The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy, and… The Hanging Tree?

Yesterday, there was a lot of talk of bunnies in my family. Particularly, a giant one that hide eggs and leaves candy for children. Yup, this guy:

happy_easter_bunny_wallpaper

A little creepy, tbh…

As if that wasn’t enough, one of the kids lost a tooth in the midst of all this bunny talk. Suddenly, the conversation switches to “TOOTH FAIRY!”

Couldn't help myself...

Couldn’t help myself…

While these particular mythical beings aren’t popular everywhere in the world, you know what is? Beings of mythical proportion. Think the Greek or Roman Gods, sprites, Santa, ghosts, mermaids, urban legends about serial killers lurking anywhere a teenager would even think about rounding second base… the list could go on forever!

Except, of course, in Panem.

It’s not that there’s no myths or legends at all. It’s just that the ones we’re introduced to are very much routed in reality. Perhaps the closest we get to myth is “The Hanging Tree”, because it’s told from the perspective of a dead man. A spirit or a ghost, perhaps. But even so, they don’t address it as such.

Panem takes itself pretty seriously, especially Katniss, so maybe there’s just no need for myths in the story. Maybe they’d just take away from the stark reality too much. “Don’t worry about the Bogeyman, kid! If anyone’s going to kill you, it’s the government!”

Still, we don’t think that legends could story manifesting in ANY world. Because that would mean people have stopped making up elaborate stories. Could that ever happen? We don’t think so. There’s always going to be that creature in the woods/lake/closet or the invisible bringer of good fortune. No matter what you call it or what story you build up around it, it’s there.

You may say legends got stopped out in the same way religion clearly was in Panem (and has been attempted in our world at various points), but we have our doubts. Religion, to a government that wants to be all powerful, poses a threat. So maybe we stomp out the ones vaguely tied to religion. Children’s stories do not. In fact, many of these beings work as cautionary tales that help keep kids in line.

More than anything, it’s probably a case of Katniss Everdeen growing up too fast to care one bit about childish stories, but we gotta admit, that makes us a little sad. Everyone needs a good dose of fantasy to offset their reality.

Our Imagination Still Runs Wild,
The Girl With The Pearl

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3 comments

  1. I’m in agreement that, unlike religion (which my headcanon has as a capital offense), fairy tales are not mentioned in the trilogy due to this being Katniss’ POV.
    No matter how brutal the living conditions of a region, people will always tell stories: be they written or oral tradition. And so long as the messages stories told are not subversive, the Capitol is likely to be intent on looking the other way; if it weren’t, you also wouldn’t have all the distinct cultural practices from the districts surviving (as highlighted with the Odesta wedding).
    Also, your joke about slasher urban legends does take a unpleasant turn when one considers that stories like that could indeed occur as a way of demonizing the other social class.
    I wouldn’t even be surprised if some of the well-known fairy tales survived; again, so long as the message is fairly harmless.

    Of course, things that do have a connection to religious occurrences, no matter how small and tenuous, would be… frowned upon. So no Santa or Easter Bunny.

    1. Santa is very easy to turn into a completely non-religious figure. Just rename him associate him with New Year instead of Christmas and that’s it. It worked perfectly in the socialist Yugoslavia, where the entire Western imagery of Santa Clause was borrowed and he was called Deda Mraz or Djed Mraz (Gradnpa Frost) and he brought presents for the New Year. The Christmas tree was also turned into the New Year tree. I helped that Christmas was never associated with presents or full-blown trees in the local tradition. The only thing comparable to a Christmas tree is “Badnjak”, an oak branch traditionally carried home on the Christmas Eve, but with no decorations or presents.

  2. I always thought there must have been stories told. Kind of the “Hansel and Gretel” type/moralistic fables. I figured that was why most of the people from District 12 didn’t go into the woods- the boogey-man and all of that.
    Also, wouldn’t the songs her father taught her be considered part of the legend? That is how many stories are passed down from one generation to the next.

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