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Katniss Everdeen: Feminist hero in teenage fiction at last?

After Twilight’s Bella Swan left an entire generation of girls lusting after what is essentially an abusive and controlling relationship described as the ultimate declaration of true love, it’s safe to say that teenage fiction needs a new empowering female protagonist for damage control. After watching the film and reading the books, my initial thoughts were that Katniss is a much better role model than Bella: but is she the feminist hero we really need in teenage literature?

Let’s examine what makes Katniss a good role model: Katniss is incredibly brave. When her sister Prim is selected to play in the Hunger Games, meaning almost certain death, she volunteers in her place. We learn that when her father died, it was Katniss who kept her family together despite her young age and her mother falling into despair. She hunts the food that feeds her family or is sold to fund the family’s other needs. She’s a respected member of the District 12 community and no stranger to hard work. Courage is an excellent quality and Katniss also demonstrates good, strong family values.

Katniss does not want or need a boyfriend and does not depend on him when she gets one. It is clear that her friend Gale harbors a romantic attachment to her from the beginning and Peeta’s affections for her are very much real. While playing with Peeta’s emotions isn’t entirely fair on Peeta, it shows that Katniss is strong and clever enough to ...

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