By Ian Peters-Campbell, VP of Engineering, Loopt
I believe singing represents liberation.
Katniss' father was clearly a much more liberated person, physically and mentally, than most others in District 12. He left the district to hunt, took his family's fate into his own hands instead of leaving it to others, and found joy and freedom in what was a fairly grueling life.
Katniss was clearly heavily influenced by her father. The two instances I clearly remember her singing were when Rue died and during her trial. When Rue died Katniss sang both as an act of respect for Rue and District 11 but, I believe, also to celebrate Rue's liberation from the games. In death Rue was liberated from the cruelty of the games, and Katniss celebrated that while mourning her passing.
During Katniss' trial, when Katniss was locked in her room, I believe she felt for the first time, perhaps since the end of Book 1 when she and Peeta nearly committed suicide, that she was free of the manipulation of others. In one way her fate was out of her hands, as her trial was being carried out in her absence.
In another way though it was the first time she wasn't being forced to act on someone else's agenda. Throughout the books Katniss is forced to actions at the behest of others. Her killing of Coin, and subsequent enforced passivity, finally liberate her from the scheming and manipulation of others. The mental and spiritual freedom she feels trump the physical imprisonment she suffers, and she celebrates that liberation with song.
Before I stop rambling I'll mention one more famous singer in the books, one who I think best demonstrates singing as liberty: the mockingjay. Mockingjays are, in the books, a cross-breed of mockingbirds and Capitol's weaponized "jabberjays." Not only did the rebels turn the jabberjays against the government, but when Capitol abandoned the all-male population to die out they instead bred with mockingbirds.
The very existence of the mockingjay's song, then, is a testament to survival, rebellion, and liberty. It represents not just the subversion of a government weapon, but of an entire species' will to survive and thrive despite the government's attempt to end its existence. Every time a mockingjay sings it is a celebration of liberty, and a sharp sonic finger in the eye of Snow.
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