Reality Verses Once Upon A Time:
Female Protagonists in Modern Literature
As little girls get tucked into their beds at night all over the world moms and dads read to their daughters. These bedtime stories serve as some of the first forms of information that girls use to form a view of what they can be when they grow older. As these girls turn into young women they have the choice to choose what books they read and therefore, what characters that they will admire. It then falls into the hands of authors who write for the young adult literature section to be responsible to create characters that are good role models, especially for females. Two very popular authors of such books are Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games Trilogy, and Stephanie Myers, author of The Twilight Series. Both authors have young teenage leading ladies, however, their characters are two completely different types of females. In The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen is atypical, meaning her characteristics go against society’s norm. However Bella Swan, the protagonist from The Twilight Series, has been characterized by author Stephanie Myers as a typical teenage girl, again based on society’s norm regarding gender roles. However, Suzanne Collins did an amazing job with Katniss Everdeens characterization, making Katniss not only the lead character but also the heroine of the trilogy. Katniss Everdeen is a superior role model for teenage girls, because of her character, her family role, and her relationships. One of the areas that Katniss exhibits the qualities of a superior role model is by her character.
The characterization of Katniss required a considerable amount of time and effort, on the part of author Suzanne Collins, to create. Kat is a strong 16 year old girl living in District 12 – The Coal District, in the futuristic country of Panem. Kat lives with her mother and younger sister Prim; unfortunately Katniss lost her father, at the age of 11 years old, in an explosion that happened down in the mines where her father worked. After her father’s death, Kats mother couldn’t face the loss of her husband or her grief and fell into a severe depression; shutting off from the world and neglecting her children and her parental responsibilities. Faced at only eleven years old with the responsibility of providing enough essentials to survive, for herself, her mother and sister, Kat turned to the only thing she knew but this skill was illegal in Panem. For a young girl to be faced with such hard times and tough grown up decisions at such a young age is not fair. In past or present literature though, the lead female character usually would not be faced with difficult life or death decisions. Especially ones that affect the lives of two more human beings. As foreshadowed by Suzanne Collins here, “So I learned to hold my tongue and to turn my features into an indifferent mask so that no one could ever read my thoughts.” This is a statement that Katniss makes when explaining as a young girl how much she scared her mother by having no concept of breaking the Capitols rules. Well that is exactly what Katniss does every day to feed and provide for her family, she breaks the Capitols rules, basically risking her life to keep her mother, sister, and herself alive. Katniss goes into the forest, which is restricted, to hunt with a bow and arrow that her father made her. Typically, throughout history displaying thoughts and skills representative of primal survival skills, are representative of a teenage male…not a teenage female. This is precisely why Suzanne Collins did such an amazing job with the character, Katniss Everdeen. This is a teenage girl who represents values like honor, loyalty, strength, courage, hope, love, kindness, stubbornness and bravery. This is a character that is excellent for girls to be able to admire and look to as a role model. It is thanks to this mixture of values and personality traits that Katniss is able to fulfill the role...
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