In the tenth chapter of Catching Fire, WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Catching Fire.
It makes no sense. My bird baked into bread. Unlike the stylish renderings I saw in the Capitol, this is definitely not a fashion statement. “What is it? What does it mean?” I ask harshly, still prepared to kill.
“It means we’re on your side,” says a tremulous voice behind me.
BOOYAH. I knew it. So there’s a rebellion brewing in Panem that Katniss inadvertently started and they’re using the mockingjay as their symbol. I greatly approve of this.
So this is all quite exciting, I’m not gonna lie. We’re now in Part II, “The Quell,” which means that none of the shit was real because now this shit is going to just start to get real. We’ve got a couple women dressed as Peacekeepers who are now clearly nothing of the sort. Why are they at the cabin and why is one of them limping and KATNISS HAS A SIDE? Oh man, this is seriously so awesome.
“My name’s Twil,” says the woman. She’s older. Maybe thirty-five or so. “And this is Bonnie. We’ve run away from District Eight.”
WHHHHATTTTTTT. (I’m going to be saying that so much during this review because EVERYTHING IS SO DIFFERENT AND WILD.)
“Where’d you get the uniforms?” I ask.
“I stole them from the factory,” says Bonnie. “We make them there. Only I thought this one would be for…for someone else. That’s why it fits so poorly.”
So someone clearly died, and textile factories…I’m guessing somewhere in New England? Oh man, NOW IS THE TIME FOR SO MANY ANSWERS.
“That cracker in your hand. With the bird. What’s that about?” I ask.
“Don’t you know, Katniss?” Bonnie appears genuinely surprised.
AKL;SDFJA;DLFKJASD NO, WE DON’T KNOW. Oh man, are there other districts getting involved with this too?
After learning that they left District Eight in order to escape the uprising, Katniss asks them what on earth they are up to next.
“We’re headed for District Thirteen,” Twill replies.
WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU KIDDING ME. It still exists????? Oh my god, WHY WOULD YOU GO THERE.
“Thirteen?” I say. “There’s no Thirteen. It got blown off the map.”
“Seventy-five years ago,” says Twill.
MEANING THAT IN THAT TIME, SOMETHING ELSE COULD BE THERE. Oh my poor brain, you were not prepared for this.
As they move inside to discuss this new development, Katniss notes that Twill and Bonnie are ill-prepared for this journey, but also acknowledges they have such a completely disparate experience in District Eight that they have no use for the wilderness skills that Katniss grew up with. It’s very honorable how much Katniss takes care of these strangers because there’s no proof (yet) that they aren’t actual Peacekeepers disguised as escaped rebels. Sure, that possibility is pretty slim, but she immediately gets to work feeding them and making them tea.
I didn’t like that method of the way that Collins disseminates the story of Bonnie and Twill because I feel like it takes me out of the moment and out of these two characters. Katniss narrates the story herself and it doesn’t sound like it came from the actual source, and that disconnect irritates me. I want to read about their reactions, the way they tell the story, the looks on their faces, the color of their pallor when they see the factory blow. I’m nitpicking, I know that, so I will say that I LOVE LOVE LOVE the content of this story and how much we learn both about District Eight and the Capitol at the same time.
Since the vast majority of you have read this book, there’s no need for me to quote the whole thing to you. But the frightening thing about the story is the force that the Capitol used to crush the resistance. To me, that’s the most interesting thing about all this; initially, of course, the resistance in that district succeeded in taking control of the methods of industry and production and I hoped their story would end with a positive message, that they had succeeded and they were out to spread the message that the Capitol was suppressing information.
Alas, that isn’t the case. In just forty-eight hours, the city falls back into Capitol control. I mean, the sheer firepower and mass murder that had to be dished out…man, this makes the thought of rebellion in any district seem impossible.
After the factory was blown up, with Twill’s husband and Bonnie’s family inside, they escaped on a train leaving their district, only forced to stop after Bonnie twisted her ankle just outside of where they are now.
Ready for shit to get goddamn real as….I don’t know where I’m going with this.
“I understand why you’re running, but what do you expect to find in District Thirteen?” I ask.
Bonnie and Twill exchange a nervous glance. “We’re not sure exactly,” Twill says.
“It’s nothing but rubble,” I say. “We’ve all seen the footage.”
“That’s just it. They’ve been using the same footage for as long as anyone in District Eight can remember,” says Twill.
GOOD LORD, MY HEAD IS EXPLODING.
“You know how they always show the Justice Building?” Twill continues. I nod. I’ve seen it a thousand times. “If you look very carefully, you’ll see it. Up in the far right-hand corner.”
“See what?” I ask.
Twill holds out her cracker with the bird again. “A mockingjay. Just a glimpse of it as it flies by. The same one every time.”
It provides a nice symmetry, doesn’t it? Not only is the mockingjay the symbol that represents Katniss and what she did in the Games, but it represents the hope of those in District Eight who noticed that something was not quite right with the footage the Capitol was using on television.
“Back home, we think they keep reusing the old footage because the Capitol can’t show what’s really there now,” says Bonnie.
My excitement for Catching Fire just shot up so much that I completely regret doing this one chapter at a time. This is incredibly suspenseful and fascinating. There’s no way I even considered District Thirteen to be a part of the story at all; I completely forgot about it since it was mentioned in the last book.
“You’re going to District Thirteen based on that? A shot of a bird? You think you’re going to find some new city with people strolling around in it? And that’s just fine with the Capitol?”
“No,” Twill says earnestly. “We think the people moved underground when everything on the surface was destroyed. We think they’ve managed to survive. And we think the Capitol leaves them alone because, before the Dark Days, District Thirteen’s principal industry was nuclear development.”
That’s it. I love this book. The love triangle can’t ruin it for me, the frustrating way Collins can write sometimes is not going to distract me, and the lack of character development in people like Prim is pointless. THIS IS SERIOUSLY THE COOLEST SHIT. FOR REAL. An underground society living in defiance of the Capitol because THEY MIGHT HAVE NUCLEAR WEAPONS? OH MY GOD. This is so fucking fantastic.
I don’t think it’s ridiculous for Katniss to disbelieve these two people. The idea, to her, is inconceivable, and her constant cynicism wouldn’t exactly lead her to rush into their shaky plan. In fact, I like the idea that Bonnie and Twill merely plant the seed in her brain, something that will eat away at her until she’s forced to accept it’s true. I believe it’s true myself, but that’s because it’s the next best thing to the earth opening up and eating a villain. I don’t know…I love the idea of secret societies and the thought that we are going to get to explore fills me with too much joy to believe that Collins would drop this thought and then never address it again.
Much respect to Katniss, though, for disbelieving the outlandish plan these two tell her and still teaching them as much as she can about surviving in the outdoors. I have been harsh on her, but her sense of morals when it comes to the impoverished and oppressed around her is spot on. It’s like second-nature for her to help people, even if it puts her at a disadvantage, and I really like her for that.
She bids them goodbye, a million thoughts running through her head, and heads back to town so that her family doesn’t worry about her being gone. It won’t be good for more attention to be drawn to her, so it makes sense that that also contributed to her desire not to leave for District Thirteen.
“It means we’re on your side.” That’s what Bonnie said. I have people on my side? What side? Am I unwittingly the face of the hoped-for rebellion? Has the mockingjay on my pin become a symbol of resistance? If so, my side’s not doing to well. You only have to look at what happened in 8 to know that.
That’s true, but I don’t necessarily think it’s something to worry about right now. The idea that people are rebelling is pretty hopeful too.
I’m crouched on one knee, preparing to enter the Meadow, but I’m still so preoccupied with the day’s events that it takes a sudden screech of an owl to bring me to my senses.
In the fading light, the chain links look as innocuous as usual. But what makes me jerk back my hand is the sound, like the buzz of a tree full of tracker jacker nests, indicating the fence is alive with electricity.
WHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTT. Oh my god THE DISTRICT KNOWS. THEY SAW HER LEAVE. Oh god THIS IS SO AWFUL. Sdl;kfjas;klfjasdl;fkhl; al;kjfd;lk a;slkdj sdiofu ;lakfs