by Suzanne Collins
Warfare Quotes in Mockingjay
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
'I want everyone watching – whether you're on the Capitol or the rebel side – to stop for just a moment and think about what this war could mean. For human beings. We almost went extinct fighting one another before. Now our numbers are even fewer. Our conditions more tenuous. Is this really what we want to do? Kill ourselves off completely? In the hopes that – what? Some decent species will inherit the smoking remains of the earth?' (2.56)
In this speech, Peeta asks for the fighting to stop. Other context in this chapter reveals that these aren't Peeta's ideas, but President Snow's – Peeta is being forced to speak for the Capitol. If the fighting stopped, the rebels would be destroyed. However, Katniss seems to realize that Peeta might mean the opposite of what he's saying here, that the rebels should fight, and that she should step forward to lead them.
"So, it'd be easy for you? Using that on people?" I ask.
"I didn't say that." Gale drops the bow to his side. "But if I'd had a weapon that could've stopped what I saw happen in Twelve... if I'd had a weapon that could have kept you out of the arena... I'd have used it." (5.58-59)
Here, the text seems to be asking whether it's ever OK to kill other people or to use such "a weapon" on someone else. Gale tries to explain that, in some situations, any weapon ought to be allowed, to protect the ones he loves from a terrifying alternative, like going to the arena.
"It's not that simple," he [Boggs] shoots back. "We were in no position to launch a counterattack until recently. We could barely stay alive. After we'd overthrown and executed the Capitol's people, only a handful of us even knew how to pilot. We could've nuked them with missiles, yes. But there's always the larger question: If we engage in that type of war with the Capitol, would there be any human life left?" (6.63)
Is there ever any right answer in a war? Boggs is explaining to Katniss how, even though his side had the means to take down the Capitol, doing so would come at too high a price. Are people willing to destroy so many innocent lives in order to effect real change? Even so, it's hard for Katniss to accept that, in the meantime, atrocities like the Hunger Games have been allowed to continue.