To kill for a mockingjay?
In the post-apocalyptic saga The Hunger Games, actress Jennifer Lawrence sets the silver screen ablaze as Katniss Everdeen, “the girl on fire.” Everdeen is chosen as one of 24 “tributes,” children who fight to the death in a yearly tradition run by the feared totalitarian Capitol government and broadcast to the citizens of futuristic America. The colorful, flamboyant clothes worn by the elite Capitol citizens speak loudly to their wealth and power. The Hunger Games tributes are even inspired to copy their style – not for the mere sake of looking fabulous, but in an effort to be liked by those watching the games who might help them survive.
Real-world audiences haven’t seemed to notice the fancy wardrobes as much as the tiny mockingjay pin worn by Everdeen throughout the film. A symbol of District 12, her home and the poorest of the Capitol-ruled townships, the mockingjay pin features the fictional bird holding an arrow and encompassed by a disc. The pin’s designer, Dana Schneider, took the image from the front of the first book of the original Hunger Games trilogy. Replicas are popping up everywhere from eBay to Amazon, in varying forms of accuracy and quality. Schenider herself has even been asked to produce the pin on her Etsy website, where she sells her other jewelry, but says she respects the copyright purchased by the film’s producers.
The unstoppable rush to own such a pin is not only an expression of the fan’s love for the film and book. In winning the Hunger Games, Katniss succeeds in playing by some of her own rules. She brings more hope to the nation than the Capitol leaders would like to allow, reigniting the idea that a revolution to overcome their grip is yet possible. The way in which Katniss so subversively stands up for personal freedom has had both conservative- and liberal-minded individuals telling press that the story speaks to their personal beliefs. The pin captures all of this as a visual statement of what is right and just.
That such a small pin from a humble background could become an icon that displaces the possessions of the film’s richest characters is a wonder. It is usually diamonds and gold that impress and are coveted, but the Hunger Games turned that norm on its head for a moment. The mockingjay pin reminds us that the simplest of pieces can be the most powerful.