The Mockingjay Bird
One of the symbols in The Hunger Games books was the mocking-jay bird. It was stick to a pin which Katniss, the main character, wore during the 74th edition of the Hunger Games. The mocking-jay is a genetic result of the interbreeding of jabber jays and the mocking bird females. The fact that Katniss wore that pin as a symbol and reminder of her district was found defying by the Capitol, since that genetic engineered bird was declared of failure. However, the signification of the mocking-jay bird was taken by Katniss, as she became a rebel symbol and leader herself as well.
The jabber-jays were initially all males and their purpose was to provide inside information from the rebel camps to the Capitol. They were very efficient spies, as they could reproduce entire conversation between rebels. However, the rebels ultimately found out about this and started to use them for their own purposes, more precisely to feed the Capitol with loads of false information, through the jabber-jays. Eventually, the Capitol found out about this and decided to close all the laboratories in which the jabber-jays were made.
The one thing that was really amazing to the jabber-jays was their incredible ability to reproduce entire phrases or fragments. From their mating with the mocking birds came the mocking-jays, which weren’t able to memorize as their fathers could, but had another strange ability, that of reproducing every sound and tone that a man, be it a baby or an adult, could produce. But this was so only when and if they were taught and one of the men who had this patience was Katniss’ father. Peeta said that the first encounter he had with Katniss, she started to sing and all the mocking-jays and even the other birds went quiet, a sign that they really liked the song she played, be it the song itself or the notes were comprised in it. This ability of mocking-jays to reproduce things from humans or other birds was inherited from both the jabber-jays and the mocking-birds. So, if there is a song, either sung by people or other birds that they really enjoy, the mocking-jays would simply memorize its tunes and reproduce it to people or even spread it to other birds, as well. All in Katniss’ family (Katniss, her father and her little sister, Rue) are very good singers and their voices made the birds to sing.
These birds are to be found in more districts, not only in the orchards of district eleven. They also populate parts of districts thirteen and twelve. They are real survivors, being said that they could adapt in any environment without too much problem.
During the games, these birds were also present in the arenas and Rue and Katniss found a way to use them to send signals from one to another, by making them sing in different ways so they know they are alright.
The symbolism of the mocking-jays goes further in the books. They represent the Capitol’s failure first to manipulate their creations and then to terminate them, and not only this failure, but the fact that these creatures managed to interbreed with the mocking-birds which are a symbol of justice and develop their ability to something even more beautiful. Therefore, wearing them stuck to pins or any other forms is a form of rebellion towards the Capitol itself.
The mocking-jay pin that Katniss wore was from Madge Undersee, who had it from her aunt. Also, during the games, Plutarch Heavensbee had a watch tinted with a mocking-jay and he showed it to Katniss, so she would know she had an ally. The exceptions were the people from Capitol, who were these symbols just because they were trendy, even if they didn’t know what it represents: rebellion.