Study Guide

Mockingjay Manipulation

By Suzanne Collins

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Chapter 1
Katniss Everdeen

What they want is for me to truly take on the role they designed for me. The symbol of the revolution. The Mockingjay. […] I won't have to do it alone. They have a whole team of people to make me over, dress me, write my speeches, orchestrate my appearances – as if <em>that</em> doesn't sound horribly familiar – and all I have to do is play my part. (1.28)

Here it seems like Katniss is still being manipulated by others to fulfill a greater purpose. Before, she was deployed like a doll by the Capitol, and now she's being used in the same way to give a face to the group attempting to destroy the Capitol. In both cases, she's "play[ing a] part" that someone else wrote.

Chapter 2
Katniss Everdeen

<em>Yes, other people had plans, </em>I think. Has Peeta guessed, then, how the rebels used us as pawns? How my rescue was arranged from the beginning? And finally, how our mentor, Haymitch Abernathy, betrayed us both for a cause he pretended to have no interest in? (2.25)

From a statement like this, we can tell how hard it has become for characters like Katniss and Peeta to trust anybody. The current regime that governs the Capitol and organized the Games obviously can't be trusted. But the revolutionaries also cannot really be trusted. And even Katniss and Peeta's "mentor," Haymitch, the one person they could try to rely on to get them through the games, lied to them all along.

Chapter 3

In some ways, District 13 is even more controlling than the Capitol. (3.22)

The unpleasant truth is that, to an extent, the citizens of 12 have jumped out of the frying pan into the fire. In other words, they've gone from one super-controlling environment to another. This has temporarily saved their lives, but at what price? At what point is it no longer OK to put up with so many rules and restrictions in order to simply live?

Chapter 5
Katniss Everdeen

Another force to contend with. Another power player who has decided to use me as a piece in her games, although things never seem to go according to plan.  […] But she [President Coin] has been the quickest to determine that I have an agenda of my own and am therefore not to be trusted. She has been the first to publicly brand me as a threat. (5.1)

No matter what she does or how hard tries, Katniss keeps ending up in the same darn position. Over and over again, she becomes someone else's tool, manipulated for someone else's ends. She always seems to be hopping from one bad situation to another. Just when she thinks she's safe, she's in more danger than ever.

Chapter 18
Katniss Everdeen

When I confront Plutarch, he assures me that it's all for the camera. They've got footage of Annie getting married and Johanna hitting targets, but all of Panem is wondering about Peeta. They need to see he's fighting for the rebels, not for Snow. And maybe if they could just get a couple of shots of the two of us, not kissing necessarily, just looking happy to be back together […] (18.4)

It seems that nothing is real. Everything, whether actual or staged, is manipulated to serve the cameras' purposes. That was true during the Games, and it's true outside of them. Can Katniss even trust Plutarch? Immediately, Katniss makes it clear that she finds this last suggestion repugnant. It seems there are some lines she still won't cross.

Chapter 19
Katniss Everdeen

In the quiet that follows, I try to imagine not being able to tell illusion from reality. Not knowing if Prim or my mother loved me. If Snow was my enemy. If the person across the heater saved or sacrificed me. With very little effort, my life rapidly morphs into a nightmare. I suddenly want to tell Peeta everything about who he is, and who I am, and how we ended up here. But I don't know how to start. (19.52)

Through empathy, Katniss is finally able to understand the dire straits Peeta is truly in, and to forgive him. But she's so overcome by feeling that she doesn't know what to do now. She can imagine only too easily what it would be like to be hijacked the way he has been. He's been locked in a "nightmare" for way too long. How will she ever get him out?

Chapter 20

Boggs forces the Holo into my hand. His lips are moving, but I can't make out what he's saying. I lean my ear down to his mouth to catch his harsh whisper. "Don't trust them. Don't go back. Kill Peeta. Do what you came to do." (20.18)

Who should Katniss "trust"? Boggs's last words are a warning to her that she shouldn't "trust" anyone. But can she even trust <em>him</em>? Everyone and anyone could be playing her false and be looking out for their own gains. She can't tell who "them" refers to or what manipulations Boggs was trying to make her aware of.

Chapter 25
Katniss Everdeen

I'm not with Snow now. I'm in Special Weaponry back in 13 with Gale and Beetee. Looking at the designs based on Gale's traps. That played on human sympathies. The first bomb killed the victims. The second, the rescuers. (25.40)

It's a cruel twist of fate that makes the weapon Gale designed the one that killed Prim and so many other young children. Katniss had doubts about the humanity of the tactic, and then to be confronted with the ramifications of it is nearly unbearable. She knew this kind of weapon was being manufactured. She just never expected her own side would use it to such effect.

Chapter 26
President Coin

"What has been proposed is that in lieu of eliminating the entire Capitol population, we have a final, symbolic Hunger Games, using the children directly related to those who held the most power." (26.47)

Coin's using the same tactics the other side did. It sounds at first like she's turning the tables on the Capitol, but really she's just imitating them. Wasn't this war fought to bring about change? 

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