katniss everden

Katniss, Bathsheba and true love

(I kicked it into Lit mode and wrote this entirely for my pleasure, so no worries if you pass on this. Thank you for reading!)

In an interview for Entertainment Weekly, Suzanne Collins talks about the books she loved as she was growing up. In this interview, she discusses her love for Thomas Hardy, in particular the novel, Far From the Madding Crowd:

“Katniss Everdeen owes her last name to Bathsheba Everdene, the lead character in Far From the Madding Crowd. The two are very different, but both struggle with knowing their hearts.” 

I bring this up because I believe Collins not only named Katniss after Bathsheba for the reason cited above, but also because the way love plays out in Madding Crowd reflects the way Katniss and Peeta’s relationship develops in the trilogy. In fact, I would suggest that Collins’s idea of romantic love between Katniss and Peeta is modeled after the kind of love that develops between Bathsheba and Gabriel.

To summarize, Bathsheba Everdene, described as a proud beauty, arrives to live with her aunt, Mrs. Hurst and eventually inherits the estate. She strikes up a friendship with Gabriel Oak, a sheep herder, and even saves his life once (sound familiar?). But, when he asks to marry her, she declares that she values her independence to greatly and turns him down. 

After a failed marriage, another suitor and lots of upheavals, Bathsheba eventually realizes Gabriel’s importance in her life and proposes to him. Here is the passage after which he accepts:

“Why Gabriel,“ she said, with a slight laugh, as they went to the door, “it seems exactly as if I had come courting you—how dreadful!”

“And quite right too,” said Oak. “I’ve danced at your skittish heels, my beautiful Bathsheba, for many a long mile, and many a long day; and it is hard to begrudge me this one visit.”

He accompanied her up the hill, explaining to her the details of his forthcoming tenure of the other farm. They spoke very little of their mutual feeling; pretty phrases and warm expressions being probably unnecessary between such tried friends. Theirs was that substantial affection which arises (if any arises at all) when the two who are thrown together begin first by knowing the rougher sides of each other’s character, and not the best till further on, the romance growing up in the interstices of a mass of hard prosaic reality. This good-fellowship—camaraderie—usually occurring through similarity of pursuits, is unfortunately seldom superadded to love between the sexes, because men and women associate, not in their labours, but in their pleasures merely. Where, however, happy circumstance permits its development, the compounded feeling proves itself to be the only love which is strong as death—that love which many waters cannot quench, nor the floods drown, beside which the passion usually called by the name is evanescent as steam.

Gabriel is strong, steady and demonstrates a deep understanding of Bathsheba’s character. He is impoverished compared to her, and occupies a lower status in society than she does. Yet he is not threatened by her and, even after her rejection of his marriage proposal, shows himself to be a faithful and loyal friend throughout the novel.  

This loyalty that Gabriel shows Bathsheba is the same as that which Peeta shows Katniss throughout the trilogy, even when his affections initially are not reciprocated.  Together, they endure hardships and their bond is tested over and over, appearing to finally have been broken by Peeta’s hijacking. And yet, it survives even that, just as Gabriel and Bathsheba’s affection survives her marriage and his bankruptcy.

If the romantic resolution of Everlark appears passionless, as many critics have accused when talking about the end of Mockingjay, it’s because they’ve missed the point entirely. What develops between Katniss and Peeta is a real affection that blossoms even after the “rougher sides of each other’s characters ” are revealed, and is born of enduring adversity and harsh realities of life.   It is rooted in common values that results in a love “as strong as death,” a love that makes passion look as “evanescent as steam.”  It is beyond passion, a deep and enduring bond that goes against all the popularized notions of romance that our society nurtures.  

Collins got more than just a name from Hardy’s novel.

4.

Peeta’s love was fake. He, as Katniss had stated, was good at working the cameras. He begun his lie for the first Games, but only after hearing about the danger Katniss and himself would be in, he had to keep the act going. Haymitch told Peeta that he must marry her. Katniss was never to discover the secret, or she would fall apart. The Boy with The Bread was never in love.

7 Steps to Cosplaying A Book Character.

This post was requested by an anon, and I`m doing this because I`ve also wanted to blog about my cosplaying times in book events. This will include pictures of my friends and I dressed up as book characters. (Steps + examples or ideas)

June Iparis in red gown (me), June Iparis in her Republic uniform (Dianne), Enzo Valenciano (Godwin), and Adelina Amouteru (Jera) Photo credits to Dianne Giron.

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