Katniss Everdeen, Ray of Sunshine

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.

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2 Responses to Katniss Everdeen, Ray of Sunshine

  1. Haley says:

    Oh. Oooohhh I really love this. 😀 Your title is hilarious, first of all (can you imagine how Katniss would respond to being called anybody’s “ray of sunshine”? I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of that reaction…) and you were able to clearly convey a sense that her character undergoes massive emotional upheaval, even without the plot points labeled. I might label your axes though, just so we’re clear that the little red line is in fact “Happiness.”

    One question I had for you though–do you think this graph really represents Katniss’ emotional state throughout the book, or more of your reaction to it? Since you can’t ask Katniss herself, I’d imagine it’s more of the latter, that by interpreting the events in the book through the lens of your own emotional response, you were able to create a graph that reflects both.

  2. Emily Strong says:

    Since Katniss’ feelings are rarely articulated (and she often doesn’t know herself what she is feeling) we have to infer them from her actions. And she is a character with *a lot* of agency, so for most of these I feel pretty confident in my guesstimation of how she is feeling. 🙂

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