Popular Culture Review Vol. 24, No. 2, Summer 2013 - Page 90

86 Populär Culture Review everyone knows her and she knows everyone; she has gone to the same school with the same classmates, and yet she has no one that she loves. In fact in Mockingjay when she reflects on her school days, she notes, “I had next to no friends because I w asn’t friendly.” 11 When she is chosen for the reaping, she is surprised that the crowd makes the three-fingered gesture that means “goodbye to someone you love.” 12 She is surprised because she does not generally view those relationships in terms o f love: “I don’t think o f District 12 as a place that cares about me.” 13 She has only seen District 12 as a place where she hunts and barters, in other words, makes economic transactions. The second time she mentions the word love is when she, in an attempt to describe her own character, says, “I don’t go around loving everybody I meet.” 14 For brevity’s sake, I will not mention every single example, but the final time she uses the word love in the first book, she characteristically pairs it with a term o f economic transaction: ‘TU never be able to afford the kind o f love that leads to a family, to children.” 15 Not only do we again have a negative depiction o f her ability to love, it is tied to economic language which is her Standard way o f viewing relationships. Right up to the very end o f the first book, she continues to ask Peeta why he gave her the bread; she does not understand the action because it was an act motivated by love, which is why Haymitch teils Peeta that he will have a hard time convincing Katniss that he loves her; Katniss for the most part does not see relationships in terms o f love. K atniss’s diminished capacity for love is reflected throughout all three books, and rather than multiply examples, I would like to focus on one other reflection o f Katniss’s that is highly revealing. In Catching Fire she teils herseif that the key to understanding who she is, is her action with the berries at the end o f the first hunger games: “I realize the answer to who I am lies in that handful o f poisonous fruit. If I held them out to save Peeta because I knew I would be shunned if I came back without him, then I am despicable. If I held them out to him because I loved him, I am still self-centered, although forgivable. But if I held them out to defy the Capitol, I am someone o f worth.” 16 This line o f thinking, in which an act o f defiance is considered o f higher value than an act o f love, only makes sense if one views relationships as Katniss does. To her, love is simply not as important as the repayment o f debt.