Saturday, May 19, 2012

Catching Fire

I just finished reading the Hunger Games trilogy (The Hunger Games; Catching Fire; Mockingjay).  The story-arc is very good indeed, and I’m looking forward to seeing how parts 2 and 3 will be translated onto the screen.  What makes it good is that, like all good stories, it is true.  Fictional, yes; but true...

There is a moment, a third of the way through Catching Fire, when Katniss Everdeen finds herself trapped outside of the fence that surrounds District 12.  She has long enjoyed stolen, risky moments of personal freedom beyond the enclosing fence, because it is rarely electrified and she has both the need (to feed her family) and the courage to refuse to be confined.  But now the fence is alive.  Unbeknownst to Katniss, two Peacekeepers wait at her house; wait to inform those who care about her that she is dead; wait to ensnare them, too.  Even though she does not know this, she knows that she must re-enter District 12 and get home; that she cannot allow the Capitol any capital here.  Her only hope – and the odds are not in her favour – is to climb a tree that has a branch which extends over the fence; to hang from the tree, and drop from the branch, a fall of 8m, hoping the snowdrift below will sufficiently break her fall.  It does, but in landing Katniss seriously damages her left heel.

This scene gains added significance when it is remembered that the President of Panem is called Snow.  (Indeed, his shadowy hand, for good or ill, or intended ill subverted for good, stirs the snowflakes wherever the fall in the story.)  It gains even more significance if we recognise that Snow is the perennial poison-tongued Prince of the world in which the story is set; and if we are familiar with the promise of Genesis 3:15, that the offspring of the woman whose husband has been returned to the ground will crush the serpent’s head while at the same time being struck in the heel by the serpent.  In her descent from on high, which results in the snowdrift being crushed and her heel being broken, Katniss – whose father died in a mining incident, and whose body was not found; who was returned to the ground – triumphs (not for the first time, nor the last) over death – the impassable fence that cut her off from the community – and over the powers that use death as a means of controlling people’s lives.  It is a Christological moment.

No comments:

Post a Comment