If you’re a nerd like me and spent this past Thursday night eagerly waiting for The Hunger Games midnight premier, you might recognize the name Katniss Everdeen. Katniss is the heroine of the wildly popular Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. If you haven’t had the opportunity to read these books yet I highly recommend checking them out at your local library.
Recently, I’ve noticed a lot of media comparing Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight with Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games, or more specifically, Katniss vs. Bella.
I did a little research and I found this article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/in-katniss-of-hunger-games-a-lasting-heroine/2012/03/20/gIQAXvVbUS_story.html
The main point of the article is Katniss is not a new character, her physical and emotional strength are not new concepts to female heroines. However, many of the “sheroes” depicted in present day teen fiction, such as Bella Swan, are the exact opposite of the force that is Katniss Everdeen. Bella doesn’t push herself forward, and fight. Bella’s route is different, but her choices are her own. I am not a Twilight fan in any sense of the word but this article had a fascinating insight: there is room for both sheroes. Katniss needs to exist alongside Bella, both are representational of different aspects of feminism and the choices it allows women to have.
I appreciated the article for having the insight to point out characters like Katniss, who defy the norm, have existed in literature for ages. Has anyone besides me read Little Women? Jo and Katniss would have been best friends.
Ultimately I have to agree with the Washington Post article; Jo, from Little Women is remembered as is Alana from Tamora Pierce novels, and I don’t think anyone will ever forget the brilliant Hermione Granger from Harry Potter. These women, along with Katniss Everdeen, are powerful, dynamic creatures who put their complete selves into a struggle against all odds.
So I offer up the question, of all the female characters in modern day literature, whom do you think will be remembered? Will our daughters read about Bella Swan while Katniss fades quietly into the background and is eventually forgotten? Or will it be characters like Bella, who passively accept their surroundings, who will eventually be forgotten?