RE: How does Suzanne Collins use Katniss Everdeen to explore the effect of war on young people in “The Hunger Games”?
Suzanne Collins uses her protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, in "The Hunger Games" as a powerful lens through which to explore the effects of war on young people. This exploration is mainly expressed in three phases: before, during, and after her participation in the Hunger Games. Prior to her involvement into the Games, Katniss represents the numerous children who are robbed of a normal childhood due to war. Living in poverty-stricken District 12, she is forced to become the provider for her family at a young age after her father's death in the coal mines, thus showing how war situations can push children into adult roles prematurely. During the Games, Katniss becomes an embodiment of the physical and psychological traumas that young people endure in conflict situations. Mentally, she struggles continuously with the moral implications of killing others for survival, even suffering from nightmares. Physically, she faces near-death experiences daily, showcasing the life-threatening risks young war-affected individuals often encounter. After the games, Collins explores the long-lasting effects of war. Katniss suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), nightmares, and guilt, all of which are common in youngsters who have witnessed or participated in armed conflicts. Moreover, she becomes a symbol of rebellion, suggesting that young people can become leading figures in obstructing oppressive structures, even at great personal cost. In conclusion, Suzanne Collins effectively uses Katniss Everdeen as a vehicle to portray the multifaceted effects of war on the youth, ranging from premature adulthood, physical and psychological trauma, to their potential role as change-makers in war-torn societies. This not only makes her a multi-dimensional character, but also offers commentary on the harsh realities and potential strength of young people affected by conflict.