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Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.
The rose symbolizes power and President Snow’s seeming omniscience. He is the most powerful man in the country, killing, torturing, and maiming with no remorse. He stops at nothing to maintain his power, often killing people close to him if he thinks they are encroaching on his power. He has eyes and ears everywhere, and no one seems to be able to escape his reach. President Snow is known for the single white rose he always wears in his lapel, and it always catches Katniss’s eye when she sees him in person or on television. His roses have a strangely potent fragrance that seems unnatural. He leaves a single, perfect white rose for Katniss in her old house when she visits what is left of her district. This is a sign to Katniss that she can do nothing without his knowledge, and it serves the purpose of unnerving her. When Katniss is in the presidential mansion, she is led to the room where Snow is being held by the overpowering smell of his roses. When Katniss is about to shoot Snow with her arrow, she aims at the rose in his jacket, striking one final blow to this symbol of power.
Katniss, in the role of the Mockingjay, is a symbol of rebellion. In Panem, the mockingjay is a pleasant bird that repeats melodies it hears, simple or intricate. Katniss wears a mockingjay pin in the Hunger Games and Quarter Quell which was given to her by a friend. It belonged to that friend’s aunt, who died in an earlier Hunger Games. The rest of the country took notice of the pin during the televised games. Because of her and Peeta’s popularity due to the Hunger Games and Quarter Quell, she is adored by the people of the districts and chosen by President Coin to don the Mockingjay suit and lead the rebellion. She unifies the districts through her rallying propos which are aired throughout the country. As more and more propos are released, districts fall in line to fight for the rebellion. Katniss makes a surprising discovery when she visits a makeshift hospital after a bombing in District 8 and finds that her presence relieves people’s pain and suffering for a few moments, and people are eager to touch her and speak to her. She realizes that becoming the Mockingjay has given her power to lead the districts into the long overdue rebellion.
Prim’s cat, Buttercup, is a symbol of survival and a parallel to Katniss herself. Buttercup, though unfriendly, survives again and again, much like Katniss. He is not a particularly affectionate or attractive cat, but Prim loves and protects him, and that is enough to make Buttercup loyal and loving to Prim. He survives the bombing of District 12 and Katniss begrudgingly brings him to District 13 where, during yet more bombing, he becomes a bit of a celebrity among residents; Katniss plays a game called Crazy Cat in which she has Buttercup chase the light of a flashlight, to the entertainment of others. However, Katniss realizes the game is a metaphor for the way President Snow toys with her for the Capitol’s entertainment, equating herself to Buttercup and the light Buttercup is so desperate to obtain to the captive Peeta.