An extended, sophisticated reflection on war. Katniss recognizes the dehumanization of the “enemy,” and the way she has become a pawn in the hands of a different game master from the earliest moments of the book.
But it’s how she plays this out on a personal level that becomes so riveting: her relationships with fellow victors, her stylists, the rebels, and even the traditionally dystopian District 13 challenge her constructs of who is ally and who is friend. These challenges invite us, too, to deconstruct our own assumptions about who is “good.” But it’s not until Haymitch points out the ways Katniss has begun dehumanizing Peeta that every possible hope of sorting the world into recognizable categories vanishes.
In the meanwhile, bravo to Collins for allowing the form of the writing to mirror the content. Collins is still using the first person voice she’s relied on throughout the series, but as Katniss deteriorates, the writing, too, becomes more fragmented. The language evokes narcissism, paranoia, and depression by turns.
But Collins stays on messsage, even as she manages the narrative voice with such finesse: in her final moment as the Mockingjay, Katniss heeds Haymitch’s advice to remember who the enemy is. The enemy is not The Capitol. And it’s not President Snow, either. The enemy is war. The enemy is the will to power over another through might, the refusal to see another person’s humanity, the insistence on dividing the world into good guys and bad guys.
And like Collins, in that last moment, Katniss hits the right target.