Popular Culture Review Vol. 24, No. 2, Summer 2013 - Page 89

Katniss Everdeen, Role Model? 85 It begins on page one o f the very first book when we are told that she tries to drown a kitten that her sister had brought home, and the only reason she didn’t is because her sister got her to stop by begging and crying. Right off the bat, Collins is letting us know that there is a coldblooded side to Katniss. A ffiend o f mine argued that, to relatives o f hers that lived on a farm, drowning a sick or unwanted kitten would not have been seen as cruel or cold-blooded. I would argue, however, that pragmatic M idwestem farmers were not the primary audience o f this book. The book’s largest and most passionate following are teenaged females who generally tend to have a different view o f drowning kittens. Collins is most likely aware o f how her audience will read this action by Katniss. Quite aside from the drowning kitten incident, however, I think the key to understanding the dark side o f Katniss’s character has to do with the way she views relationships, which in tum heavily influences her moral and ethical choices. She sees relationships fiindamentally in terms o f debt, owing, and repayment. She uses the language o f debt, owing, and payment twenty-two times in the trilogy. Jennifer Culver has also noted this trait o f Katniss in her article, ‘“ So Here I Am in His Debt A gain’: Katniss, Gifts, and Invisible Strings.” She says, “Katniss evaluates the world through a lens o f debts and reciprocity.”7 Culver notes that Katniss’s Orientation toward relationships is consistent with what Marcel Mauss calls a gift culture.8 According to Mauss, in these cultures “gifting” was a “state o f mind” so much so that everything in the culture existed “for passing on and for balancing accounts.”9 Culver is correct about this, but there are three things that I would like to add to Culver’s discussion. First o f all, to use another f