Mockingjay | Teen Ink


October 13, 2021
By samantha934 SILVER, Homewood, Illinois
samantha934 SILVER, Homewood, Illinois
9 articles 1 photo 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic."

Wingbeats fluttered past me as I sat on a picnic blanket with a copy of the Hunger Games one afternoon. I’m not sure what the bird was, but I remember that moment because the fluttering was so close that I felt as though it were within my chest, fighting to get out. I imagined this bird was a Mockingjay, the fictional bird that was the symbol for rebellion, for revolution, it was a symbol for the girl that was ultimately the catalyst for change. It's almost funny how something so simple in a text becomes a symbol for a nation. I realized that the fluttering of wings within me, however fleeting, sparked my revolution. It was my catalyst for change. Reading this book didn't change my passion, didn’t change my life, but it shaped what was already set in place. I realized then that I needed to find my Mockingjay in order to be fulfilled in doing what I love.

I started writing when I was in my own little hunger games: freshman year french class. Struggling through that class felt as though I was fighting for my life. Every conjugation stuck me like an arrow, every speaking quiz had me running for cover, and every test felt like a special little surprise the gamemakers had cooked up to impress an audience that didn’t really exist. I needed something to keep me sane, to keep my mind engaged as my French teacher droned on in a language in which I had no hope for survival. In order to survive this endless torture, I picked up my pen, and wrote. Sentences that were short. Direct. Others were longer, had an elegant flow, seeped into my brain in waves, and I allowed myself to be flooded with the beauty of it. I had found my passion, but I still needed a purpose. I needed to release my mockingjay. 

But, my mockingjay was still stuck inside me, those wings still pushing at my insides, driving me onward. I tried writing about superheroes, but it didn’t seem right. It was too easy to win the day. There was nothing that drove the protagonist, so I moved to fleshing out characters, giving them strengths and weaknesses, characteristics that would make it easier to free my mockingjay. I realized that all these characters, while they may not talk like me or look like me, they are a part of me. Some of my characters inhabited within my sarcasm, some of my characters pitched their tent in the optimism and energy I always seem to have an abundance of, and it helped. Their characteristics turned into struggle, and that turned into a theme. I morphed my words into a story of strength when all is hopeless, kindness when all the world has been is cruel. 

It's not perfect, and it doesn’t satisfy that fluttering in my chest, but it's a start. I’m on my way to freeing my catalyst, my Mockingjay, the thing that will ignite my writing and make it mean something. When I do, I’m going to change the world. I may not be Katniss, but I am a “girl on fire.”

The author's comments:

This is my college essay, but I really loved the message!

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