Late on a Friday night, I’m sitting on the floor next to my dog, munching on popcorn and watching The Hunger Games; nostalgia from 2012 has taken over. Those were simpler times, when I was the big kid at the middle school and a boringly written novel made me feel worldly. Now as a junior in college, every year makes me feel a little less intuitive and a little more afraid of everyday, mundane routines that I shouldn’t worry about. Rewatching Jennifer and Josh at 1:00 in the morning sparked a light bulb moment in me. I am not a Katniss Everdeen, but maybe, just maybe, I can be a Peeta Mellark.
Before my recent binge of the trilogy, I had remembered Katniss for her daring and huntress lifestyle. On the other hand, I thoeeught that Peeta, as a supporting character, got hurt and dragged around for all 579 minutes of the films. Admit it, when taking the Buzzfeed quiz we all hoped to get Katniss, Finnick, Prim, or Effie before receiving the dreaded title of “Mellark." Now, however, I’m challenging my old ideas; he may not have been very skilled, but he always showed up.
Let’s start at the beginning. Both of the district 12 teens are thrown onto a train with the drunken Haymitch. While Katniss reeks of disdain, Peeta digs right in, asking Haymitch for any advice. Training days show Peeta as an awkward baker whose greatest skill is throwing heavy objects. When interviewed by Stanley Tucci, Peeta strategizes with the only strength he has… candor. Suzanne Collins’ use of Peeta’s lack of skill is quite brilliant. Collins sat and wrote a dystopian teen novel that, in present day, can seem to be a ‘user’s manual’. Many of the characters show us the appropriate way to navigate an increasingly inhumane world. Perhaps the most surprising of these lessons is that the bread boy who couldn’t fight demonstrated his uncanny ability to navigate the world.
From day one, Katniss acts as the symbol of rebellion, aiding in her development as a character. Peeta, however, is that constant underdog who never develops a mean spirit or cocky attitude. All of the other characters display certain characteristics that make them more ready for battle, but Peeta lacks these attributes. While not a born warrior, this fictional character is always there to help in any capacity. In this time of imminent overthrow to the capital, I realize that I wish to be Mr. Mellark. Not talented per say, but I will show up.