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The difference between Bella and Katniss can be identified in their characters, where Bella is often the damsel in distress and Katniss a woman with a mind and a life of her own!
Two of the most popular female fictional characters, ‘Katniss Everdeen’ and ‘Bella Swan’ took the world by storm. The Twilight Saga and The Hunger Games broke box office records, book sale records and have both sold millions of dollars of merchandise. But The Hunger Games movies made thrice the amount of money that the Twilight movies did. I analysed the reasons as to why Katniss Everdeen is favoured over ‘Bella Swan’. It also has something to do with the role of the male counterparts in their lives.
We all know how amazing an archer Katniss Everdeen is. Her aim rarely falters and she impresses her rivals and the Capitol. But whenever Bella walks, she can’t help but trip. There has hardly ever been a time when Katniss falls or trips. She’s quick to react, swift and nimble.
Katniss knows the art of survival, and once she comprehends the kind of danger she’s in, she takes care of herself. Bella doesn’t value her life or safety and keeps getting into trouble. She is not physically active while physical fitness is the key reason as to why Katniss survives in The Hunger Games; Bella always needs to be protected because of her clumsiness.
Katniss’s mantra is ‘I need to survive and help my family survive’. In contrast, Bella believes, ‘I am nothing without Edward’.
Katniss doesn’t have parental protection. Without her father and inactive mother, Katniss hunts for food for her family. She runs the family by herself and thinks for herself and her family. But Bella is just a teenager who can cook for herself. Katniss brings the food on the plate while Bella cooks the food her parents earn for her. Bella considers herself detached from her family; emotionally, she doesn’t try to connect with her parents and doesn’t bother to participate in their life.
Katniss may not always know what her mother and sister are doing, but she takes on the role of the head of the family without grumbling or complaining. She doesn’t control her family.
Bella is obsessed with her crush, Edward. Teenage girls are usually obsessed with their crushes and believe its love. That’s common. But Bella is enamoured with Edward’s looks and is blind to all his shortcomings, unlike Katniss. She has seen all sides of Peeta, and loves him despite that. Peeta has shown Katniss how strong and weak he can be, and they’ve faced everything together. But Edward believes that Bella is incapable of handling pain. He decides to face things alone, without consulting her.While Edward Cullen, Bella’s husband behaves like Superman, Peeta, Katniss’s boyfriend is a real man with flaws.
Both men in Twilight are typical Alpha males. They believe that they must protect women because they are weak and are meant to be protected. They treat Bella as their possession. Edward and Jacob are jealous of each other, and refuse to get along, and are always at loggerheads for each other.
Peeta and Gail understand the other’s position in Katniss’s life and do not compete with each other to win her affection. They are aware that Katniss is not ready to choose. They get along when the situation demands. Gail and Peeta don’t let their jealousy come in between their relationship with Katniss, unlike Edward and Jacob who go to extreme lengths to prove their position in Bella’s life to the other.
Bella lets Edward and Jacob take all the decisions for her, and doesn’t fight for what she wants. The men behave like know-it-alls. But Peeta and Gail never compel Katniss to do anything she doesn’t like. They aren’t pompous like Edward or Jacob. They respect her decisions about everything. The men in Twilight don’t respect Bella, and treat her like a glass doll, that needs to be constantly monitored. She gives off the ‘I can’t live without you’ vibe.
But the men in The Hunger Games do not watch Katniss like a hawk, though they want to be with her, and help her face difficult situations. Edward and Jacob believe they know what’s best for Bella, while Bella complies, after protesting weakly. Peeta and Gail know that Katniss is capable of handling herself, but they never dictate their opinions. The men in Twilight are trying to prove their ‘manliness’ by engaging in fights, unlike the men in The Hunger Games who fight for survival and to defend themselves.
There is a statement in Eclipse, the third instalment of Twilight, where Bella says, ‘The conflict between Edward’s Bella and Jacob’s Bella, Edward’s Bella wins’. This clearly shows that Bella is defined by the men in her unlike, Katniss, who is her own person. The men in her life are just a part of her life.
While Stephanie Meyer has received harsh criticism for creating such a boring, unhealthy character, Suzanne Collins has received accolades for creating an inspirational female character for young girls. I truly believe that novels with strong female characters are the ‘It thing’ for young girls right now, and I encourage them to read such books.
Twilight cast image via Shutterstock
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