The Natural World Header

SYMBOLOGY

THE NATURAL WORLD

Concentric circlesThe Mockingjay Bird

THE MOCKINGJAY BIRD

The unlikely progeny of the genetically engineered jabberjays and the common mockingbird, the music-loving mockingjay symbolically flies in the face of the Capitol’s quest for absolute control and carries the hope of liberation for generations of district-bound people.  

Precisely mimicking melodies from both humans and birds, these black corvids with white patches under their wings are a welcome sight and sound in district skies, though like all wild animals, they can be dangerous if their nests are disturbed.

Concentric circlesKatniss Plant

KATNISS

Katniss’ namesake plant possesses arrowhead-shaped leaves with white flowers and grows in wild ponds and marshy areas. Its edible, blue-tinged roots—similar to potatoes—can be boiled or baked, providing sustenance amidst scarcity. As Katniss’ father once reminded her, “As long as you can find yourself, you’ll never starve.”

Concentric circlesEvening Primrose

EVENING PRIMROSE

Opening at sunset, these vibrant flowers lend their name to Primrose Everdeen. Oil derived from the plant has long been used to relieve pain and other symptoms. Prim likewise alleviates the suffering of those around her. After she is killed by District 13 bombs, Peeta plants primroses outside Katniss’ home in Prim’s memory.

Concentric circlesRue Plant

RUE

Also known as “herb of grace,” this wildflower with bluish-green leaves and small, yellow blossoms grows in the meadows of District 12. Used for culinary and medicinal purposes throughout history, the wildflower’s bitter taste has garnered it an association with remembrance and regret. Named for the same flower, Rue endears herself to Katniss, whose sorrow, rage, and regret over not being able to save her reverberate beyond the arena.

Concentric circlesRose

ROSE

Coriolanus Snow’s obsession with roses blossomed early. His mother carried rose-scented powder in a silver compact engraved with a rose and his grandmother grew the flowers in their family’s roof garden. Even as the Capitol rebuilt itself after the war, his grandmother’s roses were a status symbol in the city, an association Snow never abandoned.

During his presidency, Snow cultivates thousands of genetically enhanced roses, white ones being his favorite variety. For Snow, roses are more than a symbol of the purity he seeks to bring to Panem; they speak to control, greatness, and the Snow family’s right to rule.

In practice, Snow always wears a rose in his lapel to mask the scent of blood from mouth sores, the lingering effects of poison that he himself consumed to thwart suspicions from his targets. On several occasions, he uses his personal connection to the image and scent of the rose as a kind of psychological warfare with Katniss, knowing that whenever she sees a white rose or smells its sickly perfume, she will know his presence.

Concentric circlesHawthorne

HAWTHORNE

The Hawthorne family surname is inspired by a hardy flowering tree. While its name is derived from Old English, its genus Crataegus comes from the Greek words for “strength,” owing to its sturdy wood, and “sharp” for the thorns it often bears. Gale embodies these dual characteristics in his role as both an anchor for Katniss and a warrior for Panem.

Concentric circlesDandelion

DANDELION

To Katniss, Peeta and the dandelion are forever linked. After he gave her the loaf of life-giving bread, she plucked one of the flowers from the schoolyard and gathered enough from the meadow to feed her family. From that day on, the dandelion has symbolized to Katniss the blossoming of hope and possibility that Peeta represents.

Concentric circlesDaisy

DAISY

The Bellis perennis, or common daisy, provides “everlasting beauty” in District 12’s grassy spaces. These resilient white blossoms with a sunny center feature in the District 12 lullaby, “Deep in the Meadow,” which Katniss sings to both her sister and to Rue.

Here the daisies guard you from every harm
Here your dreams are sweet and tomorrow brings them true
Here is the place where I love you.

Concentric circlesNightlock

NIGHTLOCK

Katniss first learns to recognize nightlock as a child from her father in the forests of District 12. At the end of the 74th Hunger Games, she uses the poisonous berries in a gambit to force the Gamemakers into declaring her and Peeta co-victors. Among Capitol citizens, the berries were symbolic of a love-struck teenager; elsewhere, the sign of defiance was irrefutable.

After Seneca Crane’s failure to eliminate the two tributes, President Snow has the Head Gamemaker locked in a room with a bowl of the same berries in a malevolent gesture. Nightlock continues to resonate with Katniss’ Mockingjay role. It is both the name of a poison pill given to the members of Squad 451 to be consumed in the event of their capture and the trigger word for the Holo’s self-destruct mechanism when repeated three times.

The word nightlock suggests a compounding of two plant species noted for their poisonous qualities: deadly nightshade and hemlock.

Concentric circlesSnakes

SNAKES

Snakes represent both Lucy Gray Baird's defiance and survival skills as illustrated when she drops snakes into the pockets of her competitors. Snakes also symbolize the corrupt and dangerous nature of the Capitol, serving as a warning about the importance of rebellion and resistance in Panem.

The Capitol & The Rebellion Header

SYMBOLOGY

THE CAPITOL & THE REBELLION

Concentric circlesThe Mockingjay Pin

THE MOCKINGJAY PIN

The gold, circular pin depicting a mockingjay in flight with an arrow in its beak was forged in defiance even before Katniss wore it into the arena. By showcasing the living evidence of the Capitol’s failed jabberjay program, the pin celebrates persistence and freedom in the face of overwhelming odds.  

Katniss first lays eyes on the pin at Greasy Sae’s stall in the Hob. In the somber atmosphere of reaping day, Greasy Sae responds to Katniss’ curiosity by offering her the pin for free. Katniss gives it to sister Primrose as a talisman of protection.

Concentric circlesThe Mockingjay Role

THE MOCKINGJAY ROLE

The image of the mockingjay culminates in the figure of Katniss, whose bravery and heroism transform her into the songbird that defies the Capitol.

With the eyes of the Capitol and the districts focused on Katniss with equal intensity, District 13 leadership sets in motion a secret plan to rescue her from the 75th arena and confirm her as the face of the revolution. Introspection and encounters with other victims of the Capitol’s cruelty ultimately compel Katniss to recognize in herself what others see her to be. District 13 quickly centers her and the Mockingjay symbol in all their propos.

Katniss’ acceptance of the Mockingjay role is her own decision, but her journey there had been gently guided by her stylist, Cinna, who saw her potential and sewed the interview dress that made her a Mockingjay and him a target. Before his death, he creates her Mockingjay armor but makes Plutarch promise not to show her the designs until she decides to adopt the moniker on her own.

Concentric circlesRue's Four-Note Song

RUE'S FOUR-NOTE SONG

When working in the treetops of District 11’s orchards, Rue was often the first to see the flag that signaled the day’s end. To spread the news quickly, she created a short tune that mockingjays would carry across the fields. In offering this as a signal of safety between her and newfound friend Katniss, she had no way of knowing the power it would one day possess.

In the arena, the respect Katniss pays upon Rue’s death, which included the three-finger salute from District 12, amplifies the sense of loss and injustice and, in turn, saturates their shared whistle with meaning. In District 11, the mockingjay signal is used in conjunction with the District 12 salute to show solidarity, a perceived act of sedition immediately greeted with violence.

When Katniss agrees to become the Mockingjay, the tune spreads even wider through its use in District 13 propos broadcast across the nation. No longer a signal of the end of the workday, Rue’s song is a reminder that the work for freedom never ends.

Concentric circlesThree Finger Salute

THREE FINGER SALUTE

This reverent gesture originated in District 12 and gains new significance in the wake of the 74th Hunger Games. The salute is offered by bringing the three middle fingers of the left hand to the lips and extending the arm outward. Its historic use in District 12 is tied to expressions of thanks, admiration, and fond farewells upon such somber occasions as funerals.

During the Games, Katniss uses the sign out of respect for Rue after she is killed; the nation stirs. Following this public display, the salute could be seen in bold demonstrations throughout the districts. It has honored loved ones, bound communities, and inspired uprisings.

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SYMBOLOGY

HERITAGE & HISTORY

Concentric circlesCinna's Tribute Costume

CINNA'S TRIBUTE COSTUME

Katniss owes her “Girl on Fire” moniker to the ingenious work of her stylist Cinna. Having requested District 12 specifically for his first Games, Cinna gives the typically overlooked district a chance to make an impression and ultimately survive when he uses fire rather than coal imagery for the 74th tribute parade.

Cinna’s iconic flames synthetically emanate from his creations for the pair’s first Capitol appearance on the Avenue of the Tributes, Katniss’ first interview dress, and for her and Peeta’s parade return the following year. Cinna uses his stylist position to spark the fire imagery that makes Katniss unforgettable in the Capitol and an inspiration throughout the districts.

Concentric circlesKatniss' Wedding Gown

KATNISS' WEDDING GOWN

When the Third Quarter Quell cancels the publicized wedding plans for Katniss and Peeta, Cinna takes advantage of President Snow’s requirement that Katniss wear her wedding gown for the televised tribute interview. The wedding gown, with its silver-winged metal bodice and billowing chiffon feathers presents Katniss to the Capitol as a graceful bride facing her swan song, stirring pangs of sorrow and resentment for the crowds who had been anticipating the wedding of the century.

Its secondary design, revealed when the outer layer burns away upward from the hem as Katniss turns, arrays Katniss as a mockingjay, wings and all, an incendiary message of resistance for the districts disguised as theatrical fashion.

Concentric circlesMockingjay Armor

MOCKINGJAY ARMOR

In District 13, Katniss learns the full extent of Cinna’s participation in the rebel underground, expressed most distinctly in the Mockingjay armor created in anticipation of her role in the coming revolution. Designed before Katniss returned to the arena, the armor is Cinna’s posthumous gift of support and protection.

The armor is the culmination of all mockingjay imagery; the bird that flourished despite the Capitol’s plans and the pin worn by the girl who defied the Capitol’s rulebook are transformed from covert symbols to an embodied image of revolution: the Mockingjay leading the fight. Evoking its namesake bird, the blue-black armor includes wing-shaped plating in back and perfectly suits Katniss’ tactical archery needs with a detachable quiver, reinforced arm guards, and asymmetrical breast plate for freer arm movement.

Although a coordinated part of District 13’s propaganda, the Mockingjay armor is also a tangible connection for Katniss to the friend that risked his life to help her survive and never required her to be anyone but herself.

Concentric circlesKatniss' Hunting Jacket

KATNISS' HUNTING JACKET

Katniss retained her father’s leather hunting jacket after his death when she was just eleven. In the years since, it has been her primary hunting gear, its soft and supple leather comfortably worn in and providing warmth and ease of movement when drawing her bow.

Even after her victor’s status provides new clothes from the Capitol, Katniss never heads to the woods without donning the pale brown jacket.

When she’s able to retrieve it after the destruction of District 12, the hunting jacket becomes an even more indelible marker of what Katniss has lost but also a reminder of who she is, before and beyond the Capitol’s abuses.

Concentric circlesLucy Gray's Rainbow Dress

LUCY GRAY'S RAINBOW DRESS

Lucy Gray Baird arrives at the reaping for the 10th Hunger Games ready to take the stage, knowing the lottery has likely been rigged to draw her name. Arrayed in a dress of rainbow ruffles that belonged to her late mother, she faces her fate with roguish flair, performing a brassy ballad for the crowd when her name is called and dropping a pocketed snake down the dress of the guilty party as she walks to the platform. Before she even reaches the Capitol, Lucy Gray has made an impression.

Throughout the events leading up to the Games, Lucy Gray’s rainbow dress not only personally represents her connection to the Covey and her unwavering poise, her vibrant dress and spirit gain her fans in the Capitol and the admiration of her mentor, young Coriolanus Snow.

Whether singing to ogling spectators during her imprisonment in the Capitol Zoo, to rowdy miners and Peacekeepers in District 12, or to a subdued swarm of rainbow-colored snake mutts in the arena, Lucy Gray’s moxie and determination is exemplified by her defiantly festive multicolored frock.

Concentric circlesThe Hanging Tree

THE HANGING TREE

First written by Lucy Gray Baird, “The Hanging Tree,” was a ballad of her own experiences with Coryo. Sung by Katniss in the Mockingjay, it was a song she learned from her father that they sung to remind them of the executions of District 12 citizens unjustly by the Capitol. Katniss sings The Hanging Tree during the rebellion to signal her commitment to the cause.