By Allison Cruz, Student
Warning: This answer contains some movie spoilers!
From the Movie: In the movie, the audience and Peeta himself realized that he had no chance of surviving in the Games. Peeta had no valuable survival skills except being able to wrestle someone. One thing that Peeta did have was his ability to win over a crowd and make people like him. The one thing that will help him survived in the Games was to gain sponsors. Peeta realized this early on the movie (him waving at the crowd while in the train). In the movie, Peeta seemed desperate to survive and the fact that Katniss got all the attention without even trying must have been excruciating for him. The look of jealousy in his face proved this. Keeping this in mind, declaring his love to Katniss was a tactical move. A well hidden motive in which only Peeta can pull off. No one will suspect him of his motive because he comes off as a good, innocent guy.
From the Book: I cannot tell his motive in the book since it was entirely on Katniss's point of view. It also been a while since I have read the first book and I cannot remember all the details. However, I do not think that declaring his love to Katniss in the book was entirely because of genuine love.
In the end, Peeta must have been desperate to survive in the arena too. I mean who wouldn't? Peeta had zero chance of surviving and Haymitch favored Katniss. He had to rely on himself and the only skill he had which was to make people like him. Haymitch stated Peeta did it to make people like Katniss. Was this reason even valid? I mean people were already interested in Katniss at that time.
One question that puzzled me was why Peeta joined the careers. If he wanted to protect Katniss, why did he not just stayed with her instead of joining the careers? Why did he not tell Katniss his plans? Same with not telling her that he will declare his love on live television. Keeping it a secret made it even more suspicious. Why did he decided to join the careers? I believe that Peeta had thought that it was his only way of surviving. Peeta knew Katniss can hunt, climb trees and where would it lead him if he had stayed with Katniss in the very beginning? I believe that he would have been dead early on. I do not even think he knew whether Katniss would protect him.
Peeta's wanting to survive and not having anyone to rely on (not even haymitch) resulted in him declaring his love and him joining the careers. I did love Katniss, don't get me wrong. However, I believe that initially, his actions were not to SOLELY protect Katniss. This then changes later on when Katniss decided to protect Peeta. I believe that this intensified the love he felt for her and made him strongly trust her. So strong that he was willing to die for her in the end.
Conclusion: It was really hard to figure out the real Peeta and his motives since the books were entirely on Katniss's POV. His unwillingness to reveal his true self to Katniss made it even worse to figure him out. Maybe I am wrong. I haven't been nice to Peeta these days.
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