Study Guide

Mockingjay Courage

By Suzanne Collins

Courage

Chapter 2
Katniss Everdeen

Maybe it's because I still have the ashes of my own district on my shoes, but for the first time, I give the people of 13 something I have withheld from them: credit. For staying alive against all odds. (2.82)

Katniss realizes here that she hasn't given "credit" to the folks in 13 who have been struggling for their lives just as she has been struggling for hers. In some ways, they had as tough a time making it in 13 as she did in the arena, and she hasn't given them enough respect for that.

"That giant clock ticking away your life. Every hour promising some new horror. You have to imagine that in the past two days, sixteen people have died – some of them defending you. At the rate things are going, the last eight will be dead by morning. Save one. The victor. And your plan is that it won't be you." (2.28)

Peeta tries to conjure up the kind of courage it had taken to be a tribute during the Quarter Quell, revealing the terrible circumstances that he and Katniss were in. Even though he says this during a conversation engineered by the Capitol against the rebels, there's no denying that the feelings he expresses here are very real.

Chapter 10
Katniss Everdeen

"That's great," I say. Prim a doctor. She couldn't even dream of it in 12. Something small and quiet, like a match being struck, lights up the gloom inside me. This is the sort of future a rebellion could bring. (10.72)

Here, Katniss is able to recognize one of the things they're fighting for – the rebels, and thus a new and brighter "future." It's just a "small" feeling of courage inside her, but it's a chance for hope, for possibility. As terrible as the events they've gone through are, there might be something better on the other side after all.

Chapter 18
Katniss Everdeen

"Anyway, it's not like an actual Games. Any number of people will survive. We're just overreacting because – well, you know why. You still want to go, don't you?"

"Of course. I want to destroy Snow as much as you do," he says.

"It won't be like the others," I say firmly, trying to convince myself as well. Then the real beauty of the situation dawns on me. "This time Snow will be a player, too." (18.26-28)

It takes a special kind of courage to enter into a version of the Games for a third time. Most folks are too terrified to even make it through one. Katniss and Finnick have already had to endure two, and it's a miracle they both made it through those alive. Here, it's hard to know whether Katniss is really "convinced" by her rhetoric or not. More people might survive, but more people will probably die, too.

Chapter 20
Katniss Everdeen

I kneel beside Boggs, prepared to repeat the role I played with Rue, with the morphling from 6, giving him someone to hold on to as he's released from life. But Boggs has both hands working the Holo. He's typing in a command […] A green shaft of light bursts out of the Holo and illuminates his face. (20.6)

Boggs has just had both legs destroyed in a bomb. He's dying, and in a terrible way. Yet he still clings to life to accomplish one final task as a soldier and serve his cause by giving control of the Holo to Katniss. If he doesn't do so, it will be unusable. The fact that Boggs can put aside the incredible pain and terror of dying to focus on his duty shows just how courageous he is.

Chapter 23
Peeta Mellark

"No," he says. "Don't [take off the handcuffs]. They help hold me together."

"You might need your hands," says Gale.

"When I feel myself slipping, I dig my wrists into them, and the pain helps me focus," says Peeta. (23.9-11)

Peeta shows courage here through his willingness to remain restrained. He doesn't want to be released because he doesn't trust himself. Yet, if he were released, he'd be better able to defend himself in the event of another attack – which could occur at any time. The fact that he's willing to risk that, to give up that self-defense, shows his bravery.

Chapter 24
Peeta Mellark

"I'm not sure exactly. The one thing that I might still be useful at is causing a diversion. You saw what happened to that man who looked like me," he says. (24.26)

Yet again, Peeta steps bravely forward. He's still not fully recovered from being hijacked and yet he's determined to "be useful" doing the "one thing" that he still <em>can</em> do to help. That's giving himself up so the other rebels, including Katniss, can get through and get closer to Snow.

Chapter 25
Katniss Everdeen

Having no work, grief buries me. All that keeps me going is Coin's promise. That I can kill Snow. And when that's done, nothing will be left. (25.15)

Katniss can only carry on because of one thing: the idea that she "can kill Snow." She can stay present and focused because of that goal, but that's it. Her courage will only take her that far. Once she's accomplished that last mission, she'll collapse back into her "grief."

Chapter 26
Katniss Everdeen

My finger catches the inside of my bracelet, twisting it like a tourniquet, hurting my wrist. I'm hoping the pain will help me hang on to reality the way it did for Peeta. I must hang on. I must know the truth about what has happened. (26.2)

From Peeta, Katniss has learned a new way of being brave. It's brave to confront "reality." It's brave to want to "know the truth." The pain Katniss feels in her body mimics the pain she feels inside when she's trying to confront such ideas. It would be easier to disassociate from reality and not try to figure out the truth. But to do so, though, would not honor Prim.

Epilogue
Katniss Everdeen

Peeta says it will be okay. We have each other. And the book. We can make them understand in a way that will make them braver. But one day I'll have to explain about my nightmares. Why they came. Why they won't ever really go away. (Epilogue.6)

Even twenty or so years after the Games and the war, it takes courage to get through each day. The events Katniss and Peeta witnessed – and the things they had to do in order to survive – have left permanent marks on them, mind, body, and soul. They can try to "make [their children] braver," but that's something they have to do for themselves all the time too.