As the third book in a trilogy, Suzanne Collins's Mockingjay provides readers with the conclusion to Katniss Everdeen's saga. In order for you to teach this novel effectively, it would be ideal for readers to be familiar with the plots, characters, and themes of the first two novels, The Hunger Games and Catching Fire.

The Hunger Games series tackles the overarching theme of survival under an oppressive, corrupt government; however, Mockingjay in particular questions the justifications surrounding war and rebellion. Through painful character losses and unimaginably dangerous situations, Collins asks, "Is winning a war worth the cost?" All students can weigh in on this question, as with many themes of dystopian novels, it is highly applicable to the real world. Encourage honest and respectful discussion among students, who may have strong opinions about this topic and personal experiences that have helped shape their views. Have them draw connections between the novel and real life. In a world in which there is always injustice and causes for which to fight, a discussion on whether war is the best way to effect change could bring out the inner Katniss in your students.

Take advantage of the fact that Mockingjay is a modern and popular novel through which there are many forms of media to teach it. Engaging resources abound, including the two box-office hits, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Parts 1 and 2. Have your class examine the major differences between the novel and the films, including how the choices the filmmakers made affect various elements of the novel such as plot and characterization. In addition to the movies, you can use author interviews, cast interviews, and even the film soundtracks to bring Panem to life.

In the words of Katniss Everdeen, "Fire is catching, and if we burn, you burn!" There's a great deal we can learn from Mockingjay. And if we learn, you learn!

Summary of Mockingjay

Key Facts

  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Length: 400 pages
  • Lexile Measure: 800L
  • Recommended Grade Band: 9-10

After she escapes the Quarter Quell and her home, District 12, is bombed beyond recognition, Katniss hides underground in District 13—a place that everyone in Panem believes to have been destroyed by the government. There, President Coin and the others in hiding continue to plan the revolution that will overthrow Panem's corrupt administration.

As Katniss becomes the face of the revolution—the Mockingjay—succeeding becomes more and more difficult, especially because the Capitol has brainwashed Peeta and programmed him to kill her. Katniss soon learns that revolution comes at a heavy price, and she must decide whether to seize the Capitol despite the inevitable casualties.

Content Warning:This novel contains incidents of intense violence.

What Your Students Will Love About Mockingjay

  • The fast-paced action of the novel
  • Relatable characters fighting injustice
  • The love triangle among Katniss, Peeta, and Gale

Potential Student Struggles With Mockingjay

  • The deaths of characters students have likely come to love from the previous books
  • Examining a novel prevalent in pop culture through an academic lens
  • Dark subject matter and serious tone of the novel

Learning Objectives for Mockingjay

  • Discuss how the novel epitomizes dystopian literature.
  • Analyze Katniss's development as the Mockingjay, and discuss how she copes with the expectations placed upon her.
  • Elucidate the role of manipulation—psychological, physical, or social—in the lives of Collins's characters.
  • Trace the concept of revolution in the novel, determining the difference between theory and practice.
  • Examine themes involving love, friendship, and sacrifice.
  • Review characteristics of the mockingjay, what this bird symbolizes, and how Katniss perfectly embodies this creature; discover meaning in other symbols, including roses, arena tokens, and Prim's cat.
  • Compare the revolution in Mockingjay to real-life events.

Literary Elements in Mockingjay

  • Allegory
  • Antagonist/Protagonist
  • Climax
  • Dystopia
  • Flashback
  • Foreshadowing
  • Imagery
  • Irony
  • Metaphor
  • Sequel
  • Simile
  • Symbolism
  • Theme

Major Themes in Mockingjay

Identity — As Katniss becomes the face of the revolution, she must decide if being a pawn in this power struggle reflects who she really is.

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Sacrifice — Several characters in the novel have made difficult sacrifices throughout the series; were these sacrifices for the greater good?

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Uprising — President Coin's revolution is integral to the novel's plot and greatly influences the characters involved.

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Other Resources for Mockingjay