Asked • 06/27/19

Does Gale have a sadistic streak, or is he merely willing to be ruthless?

There are two particular incidents that I was thinking of in particular. First was his comment to Katniss prior to the first Hunger Games that killing people in the Arena wasn't really all *that* different than just hunting animals.The second was his invention of bombs designed to maximize casualties. In particular, he designed a bomb with two blasts: one to kill/injure people and a second, delayed explosion so that when people rushed in to help the wounded it would kill them, too. Even after Katniss confronts him about this, he rationalizes it and doesn't appear to show much remorse about its potential effects.At a minimum, these seem exceptionally callous. What accounts for his willingness to be so ruthless and to show such an indifference to the suffering of others? Is he sadistic, or is he merely willing to be ruthless?

Kathy L.

This is an excellent question and one that is at the crux of understanding Katniss' conscious choice of Peeta over Gale as a life partner. The text evidence that you've provided, Gale's comment about hunting humans and the invention of the "double" bomb, are both excellent examples of his hatred toward the Capitol and how that hatred permeates his life. Gale loves Katniss, his family, and District 12, but he has no love for even the "innocent" civilians in the Capitol. I'm not so sure I would go as far as to label Gale as sadistic, but I definitely feel his hatred for the Capitol and its citizens makes him callous toward human lives that are not within his circle of family, friends, and community. I believe this disregard for human life is what leads Katniss to choose Peeta who would only kill to protect himself or someone he loves over Gale who has demonstrated that he would kill out of anger.


Gary L.

I agree with Kathy and think Gale's callousness is more a result of his hatred towards the Capitol and those who have caused the districts to be divided where he is in the poorest district.


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