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Katniss Everdeen putting flowers around Rue after Rue's death.

Flowers appear numerous times in The Hunger Games trilogy- either as real plants seen by the characters or just references in the text- and in some cases they play a major symbolic role in the story line.

Buttercup

Primrose Everdeen named her cat Buttercup, insisting that his muddy yellow coat resembled the flower.[1]

Daisies

Katniss Everdeen sings to Rue as she dies, and a lyric of the song mentions 'the daisies guard you from every harm'.[2] At the beginning of The Hunger Games film, Katniss is also shown singing a verse of this song to Prim to calm her down from a nightmare.

Dandelions

Dandelion

Dandelion

"That what I need to survive is not Gale's fire, kindled with rage and hatred. I have plenty of fire myself. 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. And only Peeta can give me that."
―Katniss Everdeen, Mockingjay, Chapter 27[src]

Dandelions are a symbol of hope to Katniss Everdeen, and are strongly associated with Peeta Mellark. After Peeta gave her the bread that saved her family from starvation, Katniss saw him at school near a field of dandelions. Katniss and her sister also picked Dandelions to serve as food when their father died and they were very hungry (she had seen them when she was in school). She learned from her father's plant book that dandelions could be used for food. When Katniss threw the cookies Peeta's father gave to her after the reaping out the window of the train, they fell open next to a bunch of dandelions.[3]

Posy

Gale Hawthorne's little sister Posy is named for a flower. The word can also refer to a small bunch of flowers of any type.

Primrose

Primrose cc preview

Purple Primroses

"Prim's face is a fresh as a raindrop, as lovely as the primrose for which she was named."
―Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games, Chapter 1[src]

Primrose Everdeen is named after the evening primrose. When Peeta Mellark returns to District 12 after the end of the Second Rebellion, one of the first things he does is relocate five bushes of primrose from the woods and begins to plant them outside of Katniss' house in the Victors' Village as a memorial to Prim. It was this action that snapped Katniss out of the lethargy she had been in for months and she began living again.[4]

Roses

Snowswhiterose

President Snow's rose

"No one will fully understand - how it's not just a flower, not even just President Snow's flower, but a promise of revenge."
―Katniss Everdeen. Mockingjay, Chapter 1
Roses are associated with President Coriolanus Snow. When he met Katniss prior to her Victory Tour, he wore one in his jacket lapel, and the smell was so strong that Katniss thought the scent must've been genetically enhanced.[5] These roses are grown in a special room in the presidential mansion; white roses are the president's favorite, but red, pink, orange, and pale blue ones are also cultivated.[6]

Finnick Odair later reveals that, according to Capitol gossip, Snow uses the scent-enhanced roses to hide the ever-present smell of blood that comes from his mouth sores; during his rise to power - and in an effort to keep it - Snow poisoned any potential rivals and often deflected suspicion by consuming the poisoned drink himself. While he possessed antidotes to these poisons, they didn't always work, so the mouth sores were a constant problem.[7]

Role in Mockingjay

Snow leaves a white rose in Katniss's house, which she finds when she comes back to visit her home after the bombing of District 12.[8]

Red and pink roses (white in the film) were dropped after the bombing of District 13, which Katniss believed to be from President Snow, and like the white rose she found in her house in the Victors' Village, were there to upset her.[9]

When in the Capitol, Squad 451 is attacked by mutts that smell like roses, and Katniss describes this type of mutt as one that incorporates a psychological twist to truly frighten the victim. Towards the end of Mockingjay, Katniss is in Snow's mansion when she finds herself in his rose room. The putrid stench of roses sickens her to the point of gagging.

The roses reminded her of Peeta because the same type of white roses were in the room during one of Peeta and Katniss's interviews in the Capitol right after winning their first Hunger Games.

Real-life connection

Roses, of course, possess powerful symbolic meaning in real life. In the broadest traditional sense, they have embodied positive traits such as love and beauty, but as a writer, Suzanne Collins reverses this symbolism; within Katniss' experience, something that is normally pretty is turned into something painful and fear-inducing.

Red roses are also a simbol of socialism, social democracy and, in general, anti-authoritarian fighting. Once again, Suzanne Collins reverses the symbolism: what in real life is a symbol of freedom and democracy fighting is in Katniss's experience a symbol of dictatorship and oppression.

Rue

Rue flower

Meadow Rue Flower

Rue is named after this flower, which Katniss mentions grows in the meadow, an area just outside her house on the outskirts of District 12 yellow flower of the same name. After Marvel killed Rue with his spear, Katniss covered her in flowers to show the Capitol that she "wasn't just a piece in their Games." She also sang her a lullaby as she died. After Katniss won the Hunger Games, this was regarded as a defiance against the Capitol, which helped sustain Katniss to return to the arena for the 75th Hunger Games.

Tiger lilies

Tiger lilies

A tiger lily

Shortly before her Victory Tour, Snow makes an unexpected visit to Katniss' new house in the Victors' Village. Acting the good hostess, Mrs. Everdeen offers him tea and a plate of cookies. The cookies were made by Peeta, as revealed by the beautifully frosted tiger lily on top of one of them.[10]

Wild Flowers

Wildflowers

Wildflowers

"I want to do something, right here, right now, to shame them, to make them accountable, to show the Capitol that whatever they do or force us to do there is a part of every tribute they can't own. That Rue was more than a piece in their games. And so am I."
―Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games, Chapter 18
After Rue was killed by Marvel, Katniss covered her with white, yellow, and purple wild flowers, both to cover her wound and in an attempt to show the Capitol that they were responsible for her death. She covered Rue's body and wound the flowers in her hair to make her look like she was really sleeping in a meadow. At the end of The Hunger Games, Peeta and Katniss are walking down the train track and Peeta collects a bunch of wild flowers to give to Katniss. Katniss did not tell him that these flowers were the tops of onions which reminded her of Gale.

During his individual training session in Catching Fire, Peeta painted a picture of how Rue looked when covered in flowers, an action which provoked the Capitol into giving him a perfect score, thus making him a target.

Trivia

  • Many of the Capitol citizens have tattoos of flowers on parts of their bodies.

References

  1. The Hunger Games, Chapter 1
  2. The Hunger Games, Chapter 18
  3. The Hunger Games, Chapter 4
  4. Mockingjay, Chapter 27
  5. Catching Fire, Chapter 2
  6. Mockingjay, Chapter 25
  7. Mockingjay, Chapter 12
  8. Mockingjay, Chapter 1
  9. Mockingjay, Chapter 11
  10. Catching Fire, Chapter 3

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