Mockingjay Literary Elements


Young Adult, Dystopian

Setting and Context

The novel is set in various locations in the fictional country of Panem.

Narrator and Point of View

The Hunger Games is told in the first-person from the perspective of Katniss Everdeen, a 17-year-old girl living in District 12 of Panem.

Tone and Mood

The tone and mood are somber, gritty, thrilling, suspenseful, and exhilarating.

Protagonist and Antagonist

The protagonist of Mockingjay is Katniss Everdeen, our narrator. At the beginning of the novel, the antagonist is President Snow and his Capitol lackeys. As the book progresses, however, and Snow loses power, President Coin becomes a menacing force. In the end, the true enemy in the novel is unchecked power, as it continuously corrupts those who have it.

Major Conflict

The major conflict in Mockingjay is the fight Katniss and the rebels wage against the Capitol for their freedom. There are also many minor conflicts, such as Peeta’s capture and eventual rescue, the widening chasm between Gale and Katniss, etc.


The climax of the novel occurs when Katniss kills President Coin instead of President Snow.


“'Of course you are. The tributes were necessary to the Games, too. Until they weren’t,' I say. 'And then we were very disposable—right, Plutarch?'” (Collins 93).

In this excerpt, Katniss taunts Plutarch about his supposed importance in the rebel cause against the Capitol. She points out that while the tributes were extremely vital to the revolution before, that changed very rapidly once they served their purpose. She questions whether Plutarch might have the same fate once he’s outgrown his use. This excerpt foreshadows how disposable all the characters are to President Coin’s overall plan for Panem.


“Cinna, it seems, has thought of everything” (Collins 151).

From the grave, Cinna continues to have a direct influence on Katniss’s life—he designed and made her Mockingjay outfit, in the event that she agreed to play the part. He planned every facet of the suit, down to a special place where Katniss can store her nightlock pill. This shows that Cinna did indeed think of everything, even the possibility of Katniss needing to commit suicide during her role as the Mockingjay.


“Thirteen was used to hardship, whereas in the Capitol, all they’ve known is Panem et Circenses” (Collins 388).

When describing the Capitol, Plutarch alludes to an ancient Roman saying. 'Panem et Circenses' is Latin for ‘Bread and Circuses’, and means that, in exchange for food and entertainment, people will give up their political responsibilities and autonomy. This turn of phrase is particularly apt for the inhabitants of the Capitol, who enjoy an excess of food and the Hunger Games in exchange for being political puppets. For more information, see the “Panem et Circenses” section of this ClassicNote.


See “Imagery” section of this ClassicNote.


Many of the living conditions, policies, and restrictions in District 13 are paradoxical because of how similar they are to the conditions in the Districts under the Capitol’s rule. For example, similarly to life in the Districts, everyone in District 13 must follow strict schedules with little time left for recreation or self-reflection. “Civilians” are given limited permissions, whereas the military personnel are granted more privileges. This is reminiscent of the dichotomy between the people living in the Districts and the Capitol’s Peacekeepers. Finally, the detainment and mistreatment of Katniss’s prep team brings to mind the capture-and-torture policy of the Capitol. This is all paradoxical because one would think that District 13 would try to be as unlike the Capitol as possible, considering the two forces are bitter enemies.


By the end of the novel it becomes clear that the Districts defeated President Snow and his Capitol regime only to allow a new dystopian government, in the form of President Coin and District 13, to rise. The strongest piece of evidence for this is President Coin’s idea to host another Hunger Games using the children of the Capitol. In this idea, we see how the Hunger Games began: the need for power and retribution overpowered feelings of mercy and compassion. Rather than break the vicious cycle of the Games, Coin tries to continue them on her own terms, thus showing that she and Snow are different sides of the same coin.

Metonymy and Synecdoche