To become the Mockingjay... could any good I do possibly outweigh the damage? […] I swear, now that my family and Gale's are out of harm's way, I could run away. Except for one unfinished piece of business. Peeta. If I knew for sure that he was dead, I could just disappear into the woods and never look back. But until I do, I'm stuck. (1.35-36)
This quote seems to suggest that Katniss dreads the power and responsibility that come with being the Mockingjay. She's deeply concerned about the sacrifices she'll have to ask other people to make by becoming a leader of the revolution. She stays with it not because she wants a heap of honor and glory for herself, but because she sees it as the only way to try and save her dear friend.
"Oh," I whisper in admiration. 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. There's something else. I have to hold very still to make sure I'm not imagining it. No, the bow is alive in my hands. (5.62)
Sometimes a weapon, a thing of destruction, can also be a thing of great beauty. The way Katniss describes it, this bow sounds most like an art object – the work of a master craftsman. And, since Beetee created it, in many ways it is. Yet this art object is perhaps one of the most deadly things the characters will encounter in the pages of <em>Mockingjay</em>.
I hear my name rippling through the hot air, spreading out into the hospital. "Katniss! Katniss Everdeen!" The sounds of pain and grief begin to recede, to be replaced by words of anticipation. From all sides, voices beckon me. I begin to move, clasping the hands extended to me, touching the sound parts of those unable to move their limbs, saying hello, how are you, good to meet you. Nothing of importance, no amazing words of inspiration. But it doesn't matter. Boggs is right. It's the sight of me, alive, that is the inspiration. (7.31)
Katniss is the subject of admiration here, but she's able to use that admiration purely for good. She's able to give out "inspiration" to all the people around her simply by being there. Her presence in the hospital lends its patients strength and happiness. She doesn't have to do very much at all – just being there is enough.
"Squad Four-Five-One, you have been selected for a special mission," he begins. I bite the inside of my lip, hoping against hope that it's to assassinate Snow. "We have numerous sharpshooters, but rather a dearth of camera crews. Therefore, we've handpicked the eight of you to be what we call our 'Star Squad.' You will be the faces of the invasion." (18.56)
Sometimes admiration can have negative consequences. What Katniss and the other people on her team really want is to be at the heart of the action – to use their skills and really make a difference in the fight. Paradoxically, because they could be so effective, they're pulled away from the real action and reduced to a media-related force.
Messalla proves most valuable because he lived in a near replica of this apartment and knows where people would be most likely to stash food. (21.17)
In times of war, people no longer reserve admiration for beauty, intelligence, or bravery. They look up to those who possess the skills to ensure basic survival. Messalla can find a stash of food – at this moment in the book, nothing's more important than that. Without food, they can't go on.
[Coin…] gives my eulogy. Praise for the girl who survived the Seam and the Hunger Games, then turned a country of slaves into an army of freedom fighters. "Dead or alive, Katniss Everdeen will remain the face of this rebellion. If ever you waver in your resolve, think of the Mockingjay, and in her you will find the strength you need to rid Panem of its oppressors." (21.28)
Admiration for Katniss is being used to further the rebels' cause. Katniss is being used like the Mockingjay, which she symbolizes for the rebels. Here Coin is speaking through her to support the rebellion. The greater Katniss's achievements, the more powerful she is as a symbol of martyrdom for the rebel cause.
"Never underestimate the power of a brilliant stylist," says Peeta. (24.36)
As he used to, Peeta's able to twist his words to smooth out a situation and make everything better. He compliments Tigris and is able to pay her, in a certain sense, for helping the rebels out. The fact that the rebels need a stylist's help reinforces the parallels between the situation they're in and the ones Peeta and Katniss endured during the Games. Then, as now, they needed the battle armor that could only come from a "brilliant stylist." It's no accident that "brilliant" is the same word Katniss used to describe Cinna (1.34).
"The price of celebrity," says Beetee. "We were targeted from both sides. The Capitol killed the victors they suspected of being rebels. The rebels killed those thought to be allied with the Capitol." (26.41)
Sometimes being admired is a bad thing – it makes you recognizable and can even make you a target. That's what happens to the other victors, who were unlucky enough to be caught in between the rebels and the Capitol, and survived the Games and the Quell only to be crushed in the revolutionary war that followed.
One I'm in Cinna's Mockingjay suit, the only scars visible are on my neck, forearms, and hands. Octavia secures my Mockingjay pin over my heart and we step back to look in the mirror. I can't believe how normal they've made me look on the outside when inwardly I'm such a wasteland. (26.28)
Cinna is dead but his work sure lives on. His designs have helped Katniss many times in <em>Mockingjay</em> even though he wasn't there to see it. He's helped protect her and hold her together. Similarly, the prep team pulls itself together to protect Katniss and keep her looking "normal," even if internally she feels like "a wasteland."
What's amazing is how clearly I remember them. The tunes, the lyrics. My voice, at first rough and breaking on the high notes, warms up into something splendid. A voice that would make the mockingjays fall silent and then tumble over themselves to join in. (27.13)
Katniss recognizes the beauty and power of her own voice, and it's one of the only things that keep her going during her depression and imprisonment. It's a glimpse of what she could have been outside the games and war; instead of being a Mockingjay, she could have sung in another way. But she never really got the chance, and now she's not sure if there's anyone around to hear her.