Study Guide

Mockingjay Power

By Suzanne Collins

Power

Chapter 1
Katniss Everdeen

It isn't enough, what I've done in the past, defying the Capitol in the Games, providing a rallying point. I must now become the actual leader, the face, the voice, the embodiment of the revolution. The person who the districts—most of which are now openly at war with the Capitol – can count on to blaze the path to victory. (1.28)

Even though Katniss is being asked to step forward as "the actual leader," her power will still be limited. She'll be like a glorified figurehead, a "rallying point" around which other people will come together. She'll <em>appear</em> to have tremendous power and to become the "embodiment of the revolution" itself, but she won't actually be the one making decisions – that's President Coin.

The authorities in District 13 were against my coming back. They viewed it as a costly and pointless venture, given that at least a dozen invisible hovercraft are circling overhead for my protection and there's no intelligence to be gained. I had to see it, though. So much so that I made it a condition of my cooperating with any of their plans. (1.3)

This quotation shows that Katniss is both powerful and powerless. She's being asked to be the face of the revolution and, as such, she has a certain amount of power. Yet she can't just go do anything she wants. In order to go back to District 12, she has to bargain with the other powerful individuals and give them something in return.

Chapter 4
Katniss Everdeen

"Punishing my prep team's a warning," I tell her. "Not just to me. But to you, too. About who's really in control and what happens if she's not obeyed. If you had any delusions about having power, I'd let them go now. Apparently, a Capitol pedigree is no protection here. Maybe it's even a liability." (4.30)

Perhaps even more dangerous than not having any power is thinking you have power that you don't. Katniss can see this more clearly than Fulvia; previous power isn't translating to power in the current regime. In fact, it can actually mark out someone as even more dangerous.

Chapter 7
Katniss Everdeen

A new sensation begins to germinate inside me. But it takes until I am standing on a table, waving my final good-byes to the hoarse chanting of my name, to define it. Power. I have a kind of power I never knew I possessed. Snow knew it, as soon as I held out those berries. Plutarch knew when he rescued me from the arena. And Coin knows now. So much so that she must publicly remind her people that I am not in control. (7.35)

Here is where Katniss's "power" starts growing inside her, like a flower. Everyone else has known all along: all the other people in positions of power and authority recognized that same power in her. She's the only one who didn't. In other words, she didn't know her own strength, but now she's beginning to find out. And that only makes her more dangerous.

Chapter 19
Boggs

"If your immediate answer isn't Coin, then you're a threat. You're the face of the rebellion. You may have more influence than any other single person," says Boggs. "Outwardly, the most you've ever done is tolerated her." (19.13)

Boggs clarifies for Katniss the fact that she's in terrible danger from Coin – that Coin may very well want her dead. Katniss wields too much power for Coin's liking, and has the potential to destabilize Coin's position at the top. Dead, though, Katniss could be used for Coin's cause. So, yeah, Katniss has to watch her back.

Chapter 20
Leeg 1, Leeg 2, Mitchell, Homes, and Messalla

"Don't be ridiculous," she snaps. Of course, she thinks it's hers. She's second in command.

"It's true," says Homes. "He transferred the prime security clearance to her while he was dying. I saw it." (20.25-26)

Here Jackson demands the power that is rightfully hers, since she's the person who is "second in command." The Holo should have gone straight to her. But Boggs has outsmarted her. Katniss has control over the Holo until she releases it or until she dies – and she's determined not to give it to Jackson.

Boggs

He says, "Unfit for command. Transfer of prime security clearance to Squad Four-Five-One Soldier Katniss Everdeen." It's all he can do to turn the Holo toward my face. "Say your name." (20.6)

Boggs breaks the rules here by "transfer[ing]" his power of command – through the Holo and his "clearance" – to Katniss. He should have given it to Jackson, who's the official next in line. But he disobeys, in what can be seen as a real final moment of authority, and makes the decision that Katniss should have his power instead.

Chapter 23
Peeta Mellark

"I think... you still have no idea. The effect you can have." He slides his cuffs up the support and pushes himself to a sitting position. "None of the people we lost were idiots. They knew what they were doing. They followed you because they believed you really could kill Snow." (23.54)

Once again Katniss has underestimated the power and authority she holds – "[t]he effect [she] can have." She's a dangerous warrior whom other people trust and put their faith in, a person whom other people are willing to die to protect and serve. She's a real, natural leader in ways that people like Snow or Coin never will be.

Chapter 25
Commander Paylor

"On my authority," says Paylor. "She has a right to anything behind that door." These are her soldiers, not Coin's. They drop their weapons without question and let me pass. (25.28)

This passage reveals dual power; both Paylor and Katniss have a certain amount of "authority." That authority is Paylor's to command, and Katniss's to command by "right." Somewhat strangely, the second has to be recognized by the first in order to be obeyed, though. As in, Katniss's power here is conditional on Paylor's power already being established.

Chapter 26
President Coin

What's irrefutable is that she's done exactly what he said. Let the Capitol and the districts run one another into the ground and then sauntered in to take power. Even if that was her plan, it doesn't mean she dropped those parachutes. Victory was already in her grasp. Everything was in her grasp.

Except me. (26.4-5)

Coin's power is stronger than either truth Katniss is facing. No matter what chain of events unfolded, Coin is the one who benefited: the one who rose to the top. Coin is the only one who's come out ahead in this war. And whether the rebels or the Capitol masterminded this last unforgivable act, it still worked to Coin's advantage.