Following the Capitol’s bombardment of District 12 in response to Katniss blowing up the arena of the Quarter Quell, Katniss’s home has been reduced to a wasteland of rumble and human remains. To set the scene, Collins uses imagery of death and decay. For example, there are “piles of ashes," rocks that are actually human skulls, and incinerated bodies “reeking in various states of decomposition, carrion for scavengers, blanketed by flies” (Collins 11). The use of these graphic and visceral descriptions allows the reader to picture the destruction that has been wrought in District 12.
“But not Alma Coin, the president of 13, who just watches. She’s fifty or so, with gray hair that falls in an unbroken sheet to her shoulders. I’m somewhat fascinated by her hair, since it’s so uniform, so without a flaw, a wisp, even a split end. Her eyes are gray, but not like those of people from the Seam. They’re very pale, as if almost all the color has been sucked out of them. The color of slush that you wish would melt away” (Collins 19)
This quote is Katniss’s description of President Coin. Coin’s appearance reflects her personality and mannerisms. As the leader of the militant District 13, Coin is no-nonsense and extremely serious. A stickler for rules and schedules, she takes care to follow regulations and rarely breaks protocol. It makes sense that someone with her character traits would have not a hair out of place.
“'Once you’re in the arena, the rest of the world becomes very distant,' he continues. 'All the people and things you loved or cared about almost cease to exist. The pink sky and the monsters in the jungle and the tributes who want your blood become your final reality, the only one that ever mattered'” (Collins 42)
During his interview with Cesar Flickerman, Peeta does something unprecedented—he shares with all of Panem what it’s really like to be in the arena. In the above quote, Peeta describes how the outside world recedes and the arena with the 23 other tributes becomes your only reality. The picture he paints–a place devoid of your loved ones and filled with people that only want to kill you–is so striking because of its realism and heartfelt nature. His ability to create powerful images with only his words is one of Peeta’s defining character traits.
“I step through the curtain and my senses are assaulted. My first impulse is to cover my nose to block out the stench of soiled linen, putrefying flesh, and vomit, all ripening in the heat of the warehouse...The drone of black flies, the moaning of people in pain, and the sobs of their attending loved ones have combined into a wrenching chorus” (Collins 158)
This excerpt is from Katniss’s visit to the rebel hospital in District 8. The senses of smell, sight, and hearing are fully engaged in this scene to create a place of suffering and death. This example of imagery is important because it reminds Katniss and the reader of the real costs of war.
Mockingjay Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Mockingjay is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.