After watching the video of Kurt Vonnegut explaining the shapes of stories I was particularly intrigued by his comment, “Why get a depressing person?” My thoughts immediately went to Katniss Everdeen, the heroine of The Hunger Games. She begins the novel as prickly, disillusioned, and distrusting of others. She is the perfect heroine for a dark action novel set in a dystopian world. I started to sketch out her mood throughout the novel, and then realized it was much more complex than I was attempting to make it. As an action-driven story, it has a lot of ups and downs, and Katniss’ moods match this. I ended up creating a detailed diagram of it in Photoshop – there is a spoilers version here if you want to know what plot points match each rise and fall.
One fact that I tried to demonstrate is that apart from about 5 minutes near the end, Katniss is never happy. At first she is worried about the survival of her family, and then she volunteers to be in the Hunger Games. And you can never be happy when you’re in the Hunger Games. The closest you can come is thinking maybe, just maybe you’ll survive.