Symbols and Figures

In The Hunger Games, do you remember the two people Katniss finds in the woods who are on their way to District 13? They are not even sure what they will find there, but they are so desperate that they are willing to risk their lives for the hope of something better. On faith alone, they are chasing the idea of real freedom. Those characters really stuck with me through reading the series. They hint at the necessity of revolution and the power of the social and political movement going on. Symbols are important, especially to a movement. They can take intangible ideas and make them tangible, visible. Yet symbols are flexible enough to mean several things, and different things to different people. They create a bond among people, uniting them under a cause. Take a moment and think about the symbol of the Mocking jay through the course of The Hunger Games trilogy.

What are the different ways the symbol was used in the story?

What does the symbol stand for?

Do you think it was a good choice of a symbol for the movement to rally around?

Katniss Everdeen was intentionally chosen, trained and courted to become the personification of the movement. People rallied around this woman they had never met. They fell in love with her over her involvement in the Hunger Games. People died to keep her alive. A whole crew had an agenda of how she would be portrayed to the world. Most of her life in the trilogy was spent on camera, in the limelight, the personification of a movement.

Do you think Katniss was a good choice to be the face of the movement? Why or why not?

How much of who Katniss became by the end of the trilogy was created externally by the movement?

How was she able to stay grounded in who she was and what she was fighting for?Cross image

Movements need leaders and symbols to rally around. Early Christianity, too, was a subversive movement that was working within the Roman Empire to offer people real freedom. It was illegal for over 300 years, yet the power of the movement grew. In Christianity, the cross is arguably our main symbol. Over the course of history, the cross has meant many things, positive and negative. Originally the cross was literally used to kill criminals like people to the right and left of Jesus. It became for Christians a hopeful symbol of life after death and Jesus’ love for us. The cross was burned in lawns as a tool of intimidation and hatred by the KKK. People put crosses in their homes or wear crosses around their necks to show they are part of a movement, part of a faith body.

What are other examples of how the cross has been used as a positive symbol? A negative one?

What does the cross mean to you?

Jesus, over the thousands of years since his life and death, is still being followed with passion. People die in the name of Jesus, people who have never met him. He is the center of Christianity, of our faith.

Who is Jesus to the movement of Christianity today?

Who is Jesus to you?

Like Katniss, do you see the image of Jesus influenced by external sources? How?

Photo Courtesy Jeremy Vandel via Creative Commons License.

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