Catching Fire

Catching Fire Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

Katniss (Symbol)

With her act of defiance in the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss has unknowingly made herself the face of the revolution against the Capitol. This is evident when Katniss meets the refuges from District 8 and they tell her that they are on her side. This idea of Katniss as the symbol of the revolution is solidified when Katniss herself acknowledges the power that even just her face has over the Districts (Collins 417). The final piece of verifying evidence is when Plutarch tells Katniss that the plan all along was to keep her alive because “while [she] lives, the revolution lives” (Collins 662).

The Story of District 13 (Allegory)

Supposedly destroyed by the Capitol during the Dark Days, District 13 is frequently hoisted up as an example of what happens when one rebels against the Capitol. However, as Bonnie and Twill demonstrate, not everyone believes that District 13 was eradicated. In the minds of some inhabitants of Panem, District 13 is a place safe from the reach of the Capitol and President Snow. At the end of the novel, when Plutarch and Haymitch tell Katniss that they are en-route to District 13, it seems as if these urban legends about District 13 surviving the rebellion against the Capitol are true. The story of District 13 is an allegory for the idea that it is possible to fight back against the Capitol and survive.

“A mockingjay is a creature the Capitol never intended to exist. They hadn't counted on the highly controlled jabberjay having the brains to adapt to the wild, to pass on its genetic code, to thrive in a new form. They hadn't anticipated its will to live” (Collins 92) (Allegory)

This excerpt from Catching Fire about the mockingjay supports the idea of the mockingjay’s story being an allegory for the fallibility of the Capitol. It builds upon evidence presented in the first novel of the trilogy.

Seneca Crane (Symbol)

Seneca Crane was the former Head Gamemaker of the Hunger Games. He orchestrated the Hunger Games that Katniss and Peeta won. President Snow had him executed because, in Snow's view, Seneca failed to adequately handle the situation with Katniss, Peeta, and the nightlock. Seneca’s execution symbolizes that no one, not even a high-ranking member of the Capitol hierarchy, is safe from President Snow’s wrath.

Debt (Motif)

As a very independent, self-sacrificing person, Katniss has difficulty accepting help from others. Indeed, one of the major plot points of the first Hunger Games book is her inability to trust Peeta when he attempts to help her. When others do anything for Katniss, she sees herself as being in their debt. This idea of debt begins in The Hunger Games, and continues in Catching Fire with Katniss and Finnick. When Finnick saves Peeta and sacrifices Mags, Katniss thinks to herself, “I can never settle the balance owed between us” (Collins 314). The moment when Katniss stops thinking of actions taken on her behalf as debts is the moment when she realizes that human interactions and relationships aren’t made of transactions and exchanges, but rather of feelings. By the end of Catching Fire she has reached this point with Peeta, but she still has a ways to go before she stops seeing her other relationships through the lens of debt.