From the first page of The Hunger Games to the final page of Mockingjay, we laughed, cried, and experienced every other emotion in between. We all enjoyed rooting for and fretting over the fate of Katniss and Peeta because their story taught us some invaluable life lessons. Even though our world is a far cry from Panem, the things we learned from this dystopia are still relevant in our more peaceful (albeit more boring) day to day lives, and we aren’t likely to forget those characters and those lessons anytime soon.
- Family comes first.
Even though Katniss knew her chances of surviving the Hunger Games herself were very slim, she did not want her younger sister to have to face those horrors. So, Katniss volunteered to take her place, putting her own life on the line to save her little sister from almost certain death in the arena. You probably won’t ever face a situation like this, but you should make an effort to be there for your loved ones, especially during difficult times.
- Stand up for what is right.
Katniss knew the Capitol and the Games were wrong, but even after winning, she didn’t sit idly by and let other children from the districts continue competing while she enjoyed her winnings and fancy house. She and Peeta were determined to put a stop to the injustices, no matter the cost. Even if an injustice isn’t affecting you personally, you should still stand up for those who are suffering, especially if they don’t have the capacity to stand up for themselves.
- Know when to break the rules.
Rules are there for a reason, but if the person/group who made the rules doesn’t have the people’s best interests at heart, those rules are meant to be broken for the good of all. When Katniss and Peeta were the only two left in the arena and the Capitol changed the rules of how many winners there could be, they both decided that they would rather die than abide by the unfair rules. Remember, sometimes breaking the rules leads to better futures.
- You need to get people to like you.
Katniss and Peeta weren’t initially in love, but they knew that putting on that appearance for the audience could end up saving their lives through sponsored gifts. People say that you shouldn’t care what others think of you, but you should, to an extent. You probably shouldn’t create a fake persona (their situation was an extreme one), but you should always put your best face (and attitude) forward because you never know when you may need someone’s assistance or endorsement.
- Protect the innocent.
Katniss protected her sister from participating in the Hunger Games and helped protect Rue while in the arena, and in Catching Fire, there were so many tributes who stepped forward to compete again in place of others. The district’s entire goal of overthrowing the Capitol was to keep innocent people safe, especially children who would have to compete and die every year in the Capitol’s twisted form of entertainment. The innocent should never have to suffer while those at fault scrape by unscathed, so if you can help put a stop to something like that, do it.
- Don’t be afraid to accept help.
Some people see accepting help as a sign of weakness, but Katniss showed us that there’s nothing weak about it. Even the strongest people need assistance sometimes, such as when Peeta gave her the bread when she and her family were starving, or when she used the burn cream sent to her in the arena. You don’t have to do everything on your own, and being too prideful to accept help can really cost you.
- You can do anything, regardless of your background.
Katniss came from one of the poorest districts in Panem and one of the poorest families due to her father’s death, but she didn’t let that stop her from making sure her family was fed or advocating for change for the entire country. She pushed herself to succeed because she wasn’t happy with the way things were, so if you feel that way, don’t let your past hold you back from doing great things in the future. Your character and drive should determine your victories, not your background.
- Sometimes you have to make sacrifices.
Katniss was willing to sacrifice her own life for her sister’s. All of the districts sacrificed peace in favor of war because they knew that the way they were being treated was wrong. The rebels knew that a lot of their own would perish during the rebellion, but that sacrifice would be worth future freedom. You can’t get anything good in life without making a few sacrifices, but if the end goal is worth it, your sacrifices won’t be in vain.
- Don’t underestimate people.
No one in the arena thought that Rue was a threat or an asset, so they pretty much left her alone until she and Katniss joined forces. None of the other tributes believed that Rue was capable of surviving the Games, but they didn’t realize that she was incredibly agile and observant. She ended up saving Katniss’ life by warning her about the tracker jackers, so Katniss may have never made it out of the ring if it wasn’t for the tiny 12-year old from District 11. You really never know what people are capable of, so before you write them off, get to know them a bit.
- Trust yourself.
Katniss is a highly-skilled archer, and her belief that she could still hit her targets under pressure is what kept her alive. Even when the entire scene was in chaos in the arena in Catching Fire, Katniss trusted herself to shoot the arrow and take down the force field that enclosed the arena. Even if you aren’t sure if you’ll succeed, you should always trust yourself and your abilities because you are your best chance of making it out alive.