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The Hunger Games: What Does Rue & Katniss’ Whistle Mean, Explained

Rue and Katniss’ whistle represents the powerful bond the two characters develop and plays a major role in the rebellion.

In The Hunger Games, Rue and Katniss Everdeen’s whistle captures the powerful bond between these two characters and a song of redemption that gets echoed by the rebellion. The Hunger Games are all about control, created in order to provide the Capitol with sadistic entertainment and to remind each district that the people that rule over them should not be contested. The violent games represent a way for the tributes of each district to vent their rage on each other rather than on the oppressive power that hangs over them. Rue and Katniss met while participating in the 74th games.

Amid the chaos and the bloodshed, the beautiful friendship between Katniss and Rue flourishes. Rue was a shy, yet experienced participant from District 11. The two immediately knew they could trust each other: from Rue’s part, she saw the figure of the Mockingjay in Katniss, and as for Katniss, Rue warned her about the nest of tracker jackers, probably saving her life. The fact that Rue was only 12 years old strengthens the innocence of her relationship with Katniss and reminded her of her sister Primrose. As they become allies, Rue comes up with a whistle song that changes Katniss’s trajectory, resembling her journey to becoming a Mockingjay herself.

The Meaning Of Rue’s Four-Note Whistle
The four-note song Rue was used to singing back in District 11 comes in handy in the arena when the Hunger Games kick off, sealing the powerful bond Katniss and Rue develop. When the two come up with a dangerous plan to sabotage the Careers’ supplies, Rue suggests they use the song to signal to each other they’re okay. In the film, the song is a beautiful chant echoed by the mockingbirds but fails to save Rue from her enemies. As a tribute to Rue’s death at the hands of Marvel, Katniss uses a tradition for her own district to mourn Rue, holding three fingers up in the air.

Although the movie only touches the surface of the subject, the book goes into full detail about what Rue loves the most: music. In District 11, music was an essential part of not only her leisure but also her work up in the orchard, where the Mockingjays also play a big part. Since Rue was always the highest up the trees, she was the first to notice the flag that signals quitting time. To warn her fellow workers, she would sing a sweet four-note song that the Mockingjays would spread all over the harvest. Rue likes to spend hours just singing back and forth with the birds.

What The Whistle Came To Represent In The Hunger Games
In the universe of The Hunger Games, Mockingjays became the symbol of the rebellion. They appeared by accident after Jabberjays, artificial birds created by the Capitol, and Mockingbirds began to mate, creating a new species of bird that came to symbolize defiance against the Capitol, since the Mockingjays represent something the Capitol can’t control. Rue’s whistle plays a big part in establishing this rebellious symbol since her chant can be reverberated across the crowds of rebels just like it did to the orchard workers from District 11, this time signaling the fight against the system that oppresses them, apart from the personal value the four-note song poses to Katniss.


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