Mockingjay Metaphors and Similes

“That last night…to tell you about that last night…well, first of all, you have to imagine how it felt in the arena. It was like being an insect trapped under a bowl filled with steaming air” (Collins 41) (Simile)

Here Peeta shares with all of Panem what it felt like to be in the arena of the third Quarter Quell. He likens himself and the other tributes to insects stuck in a bowl of steaming air, a fitting comparison considering the steamy and tropical setting of the 75th Hunger Games.

“Once off the main corridors, Gale and I race like schoolchildren for the armory, and by the time we arrive, I’m breathless and dizzy” (Collins 94) (Simile)

This moment in the novel happens shortly after President Coin grants Katniss and Gale permission to hunt aboveground in the woods of District 13. Being able to go hunting with Gale reminds Katniss of happier days when life was simpler and seemingly safer. Thus, she compares their racing to the armory to the behavior of schoolchildren free from responsibilities and stress.

“I lift it carefully into the air to admire the exquisite balance, the elegant design, and the curve of the limbs that somehow suggests the wings of a bird extended in flight” (Collins 124) (Metaphor)

In this quote Katniss is describing the bow Beetee made for her in District 13’s armory. The elegance and shape of the bow remind her of a bird in flight, which causes her to compare the bow to a bird. The bow is fitting addition to Katniss’s overall image as the Mockingjay.

Crazy Cat (Metaphor)

Crazy Cat is a game Katniss plays with Buttercup. She simply wiggles a flashlight beam around the room, and Buttercup tries to catch it. To preoccupy everyone in the bunker during the bombing of District 13, Katniss plays Crazy Cat for hours until she discovers a pattern. As long as Buttercup thinks he has a chance of capturing the light, he is bristling with energy and aggression. When Katniss turns the light off completely, the cat is briefly confused and disoriented, but then moves on to other things. Over time, Katniss realizes that Crazy Cat is a metaphor for the situation she faces with President Snow and Peeta. She is Buttercup, Peeta is the light, and President Snow is the one manipulating the light. As long as Snow has Peeta and is able to torture him, Katniss is useless and distracted. If Snow were to just kill Peeta, Katniss would be distraught at first; eventually, however, she would be able to focus on other things, like killing Snow, without fear of repercussions.

“I wouldn’t be shooting Peeta. He’s gone. Johanna’s right. It’d be just like shooting another of the Capitol’s mutts” (Collins 461) (Simile)

The period following Peeta’s rescue from the Capitol is difficult for the star-crossed lovers of District 12. Peeta has been manipulated and “hijacked” into hating Katniss. He makes several attempts to kill her and insults her whenever they interact. That is the motivation behind her derogatory comparison of Peeta to one of the Capitol’s mutts, or mutations. She no longer sees him as a partner, ally, lover, or friend, but rather as a product of the Capitol that was designed to kill her.