We reviewed The Murder Complex on Tuesday, a book which features a rough n’ tough heroine, Meadow. Why is Meadow is so gritty, you ask? Because she was raised and nurtured through her rough dystopian world by a hunting, scavenging survivalist dad. She’s a little less emotional and a little more tactical than Katniss, but maybe that one difference in upbringing is ALL the difference.
Katniss’ dad is also the survivalist type. He doesn’t seem as ruthless as Meadow’s dad, but he taught Katniss quite a few tricks of the trade by a young age: hunting, skinning, and cooking animals, for one. She’s also got some better-than-average physical skills, some of which saved her in the arena later on, and she knows her way around a bow and arrow. Even though it was not her father’s intention to have Katniss kill people, her weapons training gave her the ability to do so. He also planted the first seeds of rebellion in her mind with his lessons in morality and old folk songs that went directly against the regime under which they lived.
Katniss absorbed all this and it transformed her life in major ways, all before he died when she was 11. Which makes us wonder: In a world where Mr. Everdeen had lived, would we be seeing a much less reluctant, much more rough n tough Katniss?
We’re not saying she’d be a super soldier or anything, because nothing in the story indicates that her father wanted her to be one. But it seems Mr. Everdeen had a lot of political ideals and perhaps special training (because how did HE know how to do all the things he taught Katniss?) that he didn’t pass down quite yet because her daughters were still young. Children mature exponentially between the ages of 11 and 16, so it’s likely Mr. Everdeen would have more obviously worked to instill any ideas about the issues in Panem’s government and perhaps even revolution once he felt Katniss was old enough to really confide in.
To dig into this even more, what if the roles were reversed and Mr. Everdeen was the single parent after some horrible twist of fate claimed the life of his wife? The flashback in which Mrs. Everdeen nearly has a heart attack after she hears the girls singing ‘The Hanging Tree’ shows that she played an integral role keeping the childrens’ exposure to anti-Panem messaging low. Without that filter, would Katniss have a more vocal, less reluctant opinion about overthrowing the government? Would she have the same zeal as Gale? It seemed Katniss’ father was a subtle, quiet type, but we only see him through the memories of an unreliable narrator: A teenage girl who thinks back on her deceased father as an almost faultless being.
It’s funny how a detail or two can change a whole story. We have no proof, of course, but if some of the most formative years of Katniss Everdeen’s life were left in the hands of her father instead of her mother, our Mockingjay would be completely different!
Oh Hai, Father’s Day Is Right Around The Corner!
The Girl With The Pearl