03/23/2012 11:21 am ET Updated May 23, 2012

Girl on Fire

In today's society, women are complete individuals who strive to be successful and independent like their male counterparts. In a dystopian era where everyone struggles to survive and all revert to dependence upon one another, one small, shimmering match is struck to shine above all others and change the restraints holding her down. Katniss Everdeen, 17, grows up in a world where death and hardships are an everyday occurrence. She faces struggles in her life that we may one day face ourselves, sans fighting to the death in a televised match. As a teenager, she is faced with the challenge of providing for her entire family. The endurance and bravery she embodies while hunting and providing is not something everyone naturally possesses. Along with her bravery comes an overwhelming amount of devotion.

Katniss's father died a few months before she turned 12. At the age of 12, the Capitol provides one 'tesserae,' which is enough to provide for her family for a short amount of time on the condition that they will be entered an additional time into the reaping. By signing up and increasing her chances, Katniss shows just how much she is willing to do to protect her sister Prim and their mother. Her devotion is so substantial -- she even volunteers to take Prim's place in the Hunger Games. This strong façade Katniss puts up only comes off when she's around her longtime friend, Gale. This is not a sign of weakness, but instead realism. The fact that she is not always strong and is able to show her true self makes her character easily relatable.

As an avid reader, reading about a character who is personable and easy to identify with makes a book more enjoyable. Katniss is faced with a difficult task after the reaping. During this time, it would be perfectly understandable for her strength and bravery to falter. When she understands what may become of her, she decides to persevere and beat the odds that are not in her favor. By living in a poverty-stricken district, Katniss has learned the importance of not only being resourceful, but of saving as well. This is an important characteristic because it demonstrates how level-headed Katniss is. By doing this, it also shows how she is thinking about the future and any possible challenges she may face.

When in the arena, Katniss puts aside her fear and lets her true colors show. There are several instances where she could have forgotten her own morals and just eliminate her competition, such as when Foxface went to retrieve food from the career's supply. Instead, Katniss uses her skills only for defense. Even though she does not follow Peeta's thoughts on the Games at first, she slowly comes to understand that she must stand up for what is right, even when there is nobody to stand with her. The fact that she does not come to terms with this concept in the beginning shows that she is able to have flaws and can accept them.

Throughout The Hunger Games, one theme is constantly present within Katniss, and that is her stubbornness. Like any teenage girl, Katniss freely expresses her beliefs and thoughts. She stands her ground when she feels strong about something. Katniss constantly feels that she is in a state of debt towards Peeta. When she states, "I feel like I owe him something, and I hate owing people," she is touching on the subject of being held down by someone else. By being stubborn, she hates to admit her humility and ask for help.

Katniss Everdeen has escalated to one of the most relatable characters in the literary world. She is a great role model for the young adults of today. Her ability to emphasize the importance of doing what is right and being strong is probably the greatest message to give to the teenagers of the world today.