Peeta and let Mags die and I don’t know why.
My mouth drops open in shock. No one, ever, says anything like this in the Games. Absolutely, they’ve cut away from Johanna, are editing her out. But I have heard her and can never think about her again in the same way. She’ll never win any awards for kindness, but she certainly is gutsy. Or crazy.
But will Peeta know that or will he keep fighting? He’s so strong and such a good liar. Does he think he has a chance of surviving? Does he even care if he does? He wasn’t planning on it, anyway. He had already signed off on life. Maybe, if he knows I was rescued, he’s even happy. Feels he fulfilled his mission to keep me alive. I think I hate him even more than I do Haymitch.