Popular Culture Review Vol. 24, No. 2, Summer 2013 - Page 92

88 Populär Culture Review Although this is a parody, it does give us some insight into how the character o f Katniss is popularly understood. Finally, we see that Katniss’s view o f relationships diminishes her ability to show grace. Grace is initiative; it gives without thought o f repayment. Debt is reactive; its only thought is o f repayment. Grace is Peeta’s gift with the bread; and this is why Katniss never understands it and feels that she can never repay it. It is an initiative act motivated by love. Her inability to understand grace is also why she pleads with Gale not to let her family starve as she is leaving for the hunger games in book one. She knows that she will not be able to repay him, and she is unsure if he will act out o f love for them.24 Katniss does not initiate relationships; every one that she has is initiated by someone eise— Peeta, Rue, Haymitch, Finnick. M ost o f the time Katniss would rather just be left alone. Another relationship just means another person to owe. W hat does all of this have to do with Katniss’s vote at the end o f Mockingjay! We have seen that Katniss has a cold-blooded, even vengeful side to her, and that repayment o f debts is her fundamental way o f interacting with the world. At the time o f the Victors meeting, someone, and she is not at that point sure who it was, has killed her sister. Someone owes her an enormous debt. If indeed the repayment o f violence tends to escalate the violence, then it would not be out o f the realm o f possibility, if she thinks that the Capitol is responsible for Prim ’s death, that she would vote to hold another hunger games as an act o f retribution. At some point, and again it is not clearly specified in the story, she becomes convinced that Coin was responsible for Prim’s death. And she assassinates Coin instead. This would seem to be a repayment o f death for death, but for Katniss this is not the only fallout frorn Prim ’s death. She actually tries to kill herseif as well, in part to evade the punishment and torture she thinks is coming her way, but also in part to punish herseif for failing to protect Prim. In addition, even after she survives, as mentioned above, her relationship with Gale is collateral damage to Prim ’s death since he had the idea for the bomb that was used to kill Prim. Katniss knows she will never be able to separate her feelings for Gale frorn the death o f her sister. And knowing herseif as an unforgiving person, she knows her relationship with Gale is over. A one-for-one repayment is never enough when relationships are viewed this way. Only the virtues o f love, grace, and forgiveness can end the cycle o f violence as they eventually do when Katniss is let off the hook for killing Coin, and she goes back to District 12 to rebuild her life. Initially she thinks she has no life, but when Peeta arrives, she eventually