“Good Hunting Partners are Hard to Find” A Tribute to Rue (by Felicia N. and Robyn C.)

Katniss Everdeen is a female figure in Suzanne Collins’ novel The Hunger Games that is frequently associated with strength, resilience, and rebellion. Katniss, depicted as nurturing mother, desired love interest and “Girl on Fire” is unarguably a multi-dimensional character. Focusing specifically on Katniss’ relationship with “beloved compatriot” (Skinner & McCord 108) Rue, there are many interpretations of said partnership that synonymize it with Katniss’ relationship with Primrose: “Katniss’s relationship with Prim is paralleled to her bond with Rue in the Games…Her relationship with Rue is very sisterly, taking on aspects of mothering” (Woloshyn & co. 154-155). However, through contrasts and comparisons of the different relationships present within the novel, Collins uses Rue as a medium to display Katniss’ capability for emotional intimacy beyond maternal or romantic affection. Katniss treats Rue more as an equal – a comrade – rather than a dependent, likening Rue to Gale in that respect.

Primrose is a source of motivation and action for Katniss (Ramberg 12) that Katniss “protect[s] in every way [she] can” (Collins 15). However, Primrose is a dependent. Having been spoiled nonstop by Katniss’ maternal guide, she is in constant need of attention and care. She is plagued by nightmares before the reaping, is too gentle for the hunt and the games, and will require the generosity and fondness of Gale and District 12 respectively to stay alive without Katniss.

Katniss’ initial response to Rue is to liken her to Primrose: “She’s very like Prim in size and demeanor” (45). Collins explicitly uses these similarities to draw a connection between the two young girls, promoting the maternal affection and instant concern Katniss immediately has towards Rue. As their relationship develops, more similarities between Rue and Katniss herself are discovered, leading their relationship into one of mutual trust and support – a relationship of equals. Firstly, “Rue the oldest of six kids, fiercely protective of her siblings, who gives her rations to the younger ones, who forages in the meadows in a district where the Peacekeepers are far less obliging than ours” (211) is likened to Katniss, also the eldest of her family, who selflessly provides for her family, who hunts illegally in the woods where dangerous predators lurk. Their similar familial circumstances become the foundation of their camaraderie. Secondly, the skillsets Rue brings to their alliance – ie. her knowledge on edible plants and wildlife resources, her observations of the environment and the Career tributes – elevates their relationship from one of mother and child to one of equals. Both Katniss and Rue are capable of survival on their own; their alliance solely improves their collective circumstance with increased accessibility to food sources, more awareness of the Career doings and habits, and more productive ideas contributed. Thirdly, Rue and Katniss both hold a mutual level of trust, respect, and concern for the other. “If you hear the mockingjay singing it, you’ll know I’m okay, only I can’t get back right away” (213). The mockingjay signal is a direct indication of the care and concern within their relationship. The allies use it as a means of communication to ensure each other’s safety and gather peace of mind. Similarly, “Rue has decided to trust [Katniss] wholeheartedly…Nor [does Katniss] have any misgivings about her” (208). Without hesitation, Katniss and Rue fall asleep together in a shared sleeping bag, further outlining their comfortability and trust.

Similarly, as the relationship between the two tributes develop, a dissonance between Rue and her resemblance of Prim is recognized. Rue grew up in District 11, a District seemingly more severe than District 12. “They whip you on the spot and make everyone else watch…it’s not that uncommon an occurrence” (202). Rue has grown up in this environment, accumulating first-hand experience and knowledge of its harshness and severity. Contrastingly, Prim lives a relatively sheltered life. Although District 12 leads a life of hardship, Prim does not shoulder the stress of finding enough food to make it to the next day, whereas Katniss and Rue share this burden. Prim is so loved, so protected, that the punishment of the Capitol – the Hunger Games – is unable to touch her as Katniss immediately volunteers in her stead. Contrastingly, “when [Rue] mounts the stage… there’s no one willing to take her place” (45). Rue does not have the luxury of a protector as Prim has Katniss. “She’s a survivor” (281).

The dynamic of Rue and Katniss’ relationship is rather much more similar to Gale and Katniss’ relationship: they are partners, allies, friends. “Gale is her first real friend in District 12…They’re quintessential hunter-gatherers…[who] have [a] vital relationship to nature, which holds and sustains their spirit…They join together to survive trauma…and these companions and co-conspirators have each other’s backs in their constantly threatened environment” (Skinner & McCord 111). Gale and Katniss, “both of [them] can hunt alone, but [they’re] better as a pair.” (Collins, 109). Likewise, Rue and Katniss are connected by their mutual experience as tributes within the arena and together, are able to contribute more to their spoils than they would alone. They “divide up their food supplies” (Collins, 204) just as Gale and Katniss would, as equal contributors. Also, Rue frees Katniss from “how very lonely [she’s] been in the arena” (208) just as Gale’s “companionship replaced the long solitary hours in the wood” (112).

Through the distinctions and deconstruction of Katniss’s relationships, the role Rue plays becomes evident as an equal partnership. As Katniss’ relationships with females usually illustrate her maternal and protective nature, Rue’s character brings to light a side to Katniss that is not seen at face value – her ability to trust and develop true friendships with females.

Discussion Questions:

How does the relationships in Katniss’s life play a role in determining the development of her character?

In what ways does Katniss and Rue’s relationship reinforce or deconstruct the gendered stereotypes associated with relationships of female protagonists in young adult dystopian literature?

Works Cited:

Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. Scholastic Press, 2010.

Ramberg, Malin. “What makes her tick? Katniss Everdeen’s use of defense mechanisms in The Hunger Games.” Thesis. Karlstads Universitet. 2012. http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:537471/FULLTEXT01.pdf. Accessed 18 September 2016.

Skinner, Margaret and McCord, Kailyn. “The Hunger Games: A Conversation.” Jung Journal, vol. 6, no. 4, 2012, pp. 106-113, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1525/jung.2012.6.4.106. Accessed 18 September 2016, doi: 10.1525/jung.2012.6.4.106.

Woloshyn, Vera, Taber, Nancy, and Lane, Laura. “Discourses of masculinity and femininity in The Hunger Games: ‘Scarred,” “Bloody,” and “Stunning.” International Journal of Social Science Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, 2013, pp. 150- 160, http://www.redfame.com/journal/index.php/ijsss/article/view/21. Accessed 18 September 2016, doi: 10.11114/ijsss.v1i1.21.

 

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20 thoughts on ““Good Hunting Partners are Hard to Find” A Tribute to Rue (by Felicia N. and Robyn C.)

  1. This is a most lovely post, and I appreciate your view of Katniss and Rue as equals. That being said, it seems contradictory to say, “Her relationship with Rue is very sisterly, taking on aspects of mothering.” The traditional sisterly relationship is not one where one sister feels it necessary to mother, for there is commonly a mother to fill that role. Katniss instinctively nurtures Rue for the same reason she nurtures Prim: it’s who she is. Though, as you thoroughly pointed out, the contextual differences in Rue and Prim’s upbringings are vastly different, this does not play into the equation when viewing Katniss’ inclinations to nurture as biological. For example, when Katniss sees Rue following her in the training chamber, she says, “I bite my lip. Rue is a small yellow flower that grows in the Meadow. Rue. Primrose. Neither of them could tip the scale at seventy pounds.” Katniss immediately connects Rue to Primrose and the delicacy of childhood: a constant regardless of Rue’s emergent survival ability.

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  2. Thank you for the great post!
    First of all I thought that your comparison of Rue and Gale was very interesting. Rue is most often compared to Prim because of the early attachment that Collins makes between the two, but I agree that there is a significant comparison to be made between her and Gale. In the quote that you used their “Vital relationship to nature”, which also holds true for Rue. She uses the forest as a means of survival just as Katniss does.
    Secondly I think that Katniss’ relationships are of utmost importance in the development of her character. Indeed it is her relationship with Prim that drives the whole premise of the book. She never would have ended up in the 74th Hunger Games had it not been for her love and protectiveness of Prim. This same relationship influences Katniss’ behavior in the arena with Rue as she does see Prim in Rue whether or not Rue is like Prim.

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    1. I think this is an interesting argument Felicia and Robyn make, that Rue and Katniss have a mutual friendship relationship, rather than a maternal one. This allows us to see her in the light of a true hero rather than taking away from that image with motherly and seemingly “female only” qualities. I think this relationship sadly reinforces the typical friendship trope that two girls cannot be friends for long. It is similar to Hana and Lena, as the friendship deteriorates and the consequences of rebelling are placed on the friend rather than the protagonist, thus allowing the protagonist to succeed in her quest.
      Given that, I agree, that the link between Rue and Gale is thoughtful, because we are only given Katniss’ literal view of her as similar to Prim, I didn’t think to compare her to Gale. I think initially, the view Katniss has of Rue being similar to Prim is understandable, and maybe she does initially become friends with Rue because of this similarity and a need to protect her. However, it morphs into a mutual friendship of respect as Katniss sees the talents Rue uses for survival.

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  3. This is a really thoughtful analysis of the differences between how Katniss views her relationship with Prim and how she views her relationship with Rue. To extend your point about the reciprocal nature of Katniss and Rue’s relationship, it’s important to consider that Rue is able to save Katniss’ life. At the point in the Games just before Rue points out the tracker jacker nest, Katniss is trapped by the Careers. Without Rue’s help, Katniss would have been left at the mercy of the Careers, which she acknowledges when she thinks “Even if I last the night, what will the morning bring?” (183). Until Rue comes along, Katniss has no plan for escape. Therefore, Rue firmly establishes herself as an equal contributor in their alliance because she is able to protect Katniss just as Katniss tries to protect her.

    The give-and-take of the dynamic between Katniss and Rue, which as you point out is similar in nature to the hunting partnership between Katniss and Gale, can be directly contrasted to how Katniss treats Prim. Katniss doesn’t allow Prim to apply for the tesserae, and even Lady, Prim’s goat, which provides the family with milk was originally a gift from Katniss. The one thing Prim is able to provide the family is something that was only brought about because of Katniss. Prim does indeed have useful healing skills which Katniss respects, however Katniss never is shown to need healing from Prim.

    Rue is useful to Katniss which is part of the reason she respects her, whereas Katniss shields Prim from the dark realities of their lives which doesn’t allow her to contribute to their survival in the way Rue is able.

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  4. Regarding your first discussion question – for me, it leads to the idea that Katniss’ character development and likability problematically rest on her embracing her more feminine side, upholding systemic heteronormativity. At the beginning of the novel we meet someone who is rough around the edges, not all that likeable, and redeemed only by her relationships with Prim and Gale, and later Peeta and Rue – all of these relationships and their development rest on Katniss being nurturing, protective, selfless, soft, and heterosexual – an arguably conventional girl.

    Further, Katniss participates in masculine activities and though we are told these activities are useful, I’m not convinced we are told that these are what make Katniss likeable. Katniss resents having to have stepped into the role of provider when her father died, and her relationship with her mother is strained because of it. This resentment of inhabiting the masculine role, to me, sets the stage for Katniss’ development as a character to follow that she be more traditionally feminine. We don’t love Katniss because she can shoot straight, we love her because she sacrificed herself for her sister, that she teams up with someone that could hamper her chance of winning in the Games, because she, whatever her true feelings for Peeta and Gale, does not want to lose either of them. Like the Capitol audience, we are thrilled by the story of love and sacrifice, even if it’s not entirely real (though Katniss herself is confused about what is and isn’t real). Thus, though it might be hard to register that Katniss is inhabiting traditional girlhood, as Collin’s creates a tough, strong, and multi-dimensional protagonist, many of her decisions that make her a successful character stem from conservative femininity.

    Moreover, Katniss’ heteronormative character development is largely done through her relationship with Peeta and Gale. Though she is fabricating the relationship with Peeta, she still cannot think of them together, because even though she states at the beginning that her and Gale are only friends, “for some reason Gale and Peeta do not coexist well together in [her] thoughts” (Collins 197). She also wonders what Gale thinks of all the kissing between her and Peeta. This implies even before Peeta and Katniss’ relationship really “begins”, that Katniss recognizes that Gale and her have some kind of unnamed potential, a potential that the knowledge of Peeta’s feelings threaten. It reminds us of the classic idiom “boys and girls can never just be friends”. If Collins is really trying to intervene in heteronormative ideals about relationships between men and women, a love triangle between the female protagonist and the most prevalent male characters was a poor route to follow. Thus, though there are some instances in which traditional male and female roles are challenged (i.e. Peeta is the “Damsel in Distress” when Katniss finds him injured, he is the more emotional while Katniss is more assertive and active), Katniss’ character development and likability still rest largely on her heteronormative (in some ways sexual) awakening.

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  5. Hi Felicia and Robyn! I’d like to address your second question as well as the general idea of Rue and Katniss’ relationship as deconstructing gendered stereotypes in Y.A. Dystopia. As you have mentioned, there are certain points in Collins’ narrative which paint Katniss into Rue’s nurturing maternal figure, which of course undermines all other indicators of her being uninterested in having children or otherwise seeking fulfillment outside of traditional gender roles. However, I really appreciate the connection you have drawn between Gale and Rue as Katniss’ comrades, because the fact that Collins did not feel the need to directly compare the two characters perhaps points to Rue not needing to be compared to an older man in order to be a strong, capable character. The alliance between Rue and Katniss is quite complex, and does extend far deeper than Katniss’ initial comparison of Rue and Prim’s size. I think that the connection between Katniss and Rue is a mechanism for growth, and allows for Rue to be valued due to her abilities and moral courage instead of just her vulnerability and youthful innocence. Rue acts as an eraser of negative traits about girlhood exhibited from Prim’s character, and allows Katniss to view both the oppression of the Games and her rebellion through an intersectional lens (Rue being from a lower social class, having darker skin). The bond between the two serves not to undermine Katniss’ strength through a nurturing bond, but instead as you mentioned, strengthen her view of other girls and, ultimately, her own power.

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  6. I do agree with your point about how, though Katniss initially parallels Rue to Primrose, the respect and trust she feels for Rue is not consistent with the treatment of her sister. As you’ve mentioned, Katniss starts to learn that her and Rue are more similar than she initially thought, as both the oldest sibling and most protective of the family. Katniss, like Rue, once loved music and singing, but this love was stunted when her father died (234). Katniss reflects upon the way she no longer cares for music, categorizing it with “hair ribbons and rainbows in terms of usefulness, suggesting that her growth from young girlhood to being the head of her family has lead her to become cynical of the things she used to enjoy.

    Peeta’s story about a younger, dress-wearing Katniss singing on the first day of school helps contrast the way Katniss currently is to the way she was prior to her father’s death. Collins in some ways highlights how Katniss grew out of being more conventional figure of girlhood, one that in many ways resembles Rue, towards acting in more traditionally masculine way once the dynamic within her father died and the household dynamic changed. Katniss’ fiercely protective treatment of Rue potentially reflects a subconscious desire to protect her younger self; through Rue, she can protect the youthful belief in things and preserve a state of young girlhood. Katniss’ attempts to protect younger, more effeminate girls, such as Rue and Prim, suggests that although she doesn’t possess as many typically feminine characteristics, she still values them

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      1. I’m not sure that Katniss protecting more effeminate girls suggests that she values those characteristics. I think it suggests more of what you were saying about wanting to protect a younger version of herself. I think Katniss volunteering for Prim ultimately comes out of her love for Prim and how she’s placed herself in the protector role in the family. Katniss has arguably taken her father’s role, and traditionally the male holds the protector role. However, I don’t think this is saying anything about valuing a feminine characteristic. I’d argue it’s more about Katniss is attempting to preserve Prim’s (and Rue’s) innocence. She understands that her childhood was taken away from her and she doesn’t want that to happen to young girls that she can see herself in. She’s trying to protect them from similar trauma that she had to endure.
        In terms of whether or not she would be more feminine, I think if we are categorizing the protector role as masculine, and the fact that she hunts and provides for her family as masculine, then it may be the case that had her father not died, she would have been more like Prim in her femininity. But we must also remember that Katniss liked hunting with her father, so it doesn’t seem likely that she would be like Prim. I think it’s complicated to consider the ‘what ifs’ of different circumstances because of all of the factors involved. It’s also complicated because of what we consider to be masculine and feminine. We could say that Katniss is protecting Prim and Rue and that makes her a masculine protector, or we could say that it’s feminine because it makes her like a mother figure to them. Inevitably, I think the strongest argument is that Katniss is doing it because she sees herself in these girls and wants to protect them in the best way she can.

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  7. You mentioned a couple of times the trust that exists in Katniss and Rue’s friendship, and I think that’s a key aspect of it. It differentiates their relationship from Katniss and Prim’s – not in the sense that Katniss suspects her sister of anything, of course, but she would probably never separate herself from Prim in the arena and use a signal to communicate. The mockingjay signal isn’t just a symbol of care and concern, then, but also an indication that Katniss trusts in Rue’s ability to stay alive and carry out her part of the plan while they’re separated. I hadn’t thought about the symbolic qualities of the signal before reading your post, so I found your insights on it quite interesting.

    This friendship is also important to the development of Katniss’s character because Rue’s death prompts one of Katniss’s first acts of rebellion: burying her in flowers. Prior to this, Katniss was simply trying to survive and protect her sister, but Prim’s burial was her first real strike back at the Capitol. That also differentiates The Hunger Games from several other YA dystopian novels; while I’m not incredibly well-read within the genre, I’ve yet to encounter a novel of this kind where a friendship between two young women lights the first sparks of rebellion.

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  8. Rue and Katniss’ relationship is subversive in that girls are often framed as competition to one another or are pitted against each other and they do not conform to this notion. Of course, they are in the Games which require them to fight other young people in order to survive but Katniss and Rue do not get satisfaction from the idea that they are technically each others competition. Katniss consciously pushes the notion that Rue is competition out of her head when she dwells on it in the novel. They form a team to survive, not to kill as the Career tributes do. Their main goal is not to kill or hurt the other tributes but to survive and last longer in the games. Their joining is a symbol of female unity and how powerful that unity is when women support other women.

    Katniss and Rue are both subversive characters in that they display characteristics which do not fit into traditional notions of femininity. Rue is strong, as seen in her ability to quickly climb and navigate in the trees silently, and crafty, as shown in her helping Katniss drop the tracker jackers on the Career tributes. These characteristics and actions are not typically marked as feminine. Katniss is a hunter, resourceful, and not emotional which are again characteristics that are not traditionally marked as feminine. Both Rue and Katniss are capable girls who, when joined, are a team and a testament to the power of female friendships.

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  9. Hi Felicia and Robyn, going back and reading this post gave me much more insight to the novel and how Collins handles relationships and friendships in the novel. In particular, I am speaking of your comparison of Katniss’ relationship to Gale to her relationship with Rue. The way you gave evidence for your claim was very well thought out and I definitely see where you are coming from. From the start of the novel, we are set up with this vision of Katniss that is very nurturing and maternal. Interestingly, this side of her is constantly contrasted with her masculine traits such as hunting and gathering, and even he attitude and resilience against the femininity the capital wants her to embrace. Through her friendship with Gale, we see her as a strong individual, and at first we also see that Collins attempts to skew the typical ideal that boys and girls can’t be “just friends” in these types of novels. That said, as the story develops, we all know that this does become the case in the “love triangle” with Peeta. This is why I love what you said in this post about her friendship with Rue.
    In having Katniss and Rue become partners in the games, it allows the reader to see that two female characters can be strong and survive without the presence of a boy. However, I have to admit that it becomes problematic, for me, in that I do think the relationship between Katniss and Rue slightly reinforces the gendered stereotype of the nurturer in YA Dystopian literature. So, to touch on your second discussion question, I think that in making Rue the same age and size as Rue, Collins was still trying to maintain the gentle image of Katniss as a motherly figure. I think she may be subtly telling readers that while Katniss is in the biggest fight for survival, she still is not completely “masculinized” by the necessary tasks in the games. Once she sees Rue, she has an immediate connection of her because she thinks of Prim. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with this, but I do think if Collins wanted to deconstruct the gender stereotype that girls are always nurturing and gentle, she may have had Katniss form such partnership with a girl who was her age.
    Despite the slight critique I have, I completely understand your overall point, and Rue is certainly inspiring for young readers because of the survival capabilities she has at such a young age, and we definitely do see the power of teamwork and female friendships in the novel.

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  10. Katniss and Rue’s relationship has hints of reinforcing gendered stereotypes associated with female protagonists in YA dystopian literature as Katniss compares Rue to her sister Prim whom she takes care of and is a mother figure. Yet, as has been mentioned in previous comments, as Katniss begins to see Rue as a companion and the two form an alliance, they demonstrate a strong companionship between to females who are able to trust and rely on one another to survive. This is contrary to many competitive relationships developed between females. The alliance between Rue and Katniss illustrates a strong, reliable companionship between two strong female characters, the absence of a male character in this alliance contrasts to the developments in most YA dystopian novels.

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  11. Your post has me thinking a lot about female friendships in other texts that we have read this term.

    The main one that I see parallels to is Lauren’s female friendships in Parable of the Sower.

    Joanne is a lot like Primrose. Katniss tries to teach Prim how to hunt and gather after the death of their father but she refuses and insists that it is too dangerous to survive. Joanne responds in a similar manner when Lauren tries to tell her of their need to educate themselves on survival skills, but she refuses. Insisting that it is too dangerous, and not necessary. The main difference here is that Katniss still loves and protects Prim after her refusal to go into the woods while Lauren loses trust for Joanne and ends their friendship.

    I find that Zahra is a lot like Rue. Katniss treats Rue as an equal and values the knowledge and survival skills. They are able to team up and to protect each other. There is a similar relationship with Zahra and Lauren. Lauren trusts Zahra immediately with a gun and to stay on watch alone at night because of her knowledge of the world outside of a gated community. This friendship, like Katniss’ friendship with Rue, is important to her character development because Zahra is one of the first people that she trusts to form an alliance with.

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  12. I like the comparison you draw between Gale and Rue, as Rue definitely does become very distinct from Prim as the novel progresses and as their partnership develops. It would be interesting to look at what this says about girlhood, however. Katniss immediately makes a connection between Rue and Prim, which perhaps suggests that Prim represents the stereotypical female child who needs to be cared for. It is only later that Katniss finds out that Rue grew up in exceptional circumstances like herself, having to take care of her younger siblings in one of the most difficult districts to live in. When Rue is chosen at the reaping, Katniss mentions that no one thinks it is fair when a twelve-year-old is chosen. This suggests that most twelve-year-olds are more similar to Prim than they are to Rue, as the district sees them as being at a disadvantage in the Games. Rue ends up getting a seven in training and proves to be a competitor, but this is not representative of the average young girl. This is obviously problematic because it suggests that Rue and Katniss are strong and independent because they were forced to be, not because it comes naturally to them.

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  13. I think your question asking in what ways does Katniss and Rue’s relationship reinforce or deconstruct the gendered stereotypes associated with females in YA dystopian literature is very interesting. I would say, that although Rue is younger, and typically one would expect a motherly relationship between Katniss and Rue, particularly as Katniss draws similarities between her and Prim, I believe that their relationship actually deconstructs the gendered stereotypes as I think it is more of a friendship that has a sad ending. I think we quickly like to make the assumption, particularly in YA dystopian literature but also in contemporary society that, and older female and younger female have a motherly-daughterly relationship, but I find this is often an assumption. Katniss does not express an overtly motherly characteristics towards Rue, that couldn’t be interpreted as a form of friendship. Rue in my eyes is her own being, and by shining a maternal light on Katniss, I think takes away from her own ability to survive alone and denounces her own set of skills, despite her age, and in fact, it is Katniss who recognises her as a tribute with power, when she herself admits that Rue helped her get out of harm’s way, when she encounters the careers. I can see why some view Katniss and Rue’s relationship as reinforcing gendered stereotypes, but I think we must take into consideration Rue’s ability and strength, before passing her off as a ‘prim’ character, who must be looked after, or rather, who Katniss thinks, needs to be looked after.

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  14. I really enjoyed reading this post, and your arguments about Katniss in accordance to the friendships and relationships she makes throughout the novel. I particularly enjoyed your likening to Rue and Gale, something usually overlooked or ignored by many critics. Rue, although similar in build and age to Prim, is arguably more like Gale in her ability to hunt and work as one with nature within the Games. As you’ve put, Katniss and Rue “are partners, allies, friends”, their friendship seems less forced than any other within the novel. Although it is exceptionally clear that Katniss love Prim for she is her sister, their relationship is more complex because of the dependency Prim has on Katniss, and the maternal role Katniss exerts towards her sister. Rue on the other hand is treated as an equal to Katniss, for she is happy to leave her alone in the arena to act as a distraction to the Careers- something she would never consider with Prim. Their relationship therefore plays as a vital role in determining the development of Katniss’s character both in this book alone, and for the whole trilogy as their friendship is arguably a catalyst for Katniss’ rebellion, as through Rue’s inevitable death, Katniss essentially loses a friend (and arguably a sister as Rue does reminds her of Prim) which makes manifest the significance of winning the games to Katniss. Furthermore, in response to your second question, Katniss’ and Rue’s relationship both reinforces and deconstructs the gendered stereotypes associated with relationships of female protagonists in young adult dystopian literature. In terms of deconstructing this notion, it can be argued that because both characters are independent, and do not rely on each other, rather they work together as equals to survive in the games, the relationship here, therefore deconstructs notions that girls must rely on boys, or men to survive. However, it can also be argued that Collins adheres to the trope of forsaking a female friend to seek a heterosexual romance, as Rue’s death ultimately leads to Katniss finding Peeta, and partaking in a presumably fake romance, that is until she undeniably falls in love towards the end of the trilogy. The arguments you make are therefore very compelling and interesting to read in relation to The Hunger Games.

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  15. I definitely agree with your argument that the relationship between Rue and Katniss parallels with Katniss’ relationship with Gale, and this is mainly because of their similarities in upbringings. In the games I believe that if Katniss mimics her relationship with Prim through anybody, it is through Peeta. Both Peeta and Prim are from District 12 and haven’t had to support families. Coincidentally or not, I think it is also interesting to note that Prim and Peeta have very similar traits, blonde hair and blue eyes (signifying the wealthier part of District 12), while Gale and Rue share characteristics such as dark hair and eyes (which signifies the poorer areas in District 12). Rue and Katniss have an alliance based on mutual abilities and trust. They treat each other as equals because of their similarities, but Katniss and Peeta’s relationship is not as equalized. Katniss consistently has to scold Peeta like a child, as she would her sister, for being incompetent when it comes to basic survival: for picking poisonous berries, not eating his soup, and choosing a more traditionally feminine skill to draw on in the games (feminine skills are not useful to Katniss); his ability to decorate pretty cakes. Peeta and Prim both are looked at as children that need saving by Katniss and I suggest this is intentional on Collins’ part because of all of their similarities. Rue was never meant to be just a child that Katniss feels obligated to save. Rue is much like Gale in the fact that Katniss trusts her and considers her to be a worthy hunting partner, but she goes beyond just being a parallel to Gale. Katniss doesn’t just trust Rue to hunt with her and not rat on her to authorities, Katniss trusts that Rue won’t kill her even though it could mean Rue’s survival.

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