hinkevanabbema asked: What do you think the pearl signifies throughout all three books?
I immediately think the pearl signifies Peeta. Every instance it comes up, she thinks of him. In its simplest meaning, pearl equals Peeta.
Suzanne Collins uses it as a literary tool. Since Katniss and Peeta are split apart for the chunk of the book, it helps the reader to see how much Katniss longs, misses and thinks about Peeta when he’s gone, and then when he’s hijacked. Katniss repeatedly brings the pearl out and keeps it safely with her.
I looked up what a pearl can represent. It varied. Ranging from innocence to the moon, with purity being the most common. I thought that was interesting. As we know, SC doesn’t do anything haphazardly. The pearl was deliberate.
Was Peeta pure? He stated that Katniss was so pure, but I don’t think that’s the intention behind the pearl. When I think of Peeta’s purity, I think of how Peeta is different than Katniss and Haymitch. He is innately good, loving, kind and selfless. Whereas, Katniss and Haymitch have lived a life where they’re inclined to do what’s best for themselves, for those closest to them and for survival.
We could almost leave it at that if it weren’t for the quote towards the end of the book. Peeta doesn’t want to be a danger to them and doesn’t trust himself.
"Should we free his hands?" asks Leeg 1.
"No!" Peeta growls at her, drawing his cuffs in close to his body.
"No." I echo. "But I want the key." Jackson passes it over without a word. I slip it into my pants pocket, where it clicks against the pearl.
"Where it clicks against the pearl." SC specifically has Katniss mention the key against the pearl. I thought far too intensely about this. It was just one of those images I carried with me from the first time I read Mockingjay two years ago. The imagery is so intentional.
I believe that Katniss does hold the key to Peeta’s physical freedom (handcuffs) and the freedom from hijacking to reach his actual self (pearl.) Although Peeta has been tampered with by the Capitol, he’s still there. Who he is and who he was to Katniss, is still there.
There are some important examples of Katniss being the key for reaching Peeta. One is when they’re playing Real or Not Real around the campfire when he is sent to the Capitol to fight alongside them. Katniss is the only person that can verify or discount many of the things that are in his mind, especially since the memories regarding Katniss are the ones the Capitol tainted. Then, there’s the example from after the sewer. He’s struggling to keep it together and she kisses him, bringing him back to the “always” moment from Catching Fire.
We can still elaborate more on how they need each other since this carries throughout the rest of the story and ultimately, the rest of their lives. But since, our focus is the pearl, all we need to do is look at the text:
- She rubs it.
- She kisses it.
- She sleeps with it.
- She keeps it safe.
The pearl shows how much she is completely heartsick and absolutely in love with Peeta Mellark.