When I read a book I always find that there are one or two specific characters that stand out for me. Characters are often the subject of numerous discussions because through them we can essentially explore human nature. Some characters are defined by their actions, thought and the part they play in the story. So, I thought why not shine a light on these characters and open up these discussions.
With the release of Mockingjay Part 2 I thought Peeta Mellark would be the perfect candidate for this feature. Personally, Peeta is my favourite character in this franchise and I think the reason behind this is because of his outlook on life. Here we have a character that has endured so much, even from before the games, and instead of succumbing to this bleak, pessimistic view of the world, he chooses to hope and believe that a better future awaits them. This is one of the reasons I believe that Peeta is the strongest character in the series because I think it’s so much harder to hope and be optimistic when you’re faced with so much hardship. It’s because of this I also get defensive of Peeta when people call him weak.
I’ve previously discussed the perception of strength with regards to women specifically. However, I think the way people define male strength is equally as complex. With regards to Peeta and his relationship with Katniss it’s almost like they’ve switched the typical characteristics that are associated with their gender. Katniss is the fighter; she’s independent, and has a strong physical presence because of her upbringing and survival nature. Peeta, on the other hand is a lot more emotional. While he is physically strong, his words and are his strongest weapon. He has an artistic soul and is an optimist at heart. It’s this contrasting nature between Katniss and Peeta that makes them such a dynamic team as highlighted by Katniss herself;
“What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again.”
Peeta is her hope. He is the one that makes her believe that things can get better, he’s the one that makes sure that this darkness and this fire within her doesn’t consume her. They balance each other out and that is what makes them a formidable force.
Like I said, physically Peeta is not the strongest character. However, if we’re discussing mental and emotional strength, he is without a doubt the strongest. Case in point, at the beginning of the series, Peeta states that he doesn’t want the games to change him and his way of ensuring that is by doing everything in his power to protect Katniss. This is his driving force. Even with everything he’s forced to endure; the deaths, losing a limb, and the heartbreak, he’s still able to hold on to that goodness. It is only when he’s captured in Mockingjay that Snow is able to force him to change and it’s the highjacking and manipulation that changes him into a weapon. However, even then Peeta’s strength endures and he continues to fight back because the optimistic nature and the hope that embodies Peeta are still present. The fact that Snow could never completely succeed in diminishing that hope is a testament to Peeta’s strength.
What are your thoughts? How do you measure male strength? Which characters steal the spotlight for you? Let’s Discuss