Katniss Everdeen: Play For Power by Myra

    “At some point you have to stop running and turn around and face whoever it is that is chasing you. The hard part is finding the courage for it.” Most people see that Katniss as a teenager trying to fight for what is right. She is trying to rid her world of injustice that comes along with hosting the Hunger Games. But really, Katniss Everdeen wasn’t a kind tribute trying to save her sister’s life. She was a careless and power hungry teenager, who was eager to get attention and replace all figures of authority that previously existed.

    When Primrose Everdeen was called to represent District 12 in the 74th annual Hunger Games, Katniss eagerly took her place. There was merely a moment to breathe after the name had been called, as Katniss immediately stood up and ran forward. On page 22 of the first book in the trilogy, Effie trinket, the moderator of the reaping (the event where the tributes are chosen), heard Katniss volunteer, and she even mentioned that the chosen tribute first had to be introduced, and then other people could volunteer. “I believe there’s a small matter of introducing the reaping winner and asking for volunteers.” This shows that Katniss jumped up with such speed, that not even the crowd had a chance to digest the previous events before she decided to take her sister’s place.

    Katniss has never been afraid of standing out from the crowd and getting attention for it. And she used this further her plan of containing all of Panem at her call. Katniss wears a pin on her chest during the games, even though souvenirs from home are discouraged the gaming arena. This is a pin of a mockingjay, that was given to her by a friend from back home. Katniss claims that this pin is like a piece of her past life to her, but this is what forms the rebellion, and makes Katniss the leader of all. People draw inspiration from the mockingjay on the pin, and this leads them to rebel against the Capitol and its rules. The mockingjay and Katniss herself symbolise a new way of life, that doesn’t include dictatorship and poverty. And with all of this knowledge, Katniss enters the arena once again during the second book of the trilogy, continuing to wear the pin. She caused many districts to rebel against authority by taking inspiration from the pin, which killed many innocent people during the riots. She even witnesses a riot first hand during a tour of a district, including the assassination of a man that has done no wrong. But simply for the sake of coming to power, she continues using the mockingjay to symbolise the rebellion.

   A mockingjay is a bird that is a slap in the face of the Capitol. During the first rebellion, the Capitol bred a series of genetically altered animals as weapons. One of these was a jabberjay, that had the senility to memorise and repeat several human conversations. These were birds that were all male, and were released in areas of the Capitol where the rebels were known to be hiding. After the birds gathered the words, they would fly back and repeat the conversations. But soon, the rebellion began to feed false information, so the Capitol killed this species of bird. However, some males mated with the female mockingbirds, creating a new species of birds, known as mockingjays. These birds continued to live, taunting the Capitol of one of their biggest fails. Katniss uses this bird on her pin to prove her true identity. She is a person who didn’t follow the rules set by the Capitol. Instead, she chose her own meaning of life and decided to rebel against what she thought was wrong. But she also used this method of rebelling to come into power. As said by one of Katniss’s friends, “you’re the face of the rebellion. You have more influence than any other single person.”

    Another example of this power-hungry teenager attempting at making a move is during the second book of the series. Before the games, each tribute from all twelve districts goes through an interview, answering questions about their daily life and experience in previous games. In her interview with Caesar Flickerman, Katniss is showing off her dress. It’s a plain white dress, with many frills towards the bottom, and is quite unlike anything else the other tributes are wearing. She gets up, and walks around the stage, twirling around in her dress in the process. But when she does this, her dress transforms into the wings of a mockingjay, as she captivates the audience of all. She has the attention of all of Panem, as she shows that the rebellion is stronger than ever, and will continue working to overthrow President Snow and his way of ruling.

    While it may seem like this is enough to prove her true identity, there is yet another reason she isn’t the innocent girl she is shown to be. In the last book of the trilogy, Katniss is kept safe in District 13 (a district previously thought to have been destroyed), so that the rebellion can continue to function. Under the leadership of Coin (a powerful women you don’t want to mess with), they eliminate crucial leaders from the Capitol, hoping to end the Hunger Games in the process. Once the rebellion has captured President Snow, Katniss is given the duty of executing him, as she was the leader of the rebellion all along. In front of thousands of people, Katniss strings her bow, preparing to shoot at Snow, who has been marked right in front of her. But at the last minute, her aim shifts upwards, and she shoots, killing President Coin as she immediately plunged towards the ground. Her actions in this moment show the depths she is willing to travel too, so that it is ensured she is the one that will come to power. Katniss knew that President Snow was captured and hated by everyone in the Capitol. She realised that killing him wouldn’t be effective, because someone else would do that for her anyway. Instead, she shifted her target to Coin, as she knew there wouldn’t be any more opportunities to kill her and take hold over the rebellion. Katniss also realised that once Coin was out of the picture, she would be the only one that could lead the nation, as she was the Mockingjay that everybody believed in.

    Even with all these reasons, it may seem to some that Katniss was just that one unlucky girl, chosen to represent her district, but instead led everyone to a more morally sound world. But as seen by her attempts at taking power, she is a cruel and calculating brain. Everything she did was only in interest of herself and the power she holds. It’s up to you to decide; was she a normal teenage girl, or a calculating ruler? But decide wisely. Because as said by Katniss Everdeen herself, “May the odds ever be in your favour.”

vignettes on terror

terror

terror. in my throat. burning, roaring. everyone watching me, i’m on the spot. all the eyes, inquisitive, wanting to know why i did it. i did it for the money. the money he earned, working day after day in those dark mines. sitting in front of a heavy, wooden door. he opened the door when the coal car came. then closed it quickly when the air started to come through. sitting all alone, by himself, saving energy from the oil lamp. they say he was deprived. of a childhood. of the chance to play and learn, make friends and explore. that’s what they all told me. over and over in court, at home, and at work too. but that wasn’t how it really was. only seemed like that to those who didn’t need to make the choice to send children to work. it wasn’t like the decision was easy. i had to sign and lie too. but when it comes to money, it’s no questions asked around here. so really those who could throw money in the air didn’t have the right to say anything. the darkness in the mines seemed endless, but nine hours a day got him enough to eat for the week. and at the end of the day that’s what really matters. and that’s what i tell them.

 

now and then

present day

laughing. i can hear it. can feel it. it’s sounds, coursing through me. through my veins, through my thoughts. it’s distracting me, but i can’t do anything about it. it’s not fair, i have to finish my chores, only then can i go out and join my friends to play. none of my friends have chores. their parents can afford to hire help. that’s not me, not my family. here, we do it all by hand. my sister and i, we have to chip in. my mom spends the whole day in a small cubicle so she can put some food on the table. my dad, he works in the frozen section at the grocery store. once he came home, all his fingers and toes blue, like berries in the springtime. the dribbling of a ball. sounds like they started a new game. i can hear elise and maria. and maybe even eliza. what i can’t hear is the sounds of the dishwasher running. the creaking and roaring, just like all of our other appliances. they are so old now. i wish i could be outside, not cooped up in here. but they’re only chores, really, not factory work, day after day. i’m not separated from my family, thousands of miles apart. i’m just apart of a less rich family. and then,  without thinking about it anymore, i go back to work.

 

19th century

Moments passes. My eyes hurt. My arms felt like they could fall off. I needed to sleep. I needed to stop. But working was the only way to become free again. After Mama sold the farm, she fled to the city with Rachel and Emily. John and I were left to pay of the debt. I wanted to take care of him. I really did. And that’s why I decided he go live somewhere else. He’s in school, with a family that can provide food for him. A family that can put a roof over his head. But it’s not always easy to live with the decision I made. He gets to learn, have fun with his new friends, and forget about the reason his real family isn’t behind him today. But there’s only this one thing. Every day that I spend, working in this factory, breathing in the smoke, I think what it would have been like if I could have been the one in school, whilst he be the one, working to pay it all off. “Emma!” Cassie’s warning leads me to jerk my head, and just as well, for I see three men walking towards me. They look strict and harsh, their eyes filled with hatred. They are almost to me, when I get up and run. I won’t live like this anymore. I’m done, I tell myself. And I run towards freedom.

 

Stuck in the Moment

She looked over at me, I could feel her eyes burning on my back. Even from the across the playground, I knew she was staring at what I was doing. It was my first day at this school, and all I had managed to do was embarrass myself during my introduction which then led me to be playing all by myself on the playground. And the only thing I could do was play with the sand. And so that’s what I did. But then when I could feel her eyes on me, my hands automatically just clamped. I stood up and brushed the sand of me. Deep breath, the butterflies in my stomach scuttling around. I turned, my back to her. Nervousness, roaring inside of me. Is this what it was like for young children leaving their childhood behind, and going to work in factories? Young children having to spend day after day in cold mines. Secluded from the outside world. The crunching of her feet as she stepped on the piles of leaves, brought me back into the moment. The crunching noises were getting louder; she was getting closer and closer. The children laughing as they jumped in the water puddles. The big kids screaming with pleasure on the tire swing. I tried to tune all these sounds out. The only sounds ringing in my ears were her steps. I tried to walk, but my feet felt like jelly, my head started pounding. Then I felt her hand, tap me on my back. I turned and saw her bright smile. Then suddenly, I wasn’t nervous anymore.

 

Humanities reflection

This year in humanities has been great. I learned a lot about myself as a writer and reader. I am proud of the books that I read, and the pieces that I wrote. One of my favourites in reading this year were: Salt to the sea, A night divided, Between shades of gray, and many others. I really pushed myself this year in the genres that I am reading. At the beginning of the year I was reading a lot of realistic fiction, and graphic novels. Now I have grown and am reading historical fiction, as well as dystopian and fantasy. In writing this year, I pushed myself with my informational text. The title of my article was The Gifts and Curses of an Civilization. In the past, I have not been able to find enjoyment in this. But this year I was actually surprised that I had fun writing this and also researching. I am really proud that I did well in this written transcript and also my podcast. Another thing I am proud of is that i made new friends in my class. I new some friends before, but I feel like I did well branching out and making new friends. At the beginning of the year I stuck to my friends, and sat at the same table, but now even though I still sit at that table, i am happy to work and collaborate with most of the people in my class. Hopefully next year, I will make even more friends, if I am with any of the people that are in my class right now. Some hopes that I have for next year are to become better at doing more than 60 minutes of Membean every week. This will help my vocabulary, and I would like to do more of it. I also would like to read more young adult books, and complete some more books in the series that I have started this year. During the summer I want to read some books on Overdrive. This year I liked books by Agatha Christie. Hopefully I will read more of her harder books next year. One last thing that I am proud of this year is that I was able to grow in giving presentations. I did three book talks, and in each one I think I did better than the last. I learned how to make sure that the audience is engaged in what I am talking about, and to also include pictures as a visual that helps them picture what I am talking about. I really enjoyed this year!

Greek crafts reflection

Today we made some different forms of Greek artworks. I originally planned to make a mosaic with the ocean since that played an important role on the island of Crete. But I was also able to make two other smaller necklaces. I used different sizes of squares made of paper for the mosaic instead of tiles. I used elastic and beads for my necklaces. The next time I get an opportunity to re make these crafts I would like to make a medallion and add more detail to my mosaic.  Here is what I managed to make:


My takeaway from this project was how in Ancient Greece the metics and other villagers sat finishing their crafts before selling them in the marketplace. This activity helped me learn how hard they worked and how much they put into it. We only had 85 mins, but they use to spend days completing theirs. Craft was something important to them. It was more then just a little something. It showed us what they truly were like, and what were the beliefs at that point. Today we still study and look at their artworks to discover parts of their life and our past.

Catapult Reflection

Today we built our own catapults. I’m proud of the design that I came up with. At first I was confused about how to make sure that it stands straight it and make sure that the eraser can go a long distance. I used a spoon to help make a cup for the eraser. On the first trial, my catapult shooted the eraser one meter away. My partner and I improved on our design and added a much larger popsicle stick that helped the eraser go further. On the third trial,the rubber band had worn out a little bit so it did not even go one meter away from the starting line. 

The next time I do this I will use a thicker rubber band and add more support to the base. This will help the catapult be more stable and the rubber band will not wear out as easily. This was a fun task that I enjoyed building on.

Ancient Greece Government

     Today I will tell you about the advantages and disadvantages of government in Ancient Greece. They had four different systems that changed over the years. The first was monarchy, then there was oligarchy. Afterwards there was tyranny and lastly there was democracy. But today I will only talk about monarchy and oligarchy.     The first government system in Ancient Greece was monarchy. The advantages of this system were:

The people had no voice. The subjects occasionally jumped in to give advice, but that was it.

The polis might be stronger.

The King could exile any people that he considered bad, to a different kingdom. This would also help the polis be rid of bad people.

There was always a chance of blaming others for crimes, since there were so many people in each city-state.

The disadvantages of monarchy were:

The eldest Prince would get to be King. The princes always killed each other, to fight for the crown. 

Sometimes the eldest son killed the King, because he wanted to become King earlier, and serve a longer time as King.

Since the people do not have a voice, the Polis always had a chance of dying out.

The subjects and people had no voice.

     The next government system in Ancient Greece was oligarchy. Here are the advantages of this system:

The political power was shared among aristocrats. These were people who inherited wealth and power fro their families.

Slowly the system changed and the political power soon rested with a few selected individuals. 

Some were of aristocratic birth, while others were wealthy members of the middle class.

The disadvantages of this system were:

When they had to make an important decision, they would fight amongst themselves.

The citizens enjoyed certain protections although they lacked full political power like voting.

Sometimes oligarchies ruled harshly, and eventually the citizens overthrew it.

     Oligarchy and Monarchy were two of the four different types of government systems that took place in Ancient Greece. None of them lasted for more than 3000 years, until democracy came into Ancient Greece.

Service Learning Day

     On the 1st of March, we had a service learning day where we did a lot of activities and learned about service. Here is what learned and my takeaway:    During the ice cream simulation, I noticed that the group that had most people had the least amount of land and also started with the the smallest amount of money. This game challenged us to think about how we could help others and not just ourselves. For example, the groups that had less land and fewer people, hired people from other groups to help them build their ideal community. This is a kind of service towards others in your community.

     In the empathy and sympathy activity, we learned about the difference between the two. Sympathy is a comment that highlights what you do have, while empathy puts yourself into someone’s shoes. We got in groups of three, and practiced scenarios where each person gave one sympathetic and one empathetic comment to a person who might be sad for whatsoever reason.

      I enjoyed the how to start a change activity because we learned to take risks. If you are interested in changing something about the world, you should start with a tiny little thing. I watched a person dancing around in front of many others. At first he was a lone nut, but then a second person joined him. The most important person in a change is the second person, because he transforms the loner to a group of change.

    After that we did some research for a topic that we were interested in. I picked girls education. I found a lot of cool facts about this. Most of the facts that I found were from girls in Fiji or in Nepal. I made a poster and one thing at I want to do to help girls go to school, is to clean out my room, and donate all the school supplies that I don’t use any more. There are some donation boxes in school, so I can leave them there.

     The last activity we did is a lollipop moment. A lollipop moment is a moment that you don’t realise, but helps someone. It’s a significant point in their life, and they will probably remember it for a long time. My friends shared a moment where I had helped them and it made me feel really good about myself.

     My big takeaway from this day is to be brave and take risks. It is also to help out whenever I can because service doesn’t cost money.