The Hunger Games
How we cite our quotes:
Taking the kids from our districts, forcing them to kill one another while we watch – this is the Capitol’s way of reminding us how totally we are at their mercy. How little chance we would stand of surviving another rebellion. Whatever words they use, the real message is clear. “Look how we take your children and sacrifice them and there’s nothing you can do. If you lift a finger, we will destroy every last one of you. Just as we did in District Thirteen.” (1.76)
The Hunger Games, Katniss tells us, become a way for the rulers in the Capitol to flex their big old muscles. The main purpose is to remind the Districts how weak they are – and that their deaths are basically televised entertainment. In this sense, the Games are a form of control.
The something unexpected happens. At least, I don’t expect it because I don’t think of District 12 as a place that cares about me. But a shift has occurred since I stepped up to take Prim’s place, and now it seems I have become someone precious. At first one, then another, then almost every member of the crowd touches the three middle fingers of their left hand to their lips and holds it out to me. It is an old and rarely used gesture of our district, occasionally seen at funerals. It means thanks, it means admiration, it means good-bye to someone you love. (2.17)
It’s clear that the government has brute force on their side, but the people of District 12 show that they have their own kind of power. Their three-finger gesture makes Katniss feel special and loved and human. Why is that so important?
“What’s an Avox?” I ask stupidly.
“Someone who committed a crime. They cut her tongue so she can’t speak,” says Haymitch. “She’s probably a traitor of some sort. Not likely you’d know her.” (6.23-24)
As we learn here, traitors to the government have their tongues cut out and become servants called Avoxes. Why do you think it’s significant that the government removes the tongue? What is it about being able to speak that’s so important?