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Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Bridget Whearty

Abstract

Katniss Everdeen has been praised by scholars for empowering of young girls, for instance, in Girl Warriors: Feminist Revisions of the Hero’s Quest in Contemporary Popular Culture (2019), Svenja Hohenstein applauds Katniss for “challeng[ing] the conventions found in traditional quest stories” (78). However, Katniss is not only characterized by and praised for her traditionally masculine traits, but she is also surrounded by numerous female characters who exhibit traditional femininity in order to emphasize the contrast between Katniss and the women in the book. One of the most salient contrasts is Glimmer, a career tribute from District 1 who, according to the rules of the novel, should be one of the most dangerous competitors in the arena. However, Glimmer is is repeatedly portrayed as incredibly incompetent, as well as hyperfeminine and hypersexualized. The novel elevates Katniss for her masculine qualities, while at the same time diminishing other characters such as Glimmer by portraying her as weaker or inferior to Katniss because they embody more traditionally feminine qualities. Thus, although the novel succeeds at presenting an independent and capable young woman in the form of Katniss, it does so by maintaining the idea that traditionally masculine characteristics like stoicism, violence, toughness, and rugged individualism are superior to traditionally feminine characteristics, such as empathy, compassion, emotional intelligence, and community-mindedness.

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