Saturday, September 11, 2010

Ode to the Girl on Fire (and the symbolic end of a craze)

"I no longer feel any allegiance to these monsters called human beings, despise being one myself… Because something is significantly wrong with a creature that sacrifices its children’s lives to settle its differences." - Katniss Everdeen, Mockingjay

I know, right. It’s not easy being a kid in a world like our own. Even if it doesn’t exactly mirror the condition of which Panem citizens, particularly the district people, are living in. For all we know, circumstances may lead to it, and, being the barbarians that we are, it wouldn’t be much too long before someone realizes that people need to be coerced. And the people who possess the power will only have their greed, their insatiability, their self-indulgence overcome whatever sanity and reason that’s left in their tiny, money-driven heads. Much, much too soon. And the children are the ones who will have to suffer the consequences.

This is the reality the Hunger Games trilogy wanted us to see.

However, I’m not going to tell you what exactly happened in Mockingjay since a lot of the fans out there aren’t done reading the book yet, and I don’t wanna be chastised, or worse, be skinned alive for spoiling the suspense. Let me just tell you how I, for that matter, relate to the story.

OK so right now I’m coping with Mockingjay withdrawal symptoms, and I’m really having a hard time trying to concentrate on something that would take my mind off it. The thing is, this has always been a problem, me getting so attached to a novel and finding it really hard to move on after I’ve finished reading. I’m thrown into the same scenario all the time: Three days to read the book and a week or two to mull over it. Days of deprivation and half-hearted responses to the friends and workmates who engage me in conversation. Several moments of being caught lost in thought, trying to put words to that weird feeling of abandonment consuming me.

You might think I’m overreacting. Yeah well, I wish I am. I remember as if it was just yesterday how I cried really hard after finishing the last Harry Potter book. I mean, come on, I started reading Harry Potter since I was 12 and had been truly devoted to the series ever since. I practically grew up with Harry; he was my own paper-and-pen twin brother. So when the series finally came to an end, the sadness was just so overwhelming. I felt empty and useless and miserable. It’s like the end of the world for me, you know, that feeling of not having anything to look forward to anymore. And how you’d feel alone during the wee hours of the morning because there is no 600-page novel to keep you company and to spend all your sleepless nights with. Yep, painful.

It’s basically just the same with Mockingjay, though I started reading Hunger Games just over a year ago. I wasn’t a fan of dystopian literature because I used to have this general impression that dystopian novels are the easiest to write since you can put in virtually anything you want—from flying bulldozers, hybrid animals to tie-dyed human beings—and get away with it just like that. Readers would get mystified and wouldn’t care much about the story anymore. But the Hunger Games trilogy is an exception. For me it’s not just a dystopian novel but a mirror image of what the world could possibly look like in the not-so-distant future. Katniss Everdeen is likewise the very reflection of myself—a girl who was thrown mercilessly into the world and subjected to the harsh tests of life.

I used to be a Katniss Everdeen in my own little world, battling endlessly with all the shit life was throwing at me. At a very early age, I learned that life can be cruel and I had no choice but to suck it up. So much for the drama. What I’m trying to say is that now I’m done with Mockingjay, I feel more alone than ever. I just lost a paper-and-pen twin sister who’s just survived a bloody war in her world.

Now I’m left to deal with my own misery. And the bigger games are just about to begin.

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