In the first book, Katniss gets her Mockingjay pin from a girl named Madge – but why is she doing this and what does it mean for the movies?
In the first book of The hunger Games series, a character little known to moviegoers, Madge Undersee, gives Katniss her iconic Mockingjay pin – but why? Throughout the series, the Mockingjay pin is a symbol of revolt and uprising against the oppressive Capitol, and arguably becomes just as instrumental in overthrowing devious President Snow and his oligarchic companions as Katniss herself. Why then would Madge, daughter of the mayor of District 12 of Katniss, give him this symbol in the first place?
After all, Mayor Undersee is himself part of the enigmatic President Snow and the oppressive Capitol regime, albeit a small part of it. Madge and her father enjoy privileges unknown to Katniss and her family, as well as the larger population of District 12. In The hunger Games film adaptation, one of those poorer citizens of District 12 is seen giving Katniss her signature lapel pin instead of Madge. Why make this change? Why would Suzanne Collins, author of the book series, choose Madge as the giver of this gift instead?
The answer to this question may be found in the second part of The hunger Games series, Catch fire, in which Katniss learns that Madge’s aunt, the former owner of the Mockingjay pin, was a former Hunger Games tribute who died, losing the matches to former winner Haymitch Abernathy. Katniss learns that after her aunt’s death, Madge inherited the pin and may have dreamed of passing it on to Katniss when it became a tribute. Alternatively, and perhaps more conspiratorially, it’s possible that Madge deliberately gave the pin to Katniss to help fan the fire of a fast approaching revolution against the Capitol that her family played a role in starting. .
When Madge first gave Katniss her Mockingjay pin The hunger Games, it is possible that his reasoning is purely sentimental. In the spirit of honoring past tributes that had fallen at the Games, perhaps Madge just wanted to honor her aunt’s legacy, and she presented the Mockingjay pin to Katniss as some sort of blessing for her, in the hope that her fate would be different from that of her aunt. However, it’s also possible that, given her family’s unique position, she not only wanted the gesture to be sentimental but politically symbolic.
The mystery of Madge’s intentions in gifting Katniss with her now-iconic Mockingjay pin may never be fully clear. However, while the film adaptations of the franchise have opted for a simpler, more serendipitous explanation of the pin’s source, Collin’s subplot involving Madge and her family is far more complex and engaging. Maybe it’s time, in a way, to acknowledge the small (or big) role Madge played in bringing The hunger Games at its conclusion.
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