Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Thinking About Flowers

Katniss is dying of dehydration:

"This is all right, I think.  This is not so bad here.  The air is less hot, signifying evening's approach.  There's a slight, sweet scent that reminds me of lilies.  My fingers stroke the smooth ground, sliding easily across the top.  This is an okay place to die, I think.

     "...It is mud!  My nose lifts in the air.  And those are lilies!  Pond lilies!"

(The Hunger Games,  pg. 170)

Compare this to earlier in the book:

"Let them call the Peacekeepers and take us to the community home, I thought.  Or better yet, let me die right here in the rain."  (pg. 30)

"...I dropped my gaze, embarrassed, and that's when I saw it.  The first dandelion of the year.  And a bell went off in my head.  I thought of the hours I spent in the woods with my father and I knew how we were going to survive."  (pg. 32)

And consider the fact that the only person Katniss loves is Prim.  Primrose Everdeen.  If it wasn't for Prim, Katniss would have given up several times.  The flower, primrose.

When books are written well, everything has a purpose.  And flowers appear throughout these pages.  I asked my students to think about symbolism, and what flowers represent.  I asked them to consider why it was a flower that has saved Katniss three times now.

I understand that many 7th graders do not yet grasp symbolism, and maybe I'm reading too much into a book of young adult fiction, but I think the question is worth pondering: in literature, in art, what do flowers represent.  And why did Suzanne Collins write the book this way?

Maybe some of you saw the Banksy Article that just broke, and maybe the two are only connected in my mind, but it reminded me of this image:

I think too, that The Hunger Games and Banksy go hand-in-hand.  Maybe it's just the imagery from the movie that makes me think this, though:

They're both about rebellion.  About hope.  And I feel convicted by both, because they are both an indictment against our society and human nature.

And of course, this section of The Hunger Games ties in with a lot of the rest of the social studies content as well - for instance - we'll soon learn that almost all ancient civilizations were found near ______________.  I'll give you a hint.  It's the thing Katniss needed most.

If you read this, and want to earn some extra credit for having read it, discuss the following questions with an adult: what do you think of Banksy's piece "love is in the air?"  And why do you think Suzanne Collins used a flower to save Katniss?  ...Three times...

If you read and discussed it, write down two sentences from your discussion, and have the adult you discussed it with sign the paper.

Turn it in tomorrow.


  1. We just read act 2 of Macbeth today, in which Lady Macbeth tells her husband to "look like the innocent flower / But be the serpent under it." ;)

    And then of course Agatha Christie thumbs her nose at Shakespeare by using types of dahlias as the key to a murder because (according to Christie's characters) dahlias mean treachery and misrepresentation.

  2. Great thoughts, Clix. Thanks for sharing.

    Shakespeare and nose-thumbing go hand-in-hand. Maybe Christie wasn't so much thumbing her nose at The Bard, as just... you know... thumbing her nose...