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Dear Suzanne Collins

“I volunteer” I gasp “I volunteer as tribute!” This quote is such a big influence of my life. The moment my brain processed her words, I was flooded with scenarios of my sister and the lengths I would go to for her. It reminds me of the bond I share with my sister. She is 26 and married and has a kid, but at the time she was 24 and I remember feeling instantly protective. I would drop everything in a heartbeat if something tragic were to happen. The quote, uttered from Katniss, brought this into perspective. It made me feel my families’ presence and love for one another.
My sister is the world to me. She has been a true best friend forever. We always had this bond– some un-spoken truce–to push aside any negative feelings we were having and stand by each other. Even at a young age, we argued very seldom. Growing up made that bond unstoppable and unbreakable. Over the years, she had a new life, a boyfriend and school. Yet, she never stopped making me a priority. Getting to see her for only a weekend or two, over a two month span, really hit home. The fact that she wanted to keep up our friendship meant the universe to me. Ergo, I did the same in return. We would have sleepovers; go to movies, and gossip. She always shared her wisdom with me. We were inseparable. When her weekends ended, it was like losing a twin each time. The longer she was gone, the more alone I would feel. I ached for her return. Similar to what Primrose was feeling when Katniss was fighting for her life in the Games.
One of the deep emotional connections I made with the book was when the package bombs went off-and Primrose died in Mockingjay. I was crying from the moment it hit me, to the end of the book, and then some. I have never cried while reading a book. That passage about Prim really homed in on my heart and soul. It devoured me. My sister was the only thing I could concentrate on for the next hour or so. To even comprehend losing someone so close is unbearable. My sister and I have kept each other happy and sane since I can remember. Katniss and Prim had the same relationship and it only makes you think more intently on who matters in your own life. The first word that pops into my head when hearing a family member’s name is self-sacrifice. Corny? Sure. Undeniable. Yes. There are no lengths I wouldn’t go to for her. And vice versa. She has expressed her idea about this series with me. We simultaneously agreed we would subconsciously volunteer for one another. No thought to it. Just fact. That’s family. And these books have enhanced my definition of that.
Your examples of family helping family, friend helping friend and even friend helping enemy sometimes remind of us of what we miss out on. Things have changed over the years, and certain aspects of people’s daily routines are based off of their personal needs. We have become too selfish and greedy. We sometimes lose ourselves. We forget that we are shaped by who we surround ourselves with. Peeta explains this very well by explaining to Katniss, “I don’t want them to change me in there. Turn me into some kind of monster that I’m not.” He is explaining what people do every day. They allow others to tell them what they should and shouldn’t do. We have become followers and not leaders. We want too desperately to fit in. If fitting in means being unkind to those who love you and have helped you one the way, I don’t want to fit in. It feels stone cold. I have realized through the series that I need to remain myself and stay near to the ones I love and care about. Never giving up or losing hope even when they disappoint like Katniss’s mother at the being.
The Hunger games tapped into my bonds and family ties on a whole new scale. It revealed the true meaning of family and how I view it. It showed me what really sacrifice and love was. It helped express my friendship and love for my sister.



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