Mark Reads ‘Catching Fire’: Chapter 24

In the twenty-fourth chapter of Catching Fire, the Gamemakers remind us that they have an unlimited imagination for things to truly ruin everything. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Catching Fire.

I can’t believe it. They brought Prim into the arena? Gamemakers, I give up. I mean, I wouldn’t have survived the first set of Hunger Games, but I would surely take the bait and fall right into your trap and die. That’s also assuming I would have made it this far and we all know that would never happen.

“Prim!” I rip through a wall of green into a small clearing and the sound repeats directly above me. Above me? My head whips back. Do they have her up in the trees? I desperately search the branches but see nothing. “Prim?” I say pleadingly. I hear her but can’t see her. Her next wail rings out, clear as a bell, and there’s no mistaking the source. It’s coming from the mouth of a small, crested black bird perched on a branc about ten feet over my head. And then I understand.

It’s a jabberjay.

WHAT????????????????? Wait. So Prim isn’t actually in the arena? ONE OF THE SECTIONS IS JABBERJAYS? Ok, I don’t actually understand this one.

Katniss kills the jabberjay with an arrow because WHY WOULDN’T YOU and tells herself that it’s not real, that it’s a trick to make her think that her younger sister is in the arena. But what for?

Finnick arrives suddenly and it’s only seconds later that another scream fills the jungle; he doesn’t hesitate to take off in pursuit of the voice and Katniss assumes correctly that it’s the voice of someone he recognizes. She chases off after him, trying to tell him not to believe the jabberjay. But when she does, he makes a point that turns the jabberjays into something far more terrifying.

“No, it’s not Annie. But the voice was hers. Jabberjays mimic what they hear. Where did they get those screams, Katniss?”

I can feel my own cheeks grow pale as I understand his meaning. “Oh, Finnick, you don’t think they….”

“Yes. I do. That’s exactly what I think,” he says.

It’s awful. This is so awful. If jabberjays mimic what they hear, then that means someone did something to Prim and Annie to make them scream. That means that they probably tortured them, and I can’t help but think this was designed specifically by President Snow. Then, to make matters worse, Katniss hears the voice of Gale, full of pain, and it takes Finnick everything he has to get her to leave.

I catch sight of Peeta and Johanna standing at the tree line and I’m filled with a mixture of anger and relief and anger. Why didn’t Peeta come to help me? Why did no one come after us? Even now he hangs back, his hands raised, palms toward us, lips moving but no words reaching us. Why?

I believed at first that they weren’t far enough into the jungle to hear the jabberjays. Yep, I was wrong.

The wall is so transparent, Finnick and I run smack into it and bounce back onto the jungle floor. I’m lucky. My shoulder took the worst of the impact, whereas Finnick hit face-first and now his nose is gushing blood. This is why Peeta and Johanna and even Beetee, who I see sadly shaking his head behind them, have not come to our aid. And invisible barrier blocks the area in front of us. It’s not a force field. You can touch the hard, smooth surface all you like. But Peeta’s knife and Johanna’s ax can’t make a dent in it. I know, without checking more than a few feet to one side, that it encloses the entire four-to-five-o’clock wedge. That we will be trapped like rats until the hour passes.

And now the true meaning of the four o’clock wedge comes to light: they are trapped in a section with jabberjays that play the voices of their loved ones being tortured. Obviously, this isn’t something that can kill them directly, but it’s a technique intended to unravel the tributes, ostensibly to drive them to be easily distracted or, even worse, merely for the expressed entertainment of President Snow and members of the Capitol.

Never prepared.

When the hour is up and Peeta consoles Katniss, he actually makes a good point about the jabberjays that sets my mind at ease:

“Katniss, Prim isn’t dead. How could they kill Prim? We’re almost down to the final eight of us. And what happens then?” Peeta says.

“Seven more of us die,” I say hopelessly.

Sorry. I laughed. Anyway:

“No, back home. What happens when they reach the final eight tributes in the Games?” He lifts my chin so I have to look at him. Forces me to make eye contact. “What happens? At the final eight?”

I know he’s trying to help me, so I make myself think. “At the final eight? I repeat. “They interview your family and friends back home.”

“That’s right,” says Peeta. “They interview your family and friends. And can they do that if they’ve killed them all?”

Not a bad point, Peeta. I’m still curious as to how they got their voices for the jabberjays, but for now, I think I’m sticking with Peeta’s reasoning. I mean, I know this set of Games is non-traditional, but they can’t possibly mess with the structure of it that much. Right? Right? Guys, someone hold me while I shake with dread.

Beetee makes me feel better by pointing out it’s entirely possible to manipulate a person’s voice to sound like they’re being hurt and even Johanna chimes in to remind Katniss that there would be no better way to guarantee an uprising than to kill Prim, who the whole country loves.

I know I shouldn’t get attached to anyone here, but I’m growing to really like the five of them as a group. Obviously, I am already platonically in love with Finnick and Beetee, but even Johanna has warmed up to me as well. It sucks, because I keep feeling every moment is a chance for yet another person to die and for me to turn my head to the sky and scream WWWWWWWWHHHHHHHHHHHYYYYYYYY. And then when Johanna says that the jabberjays can’t affect her because, “There’s no one left I love,” I’m ready to bury my face in a pillow forever.

WAIT NOT YET. Because then we learn who Annie is:

“Must be Annie Cresta,” he says.

“Who?” I ask.

“Annie Cresta. She was the girl Mags volunteered for. She won about five years ago,” says Peeta.

Oh, Mags. I already miss you.

“I don’t remember those Games much,” I say. “Was that the earthquake year?”

“Yeah. Annies the one who went mad when her district partner got beheaded. Ran off by herself and hid. But an earthquake broke a dam and most of the arena got flooded. She won because she was the best swimmer,” says Peeta.

Yeah, that’s who Finnick is in love with. Are you crushed yet.

This book.

A cannon blast brings us all together on the beach. A hovercraft appears in what we estimate to be the six-to-seven-o’clock zone. We watch as the claw dips down five different times to retrieve the pieces of one body, torn apart. It’s impossible to tell who it was. Whatever happens at six o’clock, I never want to know.

HOW DOES THIS BOOK KEEP GETTING WORSE AND WORSE. We have less than fifty pages to go with no solution even remotely in sight. Every single page is bleak and filled with dread and I cannot figure out what Collins has planned for me and it is just starting to hurt to read this.

(I do have to admit that this is so much fun and I do like this book more than the first, FYI.)

We’re about to settle down to our meal of raw fish when the anthem begins. And then the faces…

Cashmere. Gloss. Wiress. Mags. The woman from District 5. The morphling who gave her life for Peeta. Blight. The man from 10.

Eight dead. Plus eight from the first night. Two-thirds of us gone in a day and a half. That must be some kind of record.

It also must be something designed to show me that I AM NOT EVEN REMOTELY PREPARED FOR THE END OF THIS BOOK. Can I expect nearly everyone else to be killed off in forty pages or so? Goddamn it, I AM HURTING INSIDE.

There’s a brief respite from the terror of the situation as a parachute from District Three, where Beetee is from, arrives: it’s a pile of twenty-four bite-sized rolls. They divide them up with three per person and save the other nine for the morning, to be split amongst those who survive the night.

They wait until the wave crashes at the ten o’clock wedge to make camp at that section of the beach. We learn that whatever is in the eleven o’clock section clicks very loudly and I’m just going to say I don’t want to discover what it is. I can’t deal with insects and certainly not mutated ones.

We haven’t had much Katpee drama or character development because OH MY GOD EVERYTHING IS AWFUL, so it was about time they addressed something really, painfully obvious: Haymitch appears to have made a deal to keep the other person alive with BOTH Katniss and Peeta, and neither one knows if he is actually fulfilling their own deal.

“Because I don’t want you forgetting how different our circumstances are. If you die, and I live, there’s no life for me at all back in District Twelve. You’re my whole life,” he says. “I would never be happy again.”I start to object but he puts a finger to my lips. “It’s different for you. I’m not saying it wouldn’t be hard. But there are other people who’d make your life worth living.”

Remember early in this book when Peeta would drop one of these nuggets of depression and it was so goddamn irritating? Yeah, not so much anymore. I guess that, in my head, the Katpee shipping finally makes complete sense. I suppose that I always shipped Gale and Katniss because they seemed more compatible, but Gale just isn’t around at all. And maybe it’s that. I can acknowledge that. But I can’t see Collins killing Peeta off after all of this and I really can’t picture Katniss with Gale anymore. JUST SOME THOUGHTS Y’ALL.

Peeta pulls the chain with the gold disk from around his neck. He holds it in the moonlight so I can clearly see the mockingjay. Then his thumb slides along a catch I didn’t notice before and the disk pops open. It’s not solid, as I had thought, but a locket. And within the locket are photos. One the right side, my mother and Prim, laughing. And on the left, Gale. Actually smiling.

Peeta, you win. You just win. You win everything. Jesus christ.

“No one really needs me,” he says, and there’s no self-pity in his voice. It’s true his family doesn’t need him. They will mourn him, as will a handful of friends. But they will get on. Even Haymitch, with the help of a lot of white liquor, will get on. I realize only one person will be damaged beyond repair if Peeta dies. Me.

OK COLLINS STOP IT THIS IS SIMPLY TOO SAD. Oh wait, you’re going to have them make out in a moment of genuine passion?

I feel that thing again. The thing I only felt once before. In the cave last year, when I was trying to get Haymitch to send us food.

And what, Katniss, might that thing be?

The sensation inside me grows warmer and spreads out from my chest, down through my body, out along my arms and legs, to the tips of my being. Instead of satisfying me, the kisses have the opposite effect, of making my need greater. I thought I was something of an expert on hunger, but this is an entirely new kind.

Writer High Five Moment, amirite? Man, that last sentence takes me entirely out of the moment. It’s almost too clever for this passage and it distracts me.

Still, I have to admit that it’s no longer an issue for me that Katniss and Peeta seem to be well-suited for each other. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but I have to say that I suppose I “buy” their relationship now. And that’s a big moment for me as a reader of this fine book.

That said, it’s still not a completely clear-cut relationship, and the final lines of this chapter highlight that while Katniss is sure that Peeta feels right, she’s still not sure about what the future holds. This is all about urgency and how she feels in the moment.

But as I stretch out on the sand I wonder, could it be more? Like a reminder to me that I could still one day have kids with Gale? Well, if that was it, it was a mistake. Because for one thing, that’s never been part of my plan. And for another, if only one of us can be a parent, anyone can see it should be Peeta.

As I drift off, I try to imagine the world, somewhere in the future, with no Games, no Capitol. A place like the meadow in the song I sang to Rue as she died. Where Peeta’s child could be safe.

I’m hoping this is the cataclysm for a larger discussion in the future about their relationship and not foreshadowing for Katniss being pregnant. But it’s also nice that we don’t have a chapter ending in unbearable cliffhangers, so I’ll just leave it here.

There’s something I wanted to bring up and I was reluctant to do so because I wanted to do it in a way that didn’t center myself when it was inappropriate to do so. I’m unsure if suffering from depression for years or having weird body issues entitles me to be the proper person to speak candidly about ableism and I’m trying to do my best to only center my voice in matters I think I am qualified to talk about. (OBVIOUSLY, THAT IS THE ARENA OF GIFS. DUH.) It’s something I’ve been trying to do right recently instead of making it all ME ME ME when that’s a pretty fucked up thing to do.

So, this is a bit of an experiment and I’ll err on the side of caution just to be safe. I’ve noticed that Collins, particularly in this book, uses quite a bit of ableist language, and I was trying to find a tasteful way to call that out. One of the things I’m working on doing now is building a network of writers, authors, and social justice-y folk to contribute guest posts to Mark Reads and Mark Watches to speak on things I don’t think I should talk about in a centering way. In the meantime, I wanted to bring this up and instead direct you to some fantastic, eye-opening resources from folks over at Feminists With Disabilities (or FWD for short) for this series they’ve been creating about ableist language. (Unfortunately, the site is no longer updating as of the New Year.)

Collins uses “insane,” “crazy,” and “mad,” the first two with an unnerving frequency in Catching Fire and it’s gotten to a point where I feel like I’m actually doing a disservice by not pointing it out. So I feel that directing to people I know are qualified to talk about ableism and being disabled is probably the best option.

I’m curious if anyone else felt these words were distracting or damaging. Feel free to talk about it in the comments after checking out the profiles on some of these words! I’ll do my best to wade through them and interact, since I brought this up.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
This entry was posted in Catching Fire, The Hunger Games and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

317 Responses to Mark Reads ‘Catching Fire’: Chapter 24

  1. MissRose99 says:

    So here's my question mark… why does the next chapter always show up on my mobile phone first but then when I get on my computer I have to mannually enter chapter-24 for it to show? This is the third time this has happened.

    Anyways.. been waiting awhile to post this, but here's MY mockingjay:

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    hopefully that works never done a picture thingy before 🙂

  2. aurorabora says:

    Yeah, that’s who Peeta is in love with.

    O RLY?

  3. pennylane27 says:

    First, about the chapter.
    The Capitol/Snow/Gamemakers are EVIL.
    Peeta is goddamned ADORABLE.
    Katniss is CLUELESS. (yes, I understand she doesn't want to explore her feelings, she has a deathwish, but still, I feel that thing again.?)

    I'll comment on the ableist stuff after I read more about it.

  4. Haelia says:

    Oh, Mark.

    “Yeah, that’s who Peeta is in love with. Are you crushed yet.”

    I believe you meant Finnick dear. 🙂

  5. Shanella says:

    I can't even begin to describe the tears I've shed for this chapter. Even rereading it again with you. My heart tore for Johanna especially, when she said, "There's no one left that I love" … I understand her more for this, the reason she is the way she is. but wow… just wow.

    Finnick, I have no words, but when I read the lines, "So that's who Finnick loves, not his string of fancy lovers in the Capitol. But a poor, mad girl back home." my heart tore again.

    This entire chapter is just heartbreaking, even the exchange between Katniss and Peeta in the end is heartbreaking. No amount of tears. Collins has managed to turn me into a crying fool.

  6. monkeybutter says:

    I like this chapter. Peeta's great and it's when Johanna really grew on me.

    I did notice the growing use of crazy or insane in Catching Fire, but I don't think it's because Collins is using it to intentionally demean people with mental disorders. That doesn't mean it's not hurtful, or that it doesn't take you aback, just that she isn't writing this story with the intention to denigrate people, or is unsympathetic about the effect of pejoratives regarding mental illness.

    I believe that the proliferation of those words is due to a couple of things. First of all, the majority of characters in Catching Fire have been placed in extreme situations that have caused psychological scars. The surviving tributes without some sort of longterm problems seem few and far between. Because Katniss is interacting with more people who are mentally ill (or potentially so, we haven't heard from any doctors), it makes sense that there is an increased use of those phrases.

    Which brings me to the second reason: we're getting this story from Katniss's perspective, and she's already shown herself to be initially hostile to her mother's depression, but then becoming more accepting after she was thoroughly traumatized by the Games. Treatment for psychological problems seems non-existent in Panem. Madge's mother's morphling addiction and Haymitch's drinking seem to be the most likely treatments for problems.

    And I've said it before, but Katniss is by no means perfect. I think you have to remember that just because a character says or does something, that doesn't mean that the author is necessarily endorsing that view. It wouldn't be realistic for Katniss or Peeta to treat mental illness gently given their world, and Collins probably could have avoided hurtful terms, but I don't think she's writing a story where you should agree unquestioningly with the narrator.

    • monkeybutter says:

      PS thanks for bringing this up. I've been trying very hard to drop ableist language (and I still have work to do), and I appreciate you calling out it's usage so that we can all reflect on its presence in pop culture and our own mouths. I don't mean to give Collins a pass, and she probably could have approached mental illness more carefully.

      • bookling says:

        Agreed on all points. Ableist language is something I'm still learning about, but I'm becoming more aware when I use it or see it used. I'm glad Mark brought it up, though, because it means I'll be thinking about it when I read his reviews.

        But I agree that it's important to note that most of the characters in this series do actually seem to be suffering from some sort of mental illness – although I think part of the idea here is not to call someone "crazy" when you actually mean that they're suffering from a mental illness, because "crazy" can be derogatory. (Someone correct me if I'm missing the point here.)

        • notemily says:

          Yeah, I've heard a lot of people argue that it's okay to call someone crazy if they DO have a mental illness, but I think that's not quite the point. I can call myself crazy, but if someone else called me crazy, that would not be cool. It's a dismissive term that has connotations of "I can't believe anything you say, and your actions have no rational basis behind them, because you are mentally ill."

    • Puel says:

      Thanks for this — you said it a lot more articulately than I could. (And heck, Katniss herself seems to be suffering from fairly severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, so in a real sense a lot of the terms she's throwing around apply to her as well, and I think she's growing a lot more aware of some of the stuff going on in her own head by CF.)

    • Yes, in a lot of cases I always felt that we were meant to disagree with Katniss, kind of like you aren't meant to agree with Scout in the beginning of "To Kill a Mockingbird". I still think that Katniss is a victim of PTSD, and I don't want to blow her off or demean her for it either. I'll just be curious to see if she grows out of it or not.

    • Tara says:

      As someone with a mental disorder, I feel I can say that I don't think the language Collins uses is degrading. I have no problem with people using words like crazy or insane as I think they can sometimes give a meaning that would be difficult to articulate otherwise. And in a situation like the Hunger Games, I don't think the characters would be considering any hurtful connotations.

      • Hanh says:

        Yup especially considering that the characters we're introduced to as being "crazy" are Mags and Wiress and who doesn't love them?

  7. Fusionman says:

    Yeah Mark you silly man. Peeta Bread no love Annie. You are typo filled this week aren’t you? 😛

  8. Shanella says:

    So I've read a few items from the link you provided, just to wrap myself around ableism.

    In the context of the book, I don't think using words like "crazy", "mad" or "insane" caused me to think that Katniss (or Collins) was discriminating against people with disabilities, and given the nature of the games, I don't really see how this could be avoided. (?)

    I am wondering, how would you go about changing the text to be less ableist? Maybe I'm missing it altogether as this topic (in this manner) is rather new to me.

    • aurorabora says:

      I feel the same way, and honestly, it's not something that even registered with me as offensive until Mark brought it up. But maybe that reflects more on my own insensitivities than anything. I definitely understand what Mark is trying to say, but I think in this context (as many others have noted more eloquently than I can) the words she's using make sense. And I'm curious, as well, what the alternative would be, since this is not something I'm very familiar with.

    • ilram says:

      I agree with this comment!

      I don't really see it. It's not an insult it's simply what they are. I don't think Katniss is the type to use overly PC language anyway when talking about these things.

    • Rachel says:

      I'd also be interested in alternatives. It's very natural to me to use words like "crazy" and "insane" to describe situations (ie, "It was insane how that policeman in my dream turned into a butterfly", or "Wow, that backpack has a pretty crazy pattern). If this is an ableist usage, what's a synonym that would not be offensive?

  9. CINNAmon says:

    There are 3 more chapters left, can you believe that??

  10. ohheyitsalliek says:

    What makes me a little sad is that this can only be the calm before the storm that is the last few chapters.


  11. AngryAsian says:


    • theanagrace says:

      Can we make it a group hug? That may be the only way we can get through this. I feel as if we are not prepared.

    • blessthechildren says:

      I used to teach my campers to do what we called a "cinnamon roll hug." You form a straight line, all holding hands, and then you put the person who needs the hug most at the end of the line. You walk the rest of the line around them until you have formed a spiral with the hugee in the very center, and then you all lean in on one to hug them. Potential to be crushed? Sure. Lots of love? Definitely. Mark can be in the center <3

  12. Blabbla says:

    Ty for pointing that out. As a crazy person, it really annoys me, and takes me out of the story when writers use language like that

  13. herpestidae says:

    About the Katpee vs KatGale thing: both of the dynamics have a sort of thing going for me. Katniss is surrounded by fire imagery all the time. Katniss is like fire hot-headed, passionate, easily excitable. Gale is a similar fire, and together, KatGale strengthen each other, and then blow up. Gale and Katniss have a sort of synergy, they really know each other, and that familiarity is why they make a good pair.

    Peeta, on the other hand, is like water. Water is calm, cool, soothing. But it can be provoked to great strength in the right conditions. Furthermore, water and fire reacts in two ways: Fire boils water, but water can put out fire. In some situations, Katniss gives Peeta power, while in others, Peeta calms her.

    Just my 2 cents.

    • AngryAsian says:

      that was so aptly put.

    • TreeIsMetaphor says:

      I like that each possibility holds a different forms of support. Katniss would have to choose between two people with different things to offer, and I can completely see either possibility happening. But no matter how things with Gale wind up, Katniss would always have that intense time with Peeta in the arenas. They acted like a couple in love during the most dangerous weeks of their lives. How do you ever get over that?

      Gale Hawthorne + Katniss Everdeen = Hawtniss? It fits!

      • iolchos says:

        that's my issue. How do you get over the sort of intense bonding she has with Peeta? It would be an intrusion into any other relationship she forms, her partner would always have to compete with Peeta for her affection, and even if she ultimately views Peeta as a sibling, not a lover, that's one helluva emotional bond to have to compete with. It could create a lot of jealousy.

        (ultimate solution: the OT3)

      • KatPee says:

        I was thinking Gale + katniss = AleyKat

    • monkeybutter says:

      Perfect explanation 🙂

    • notemily says:

      Now I just want to re-watch Avatar: The Last Airbender. 😉

      • Ishii says:

        SO MUCH LOVE

        Seriously going to do this now. Goodbye, Physics homework 😀

      • Justaguy says:

        Since I've been sick this whole week (Martian Death Flu), I made my sister watch the ENTIRE SERIES with me, because she hadn't seen it before. You, my good fellow commentor, get a thumbs up!

        (Mark ought to Watch Avatar next, don't you think?)

    • Kripa says:

      Actually, Gatniss' similarity is what stopped me from shipping them. Also, we've never seen Katniss express the kind of visceral sexual desire she's expressed for Peeta, not for Gale. Only for Peeta does she get the chest monster, and I think we shouldn't discount the role of raw lust. I ship KatPee because it's an opposites attract kind of thing. Also, GENDER FLIP!

    • Saber says:

      Peeta grew on me. They really are positives attract.

      But I still like Gale better. Katniss can have Peeta, I want Gale. <3

  14. paulineparadise says:

    When I realised they couldn't escape the Jabberjays my face was like:
    <img src=""&gt;

    "Yeah, that’s who Peeta is in love with."

    Surely you mean 'Finnick'?

  15. bell_erin_a says:


    Oh man, the jabberjays. I got through that part alright (although I think I might have yelled when they ran into the wall), but the line that crushed my heart (IS THERE EVEN ANY HEART LEFT TO CRUSH GODDAMN) was the part where Katniss said something about "but Haymitch can't send us anything that will heal the internal wounds" from listening to the jabberjays. Terrific. Oh yeah, and the part where Johanna says "There's no one left I love." SNOW, I KNOW IT WAS YOU WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ALL HER FAMILY AND FRIENDS I AM GOING TO KILL YOU FOR THAT. Ahem.

    I was never for Gale/Katniss because Gale is just too mad and cynical. After all she's been through, Katniss needs someone like Peeta, who has a more calming influence. Also, I just like Peeta. Because he's awesome. Anyway.

    As for abelist language, I didn't really notice it, but maybe put that down to my marathon reading sessions. Although I'm not sure Collins is using it in a demeaning way, per se, but I think it's just supposed to come through as Katniss' view. She seems to genuinely care for people, and maybe those words are just what she grew up with. I suck at articulating things well, so it's likely that none of that makes any sense, but I just see it as Katniss being a product of her environment. I should probably have read those sites before I wrote this last part, but I have class soon, so I'll leave that for a bit later this afternoon.

    • andreah1234 says:

      I was never for Gale/Katniss because Gale is just too mad and cynical. After all she's been through, Katniss needs someone like Peeta, who has a more calming influence. Also, I just like Peeta. Because he's awesome.
      Yeah, Peeta FTW. And I stick to the idea Gale only wanted Katniss when he realize that Peeta wanted her too. Plus he really bothers me. MEH.


      • paulineparadise says:

        Make a horcrux, and your pieces of soul will be safe.

        • Lolua says:

          But only if you launch them into space in a rocket ship with a monkey who knows nothing about horcruxes.

          • EldaTaluta says:

            If the rocket ship crashed into the sun, do you think that would be enough to destroy a horcrux?

            • exbestfriend says:

              Wouldn't it have to be a magical sun to destroy the horcrux? But then could the horcrux destroy the sun? What if the monkey taught itself magic? Could a magical monkey destroy a horcrux if the space ship had goblin made parts?
              JKR left us with so many unanswered questions.

          • PaulineParadise says:

            Have you perhaps read ‘Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality’? Space horcruxes, here I come!

        • andreah1234 says:

          I SHALL DO THAT. And I will make them by killing evil fictional characters. Starting with Snow and Umbridge. And Bella. All in one day…

          Productive me is productive.

      • Kripa says:

        Nah, I'm sure Gale's feelings for Katniss were authentic, it's just that I don't think Gatniss would ultimately have worked because they're too alike, and they're better off with a beautiful Platonic friendship than something sexual. Also, Katniss has noticed how incredibly hot Gale is and STILL hasn't expressed any kind of sexual feelings even while ALL THESE GIRLS AROUND HER HAVE. On the other hand, we've read all about her chest monster that crops up in some of her kisses with Peeta. And raw lust is worth considering when we ship. So KATPEE FTW!

      • bell_erin_a says:

        Yeah, I only just noticed:
        When Mark says, Obviously, this isn’t something that can kill them directly, but it’s a technique intended to unravel the tributes, ostensibly to drive them to be easily distracted or, even worse, merely for the expressed entertainment of President Snow and members of the Capitol, about the jabberjays, we now have to keep in mind that Katniss saw Cinna beaten in front of her less than two fucking days ago. Jesus.

        Sorry for opening the ALL THE SADNESS IN THE WORLD can. 🙁

        • liliaeth says:

          also notice that Finnick doesn't even try to fight it, he instantly crumbles. This leads me to believe that he's already been through the real form of this, with hearing his loved ones scream and being unable to stop it, or help them.

          • andreah1234 says:


            nd you're right, he saw the girl he loves driven to insanity by the horrible things in the games, and now saw his mentor and friend getting killed by the same brutality. I would have crumbled too. Actually I would have died in the first 2 seconds of the first games but you get my point. ALL OF THE SADNESS IN THE WORLD FOREVER.

  16. Saber says:

    Updated death toll.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  17. TreeIsMetaphor says:

    Another thing to consider is how people with disabilities are treated in the HG world. Katniss clearly had issues dealing with her mother's depression, but she is maturing enough to begin to understand it. Wiress was written off and mocked by some of the other tributes. No one but Beetee and Katniss bothered to try to understand her atypical way of communicating. But it was Wiress that revealed the secret of the forcefields and the nature of the arena. I can't help but compare her a little to Bellatrix Lestrange (the subject of a whole other discussion)*. If the characters would listen to these "crazy" people, they'd find that they have important things to say.


    • So true, this isn't exactly the most tender or loving of societies…

    • Elise says:

      I agree. There's clearly a treatment gap in this universe. Health services in the districts seem to focus on damage control and health services in the capitol seem pretty appearance focused.

      Katniss' lack of understanding of mental illnesses highlights how little care is given to emotional and mental health issues. She frequently points out how alcohol and morphling are used as escapes, but there is nothing else.

    • bookling says:

      Even if you look at Haymitch, he's completely written off as a drunk. But if anybody had ever tried to help him before, they might have seen how clever and awesome he is. I think the lack of any kind of treatment is probably intentional, though: it's another way to keep the population oppressed. If you're depressed and you deal with it by drinking or drugging yourself into a stupor, you won't be leading any rebellions.

  18. Karen says:

    I think that superficially Gale and Katniss seem more suited for each other, but ultimately, they're just too similar. I think that Katniss needs someone like Peeta who is more cool headed than she is and who can balance out Katniss's tendency towards seriousness to the point of being dour. I think that his gentleness can actually be a source of great strength and comfort for her. Katniss has been the head of her family since she was 12 years old. She's always taking care of others. I think that it's really good for her to have someone who will hold her and comfort her when she needs it, so that she doesn't have to be the one taking care of people all the time.

    And I think that Katniss is good for Peeta too. As we've seen with Prim, when Katniss loves, she loves fiercely. And for someone like Peeta who grew up with the kind of mother who would beat him for burning two loaves of bread, I think that's good for him. I think Katniss is right when she says she'd be irreparably damaged ifPeeta died. He really has come to mean so much to her. I think Peeta needs a person in his life who will love him like that.

  19. Mimzy says:

    I'm not defending Collins or anything, but the words 'crazy,' 'insane,' and 'mad' all have entered mainstream English and have informal definitions that no longer describe people with psychological problems.

    For example:
    in·sane (n-sn) adj.
    1. a. Of, exhibiting, or afflicted with insanity.
    b. Characteristic of or associated with persons afflicted with insanity: an insane laugh; insane babbling.
    c. Intended for use by such persons: an insane asylum.
    2. Immoderate; wild: insane jealousy.
    3. Very foolish; absurd: took insane risks behind the wheel.

    cra·zy (krz) adj.
    1. Affected with madness; insane.
    2. Informal Departing from proportion or moderation, especially:
    a. Possessed by enthusiasm or excitement: The crowd at the game went crazy.
    b. Immoderately fond; infatuated: was crazy about boys.
    c. Intensely involved or preoccupied: is crazy about cars and racing.
    d. Foolish or impractical; senseless: a crazy scheme for making quick money.

    mad (md) adj.
    1. Angry; resentful. See Synonyms at angry.
    2. Suffering from a disorder of the mind; insane.
    3. Temporarily or apparently deranged by violent sensations, emotions, or ideas: mad with jealousy.
    4. Lacking restraint or reason; foolish: I was mad to have hired her in the first place.
    5. Feeling or showing strong liking or enthusiasm: mad about sports.
    6. Marked by extreme excitement, confusion, or agitation; frantic: a mad scramble for the bus.
    7. Boisterously gay; hilarious: had a mad time.
    8. Affected by rabies; rabid.

    While it's not necessarily right for Collins to be using such ableist language, these words have entered mainstream language in a way that has changed their definitions. It also doesn't help that the Hunger Games tend to permanently scar the tributes in a society that doesn't seem to have any access to psychiatrists. Both Annie and Wiress, sadly, are a little crazy from the trauma they went through. If they were in our world they would get the medical help they need (well, actually, they never would have needed the medical help since there (hopefully) wouldn't be any HG in our world) and they would be able to function without any stigmas attached to them. In HG world, going untreated, they are odd and sadly detached. While Collins could use more PC language, doing so would probably seem out of place in a book such as this, considering the narrator, and it is unlikely that people would ignore the obvious mental problems of those around them without comment. I mean, nobody seems to do that in our world, why would Katniss' world do better?

    • notemily says:

      Dictionary definitions are not what we're talking about here. You could say that "gay" and "lame" have changed their definitions to mean "something the speaker doesn't like," but that doesn't mean it's OK to use those words that way, because people still associate them with homosexuality and people with disabilities. People still associate "crazy" with "mentally ill," no matter what else it might have come to mean, so using "crazy" as a pejorative is not cool.

      I don't know, I mean, I struggle with this myself. I still use "crazy" sometimes. And I don't know how Collins could have written the book differently. But dictionary definitions are not the way to talk about oppressive language.

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:

        The thing with "crazy" is that it is still used allllllll the time to discount people. Think about the Tucson shooting a couple weeks ago and how many people used that pejorative when discussing the shooter.

        • Bard says:

          The most likely motive thus far is that Giffords was stonewalling him about words having no meaning. Do we just pretend that’s an entirely rational reason to shoot up a street corner?

          [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

          • exbestfriend says:

            No, but I do not pretend that almost any reason is rational to kill someone else. However, by calling him "crazy" without trying to diagnose or discover any further reasoning the speaker is dismissing the shooter as a person. When people were calling him "crazy" what they were saying, at least around me, was "I do not care to discuss his motivations or the environment the shooter was in that lead him to that point" People were using it as an excuse. They were not using it to say that mental healthcare system in this country should be improved or that if the shooter had been on medication this would not happen, they were saying it because they thought it ends the conversation.
            Sorry for the mini rant but if I have to hear "He was just crazy and you can't reason with crazy." one more time…

      • L_Swann says:

        See, this is interesting. I agree with your example of "gay" – it DOES have a homosexual connotation and many people who use "gay" as an insult do so with homosexuality in mind (at least, in my experience). However, maybe I'm just young (I don't know how old you are, so I can't assume), and perhaps our high school jargon is a touch different, but to me, I would NEVER connect lame to a disability unless used specifically with a body part ("lame leg"). To me, lame is, first and foremost, the opposite of cool, and I don't even THINK about disabilities at all. Same with crazy. I mean, perhaps I'm wrong (AP Psych was two years ago), but "crazy" isn't even a medical diagnosis. Flippantly calling someone "bipolar" or "schizophrenic" or "psychotic" isn't okay, but "crazy?" I don't know, I don't agree with that.

  20. Araniapriime says:

    As an "official" crazy person (no, really) who had a physically disabled family member, I'd like to comment on the ableist language thingy. Personally — meaning THIS IS JUST MY OPINION KTHX — I know the difference between "figurative" language and "literal" language. I know what a metaphor is. I know that words can have more than one meaning, and that those meanings change and develop over time.. Saying someone is "blind to the implications" of something doesn't strike me as being ableist. Saying, "that idea is so lame" is all right IN MY OPINION. Even "that's insane!" or "what are you, crazy?" doesn't bother me at all. IN MY OPINION, using this language is just like using another metaphor.

    What bothers me is when that kind of language is used as an insult. Equating physical disability with cognitive disability bothers me, like when someone assumes that a person with cerebral palsy is also cognitively impaired ("retarded"). When someone patronizes, condescends or infantilizes a person with a disability it really pisses me off. You'd be surprised at how many people believe that having a disability means — well, to put it bluntly, how often have you heard the "OMG PEOPLE WITH DOWNS SYNDROME STILL WANT SEX!" as a joke scenario? As the saying in the disabled community goes, "My (eyes/legs/etc.) are the only things that don't work." That goes for developmental disabilities (e.g., Downs syndrome) as well. The rest of the person, including their emotional and sexual needs, works JUST FINE THANK YOU.

    Now, as for mental illnesses. I don't mind at all telling you that I have what is known as a mental illness, a chemical imbalance in my brain that has severe and chronic consequences for my health and well-being. By being "out of the closet and in your face" about it, I can educate people. I'm not "just feeling blue." I can't just "buck up" or "snap out of it." It won't go away if I just think happy thoughts or have cake or whatever. I'm CERTAINLY not an "emo kid" who's just self-pitying, looking for attention, or affecting depression to be more "interesting". What I HATE is when the department of the health center I go to every week, and the category of insurance coverage, is called the "Behavioral Health". To me it means all they want me to do is "behave properly". They don't care about the reality of my illness, just how it manifests itself. That is what leads to the current emphasis on throwing pharmaceuticals at every little emotional twitch. Just prescribe a happy pill and the problem will be spackled over and not make anyone else uncomfortable. To which I say FFFFFUUUUU!

    Anyway, yeah, I'm nuts. I'm insane (which, btw, is not a medical term but a LEGAL one which is relevant to whether a person is competent to stand trial). I'm TOTALLY CRAZY WOO HOO! I've been in the bin more often than a pile of recyclable material. My friends can and do joke with me about that, but if someone uses those terms to insult me or dismiss my needs or opinions, THAT pisses me off.

    On the other hand (and this is where "ableist language" comes into play), the guy who shot Rep. Gifford most likely does have a mental illness, but that does NOT make him a "lone wolf" who was not incited to action by the violent and vitriolic rhetoric of certain politicians and pundits. These pundits are NOT crazy for the beliefs they express — they are demagogues who deliberately stir up fear and anger. These politicians are NOT crazy for deliberately attempting to deny, ignore or be seemingly unaware of the illogical nature and devastating implications of the beliefs they express — they are petty, manipulative, attention seeking, sometimes bigoted and downright cruel. (However, I love the term "wingnut" LOL!)

    Do you see the difference? Again, these are merely my opinions, and I accept that others may have different ones.

    I shall now get off my soap box and return you to your regularly scheduled SHIT THAT JUST GOT REAL.

    • notemily says:

      Oh man, I never really thought about the phrase "behavioral heath" before. That's infuriating.

      And thumbs up x1000 to your paragraph about Giffords' shooter. People are like "Well, he was just crazy," as if that's the only possible explanation for what he did. News flash: (a) we don't know if he has an actual mental illness or what it is, (b) people who don't have mental illnesses commit horrible crimes all the time, (c) people with mental illness are far more likely to be the VICTIMS of violent crime than the perpetrators, (d) just because someone with a mental illness commits a crime, that doesn't mean their illness was the REASON. It frustrates me to no end that people don't get this.

    • monkeybutter says:

      I just want to thank you for that last bit about Loughner. Way too many people are saying, "Oh, he was just crazy! " Even if he is mentally ill, people with mental disorders are only slightly more likely to be violent than people without them, and underlying risk factors are what make the difference. No man is an island, and poisoned political discourse had hand in what happened in Tucson (though it was hardly solely responsible). Denying that effect because Loughner might have a mental disorder is unacceptable. The widespread idea that mental illness means you're predisposed to being a deranged criminal or hopelessly frail –dehumanizing the mentally ill — is so incredibly fucked up and frustrating.

      I agree that there should be a distinction between literal and figurative language, but some of the characters that Katniss describes as insane or crazy are cast aside or infantilized, so the usage here isn't ideal. But then again, that could just be a reflection of Panem's (and our culture) and not Collins's beliefs.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      Seriously, thank you for sharing this. <3

    • Bard says:

      What reason would a Truther have to listen to Sarah Palin?

      [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  21. notemily says:

    You rock for pointing out the ableist language, Mark. <3.

    I always liked the part of the book where Katniss and Peeta make out, because it gives them a moment of genuine happiness and sexytiem before, you know, they have to go back to worrying about EVERYONE DYING. Also, note that Collins doesn't say how far they went exactly? Wink wink, nudge nudge. SEXYTIEM

  22. stellaaaaakris says:

    You know what I just realized? If you put Peeta, Beetee and Johanna together, you get Team PeeBee and J! Oh, how I amuse myself. But how to get Finnick, Katniss, and Haymitch included…HayKatFin? Finkatch? Must work on that one.

    Finnick gives up at once, hunching on the ground, clenching his hands over his ears as if he's trying to crush his skull.
    "They can't hurt me. I'm not like the reset of you. There's no one left I love," Johanna says.
    So that's who Finnick loves, I think. Not his string of fancy lovers in the Capitol. But a poor, mad girl back home.
    Oh, okay. Wow, Collins. Thanks for CRUSHING MY SOUL.

    I think the jabberjays are probably the worst section of the clock arena we've seen so far. Yeah, the lightning, blood rain, fog, and monkeys are all really terrible, as are tidal waves, beasts that cut you up into little pieces, and thousands of insects. But they're all things you can maybe fight or escape. The jabberjays are a different case though. You can't kill all the birds and even realizing that they were manipulated to sound like the voices of loved ones, it's not enough to make you forget that those are the sounds your family and friends could be making if you mess up or they make a mistake. You can't unremember those things. Just look at how broken Katniss is after spending an hour with the birds. She doesn't even realize it's over; she's still hearing them in her head. She sounds like a lost little child. It's painful to read.

    The last bit with Katpee, where they're both so determined to keep the other alive, made me think of HP and how different the tone is. When Harry decides to sacrifice himself, the tone is almost detached, as if it's happening to somebody else, not our main character. He's given up in order to keep everybody else alive. In CF, Katpee has so much fire left in them (see intense make out scene) even though they each expect to die in the near future. Both Harry's and Katpee's reaction makes sense when taken in their own circumstances, I just found them interesting to compare.

    • notemily says:

      PeeBee and J! I LOVE THAT.

    • bendemolena says:

      AGREE ON THE JABBERJAYS, OH MY GOD. Seriously, in my mind, they're definitely the worst of all the traps we've seen. And I think the worst part is that they're inescapable for so long a time.

      • Steeple says:

        I feel pretty heartless for being this way, but I think the jabberjays would be the most weaksauce traps for me, personally. I mean, once I found out it was a bird? Fuck, why worry? It's just a goddamn bird. It's not real. Annoying, maybe, but it would not crush my soul.

        Again, this is a purely personal response. XDa;

  23. It must be said how utterly tragic it is that Johanna has no Nice Things. I have all the sads for her.

  24. Yusra says:

    And it only gets worse.

    [and I'm not going to touch the ableism stuff a) because I'm not 'well-educated' on it and b) because my ideals vary far too greatly with the average poster on this site and it's not worth my time since I'm not going to change anyone's opinions]

    • chris says:

      Now, I'm intrigued to know your ideas! This community is not necesarily about "chang(ing) anyone's opinions" but about a place to safely discuss our varying views. So, what are your thoughts?

    • Yusra says:

      (and for the one person that evidently replied to this as I got an email):

      What my views are? I personally think that people should think less about words and their numerous implications and first about what is happening in the world around them; (oh, yes, I'm highly controversial, and yes, I understand that words can hurt people. But 'crazy' and 'insane' have evolved to be less derogatory and more; well, metaphorical). What does it matter if some author is seemingly ableist because of the shift in connotations of certain word-usage? When the overall message s/he sends out is far more powerful and should be concentrated on?
      What does it matter if someone used 'crazy' in a metaphorical context, when someone, somewhere, was probably killing someone.
      What does it matter if I utter a word without thinking of every person it could hurt (simply because of its evolution and my lack of knowledge in such things, since I rarely think before I speak etc); when there are wars, and people starving to death and countries crumbling; but, all the people (that might very well be able to help) can think of is not 'hurting someone's feelings'. When the word may not even be thought of in that context by most people it may have been directed to.


      Also, I am aware of the counter-arguments, thank-you-very-much, and yes, I know I've just come across as a cold-hearted person. [s]And yes I know that it is because of people like me that are suffering from clinical depression,.[/s] < that's a lie. I know not to call someone crazy because they're different (and frankly, I think by pointing out the intended meanings of the words, you're only making them feel more different than a part of the community, though I guess this could go both ways. I do not know, I am just making assumptions since I am stupid/inherently lazy and haven't clicked on the links Mark has provided and deserve like 505312 downs on this post). I don't go around saying things to insult people on purpose, and I've never done it by accident.
      But yeah, I think you need to cut writers' some slack.
      Sure, there are people who can suffer depression because of what people call them. But, generally, they've been taunted, on purpose, they've been called names. There's a word; then there's context.

  25. (I do have to admit that this is so much fun and I do like this book more than the first, FYI.)
    I think I did too.

    Can I expect nearly everyone else to be killed off in forty pages or so?
    Like Obama said, yes, you can!

    (No one expects universal healthcare!)

    I think I'm mixing too many jokes.

  26. mugglemomof2 says:

    Never prepared.

    You have no idea! This arena is like a Pennywise funhouse!

    I agree that this chapter helps to develop that Katpee relationship. You can really see them being together if they could ever survive this insanity!

  27. Ishii says:

    This reply will be delivered in the always-appropriate language of gifs.

    The jabberjay pie section thing:
    <img src=""&gt;
    <img src=""&gt;
    <img src=""&gt;

    What Collins is doing with my heart:
    <img src=""&gt;

    This book in general. THIS BOOK:
    <img src=""&gt;
    <img src=""&gt;
    <img src=""&gt;

  28. pennylane27 says:

    All right. having educated myself a bit (I'm by no means finished), I'm just going to say that in this particular context, Katniss using words like crazy, insane or mad doesn't strike me as discriminating, or that Collins means them to be read so. I think that when a character uses words that can be offensive or hurtful, it's the character that is using them, it's a character trait. Maybe Katniss doesn't know better than to call Annie a "poor mad girl". I think we have to consider the society and context in this case. Obviously, people with disabilities aren't given much thought in this society, so I don't see Katniss saying more correct terms instead of "mad".

    But there's something I don't really understand, and I would appreciate it if someone would enlighten me: I'm a teacher, and I have been trying to get my students to stop using words like "gay" and "retard" as insults or jokes. Should I do the same with "crazy", etc? Even if it's to say "If I keep studying I'm going to go crazy!" or something like that? Because I use these words in everyday speech a lot, both in Spanish and in English. Though I wouldn't refer to a person with a mental illness as "crazy". I don't know if any of that will make sense.

    • notemily says:

      I would say work on getting them out of your own vocabulary before you tell students not to use them. Otherwise they'll hear you using them and think it's no big deal. I've been working on getting them out of my vocabulary, but I haven't succeeded yet, so I try not to make a big deal out of it unless it's clearly offensive–like using "crazy" to describe viewpoints you don't agree with. I think that kind of thing is more important than eradicating "crazy awesome" or whatever.

      • pennylane27 says:

        Of course I'll get them out of my vocabulary before teaching them, although for all the effect I'm having on these kids I don't know why I even bother.

  29. potlid007 says:

    dude, those jabberjays…
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Stephen Colbert GIF Pictures, Images and Photos"/>

    and poor Finnick…
    <img src="; border="0" alt="KANYEEE! Pictures, Images and Photos"/>

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Colbert Eating Popcorn Pictures, Images and Photos"/>

    even though babies sort of creep me out for some reason…
    <img src="; border="0" alt="colbert Pictures, Images and Photos"/>

  30. mugglemomof2 says:

    Ha- I didn't even pick up on it. It is hard isn't it! OK- I thought it was because of my Pennywise reference.

  31. exbestfriend says:

    =I thought I was something of an expert on hunger, but this is an entirely new kind.=
    That line was a big eye roll for me. It was just too much for me.
    <img src=""&gt;

  32. Treasure Cat says:

    I hate the jabberjay section of the arena. Why? WALLS DONT JUST APPEAR OUT OF NOWHERE! I dont care if this is supposed to be the future, you cannot have ~nothing~ and then suddenly ~a wall~. What is it made of? By the nature that it is clear one assumes plastic, glass or some other futuristic variant of one of the two. This solid object doesn't materialise from nothing, it cannot be erected subtly and within seconds. It cant have risen from the ground, it cant have fallen from the sky, so where on earth did the wall come from?
    One of the things I like most about Collins' writing is that her world is believable, and even the bits that need to be taken with a grain of salt aren't that bad at all. But I cannot get over this random wall appearing from nowhere, its just completely weird for this thing to have no logical explanation when everything else does.

  33. ilram says:

    "Yeah, that’s who Peeta is in love with. Are you crushed yet."

    Finnick you mean

  34. Mauve_Avenger says:

    <img src=""&gt;
    So a day and a half in, and eight tributes left, only three of whom aren't part of Katniss's group.
    Updated map of the arena:
    <img src=""&gt;
    Insert "Cake or Death" joke here.

  35. Erica says:

    A couple of other commenters brought this up, but I'll also echo the context issue w/ regards to ableist language. Early in the story, Collins did good by making Katniss relate her mother's depression to her own experience, then allowing her (Katniss) to see some of the error in her previous mindset. Once SC made a point of delineating the difference between mental illness and gluttony (the party scene during the Victory Tour) through Katniss' criticism of the Capitol people, I gained a deeper respect for her ability to discuss these issues w/o being preach or heavy-handed.

  36. Erica says:


    So, I think it's important to consider *why* Collins felt the need to paint Annie as being insane, or mad: under more likely circumstances (say for instance, a car accident) I think most people would be extremely traumatized by seeing someone they knew beheaded right in front of them. Add in the horror of knowing you will almost definitely be killed in an equally terrible way and I have no doubt that true madness might result. Any perjorative slant to the word in this context disappears b/c it's clear that Annie's mental suffering is not being trivialized; it's treated as being just as debilitative as a physical issue.

    Plus, Collins seems to write Katniss as being very protective and often reverent of the "crazy" people in question (Beetee, Wiress, Mags, the morphling). While this doesn't necessarily negate any/all accusations of ableism, I think it would be wrong for these charges to overshadow the generally progressive nature of these books–especially since it's a YA series.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      Thanks for this! It's a good point and I also wanted to say this word usage isn't overshadowing the book. It's just something I wanted to bring up in this post and discuss with all of you guys. 🙂

  37. theresa1128429 says:

    This chapter breaks my heart!
    "There's no one left I love"
    I demand backstory for my future wife, Johanna!!

    • Hear, hear! ::raises glass:: MOAR Johanna, now!

      Also: Wasn't Finnick's story brilliant yet heartbreaking? I didn't expect to choke up. Now I'm scared to death that Collins will go on another heart-stomping literary rampage.

  38. Wally says:

    I didn't really notice the ableist language until you pointed it out. I guess the reasons I didn't notice are:

    1. I was not sensitized to the subject.
    2. All the things that happen in these books are messed up and some are torture.

    I'll try to be a bit more aware of #1. As for #2, it appears that many of these hunger games victors suffer from PTSD of some form.

  39. Ali says:

    Finnick and Annie <3 So cute, I love how the handsome smarmy guy is actually in love with a crazy girl, it's so wonderfully unexpected. 🙂 I like Finnick so much more now!

    • Ali says:

      oh, sorry, I should mention that I'm using the word 'crazy' here because it's what Collins used to describe her. I should have used quotation marks really.
      No disrespect intended, is what I'm trying to say. 🙂

  40. Kchano says:

    "I’m curious if anyone else felt these words were distracting or damaging."

    FFFFFFFFFFFFFYES. Perhaps being in therapy for anxiety and depressive disorders might make me a bit overly sensitive, but I got bored and frustrated with the repetitiveness of it.


  41. Copacabana says:

    I'm going to preface this with the statement that I know nothing on ableism or disabilities. The only thing I can sort-of relate to is that my mother recently got out of an abusive relationship, and was then stalked. My mother was never physically abused, but traumatized, probably because he’d been standing outside her window on multiple occasions, and broken into our home. The other thing I know is that she hates being called a victim. This is probably quite far-fetched, but if my mother hates being labeled a victim, or weak-minded, or whatever, than I doubt people with disabilities enjoyed being brushed off as 'crazy.'

  42. Lolua says:

    If we didn't have all the people talking just talking because they are able to talk, I think the internet would be a lot smaller but much more interesting.

  43. thatonegirl says:

    I'll just comment on what I'm only moderately unqualified to talk about (the book) instead of what I know absolutely nothing about (ableism — but thanks for the links. That's something I need to work on.)

    I loved Johanna's "whole country in rebellion" comment. She knows she's going to die so why not go out with a bang? She is seriously fearless. Unlike me. I don't know how I'm going to be able to handle the rest of this book. I like the characters too much and it's not like they can all live (unless maybe the Games go into the next book?) Now that Peeniss have had their moment I'm sure Peeta's a goner. 🙁 I don't think I have enough sad left for this.

    • erin says:

      Ha! I forgot that comment was in this chapter. I can't believe Mark didn't quote it. Such a crowning moment of awesome for Johanna the Great!


  44. Outshoutsign! says:

    I don't find those words upsetting at all. Maybe that's because I'm German; we are far more "generous" with words in general than in the USA.
    (I apologize for bad English and I hope my last sentence makes any sense at all; I'm not sure about the word "generous".)

  45. bendemolena says:

    The inclusion of such things as 'crazy' or 'insane' never bothered me. You have to look at context here, and remember that this is from Katniss' point of view. She obviouslt has very little knowledge of such things, and seems to live in a world where mental disorders and such are either ignored or simply not treated properly. These are people who don't quite know how to put a finger on depression and obviously have very little knowledge of other things, such as PTSD. I think using words like 'crazy' or 'insane' is really just Collins demonstrating the vernacular and putting the situation out there for us from Katniss' own worldview. I think. I know what I want to say but I'm having a hard time of doing it, really. But it boils down to the fact that without knowledge and experience of such things, she doesn't have many other words to use.

  46. fuchsia says:

    Grr, for some reason I’m unable to sign into WordPress on your site to comment, even though I’m signed into WordPress on its main site already!

    Anyway, regarding ableist language: I didn’t notice it the first read around (i read each book in under 24 hours so I didn’t pay much attention to the language at all) but have picked up on its frequency during subsequent re-reads and was honestly surprised that you hadn’t said anything before this. Collins does such a hood job of portraying the general oppressed public, the poor, etc. that I’m left severely disappointed by all the other prejudices she disregards or even perpetuates. I wish she had done more, for instance, regarding Katniss’ mother instead of just blowing it off with “I was sick, I’m better now” and that’s all, like depression can be dealt with that easily.

    I know that I’m not perfect, but I’m constantly working on how I see thing and say things as well. I’m appalled that a lot of my friends use words like “lame”, “whore” and even, in some cases, “retarded” as insults, without realizing how damaging they’re being. Granted, “lame” was just pointed out to me as ableist language a few years ago (and I’m someone who actually *is* the textbook definition of lame, and didn’t realize how bad it is as an insult), but now it arrives me that otherwise thoughtful, kind hearted people use it as an insult.

    So yes, I’d love posts addressing this issue because I think it’s something we should talk about.

    I’d write more but I really do have to work.

  47. michellew says:

    Wow. I've always said "I don't use that word like that" when people say gay or queer to mean bad. I never thought that lame or insane would have the same possibilities for hurting people. Language is powerful! Thanks for the link and the mind opening.

  48. Elise says:

    I tend to be more sensitive to ableism since I work in education. But I am definitely not an expert. My roommate teaches special education, so I have learned a lot from her about truly putting people first in conversation and not looking at a physical or neurological difference as a negative. Ex) "wheelchair bound" as if someone is handcuffed to a wheelchair!

    Other commenters have pointed out that although Wiress is called "mad", she is valued as an individual with talents and gifts that no one else possesses. There is a great documentary called "The Horse Boy" (on netflix watch instantly if you want to see it!) which follows two parents learning how to connect with and appreciate their son who has autism. In the US we assume that neurotypical is superior, but in many cultures people with neurological differences like epilepsy or autism are regarded with reverence.

    I'm really glad you pointed the language out because I never noticed it before. I don't see a big problem w/ how it is used in the book, because I think it does highlight a lack of support and care given to people who have experienced tragedy in Panem. But it is a really good conversation to have. What good are books if they don't make us appreciate/question/change the world around us?

  49. Elise says:

    I tend to be more sensitive to ableism since I work in education. But I am definitely not an expert. My roommate teaches special education, so I have learned a lot from her about truly putting people first in conversation and not looking at a physical or neurological difference as a negative. Ex) "wheelchair bound" as if someone is handcuffed to a wheelchair!

    Other commenters have pointed out that although Wiress is called "mad", she is valued as an individual with talents and gifts that no one else possesses. There is a great documentary called "The Horse Boy" (on netflix watch instantly if you want to see it!) which follows two parents learning how to connect with and appreciate their son who has autism. In the US we assume that neurotypical is superior, but in many cultures people with neurological differences like epilepsy or autism are regarded with reverence.

    I'm really glad you pointed the language out because I never noticed it before. I don't see a big problem w/ how it is used in the book, because I think it does highlight a lack of support and care given to people who have experienced tragedy in Panem. But it is a really good conversation to have. What good are books if they don't make us appreciate/question/change the world around us?

  50. ooohlivia says:

    Yeah, that passage was when I started buying into Peeta/Katniss as well. It was just such a wonderful description of how it feels to be kissing someone (not that I have much experience with this, ahem).

    I like that this book has sexual content. It's more implied, as the word sex is never used, but it's pretty clear from the use of the word hunger in this context what this is about. And I know the book is already really violent and everything, but people can be weird about mentioning sex in YA books sometimes. You get those stupid book-banners who don't like YA books to have 'adult' content in them. Somebody wanted to ban 'The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants' for that very reason. I mean, wtf. I think Collins got away with it because it was more implied.

    I'm not really qualified to speak about ableism either, but the use of the word 'retarded' as an insult pisses me off. The bad thing is that it's sort of built into my vocabulary from being around so many peers who use that word, and for a while I readily used it. Now I have to make a conscious effort not to let the word slip in and use a different word instead.

    My love for Finnick grows. He doesn't care that Annie is 'crazy'. He just loves her. I want more of their backstory.

    • Ishii says:

      I honestly don't think they had sex in that part. I dunno, wouldn't that be more than a bit exhibitionistic? 😛 And I don't think Katniss would, at that point.

      Very steamy make-out session, though? Absolutely.

    • Kripa says:

      It was also sex that was blocked from happening. We read that KatPee's making out and Katniss has a strong DESIRE to make things go further, not that things actually go further. Finnick clit-blocks her when he comes out and offers to take watch, and this frustrates Katniss. So it also didn't actually happen.

      • Ishii_Era says:

        Ahahah. *adds 'clit-block' to vocabulary*

        Guess my having forgotten that detail means I absolutely have to re-read the series. I approve 😀

  51. Lilith says:

    Let me preface this with saying that I myself do not have any form of diagnosis, however my brother fits the entire spectrum of emotional, physical, and mental problems. This probably colors my opinions with my emotional baggage on the entire topic of ableism.

    This is going to be the unpopular position on the abelist debate I think. While I think it is offensive to dismiss any person with some kind of issue as crazy, or just any person in general because it is in fact dismissive, that goes for any word used to dismiss people, be they words with baggage or not. In this context, I feel that the usage of the word crazy or mad for Annie is appropriate in that there is no diagnosis given and the book is narrated by a cynical, emotionally damaged teenage girl.

    In the a broader context? I think saying that any usage of the word crazy is ableist is WAY more offensive than referring to a crazed fit of passion, or that an idea is "crazy". Ultimately it does more harm than good because by campaigning to rid the world of the term "crazy", we are saying that it IS a blanket term for people who have some sort of mental diagnosis. And for those who are offended when they are called crazy, well then is that not just saying that they ARE in fact crazy?

    I suppose I have to point out that for people who identify as crazy the word usage can cause a problem. But by broadly referring to everyone on the neurological-atypical spectrum AS crazy, I do think we are causing a greater problem due to the centuries of usage of the word crazy to mean outside of the norm in an illogical and negative way. It has in an of itself taken on so many other meanings not in the least related to actual diagnosis.

    Okay so long and rambly. Anyway this is my favorite chapter of the book, and I love Annie and Finnick. I have been greatly enjoying these, and well, you asked for our two cents.

    • syntheticjesso says:

      I agree. I've always kind of thought that my labeling certain words as hurtful or bad, people are really just giving those words the power to be even more hurtful or bad than they would be on their own. Kind of like how swearing in front of your average person is no big deal, but swearing in front of someone who has declared certain words to be vile has a negative effect on that person. Words are too subjective, and language is too fluid, for any set list of "hurtful words" or "bad words" to really be 100% true.

      To me, words are not the problem. It's the intention that is the problem. If you accidentally use a word that is insulting (like the time I said something like "the gook is not welcome" in reference to an excess of mucus in my sinuses, and then had someone tell me that "gook" is actually a horribly racist word) then that is not a horrible thing- it's a mistake. You learn from it, apologize if the situation calls for it, and move on. If you use a word that is otherwise harmless as a way to insult someone ("HEY YOU ARE SO SMELLY") then that IS a horrible thing, and you need to learn to be nicer to people, buddy. If a stranger calls me a fatty or a bitch or whatever, I don't even care, because their opinion means nothing to me. If someone I respect says something even vaguely critical about me, I'm devastated.

      Context and intent matter, not the words themselves.

  52. J.S. says:

    As someone that has spent literally years of my life inside psychiatric institutions, been on a plethora of medication and had 16 sessions of ECT, I have absolutely no issue with using words like "crazy", "insane" etc. Language changes, there is no malice or ignorance meant in those words; they have become contextual descriptions for erratic or strange behaviour. I have more of an issue, though certainly not an issue that I'm so set up on it angers me everytime, of words like "depressed" and "psychotic" being used – proper medical terms used so often trivially that their meaning is lost. But I'm certainly not offended by them. Like I say, language and our use of language changes. I had this conversation with my friends, many of which I met in hospitals and support groups and they laughed and said to the effect that they would rather every single person in the world used "crazy" and "insane" in the wrong context in every sentence every day then have to go through even one more visit to A+E where the doctors treat us like scum. Everyone has something that can be discriminated against about them and we are never going to eradicate all of it and I would 100% rather the effort went into making the doctors that treat us and the potential employers that interview us understand more of the situation rather than thinking it is OK to treat us like criminals or time-wasters and deny us common decencies. I don't give a shit what language you use to describe whatever situation as long as you are not causing me physical harm or refusing to see past my illness. My sister is the opposite and she is very much into the words people use, and thats fine and I am very careful not to use anything she might see as offensive around her, even in regard to my own illness or persona. But I don't care if the word "crazy" is used forever. I just don't want the doctors I go to to get stitches to refuse me local anaesthetic because I am "a waste of space, time and resources". Those are my priorities, language changes. I know others are far different and hey, everyone has different opinions and everyone has something to teach and something to learn.

  53. Patrick says:

    Crazy Insane, or Insane Crazy?

    Personally I'm feeling kind overwhelmed by the recent movements and the growing sensitivity of people. I think Crazy and Insane and other similar terms have evolved to an understanding where they don't reflect the meaning or interpretation that a writer (never the writer) was demeaning mentally unstable people, etc. I feel more and more people are using ableist motives as a scapegoat.

    Now obviously there are still major issues that need to be addressed and there is a lot unnecessary and hurtful words carelessly used that do effect a lot of people. But sometimes I feel people attack a word because its easier than to attack the motive behind it. Words are just words without context, and these delicate and sensitive words need to be discerned from their context. The fact that they are going to reprint Huck Finn and remove the word "nigger" is ludicrous to me. For the record, I think that Nigger is a disgusting and awful and hurtful word. But to remove it from a text, is like erasing history for your benefit. Realistically, when we read Huck Finn in middle school aloud as a class and I came to that word it made me uncomfortable. But the point is it provided my amazing teacher the prompt to discuss that sensitive issue and teach us about context, and history and why that word invokes the feelings it does.

    Sorry, I know I'm rambling but my point is that there will always be words that are derived directly from or have become associated with a sensitive topic. We can't sensor all of these words, it is more important to educate the meaning and how to decipher context. And not let personal emotion cloud artistic intent

  54. Hollins04 says:

    I am in my final year of schooling to become a Special Needs Teacher, which obviously does not make me an expert on ableist language but I do have experience with it. I understand that certain characters will use words that what we would consider offensive in their language because that is who they are and in their world those words are a common occurrence. Obviously some words bother us and others go unnoticed. I wonder how many others had a problem with Collins in HG when she referred to a disabled tribute as having a “crippled foot.” Probably not many.

  55. Hollins04 says:

    My main problem with Collins is that she defines characters by their disabilities.This is something you should NEVER do. People should never be defined by their disability. Annie was actually defined by being mad at one point which something that I have a serious problem with. I personally do not believe that Collins was trying to be derogatory when she used improper language but that she simply did not know better. The actual words she uses are typically not used in the traditionally sense and have lost a bit of the negative stigma associated with them.I know that I have heard crazy and insane being used as positive adjectives to describe an amusement park ride or even a movie. The words themselves (except cripple) do not bother me but the way Collins defines her characters by their disabilities is something I have a huge problem with. If I hadn’t been so attached to the characters and engrossed in the plot line I probably would have walked away from the book because of it.

    • Annalebanana says:

      I don't think Collins defines people by their disabilities. For one thing, thus far in the books you know little about Annie besides what Katniss knows about her-and that is that she is mentally traumatized. On another note, practically all of the characters in this book have some sort of mental issue due to post traumatic stress disorder, and that really doesn't define them. Wiress is seen to be an amazing person, even though others might label her as "Crazy"

    • Ayla says:

      I am not defending Collins use of the word at all, but when you say that Annie is defined by being crazy, the context must be taken into consideration. The only ones who use the word to describe her are people who don't know her. I don't recall Finnick, for example, as describing her as crazy. Just Peeta and Katniss. Which doesn't justify it but the only thing that they know about her is that she is mentally unstable and this is not a sensitive society. I hope this doesn't sound insensitive, but I think that the context is important.

  56. Pseudonymph says:

    I'm seeing a lot of "well, I don't think she intended to demean anyone" type comments and I have to say that I don't think Collins' intentions are terribly relevant to the ableism discussion. People do and say demeaning or disrespectful things unintentionally all the time. And the reason they do these things unintentionally is because they are ignorant of the problem.

    I would bet that Collins, at least at the time of writing this, didn't think much about ableism or even realize that such a problem existed. And it's her responsibility, as well as everyone else's, to make sure we aren't ignorant of these problems. The conversation around ableism shouldn't be about whether Collins is a good person or not (which is where the discussion of her intentions leads) it should be about how the (unintentional or otherwise) ableism in her writing affects disabled people and how we can make it better.

    • syntheticjesso says:

      See, I think intent and context make ALL the difference. Words are just words. Some words have lots of different meanings. Some words can even perform multiple linguistic functions, and be a noun, verb, or adjective depending on context. And that is COOL. To say that [this collection of letters] is ALWAYS bad ignores so much of what makes language* what it is. Call a four-legged bovine a cow, and no one cares; call me a cow and it's an insult.

      *Well, the English language, I don't have experience with any others.

      • Pseudonymph says:

        I think that's kind of the point? Call an actual insane person "insane" and no one cares. But refer to a person who is violent, angry, depressed, or basically any person who isn't actually insane as "insane" and people get upset. It trivializes mental disorders. There are the connotations (which is a kind of context) of words like "crazy" or "insane" that makes it seem like any person who has a mental disorder (or is clinically insane) is violent, lazy, stupid, etc. So, you're right that context makes all the difference and you're wrong that words are just words. (Those actually seem like contradictory points).

        My point was that someone can say something offensive, like "that's so gay" without intending to offend anyone. It doesn't change the fact that is hurtful and disrespectful and serves to undermine social justice movements.

        So if we're trying to figure out whether Collins is a nice person or not, yeah whether she intended to offend matters. But I don't think that's the discussion Mark was looking to have when he brought this up. I think he was hoping for people who are disabled to voice their opinions on the subject. I found it disconcerting that so many commenters were dismissing Mark's concern with "well I'm sure she didn't mean it that way." It doesn't really matter how she meant it if it ends up hurting or alienating people.

        I hope that makes sense.

  57. JoanieM says:

    I think this discussion about ableism in language is really important. That said, I don't know if this is the best place to have it and I don't really like how it's going so far. I'm seeing a lot of comments of people saying that they themselves aren't disabled but simply work with kids with disabilities or have disabled friends/family. I think those kinds of voices are important in some discussions, but when the topic is which words are offensive to disabled people and in which contexts? In my opinion, that's a time for only disabled people to be speaking up.

    Also, one aspect of this discussion that I rarely see touched on is that not all ableist terms apply to every disability. All the ones pointed out by Mark have to do with mental disabilities, not physical ones. Therefore, eve though I'm physically disabled, I don't think I have a right to say whether they are offensive or not. Same with other terms. Lame describes a very specific disability, same with spazz, dumb, etc. That makes it a really complicated topic.

  58. Bob'sDiner says:

    Dunno if you follow XKCD at all, but Wednesday's reminded me of you.

  59. Cataclysm = World of Warcraft to me now, so I was like "WAIT, I DON'T REMEMBER THE HORDE OR THE ALLIANCE IN THIS STORY?!" and then had to remember that word existed before Blizzard got a hold of it.

    • Treesa says:

      Haha, this comment took me back because I was not expecting a WoW reference ever in this site.

      I play WoW, and it's sort of my guilty pleasure that not many people know about this, so this caught my attention immediately. Haha.

  60. BradSmith5 says:

    Mark, I've never heard of 'ableist language' before! In most instances, I RELY on those self-centered stories that you put up so that I can relate to the term somehow! C'mon, can't I have just a little of your MEMEME mentality? Just sneak it into a reply somewhere––I won't tell! 😉

    Anyway, something in this chapter confused me. Katniss stated that the muttations that appeared at the end of the previous Hunger Games were not reborn tributes, but fakes. When did she learn this? How does she know for sure?

    And if the jabberjays' speech was learned from interview recordings, wouldn't that slice of the arena have been safe before the interviews occurred? Perhaps other zones are empty right now––until the proper horror can be constructed!

    • Tabbyclaw says:

      And if the jabberjays' speech was learned from interview recordings, wouldn't that slice of the arena have been safe before the interviews occurred?

      Bear in mind that everyone in the Arena has been here before. Their loved ones have already been interviewed at some point in the past; the Capitol just has to dig through its archives.

      • BradSmith5 says:

        Oh, right. What do you think they would have done for Mags, though? Wouldn't her interviews have been fifty years ago? Ah, wait, they'd just use that tribute that she volunteered for.

        I still want to believe in a safe zone, however. Filled with friendly tabbies like the one in your icon. xD

    • notemily says:

      I got the impression that she assumed the mutts weren't the real tributes because they wouldn't send tributes' bodies back to their districts with their eyes cut out and such.

  61. accio doublestuff says:

    mark, thank you for pointing this out. i think that no matter what your opinion is on the ableist language collins has used, it is extremely important for us all to discuss our opinions and put them out in the open. that's the only way people who disagree will be exposed to opinions different than theirs. the point isn't to all come to a conclusion, because there's no way to do that with so many different minds and experiences and people. even if we disagree, at least we've all been given something to think about. and we can respect each other despite differing opinions. respect is so key. i might be differently abled and not find the word "disabled" offensive, but other people might find offensive, and just being aware of that fact will make me hesitant to use words like "retarded" "disabled" "insane" "mad", etc in order to respect those who do find it offensive.

  62. L.I. says:

    Okay, to start with, I know next to nothing about this subject. I mean, yeah, people calling others "retarded" makes me really mad, but I haven't considered the topic in general too much. This is just what I thought while reading that last paragraph.

    It kind of makes sense for Katniss to use words like "mad" and "insane". Actually, if Collins had gone out of her way to avoid them, I would've found it pretty jarring. We've seen what District 12 is like. So, naturally, that's just the kind of language that Katniss would learn and use. I think she and the other characters simply don't know any better. If they did, well… a lot of them probably wouldn't care.

    So, basically; I wouldn't blame the author for being ableist for this so much as blaming the setting. It's fairly realistic, I think. In a dystopian society, people probably aren't going to consider this sort of thing. Now, defining characters by being "the poor mad girl" and the like is a completely different story, but…

  63. Andrea says:

    I think that I am misunderstanding ableism even after visiting the website provided in the post, and I would therefore love some clarification so that I can be more aware in the future. Is it wrong for Collins to call Annie "mad" since we are to believe that she actually has a disability? Does that mean that words like "crazy", "insane" and "mad" should just not be used at all or does ableism strictly refer to using those words outside of their clinical context? Are these words even still used in clinical settings or have they become purely slang? These are just some questions that were popping into my head as I was reading the comments.. thanks 🙂

    • TreeIsMetaphor says:

      The general idea is not to use those terms, which are slang, in ways that hurt or dismiss people. I would say that calling someone mad/crazy/insane without their okay (because there are plenty of people who self-identify as these things and plenty who use them in a reclamation sort of way) is wrong because it makes no attempt to understand the person or their condition. In this context, we don't really know anything about Annie at all other than that she's a "poor mad girl," someone to be pitied because of her 'madness.' I would say that that's not okay, but there are those who will argue differently.

  64. Kadi says:

    It took me *months* to get 'lame' out of my vocabulary. And only slightly less time to get 'gyp' out (I didn't know until I was in my twenties that it was a reference to the Roma – I thought it was spelled 'jip'). I'm still working on crazy and insane, despite having mental health issues myself.

  65. Openattheclose says:

    I found this on tumblr the other day regarding ableist language.

  66. Saber says:

    May I present…

    Panem before the dark days:
    (When 13 still existed)

    [img ][/img]

    I have too much free time, hehe. What do you think? Should some districts be placed differently? Everything green-ish would be underwater, as well.

  67. 1foxi says:

    "The sensation inside me grows warmer and spreads out from my chest, down through my body, out along my arms and legs, to the tips of my being. Instead of satisfying me, the kisses have the opposite effect, of making my need greater. I thought I was something of an expert on hunger, but this is an entirely new kind"

    Real talk – Katniss wants to bone Peeta.

  68. warmouth says:

    I guess I never noticed the abelism lines before. I think it just fits in with Kat and the rest of the world. After all Kat was forced to grow up and take care of her family when her mother was depressed, it's not too hard to guess she would be bitter about people not pulling themselves together. Also, Panem is definitely a case of you have to look after yourself. There's no room for compassion and understanding. If nothing else, the language fits Katniss, who can be pretty insensitive.

    Are these excuses right? No. Do they fit in with the story? I think so. Then again, I don't suffer any mental disability so I can't say for sure, this is just my viewpoint.

    Onto gifs! I want to give Finnick and Johanna all the hugs.

    <img src=""&gt;
    Also, Annie. Hi there normal name!

    Whoa, Kat and Peeta, calm down. You still have a game of death to play I will get the hose.

    <img src=""&gt;

    • zuzu says:

      HOTARU GIF <3

      And yes Finnick and Johanna need hugs. They became even more interesting in this chapter, I want back stories so bad.

  69. mugglemomof2 says:

    LOL- Pennywise is the main character from Stephen King's IT novel. He is basically every fear you ever had (he can change into your worst fear) hence I feel like the arena was made by him. It only made sense if you are familiar with Stephen King 😉

    • exbestfriend says:

      Thanks for responding, even if it didn't show up in the comments. This is why I have email notification. I thought it was some sort of arcane allusion or a reference to the power punk band, neither of which I understood.

    • pennylane27 says:

      Is that book good? I read The Shining and almost died, and my gran says that "It" disgusted her, so I'm sort of afraid of reading it.

      • mugglemomof2 says:

        it is my favorite book. To me I get nostalgic whenever I read it. It reminds me of all those childhood fears you had as a kid (being afraid to go int he cellar, afraid of monsters lurking under the bed).
        Stephen King does the best job of any author I can think of with his character development. This book by far has some of the most fantastic characters that you absolutely fall in love with. Give it a try. It is long- but so worth it.

        Edit to add: Let me know if you decide to read it!

        • pennylane27 says:

          Definitely adding it to my very long list of books to read. Thanks!

          • mugglemomof2 says:

            I am sure you'll love it! I haven't had anyone read it off of my recommendation eyt that hasn't loved it! Pennywise is the ultimate in evil!

  70. Mauve_Avenger says:

    Well, my comment seems to have disappeared completely. Which is strange because it appeared just fine after I posted it, then disappeared from both this page and my IntenseDebate profile after I edited it. Trying again:

    Re: ableism in Catching Fire, I did notice that Collins/Katniss used the words "insane" and "catatonic" in describing Katniss's pretend-joy at being engaged, both instances in the same paragraph. And that she uses to word "crazy" as a (usually negative) intensifier a lot.

    I can't exactly answer for this part being clear, as my thoughts are still a bit jumbled on this, but…
    I also recall several times when Katniss uses the phrase "crazy in love" or some variation to describe how she has to act toward Peeta. It's a bit ambiguous (certainly more ambiguous than her calling the Capitol fashions crazy). One one hand, one could argue that "crazy in love" is being used deliberately to emphasize that their suicide threat is supposed to be viewed by Panem as a matter of genuine insanity. On the other, one could say that she's referring, present tense, to her actions after the Games, actions that are exaggerated or intense but not signs of actual "craziness," making it far less likely that she's using "crazy" or "insane" in the sense of actual disability.

    To me, it seemed pretty clear that in the immediate aftermath of the suicide threat "crazy in love" and its variants were being used in a somewhat legalistic sense, as a sort of shorthand for "not guilty of rebellion by reason of temporary insanity caused by intense romantic attachment." But then, the second book conflated that with "crazy in love" the slang term, and I don't think it made much of an effort to separate those two concepts.

  71. Mauve_Avenger says:

    Did anyone else think that the 24 rolls of bread are supposed to be some sort of message? At first I thought it was a reward for Peeta's mentioning Chaff (indicating that Haymitch wants them to find him), but the weird number (well, weird given the number of people) makes me think it has something to do with the clock. 24 hours until X happens, maybe? It can't be long before the Gamemakers do something to drive their team apart, and maybe the mentors are trying to warn them.

    • notemily says:

      I did think it was strange that it was the same number of tributes originally in the arena and the same number of hours in the day… especially since Beetee made a point of asking about the number. ~Mysterious~

  72. Cara says:

    OMG YOU TALKED ABOUT ABLEISM AND YOU'VE HEARD OF FWD AND I LOVE YOU FOREVER. If you're looking for someone to contribute a guest post about ableism, I would do it in a heartbeat. Check out my personal blog at

    That is all. 🙂

  73. finnickodair says:

    Ok, first we had Katpee and Peenis..

    Finnick + Annie…. Fannie?

    Suzanne Collins MUST have noticed this… methinks I spot a pattern arising.

  74. Kelly L. says:

    Ahhhh that scene with Katniss and Peeta… my heart. Seriously. I think it was my favorite scene in the entire book.

    Finnick and Johanna… holy hell. I don't even know. More heart hurting.

    Collins is sadistic… this book damn near broke me.

  75. embers says:

    I don’t want to write any spoilers, but I don’t think that Collins is just throwing around words like ‘mad’ or ‘crazy’. A lot of the people who have been in the Hunger Games have been permanently damaged, and I don’t think it is unreasonable to recognize mental illness/deep clinical depression brought on by unbearable stress and trauma. I would ask you to hold off until the end of the third book before deciding that Collins is misusing terms which all of us want to see used properly.

    • notemily says:

      This is the big question for me when it comes to terms like this–is "crazy" something that's never OK to say, or is it something that's only OK to say in the right context? Is it a slur in itself, or only when it is used as an insult?

    • Haley says:

      That's true because we find out more about the victors in Mockinjay, so I definitely agree!:)

      • agirlinport says:

        I think this is bordering on spoilage. Please tread carefully because I was kind of disappointed in reading this, feeling slightly spoiled myself.

      • agirlinport says:

        Okay, sorry if this posts twice cause I hit a little snag with my internet, but….
        This is bordering on spoilage here. I'd tread carefully because I was a little disappointed when I read this. I felt like I had been spoiled a little. So just a heads up, you might want to take this remark down or something…if you can do that. I'm not really sure. Just trying to help.

  76. vampira2468 says:

    Love the use of the jabberjays in the books.

    I always sort of wonder how it would of been if her sister had gone into the games

    Seems like a lot of authors are guilty of using those terms too much

  77. Lynn says:

    It is interesting to read everyone's comments on ableism. I think that a conversation is useful for everyone in order for us to think about these things even if we have differing opinions. I don't think anyone is indicting Collins here and at least her characters with true mental illness are ultimately shown to be pretty great and amazing characters. Perhaps there is a point there, I am not sure.

    I would like to point out how deep the negative effects of people looking down on mental health is. I am a physician who was training in Psychiatry residency before I took time off having kids. The sad fact is that mental health state money is cut often and severely in my state. This is true in many states, especially in a recession. Thus we have had a lot of issues with not being able to take care of people who are ill and need treatment. It makes me so sad when people can not get a bed in long term treatment facilities and are forced to wait in what is supposed to be short term (or acute) treatment facilities for way too long. These places do not have the best resources or allow the freedoms that should be basic human rights. Then as a physician you have to make very hard decisions such as keeping them in what seems like poor treatment places or essentially turning them out into the streets b/c you have nothing to provide them.

    Also it is nearly impossible to campaign for monetary donations. Our children's mental health facility could not raise funds that the Children's hospital could right down the street b/c no one wants to make their child's story available for everyone to judge. All of this just makes me feel very sad and helpless. I am glad that people are being educated that mental illness is an illness just like diabetes that treatment will manage.

  78. Treesa says:


    Although I'm a little surprised that you didn't focus on Johanna's "calling out" of the Capitol regarding the rebellion.

    "Don't want that, do they?" She throws back her head and shouts, "Whole country in rebellion? Wouldn't want anything like that!"

    I didn't give too much thought to Johanna as being a character I'd care about until this moment of hers. I love characters that go there. As I'm sure with a lot of people, I admire people who have characteristics that I don't have but wish I did. And Johanna has that. I love that her character would normally be, in stories similar to these, that would be kind of the protagonist, the tough chick that would be the symbol of the rebellion, which makes me love Katniss even more.

    I also loved the reveal of Finnick's story. Collins did such a great job painting Finnick as this little man-whore in the beginning so you think you've figured out his whole deal, and then slowly you start seeing Finnick in a different light and then comes this awesome reveal about Annie. So that's who Finnick loves, I think. Not his string of fancy lovers in the Capitol. But a poor, mad girl back home. This sentence was sooo powerful to me, I just love it. I don't really know why.

    And *sigh* Peeta and Katniss. I was already inlove with these two by this point, but their conversation in this chapter? My God. This was the first moment that I cried that had nothing to do with someone dying or someone in peril. I mean I literally cried. Here's a part you didn't include but felt like a knife through my heart.

    So Peeta's giving me his life and Gale at the same time. To let me know I shouldn't ever have doubts about it. Everything. That's what Peeta wants me to take from him.



  79. Jenna says:

    I've been waiting for you to reach this chapter! One of my favorites in this book

    Anyways, I think Collins uses her terms for a reason, which I won't get into due to possible spoilers. I'd also like to point out that there's a difference between the author and the narrator. Based on the culture Katniss lives in, many people have had mental and physical damage done to them. Not saying this is necessarily okay, but I feel there is reasoning behind it.

  80. Cally_Black says:

    Haven't posted any fanart in a long time, so here:

    The Locket by Peibee-an-Jay
    <img src=>

    if peeta dies by burdge-bug
    <img src=>

    Crossfire by burdge-bug
    <img src=>

  81. Annalebanana says:

    Many points I was going to make have been brought up earlier, but I think I have a different view of Collins goals by all the "crazy" talk. Collins wrote these books partially to bring up the issues with war and the affects of war. It seems obvious that all of the characters have suffered through some serious things-they are war veterans in a sense, and they have all the mental problems that can come through suffering. While Collins makes racism non-existant and sexism basically not there either, I think the fact that she makes Katniss ableist in the beginning means something. Maybe I am looking too much into this, but Collins makes Katniss's mom have a severe mental disorder in the form of depression. Katniss looks down on it, and doesn't understand (Like the majority of us), but after her experiences, she no longer sees it as something controllable. Katniss and her fellow victors are all damaged, and that is due to the capitol. There seems to be little to no understanding in her world of what mental disorders really are. People look down on those who have problems and think they are less, just as Katniss did, but I think she is beginning to realize that their mentality is not bad (It can even be good) and that the Capitol is horrible to force this type of damage onto its citizens. Thats just my two cents, anyways.

    On another note, one of a more general sort, one would be hard pressed to find a way to insult somebody WITHOUT being prejudiced to some group or another. Racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism, xenophobia, etc, they are all there. However, through various political movements in the past, such as the civil rights movement, efforts have been made to eradicate that type of derrogatory term. However, I feel that we will never be free of the horribleness of all these prejudices until we are willing to accept that there are no circumstances in which it is okay to insult someone.

  82. peacockdawson says:

    You have to consider context here. Think of Katniss. Every word is from her point of view. She's the narrator, and what do you think her feelings on disabled people are? She would see them as weak, a liability, so of course that's how it's going to come across. In the games it's Katniss' job to survive. She thinks in those terms: does this help my cause or get me killed? Even in her district, where people work in the coal mines. It's the whole society. It makes perfect sense that she would think this way, and it's ridiculous to take offense at it. It's appropriate to the story and the character.

  83. inzhuna says:

    I feel so ashamed I've never known about ableism or ableist language before. Thank you Mark and all the wonderful people in the comments for sharing your life experiences and opinions. I can now without any exaggeration say that this blog helped me in my strife to become a better person. I am now going off to read more about this issue and will make a goal of educating my friends and family about this, as well.

    Mark, you rock.

  84. bookling says:

    This is another reason why MAGS IS THE BEST EVER. She volunteered for Annie not only because Annie was young, but because Annie and Finnick were in love, and Mags knew what it would do to them to have to be in the Arena together. There was almost another couple in love in the Games, can you imagine how tragic that would have been? But Mags saved Annie, and I'm sure Finnick felt he owed her an enormous debt for that.

    FINNICK AND ANNIE FOREVER. (Finnick and Annie = Fannie. Heh.)

    • drippingmercury says:

      If Mags is one half of his family, I figure Annie is probably the other half. Finnick was screwed either way. 🙁

  85. Cally_Black says:

    Would just like to say that Finnick and Annie are the most tragic/beautiful couple. No spoilers, just something I thought from the moment I heard who Finnick was in love with.

    I love you Katpee, but Finnick and Annie win all things.

  86. I have the same kind of seizures you do! (Sorry for all the rambling, Mark!) I've been called a high school "dropout" for needing to leave to get my GED when my seizures were so frequent that school was no longer safe for me, so I empathise regarding the misery of seizures in the middle of a class (astral hugs from my end too).
    I get frustrated when people equate an epileptic fit with "pitching a fit", which I've had happen. Boy, if only it was just temper! I've read a few books where someone is doing something, trembling or twitching, and a character said it looked like they were having a fit, and it really surprised me at the time. (It was in one of my British Harry Potter novels, though I can't remember which one) I know it doesn't have the same context in every country, though.

    • Fuchsia says:

      Aww, I had these types of seizures, ranging from mild to not-able-to-function, literally every day from when I was sixteen until I was (finally!) diagnosed with epilepsy when I was 24 (I'm 27 now). It was absolutely awful.

      I'm definitely going to pay more attention to the context of the phrase, now. I think that's the way people best come around to understanding ableist language: having other people talking about it and how it's actually ableist, and seeing it reflected in their own speech. At least in my experience, that's how I've come to understand the faults with some of the words I used to use on a frequent basis. Which is why just pointing it out sometimes does a lot to help matters.

  87. Haley says:

    EVERYTHING IN THIS SERIES IS AWFUL IN THE MOST SUSPESNFUL, MUST READ MROE WAY. Three more chapters? WHAAT?!?! You. Are. Not. Prepared. AT ALL. Holy craaaaapppolaaa, I cannot wait to see your reactions to the next few and ESPECIALLY THE LAST LINE OF THE BOOK WTF. Mark, I advise you that if you do not already own Mockingjay to get it RIGHT NOW because believe me when I say you will not want to wait to read the first chapter… and the second chapter… and the third chapter… and so on;) I think you get what I mean (THIS BOOK IS CRUEL!) :'(

  88. Xocolatl. says:

    I've noticed that too, but it doesn't bother me (even though I have a close relationship with a mentally disabled friend), because Collins isn't degrading them. In fact, the love interest of the most supermegafoxyawesomehot character in the series is crazy! The main character is often driven crazy, people go crazy, the Capitol is crazy- but NOT in a condescending, sad, disturbing way.

    The way Collins writes it, it's just a fact of life that some go crazy after unimaginable events, some are just born crazy and it's not something to fear. If I was to take anything from her books, it's that she is an amazing writer to be able to describe scenes where Peeta, the sweetest thing ever, savagely stabs a monkey to death, where Katniss repeatedly screams her head off and violently attacks others, and all sorts of things, and make it seem REAL, seem true and understandable. For that, I really respect her.

    Additionally, she has shown her extreme tolerance and understanding of a variety of people- alcoholics, druggies, the homeless, poachers, and even people who are born into prejudice and ignorance and wealth and can't help who they are.

  89. lilygirl says:

    Well, this caught me at a Moment. Mark your Fear came across, why fear? If it is something to talk about, talk about it. We are all caught up in fear issues. Here is a link to a Ray Bradbury interview. If you cannot follow it, here is the jist. Oh, in case you don’t get the context it is about Fahrenheit 451
    “The point is obvious. There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches. Every minority, be it Baptist / Unitarian, Irish / Italian / Octogenarian / Zen Buddhist, Zionist / Seventh-day Adventist, Women’s Lib / Republican, Mattachine / FourSquareGospel feels it has the will, the right, the duty to douse the kerosene, light the fuse. Every dimwit editor who sees himself as the source of all dreary blanc-mange plain porridge unleavened literature, licks his guillotine and eyes the neck of any author who dares to speak above a whisper or write above a nursery rhyme”

    • Yusra says:

      (for some reason, it seems the comments aren't working properly but I hope you, if anyone, sees this).

      Thank you for that – it's expressed what I wanted to ten times better than I ever would.

  90. lilygirl says:

    I am still pissed off at the Huckleberry Fin rewrite.
    If Collins’ ableist writing is that offensive then call her out on it. If it is “true” to the moment, situation, culture, leave it alone.

  91. Robin says:

    Mark, thank you so much for mentioning the ableist language; it's something that has always really bothered me about the books but that I tend not to mention since calling out ableism almost always causes wank. I hate hate hate when 'crazy' is used to equal 'bad' or 'evil', but it's prevalent enough that I try to shut it out as much as I can and enjoy the story. Still, I think that it does cause real damage and contributes to the fact that folks with mental health issues are perceived as less trustworthy than folks without and the general dehumanization of folks whose mental health isn't a starling banner of perfection.

    (Also, you have made me the saddest of all sads linking to FWD. I'm going to miss that blog SO MUCH)

  92. Mary says:

    Throughout The Hunger Games and Catching Fire we have gotten glimpses of medicine in the Districts (or at least district 12) and they don't seem to have any of the modern technologies and understanding of psychological disorders that we do today. I don't know if Collins intended this, but she could be using the ableist language as a sort of mirror to society. I could be completely off, but that is my speculation.

  93. Gabbie says:

    Three more chapters until Mockingjay!! Man, you're still so unprepared. 🙂

  94. studious_mom says:

    Hmmm, I hadn't noticed the ableist language — but then you mentioned that it had to do with mental disorders, and I realized why. For some reason, I do notice ableist language when it has to do with physical disorders (which I don't have), but I rarely noticed ableist language when it deals with mental disorders (which permeate my life).

    My mom and sister both had/have bipolar, three of my closest friends have severe anxiety issues, and I have dealt with a bipolar diagnosis, ADHD, and seasonal affective disorder throughout my life. So my friends, family and I tend use words like "insane," "crazy," and "mad" in a sort of dark-humor way on a really frequent basis, both in reference to ourselves and to each other. I guess we sort of "owned" the words?

    Except, once you pointed it out I remembered a bumper sticker I hate — it says, "I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it!" Every time I see it, I grimace, because it's so absolutely, 100% clueless. It's like that time someone found out I was diagnosed with bipolar and responded, "Oooh! Lucky! I drop a hit of acid every day to try and get those kind of natural mania's you get!" And I'm thinking, "Okay, you? Are stupid. And clueless."

    I think in terms of mental illness, I'm only offended by that language when it's equated with envy and/ or cluelessness about how mental illness works. Like the user thinks it's a "pass" on life. If it's used in a context that seems to acknowledge and understand the "differentness" of the mentally ill experience, I don't feel offended.

    Anyone else?

    • inzhuna says:

      Thank you for sharing this. It's gotten me to think further on this. At first I thought using the words 'crazy', 'mad', 'insane' to equate them with 'bad' is what we should try to avoid. But then there's also the fact a lot of people use same terms to mean 'cool' or 'awesome'. I mean I'm pretty sure I say things like 'He is totally mental!' to express my admiration about a person. Or a lot of times nerd communities or people in a fandom say 'We are absolutely crazy and proud of it!' Would those kind of things be offensive to you? Should we just stop using these words in our language or should we only stop to use them in a derogatory sense?

      I'm really trying to wrap my head around this. Is there a moment where you'd go too far with trying to avoid offending? For example, while I was reading Mark's reviews of the HP series, I cringed every single time he said the book was going to give him an aneurysm (and he said that A LOT) because my Dad has it. But I think it'd be pretty stupid for me to complain about it. What do you think?

  95. Merri says:

    Mark, I realized today how jealous I am of you!! I wish I could go back and read The Hunger Games Trilogy for the first time again. The surprises were so much more exciting and riveting. UGH!!! I wish I could erase my knowledge of this book and read it for the first time again!!

  96. agirlinport says:

    I think it's good of you to bring this up, Mark. It's hard to address the issue in context of this story, since it's a totally different world. I also think that in terms of literature, you have to write believable dialogue and this is, unfortunately, how people talk. That's not a way of condoning the language, but rather recognizing that it is a proper reflection of society.
    On another point, I think certain words (such as "crazy" or "stupid") have come to a point where their definition has changed, and can no longer really be seen to mean the same thing they had in the past. Most people don't even realize what they actually mean when they're saying it. For example, "Crazy" has come to mean doing anything out of the ordinary. There are plenty of words in our vocabulary today that come from derogatory roots, but we don't recognize them as such anymore and people don't really even know that it once meant that. I think certain words are heading towards that. Not sure if that's a good thing or bad thing, but I do think it needs to be recognized.
    Other words, (insane, retarded, gay, OCD) have clearer meanings and are almost always used in inappropriate and derogatory ways. Unless a character is an outright bigot or something and the author is trying to show that, I think there's merit in authors trying to avoid usage of these terms as an example for their readers, especially young adult ones.
    On a personal note, backing up these opinions of mine, I wouldn't be offended if someone threw around the word "crazy" unless they were purposefully calling someone with mental illness crazy as an insult. But, speaking as someone with a compulsive disorder, I am offended when people make light of and joke about people being OCD. Because I think its insulting, and also because that's just bad syntax. You can't "be" OCD. You can be OC, or you can have OCD. It's not interchangeable. Lol.
    Anyway, that's just my little spiel on the subject. If anyone has a different perspective on this, I'd love to hear about it.

  97. aficat says:

    There was an interesting discussion on the Arizona shootings on Jezebel a few days ago. The initial article is about his misogynist leanings, but the commenters delve into the social stigmas of mental illness and ableist rhetoric in moving and eye opening ways.

  98. L_Swann says:

    Mark, I just wanted to say a big thank you for enlightening me about ableist thought. I've never been exposed to many of these ideas before, and your blog is the only reason I know about it now. I've always cared a lot about choosing my words carefully so that I don't offend others, but I don't think our society seems to understand that "accepted" words like "lame" or "insane" or "psychotic" are actually negative reflections of real people who possess real disabilities.

    Anyway, as a white, spoiled female teenager who's attended a private school for her entire life, thank you for altering my worldview so significantly.

    P.S. – Does anyone know if they offer classes about these types of things at college? What would it be, social justice? I don't plan on majoring in it (my first love will always be English) but like I said, I'd love to educate myself more so I can always speak respectfully.

    • drippingmercury says:

      re: social justice classes, it depends on your school and what they offer. Some colleges have whole departments devoted to Women and Gender Studies, Black Studies, Asian Studies, Multicultural Studies, etc, which generally offer introductory classes that can provide a decent background on the subject and a basis for understanding other issues. For instance, the course I took on Race, Gender, and Class gave me a solid base for understanding concepts in more advanced classes and also caused me to notice such things in other contexts, even if, say, my professor (or my favorite review blogger, Mark 😉 ) doesn't point them out to me.
      Given your interest in English, you should also look into Sociology and History courses. They may offer a lot of classes that are both relevant to your major/literary interests and give social/historical context for literature as well as life in general. They might also fill your gen ed requirement!
      I would suggest looking through some of the departments I've mentioned and reading the course offerings. This is far from an exhaustive list–hell, I've even found economics classes that address social justice, but they're, uh, more rare… (environmental econ ftw?).
      I think I am mostly just rambling at this point, but hopefully this gives you an idea where to start when looking. If you find social justice is an interest of yours, check out the campus organizations. Many schools also have resource centers for various social justice groups where you can find all sorts of delicious educational material and helpful people.
      /higher ed ramble

  99. noxcuses says:

    Mark, you finally lured me in to register to comment on your site. I've lurked for months enjoying your community and now I'm officially part of it. 🙂 Thanks for being a highlight of my day!

  100. Jen says:

    I study psychology with the intention of working in prisons, but I really never see "insane" or "crazy" as an equivalent to "gay" or "retard" in being used as an offensive language. I guess it's because we never really use those in our field, so it's not really necessarily related in its supposed meanings. Archaically, it did mean someone with a mental illness, but now it pretty much just means that something/someone does not make sense to us.

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