After writing the fantasy series The Underland Chronicles, Suzanne Collins departed from the world of fantasy and stepped into a harsh, dystopian creation in The Hunger Games. Published in 2008, The Hunger Games is the first novel in a projected trilogy, and introduces readers to a futuristic dystopian society where an overpowering government controls the lives and resources in twelve different districts. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, of District 12, is the main character of the story. Each year, as punishment for the now demolished District 13's attempted rebellion, two children in each district are chosen by lottery to fight each other to the death in an arena. The event is called the Hunger Games and is televised for everyone in the Capitol to see; the winning tribute is given food and a life of ease for themselves and their families, along with presents of food and resources for their district. Katniss ends up volunteering for the role of tribute to the Games after her little sister Prim is drawn in the lottery. Peeta, a baker's son that Katniss knows through school, is also drawn to fight in the Games. Katniss and Peeta are whisked away to the Capitol to fight other children in the artificial landscape created for the arena. In a twist of events, it is revealed that Peeta is in love with Katniss, as is Gale, a boy back in District 12 whom Katniss hunted with regularly. The love triangle gives added interest to the story line and to the Games themselves as Katniss and all the other tributes fight for their lives.
Although marketed as adolescent literature, the theme of fighting to the death, and the violence of the events that occur in the arena, all involving children, has brought with it controversy and some protest from parents and school groups. On the other hand, the book is popular among teens and adults alike, all who like it for its simple and understandable prose, wry sense of humor, constant suspense and action-packed plotline. The Hunger Games was met with mostly positive reviews, with some negative commentary on the simplistic style and lack of thorough complexity that a dystopian future would merit. Its themes of family, friendship, love, and survival are accessible, and Katniss's strong, pragmatic, and yet vulnerable character adds to the story's appeal.
Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games is the first novel in a trilogy that explores a future dystopian society. The story is set in "a country that rose up out of the ashes" of North America, after survivors of droughts, storms, fires, floods, hurricanes, and wars fought for their lives. This post-apocalyptic world is run by Panem, an all-powerful central government that controls the people and resources of twelve districts. Each district produces different products that are taken to the Capitol, the headquarters of Panem, where they are used as luxury items. Meanwhile, the twelve districts struggle to survive, often under the heavy and oppressive hands of armed guards. Security fences prevent escape, and brutal tactics keep the people under control. One such tactic is the staging of the annual Hunger Games, where, in a lottery, two children are chosen from each district to fight to the death in an arena while the entire country watches on television. The Hunger Games are a punishment for a time in the past when the twelve districts rose in rebellion against the Capitol and were defeated; a thirteenth district was even completely destroyed. Panem has staged the Hunger Games ever since to chasten the people, remind them of their uprising, and warn them that if they rebel again, they will all be destroyed. Once in the Hunger Games arena, the children (called "tributes") fight until only one child is left; the remaining tribute and his or her family are awarded lives of ease, along with presents of food and resources for his or her district.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen is the main character of the novel. As the story opens, she is preparing to hunt in the forests outside the boundaries where she lives in District 12, which is a mining district located in the Appalachian Mountains. Hunting outside the boundaries is forbidden, but Katniss risks punishment in order to provide for her family’s survival. Ever since her father died in a mining accident, Katniss has been hunting and providing for her little sister, Prim, and for her mother, who suffered an emotional breakdown.
Katniss often hunts with her good friend Gale Hawthorne, who is two years older. Gale has expressed deeper feelings than friendship for Katniss, and they even kissed once. However, Katniss is ambivalent about her feelings for Gale. She is so terrified of marriage and having children in a world ruled by Panem that she...
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Chapter 1 Summary
After North America, an all-but-forgotten entity now, was ravaged by a series of natural disasters, a new country arose. Called Panem, this new country organized the continent into thirteen districts. Those districts were ruled from a distant city known as the Capitol. Eventually the “Dark Days” came, and the districts rebelled against the Capitol. They were defeated, and District 13 was destroyed. Now every year two children from each district are selected to compete in the Hunger Games, a sort of gladiatorial death match in which only one person is allowed to survive. The Hunger Games are a punishment of disloyalty and a reminder of the Capitol’s power.
Katniss Everdeen, or Kat, is a teenager in District 12, an especially poor district whose economy is based on coal mining. Coal mining is dangerous and not very lucrative, but it is all that most people in District 12 have, especially in the Seam where Katniss lives. Sadly, Katniss’s father was killed in a mine explosion. Now it is up to her to feed her mother and her younger sister, Prim.
Katniss is well aware that her mother and sister rely on her efforts to survive. Jaded with the weight of responsibility, Katniss spends her days illegally hunting in the woods for game with her bow and arrows. She illegally sells the game in her community. Hunting is perhaps the best part of Katniss’s life because she gets to spend the time with her best friend, Gale. Gale is a little older than Katniss, but he has an even larger family to support than she does. They have taught each other a great deal about hunting and trapping over the years.
Although Katniss and Gale have every reason to be disappointed with their lot in life, they are especially tense on the day that The Hunger Games opens. On this day, representatives and television crews from the Capitol have come to District 12 to draw the names of the two competitors who will be sent some distant outdoor arena where they will be forced to kill their opponents or be killed themselves. Each year, every teenager’s name is entered into the draw, an event known as the “reaping.” However, both Kat and Gale have entered their names additional times to receive bread and oil to support their families. Any 17 year old would have five entries, but Gale has at least forty. Kat has well over twenty.
The drawing of names is a difficult time for District 12, particularly because they...
(The entire section is 483 words.)
Chapter 2 Summary
When Prim’s name is drawn to be District 12’s tribute, Katniss’s first thought is how unlikely it is that her sister was chosen. After all, Prim’s name was entered into the drawing only once. Considering that she is only twelve, it is all but certain that Prim will be one of the first children killed in the Hunger Games. With this in mind, Kat rapidly volunteers to be taken to the Hunger Games in place of her sister.
The Hunger Games are first and foremost a merciless reminder of the price of rebellion against the Capitol. The heartlessness of the Capitol is expressed when their spokesperson, Effie Trinket, gushes that she will bet her “buttons that was your sister. Don’t want her to steal all the glory, do we?” However, the people of District 12 interpret the scene differently. Although they may not rebel against the Capitol, they remain silent rather than clapping. Then they kiss their fingers and salute Katniss to express their admiration for her. The moment is ruined when Haymitch yells into the camera in praise of Katniss’s spunk and proceeds to fall off stage.
The second tribute is Peeta Mallick, and Kat reflects that her odds really are not very good on this day. Kat recalls how difficult her life was just after her father died. Her family did not have very much to eat while he was alive. After he died in a mine explosion, they found themselves starving. At the time, Kat was too young to trade her Hunger Games eligibility for food and oil. She also had not yet figured out that she could hunt game to feed her family.
One night, she found herself wandering through the town. Kat, her mother, and Prim were about to starve, and Kat had come to the point that she was digging in dumpsters to feed her family. When she came to the bakery, Kat found no bread in the dumpster and the baker’s wife scolded her. However, the next thing she heard was the baker’s wife hitting her son, Peeta, for burning the bread. The son exited the bakery with a welt on his head, but instead of throwing the bread in the dumpster, he tossed it haphazardly. The bread landed at Kat’s feet, and she took it home to feed her family. Only after did she consider that Peeta might have burnt the bread on purpose.
Now, instead of being able to thank Peeta, Katniss will be required to kill him to win the Hunger Games. At best, she reflects, someone else will likely kill him first. It does seem that the odds are not...
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Chapter 3 Summary
In the third chapter, Katniss and Peeta leave District 12. They board a train that takes them to the Capitol, where they will be subjected to an intense series of interviews as a lead up to the Hunger Games. Upon boarding the high-speed rail from the Appalachian Mountains to the Rocky Mountains, Kat reflects that she has never been on a train before. The districts are isolated from each other to prevent an additional rebellion.
Before Kat leaves, she says goodbye to her friends and family. She tells her mother and sister how to take care of themselves, and she lectures her mother, insisting that she not abandon Prim the same way she once abandoned Kat. Gale tells Kat to find a bow and arrow in the Games and to believe in her ability to win because she is the best hunter he has ever seen. Although Kat suggests that killing game and killing humans is different, Gale objects, saying, “How different can it be, really?” Peeta’s father visits Kat as well and brings her cookies.
Madge, a girl from District 12 who has always been well fed, also visits Kat. Unlike the others, Madge seems calm. All tributes in the Hunger Games are allowed to bring a token from their district, and Madge gives Kat a broach of a bird. Upon examination later, Kat realizes that the broach depicts a mockingjay in flight. Although she did not realize it at first, the broach is actually a sort of slap in the face of the Capitol.
During the Rebellion, the Capitol used genetically modified creatures, or “muttations,” as part of their war effort. Among other things, they created the “jabberjay,” which was able to mimic human speech. The birds were intended to be spies, but after the rebels figured out what was happening, they began to use the birds to plant false information. Although the Capitol left the birds to die, they crossbred with mockingbirds. Now the birds are capable of mimicking song and conversation. The mockingjay is, for some, a symbol of rebellion; for Kat, it recalls her father, who used to sing to the mockingbirds.
As the chapter closes, Kat finds herself watching videos from the other districts and their tributes. She also sees herself on television and notes how desperate she looked when trying to save Prim. The show ends with Haymitch falling off the stage, and then the national anthem is played. When the Capitol’s representative, Effie Trinket, points out that Haymitch’s behavior needs to be...
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Chapter 4 Summary
As the fourth chapter opens, Peeta and Katniss pick Haymitch up from the floor and carry him to a shower. Peeta kindly offers to wash Haymitch and Kat leaves. It seems that Peeta is always quite kind.
That night, Katniss reflects on the early days after her father’s death. During that time, Kat’s mother became depressed and withdrew from her children, all but abandoning them. If not for Kat and her determination to learn to hunt, they likely would have died. Kat recalls how she began to hunt and gather illegally beyond the fenced-off boundaries of her town. Over time, she learned how to sell game and how to barter at the Hub successfully enough that she could afford medication for her mother and food for the three members of her family.
The stark conditions of Kat’s childhood are juxtaposed against the luxury of the Capitol train, which offers Kat a breakfast with enough food to feed her family for weeks. After she and Peeta marvel at things like hot chocolate, they confront Haymitch about his alcoholism. Peeta knocks a drink of spirits from Haymitch’s hand, and the former victor punches Peeta in retaliation. Before he can reach for another drink, Kat throws a knife between his hand and the spirits. Impressed, Haymitch reflects that he may finally have drawn a pair of fighters from District 12 worth mentoring. Haymitch examines Peeta and Kat and makes them a deal: he will help them fight to win if they will allow him to drink. As a compromise, he promises not to drink so much that he will be incapable of helping them. His first piece of advice is to cooperate with the stylists when they arrive at the Capitol.
Their deal is hardly agreed to when the train arrives at the Capitol. Although Katniss is reluctant to look upon the crowds waiting for her, Peeta begins playing to the crowd’s expectations. Kat looks at Peeta and begins to see that Peeta is a very capable of showman. He showed kindness to Kat when he washed Haymitch, he confronted Haymitch to make the victor mentor them, and now he is waving to the crowds in hopes of finding sponsors. Kat reflects that Peeta has already begun trying to win, which means that his kindness is really designed to disarm her.
(The entire section is 392 words.)
Chapter 5 Summary
Katniss has entered the Capitol and is being attended to by her stylists in the Remake Center. As they rip hair from her body, Katniss reminds herself of Haymitch’s advice to cooperate with the stylists no matter what. Still, she feels uncomfortable standing naked in front of these stylists, although the discomfort is mitigated by how bizarre the stylists seem to her. One has dyed her skin a pale green, and they all speak with Capitol affectations. By the time they finish, they declare that Kat looks nearly human. The initial team of stylists leaves and Kat is left alone with Cinna. Unlike the other stylists, Cinna adopts a more minimalist approach; she wears a simple black shirt and lightly applied golden eyeliner.
When they are alone, Cinna has food brought to them. Kat marvels again at the decadence of the Capitol. Kat has spent most of her life hunting in the woods to feed her family, but these Capitol stylists simply have food brought to them. Kat finds herself questioning:
What do they do all day...besides decorating their bodies and waiting around for a new shipment of tributes to roll in and die for their entertainment?
Kat’s assessment paints the Capitol as jaded and heartless, but Cinna is different. She immediately suggests that Kat must find the Capitol despicable.
Cinna’s job is to provide Kat with a dress to wear during the Hunger Games parade. The tradition is to dress the district tributes in clothes that reflect the industry of their people. Kat reflects that, for District 12, this has often meant covering naked tributes in coal dust. However, Cinna’s idea is to focus on fire. Kat and Peeta are both given a black unitard to wear under a cape that is lit on fire.
Kat and Peeta are to parade through the Capitol in a chariot, and Cinna suggests that they hold hands throughout the process. Kat obliges, if only out of fear that she will fall over. Kat and Peeta are the last tributes to parade. Unlike most years, they steal the show with their amazing costumes. Kat considers how the people see her and worship her already and reflects that she may well attract sponsors. In fact, she may even stand a chance of doing alright in the games. Kat blows kisses to her fans and becomes “the girl on fire.”
After the parade ends, Katniss and Peeta recognize that they were the highlight. Peeta suggests that people must have seen how...
(The entire section is 478 words.)
Chapter 6 Summary
The Training Center in Capitol has a tower for the tributes; although Katniss is often disdainful of the opulence of Panem’s ruling city, she enjoys their elevators. Kat has also begun to appreciate Effie Trinket, who turns out to be their chaperone. Although Trinket is doing her best to secure sponsors for Kat and Peeta, she finds it difficult to work with Haymitch. Haymitch has not shared his strategy with her, so she admits that she has been promoting them as mysterious tributes from the barbarous District 12. Kat finds this judgment ironic considering that Trinket is “helping to prepare us for slaughter.” Still, Trinket is determined to help Kat to succeed in the Capitol’s games.
Before long, Kat is called for supper, where she meets Peeta and their stylists, Cinna and Portia. Haymitch also arrives, looking almost respectable and almost sober for once. Kat tries wine for the first time and finds that it is not to her taste. However, she finds everything else delicious. Throughout the meal, silent servers bring food to the table. At the end of the meal, Kat thinks she recognizes one of them.
Effie and Haymitch explain that Kat likely does not know the serving girl because she is an “Avox.” Haymitch goes on to explain that girls like the server have their tongues pulled out for treachery. People are not supposed to talk to them. The guests consider whether Kat really knew an Avox until Peeta breaks the silence by stating that the girl reminds him of Delly Cartwright. Kat recognizes this as a lie told as a favor to her.
After the meal ends, Kat and Peeta head toward their rooms. Along the way, Peeta proposes that they go to the roof of the Training Tower where they can talk because it is so windy they will not be overheard. There, Kat explains that she and Gale were hunting once and came across the serving girl and her brother fleeing from danger. A hovercraft appeared out of nowhere and captured the girl and speared the boy before it “vanished into thin air.” Given that the girl looks like she is from the Capitol, it is likely that she was indeed a traitor. Kat and Peeta recognize that it would not be a good idea for them to explore why she would question the goodness of Panem’s rulers. Regardless of what everyone else thinks, Kat does know the Avox, and she wonders whether the serving girl will enjoy watching her die in the Hunger Games.
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Chapter 7 Summary
Katniss and Peeta are given the chance to train for the games. Haymitch asks whether they would like to train separately, and they agree to train together. When Haymitch asks Katniss and Peeta about their skills, both are overly modest, and they soon find themselves arguing over how impressive the other is. Kat explains that Peeta is strong and is a very talented wrestler. Meanwhile, Peeta points out that Kat is capable of shooting arrows through the eyes of squirrels. He concludes by saying, “She has no idea. The effect she can have,” which Kat at first takes as an insult but later decides might have been intended as a compliment. Haymitch tells them to stick together, to act as though they are friends, and to spend their time in the training center learning new skills.
The Training Center is open to all the tributes for two days. Although District 12 views their tributes as a sacrifice and a punishment, other districts glorify their tributes as warriors. In these districts, people train their entire lives for the games and volunteer to take part in them. In District 12, these voluntary tributes are called “careers.” At the training center, the careers spend time together, excluding everyone else as though the other tributes are no threat.
However, as Kat and Peeta go from stall to stall at the Training Center, they find that they have more abilities than they realize. Kat is talented with knives, throwing spears, and snares. Peeta is particularly good at camouflage, and he explains that he was responsible for icing the cakes on display in his father’s bakery window. However, Kat finds herself annoyed at Peeta’s prowess, and although Haymitch has instructed them to spend time together, she is losing her patience. When alone, Katniss tells Peeta that she does not want to fake being close when they are in private.
Although Katniss is incapable of pretending to be friends, Peeta is more than capable of making up for it. He jokes with Kat and instructs her when to laugh. He also explains that each district has its own style of making bread. Peeta is more perceptive than Kat realizes, and he discovers that one of the other tributes is following them. It is Rue, the smallest tribute, who reminds Kat of her sister, Prim. Like Kat, Rue is good at climbing and is knowledgeable about edible plants.
When the open training ends, each tribute is given a private audience with the Gamemakers. As per...
(The entire section is 517 words.)
Chapter 8 Summary
Although Katniss may have looked impressive firing an arrow at the Gamemakers, she does not feel so confident inside. Kat leaves her interview and storms back to her quarters before she starts to cry. She worries that the Gamemasters will punish her or, worse, that her family will be punished. Although she cries herself to sleep, by the next morning nothing has happened. While eating with her team, she explains to Haymitch what happened. He and Effie actually find her story amusing and reassure her that she likely will not be punished. After all, for the Capitol, the Hunger Games have become a show, and they need fighters with “heat.”
Now that the tributes have all gone through training and an evaluation, they await their scores. Each contestant is rated a score between one and twelve. A high score can be useful because it will attract sponsors during the games. As the scores are released, the Careers all receive scores between eight and ten. Rue is rated a seven and Peeta an eight. Katniss’s score, eleven, is the highest of all the tributes. Cinna congratulates Kat on her score and enthuses about her interview dress before everyone goes to bed.
Alone, Kat finds herself recalling the first time she met Gale. She had been hunting alone with mixed success. However, one day she came across a snared rabbit. Before she could touch it, a voice warned her that hunting is illegal. It was Gale. At first, the two hunters did not trust each other, but they agreed to start sharing their knowledge. Kat helped Gale hunt with a bow, and he taught her to trap more effectively. Before long, they began sharing more secrets and became a team dedicated to feeding their families. Kat reflects that they are more than friends, and she feels a pang in her heart at his absence.
Now Kat and Peeta are publically pretending to be a couple. Kat reflects on how incongruent the two relationships are. She notes that
Gale and I were thrown together by a mutual need to survive. Peeta and I know the other’s survival means our own death.
Perhaps this is why Kat feels conflicted about her feelings.
Kat’s reflection is interrupted when Effie comes knocking at her door. This is to be yet another busy day for the tributes because their interviews are rapidly approaching. When Kat reaches Haymitch to be coached on her interviews, she is surprised that he does not immediately...
(The entire section is 436 words.)
Chapter 9 Summary
After finding out that Peeta has asked to be coached separately, Katniss feels overwhelmingly betrayed. However, she acknowledges that it makes sense for him to look out for himself, particularly because she has not always seemed very friendly toward him. Katniss considers their relationship severed and resolves to do the best she can.
Kat’s preparations for the televised interview start with four hours of presentation work with Effie. Effie tries to train Kat to walk in high heels and to wear a dress properly. More than anything else, she trains Kat to smile. This is not Kat’s strength, and by the end of the session the two women are happy to be finished aggravating each other. Effie’s final advice is for Kat to focus on getting the audience to like her.
If Kat’s lessons with Effie were a waste, Haymitch does not fare much better. Haymitch explains to Kat that the interview is her last chance to attract sponsors, and to do that she needs to make an impression. Up to this point, she has done very well by volunteering to save Prim and by how Cinna has dressed her. However, no matter what angle Kat and Haymitch come up with, Kat cannot fake feeling anything but spite for the Capitol. Afterward, Kat tries on the latest dress Cinna has made for her. Haymitch then advises her to try to be herself as much as possible.
Finally, the interview arrives. The host of the show is Caesar Flickerman; this year he has blue hair, blue eye shadow, and blue lips. Caesar is a natural showman and makes jokes that warm up the audience. More importantly, he knows how to help his guests warm up to the audience and the camera. District 12 goes last, as usual. Kat watches how the other contestants worked to come across as sexy or aggressive or detached. Rue’s angle seems to be that she is adorable and innocent—her dress even has wings.
When Caesar interviews Kat, he asks her about what she likes best about the Capitol, to which she replies the “lamb stew.” Caesar makes a joke in response and Kat begins to warm up. Caesar also asks Kat about her evaluation with the Gamemasters, but she is not allowed to reveal how she got such a high score. She shares her admiration of Cinna’s dresses and movingly speaks about her last words with Prim. She may not be as much a star as when she was the “girl on fire,” but at least she does not seem hostile.
When Caesar interviews Peeta, the two quickly begin...
(The entire section is 510 words.)
Chapter 10 Summary
After Peeta confesses his love for Katniss on television, Katniss is initially embarrassed and then infuriated. Back in private quarters with Peeta and their crew, Kat shoves her fellow tribute. Peeta falls and injures his hand. Kat goes on to confront Haymitch, demanding to know whether the two of them planned Peeta’s confession. Haymitch admits that they did and explains how it will help her. Peeta’s confession of love makes Kat seem attractive to the sponsors again. Kat’s interview with Caesar was not very impressive; Peeta and Haymitch have done her a favor. Kat’s fury turns to concern about whether her performance was real enough to continue causing the audience to think that she and Peeta are in love. Cinna and Effie convince her that she seemed suitably embarrassed.
That night, Kat finds herself unable to sleep. She returns to the Training Center’s roof and finds Peeta. Kat has been thinking about what the games will be like. Peeta is more concerned about his identity. Kat suggests that his concern is not very useful, especially because the Gamemakers have already taken everything they have. Peeta retorts that his identity is the only thing he has left. Kat reflects that there have been tributes in the past who have manifested psychotic tendencies once they are in the arena. In fact, one boy began to eat the teenagers he killed in the games, which the Gamemakers found to be bad publicity. It was afterward suggested that the Gamemakers killed him so he could not be the victor. Peeta’s concern may be valid, but Kat remains focused on survival.
Kat has little time left to prepare for the Hunger Games. A tracking device is injected into her body, which will allow the Gamemasters to monitor both her location and her condition. Kat receives some final words of advice from Haymitch: run away from the initial brawl, find water, and stay alive. The last thing Kat receives is her district token, the mockingjay pin, which was almost not allowed out of concern that it could be used as a weapon.
As the chapter ends, Kat prepares to enter the Hunger Games arena. The other contestants cannot see each other but will each enter the games in a central location filled with resources and weapons known as the Cornucopia. Kat reflects that in the future, the arena will become a tourist attraction for people from the Capitol. There will be tours and reenactments and delicious food. However, none of that matters now,...
(The entire section is 446 words.)
Chapter 11 Summary
The Hunger Games begin at the Cornucopia, a giant horn filled with supplies and weapons. There are also supplies arranged beyond the horn, but the further they are from the Cornucopia, the less useful they are. Around all of this, arranged in a circle, are the twenty-four tributes. Nearby are a lake and some woods.
Although Haymitch warned Kat and Peeta to run away from the Cornucopia, Kat spots a bow and considers running for it. When the gong sounds, she is looking at Peeta and misses her chance. Kat is determined not to leave empty handed, so she runs and grabs a backpack. Another boy confronts her for it and is killed by a knife-throwing Career. Kat runs away before she is forced to face the Career. Her opponent throws a knife, but it lodges in her pack. Kat makes it to the edge of some woods and checks to ensure that no one is following her. She frees her knife but resolves not to look into the backpack for the time being. Finally taking Haymitch’s advice, Kat starts trekking into the woods in search of water.
Although Kat hikes away from the Cornucopia and into a valley for an entire day, she does not find water. She surprises a rabbit and reasons that rabbits have to eat somewhere. That evening, she checks her pack and finds a sleeping bag, some wire, some food, and an empty bottle. Disappointed that she still does not have water, Kat sets a few snares and then climbs a tree to rest for the night. Before she falls asleep, a cannon is shot once for each tribute killed so far in the games. Eleven children have been killed on the first day, though only one is a Career. Kat is relieved to learn that both Peeta and Rue have survived the first day. Five Careers are still alive. A fox-faced girl is also alive, as is Thresh, an impressively fierce, though otherwise withdrawn, tribute.
Kat wakes to the sound of snapping branches. Near to her, she sees a girl making a fire and warming her hands. Kat is infuriated because the fire may provide the girl with warmth but will also attract the attention of the Careers. Before long, Kat’s fears become a reality. The surviving Careers are hunting in a pack, and they mercilessly kill the girl. Kat makes sure to be still and overhears the Careers talking among themselves. One of them is Peeta.
(The entire section is 415 words.)
Chapter 12 Summary
At the end of the eleventh chapter, the Career pack and Peeta attempt to kill another tribute. However, when they do not hear a cannon shot to announce her death, Peeta volunteers to go back and kill her. Kat is so shocked to hear his voice that she all but falls out of the tree in which she is hiding. Although the Careers are close, they do not know Katniss is watching them. With Peeta gone, they debate about what to do with the second contestant from District 12, whom they call Lover Boy. Although one Career recommends killing Peeta, the others object, pointing out that Peeta is handy with a knife and that he can help them take out Katniss. Her score of eleven during the training has made her a target. Peeta returns, and the Careers leave.
Kat struggles to figure out what to do. Has Peeta’s behavior all along been an elaborate act? Do they still have sponsors, or will his betrayal have revealed that their relationship was just an act? Kat leaves the tree and smirks for cameras she knows are watching her in order to suggest to the audience that she and Peeta are still working together. Next, Kat checks her snares and is surprised to find that she has caught a rabbit. She cooks the rabbit over the dead tribute’s fire; she hopes this will communicate to her sponsors that she is a good bet and that they should invest money in her.
Kat then resolves to find water and notes that she is already suffering from dehydration. Although she hikes throughout the day, Kat does not find any water. She wakes the next morning and struggles to stand. Thirsting, Kat calls for water, hoping that Haymitch will send her some. But no water is forthcoming. What does this mean? Kat reasons that she does have sponsors and that Haymitch is not trying to kill her off because he likes Peeta better. Therefore, if he is withholding water, it must be because there is some nearby. With this in mind, Kat once again begins hiking, trying her best not to look too desperate so she will not frighten Prim.
Kat’s efforts and deductions pay off. Just as she collapses from exhaustion, she realizes that she is standing in mud. Kat finds a pond, fills her water bottle, and purifies the liquid. Then she climbs a tree and begins to nourish herself. However, before she can get too comfortable, Kat looks up to see a wall of fire coming at her.
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Chapter 13 Summary
The wall of flame is a manufactured trap orchestrated by the Gamemakers. The purpose of the fire is not necessarily to kill the tributes but rather to herd them toward each other to provide better entertainment for the viewers. Kat manages to outrun the wall of flame by following animals. Afterward, she is exhausted and vomits on the ground. However, there are also fireball launchers in the trees and rocks, and Kat soon finds herself running for her life again. This time, she is unable to evade the fire and severely burns her leg. Fortunately, she survives and finds herself standing in another pond. Kat tends to her leg.
Before long, she hears the Career pack coming. Like her, they have been running from fire. Their voices are raw and sore. Kat has a one-minute head start on the pack and begins running for her life again. Kat thinks the pack of Careers is like a pack of dogs, and she recalls what she would do if she were hunting back home: she climbs a tree.
The Careers circle the base of the tree. Kat is in a tight spot but knows that the Careers are heavier than she is and not likely to reach her. Consequently, Kat acts with bravado and mocks the Careers. Two of the Careers stand out. Cato tries to climb the tree with his sword, but the branches are unable to support his weight and he falls back down. A girl, Glimmer, next tries to climb the tree. Kat is infuriated to find that Glimmer is armed with a bow and arrows. However, the girl is not very good at shooting and Kat manages to catch the only arrow that makes its way to her. Kat taunts the Careers again, and finally Peeta suggests they make preparations for the night.
Kat also settles in for the night but finds that her burned leg keeps her awake. Suddenly, Kat realizes that something is looking at her. It is Rue, the little girl who reminds Kat of her sister, Prim. During her interview with Caesar, Rue said she was good at hiding, and so far she has lived up to her claim. As the chapter ends, Rue draws Kat’s attention to something else in the tree.
(The entire section is 380 words.)
Chapter 14 Summary
At the end of the thirteenth chapter, Rue brought Kat’s attention to something in the tree she is hiding in. Beneath them, the Careers and Peeta have made a camp and are planning to resume their attack on Kat again in the morning. Rue has now hid again, and Kat is examining the object above her. It is a tracker jacker wasp nest.
Like the mockingjay, tracker jackers are muttations that are left over from the Dark Days. The tracker jackers are more dangerous than regular wasps are. Their venom is much more poisonous and several stings can be fatal. Their venom is also a hallucinogenic. Finally, the wasps are particularly territorial, and they will track down anyone who disrupts their nest. Although they have been eradicated from the area surrounding the Capitol, tracker jackers survive in the districts.
Tracker jackers were designed to be used as weapons, which is convenient for Kat. She climbs higher and inspects the nest. The wasps seem calmer than usual, probably from the smoke that accompanied the fire that burned Kat’s leg and hands. Kat takes advantage of the wasps’ drowsiness and begins to saw the branch so she will be able to drop the nest on her attackers in the morning.
Kat returns to her base in the tree and finds that Haymitch has secured medicine for her. Beneath a parachute, there is a bottle of ointment that Kat applies to the burns on her hands and legs. It is very effective, and by morning Kat’s hands are better, even if her leg still needs more time to heal. Before the Careers wake up, Kat returns to the tracker jacker nest and cuts it down. Three wasps sting her, but the rest all burst from the nest on the ground and attack the careers. Although Peeta, Cato, and another Career escape to a nearby pond, the wasps kill Glimmer and another Career.
Kat also escapes to a pond. However, after a five-minute wait, she returns to Glimmer’s corpse to retrieve her bow and sheath of arrows. Kat has to turn over the body, which is now so full of venom that it is distorted and popping green liquid from its sores. Kat has also begun to hallucinate. She manages to free the bow and arrow before she hears the Careers returning. She tries to take aim but is too drugged to notch the arrow.
The first Career to return is Peeta, who is shocked to find Kat. He urges her to run before the other Careers can return, and he even pushes her away. Hallucinating, Kat flees from the other...
(The entire section is 454 words.)
Chapter 15 Summary
The hallucinogens are a nightmare for Kat because the tracker jacker wasp venom was designed to target the part of the brain that controls fear. Kat sees her sister Prim die and relives the death of her father.
When she wakes from her hallucinations, she takes stock of her situation. She does not know how long she slept, but she is now alive and has a bow. Now that Kat has a bow and arrow, she does not have to play defensively. She feels confident that she can kill any opponent she faces. Kat manages to shoot a rabbit and bathes in a pond. Still, she is once again battling thirst and notes that she has lost enough weight for her bones to stick out from her skin. She also still needs to treat the burns on her leg.
While eating, Kat realizes that she is not alone. She spots Rue’s foot and proposes an alliance. The little girl from District 11 at first cannot believe that anyone would want to ally with her. However, Kat points out that Rue is smart, that she is a survivor, and that it was her idea to attack the careers with the tracker jacker nest. To herself, Kat admits that Rue reminds her of Prim. The alliance is forged and the two girls begin to take care of each other. Rue understands how to use plants medicinally and uses herbs to heal Kat’s tracker jacker stings. In return, Kat offers Rue some of her burn ointment and food.
Rue comes from District 11, which is an agricultural area. Rue has grown up working in orchards, which is why she is so good at running along tree branches and also why she knows so much about medicinal plants. Rue explains to Kat that people go hungry in her district as well because all of the food is sent elsewhere. If the people of District 11 feed themselves, they are publicly whipped. Kat compares this to her life and wonders whether life in District 12 is as bad.
Perhaps the most important thing that Rue can offer is information. As the two tributes prepare for the cold night, Kat asks Rue how long she was knocked out by the tracker jacker venom. Rue reports that Kat was asleep for two days and that the Careers returned to their camp at the Cornucopia and are recovering there. Kat also asks whether Peeta saved her, and Rue reports that he may have because he is no longer with the Careers. As the chapter closes, Kat begins to consider a plan to attack the Careers.
(The entire section is 435 words.)
Chapter 16 Summary
Before taking a more aggressive approach to the games, Kat and Rue must get some sleep. As Kat shares her body heat with Rue, she finds that she already implicitly trusts the tribute from District 11. After all, Rue could have left Kat to die but instead warned her about the tracker jacker nests. The next morning, Kat shares her plan with Rue: she wants to attack the Careers by destroying their food. Unlike Rue and Kat, they are not used to being hungry.
Although Kat does not have a specific plan, she tells Rue that they can form a plan as they return to the Cornucopia. During their hike, Rue tells Kat that her favorite thing in the world is music. In the orchards of District 11, Rue’s job was to sit in the trees and watch for the signal that the workday had ended. She communicated this to everyone else by singing to mockingjays. Rue points out that there are mockingjays in the Hunger Games arena as well, though Kat has not noticed them.
Kat needs a diversion. She and Rue collect and stack wood for three campfires. Rue will light each of the fires to draw the Careers from their camp. Kat’s job will be to destroy the food. Kat hides in a copse of trees near the camp and sees the Careers, who are still suffering from their tracker jacker stings. Kat also sees a boy from District 3 and wonders why he has been allowed to join the Careers. When the Careers see the first campfire, they take the boy from District 3 with them. Their base has been left unguarded.
The food and supplies of the Cornucopia have been rearranged. Kat thinks they have been booby-trapped but cannot figure out how. Suddenly, the fox-faced girl slips out from cover and runs up to the supplies. She carefully navigates her way through the supplies but falls at one point, quietly squealing in fear. She gets up, takes some supplies, and leaves. Why would she have been so careful and so afraid?
Kat reasons that the boy from District 3 must have used the mines that are kept around the tributes when they enter the games. They are supposed to be deactivated, but it seems that he has found a way to rearm them. Seeing that the second campfire has already been lit, Kat decides to act quickly. She sees a bag of apples and takes aim with her bow. Kat fires three shots into the bag holding the apples. As the apples drop down to the ground, the mines explode, launching Kat off her feet.
(The entire section is 437 words.)
Chapter 17 Summary
After the explosion, Kat is disoriented and unable to stand straight. However, she knows she must move on before the Careers return to find out what has happened. Kat also realizes that she has gone deaf in one ear and the other is still ringing.
With great effort, Kat manages to return to the copse of trees Rue showed her. She sees the Careers return, and Cato kills the boy from District 3. The Careers wait until nightfall to see whether the person who destroyed their food died. When they discover that the person still lives, they set off with torches to find her. After, the fox-faced girl returns and scavenges some supplies from the explosion. Kat considers trying to ally herself with the fox-faced girl, but she decides it would be an invitation to be stabbed in the back.
Kat considers who remains in the game. There are the remaining Careers and the fox-faced girl. Peeta is apparently still alive somewhere, though Cato believes he is mortally wounded. Thresh is still at large. Rue and Katniss are also still alive. Kat decides to return to her meeting place with Rue, hunting along the way. However, when Kat arrives, Rue is not there.
Kat climbs a tree and waits for Rue to arrive. There has not been a cannon shot to announce her death. Kat reflects that she is having a “hollow day”—a day when no amount of food seems to be enough to satiate her hunger. Kat eats the fish and “groosling” that she hunted earlier that day, rationalizing her decision because she knows she can always hunt for more food. Eventually Kat tires of waiting, so she leaves some broken leaves around their meeting place as a signal to Rue and decides to see if she can find what is keeping Rue from coming.
Kat seeks out the third campfire and discovers that Rue never lit it. She makes her way toward the second campfire and starts to hear Rue’s song repeated by the mockingjays. Then she hears Rue scream. Kat calls out that she is coming to help. Kat arrives in time to watch one of the Careers, who has caught Rue in a net, impale her with a spear.
(The entire section is 374 words.)
Chapter 18 Summary
Katniss has just seen a Career from District 1 capture Rue in a net and spear her belly. Katniss retaliates by firing an arrow into the Career’s neck. Rue is dying but is able to tell Kat that no one else is around. Kat returns to Rue’s side and Rue, whose favorite thing in the world is music, asks Kat to sing for her. Kat sings, and Rue dies by the final lines:
Here your dreams are sweet and tomorrow brings them true
Here is the place where I love you.
The mockingjays take up the song around her. Knowing that she is supposed to move on so the Gamemakers can collect the bodies, Kat collects the supplies that the boy from District 1 was carrying and retrieves supplies from Rue as well. She leaves the spear in Rue’s body so it will be removed from the arena.
Kat finds herself hating the Capitol for all the rulers have done to her. Gale used to talk darkly of the Capitol. Although Kat has no love of Panem’s rulers, she now realizes that she never fully understood Gale’s arguments. She next recalls what Peeta said before the games about trying to find a way to assert his identity in defiance of the Capitol, even if only by holding on to his own humanity. With this in mind, Kat gathers some flowers growing nearby and arranges them around Rue. She kisses her three middle fingers in salute of Rue and leaves the bodies to be collected by the Gamemasters. Before long, the mockingjays take up Rue’s four-note song that was supposed to mean that she was safe. A parachute falls before Kat. Inside is a loaf of bread, which Kat can tell (thanks to Peeta’s lecture on bread) is from District 11. It is a gift of thanks from Rue’s district for her kindness, and Katniss acknowledges their generosity.
Alone, Kat takes stock of her supplies and her situation. There are six tributes still alive in the games. Looking through the bag of supplies left in the Career’s pack, Kat is disgusted to find that he only carried a pack of berries. This means the Careers were arrogant in their reliance on their supplies and Kat has struck a major blow to their chances of survival now that their supplies have been destroyed.
Kat finds herself waiting for evening. Now that there are only six tributes left, Kat suspects that there will be an announcement from Clauidus Templesmith to twist how the Hunger Games will close. Kat’s hunch is proven correct. Templesmith...
(The entire section is 480 words.)
Chapter 19 Summary
Of the six remaining contestants in the Hunger Games, four are affected by the rule change that will allow two tributes from the same district to win the games as a team. There are still two Careers from District 2, and there are Peeta and Katniss. Up to this point, Kat has not really understood what Peeta has done and what he has pretended to do, but regardless of his true intentions, Kat will have to team up with Peeta now. If she returns home without Peeta, she will be ostracized. So Kat sets a fire as a distraction and sets out to find her fellow tribute.
Kat reasons that if Peeta has indeed been stabbed by Cato, then he is lucky to still be alive. He would not have been able to go very far and he would have needed water to get there. Kat returns to the tracker jacker area and begins to search for Peeta near the ponds. Although Kat is a fantastic hunter, she fails to find Peeta. However, he reveals his presence to her. Peeta has camouflaged himself so well that he is practically invisible beneath mud and reeds.
Kat begins to tend to Peeta’s wounds. Peeta pulls Kat close and whispers that as far as the world is concerned they are star-crossed lovers. He tells her that it would not hurt for her to kiss him at some point. However, for the time being, Kat’s priorities are to clean and tend to Peeta’s wounds. They are bad. Peeta’s leg has been cut through to the bone, and the wound has begun to fester. Although Kat’s mother treats people injured in the mines of District 12, Kat has never had a stomach for treating people. Killing game is much easier.
Kat does her best with the tools at hand. She uses the leaves that Rue used to treat her tracker jacker stings and she uses the burn ointment as well. She feeds Peeta dried fruit and moves him to a more isolated area. When Peeta begins to tell Kat what do if he should die, Kat kisses him to stop him from talking. Suddenly, a parachute falls to the ground. Inside is a bowl of hot broth. Kat realizes that the message Haymitch is communicating is absolutely clear: romance will attract sponsors who are willing to pay for Peeta’s treatment. With that in mind, Kat begins to care for Peeta just like her mother used to care for her father.
(The entire section is 419 words.)
Chapter 20 Summary
Katniss is trying her best to care for Peeta, but his illness might be too much for her. As Peeta falls asleep that night, Kat finds herself wanting to return to a tree for safety. However, those days are behind her as long as she and Peeta continue their “star-crossed lovers” routine. Although it is necessary, it leaves Kat much more vulnerable. She does her best to stand guard that night, but it is so cold she eventually returns to share body heat with Peeta. Unfortunately, Peeta is burning with fever. The next morning, Kat discovers that his wound has swelled and has led to blood poisoning. Kat reflects that Peeta will die without powerful medication, though at this point in the games such medicine would cost her sponsors a fortune.
As always, Kat does the best she can with the resources at hand. She decides to start making a soup. While the soup is cooking, Kat tells Peeta the story of how she got Prim a goat. Kat is aware that all of Panem is likely watching her on television, so she edits the story so none of her neighbors will get in trouble for buying her illegal game. In reality, Kat and Gale were out hunting illegally when they brought down a deer. They returned to the market and made a great deal of money. What Kat says instead is that she obtained the money by selling her mother’s silver locket. She then continues with the true story: On the way home, she and Gale walked past the Goat Man. One of his goats was ill, and Kat started negotiating for the goat. By the time they finished, she had made a great bargain if the goat lived—and a terrible one if the goat died. When she returned home, Prim and Kat’s mother were able to restore the goat, named Lady, to health. Peeta enjoys the story and comments that it must have meant a lot to bring so much joy to her sister. Kat responds that she did it because the goat was a gold mine that has paid for itself several times over. She goes on to point out that Peeta is getting better.
Their story is interrupted by another announcement from the Gamemakers. Each group desperately needs something, and the next day a backpack will be left at the Cornucopia for each district. Peeta tells Kat that she should not go, and Kat says she will not. However, Peeta points out that she is a terrible liar and that she has lied to him about why she bought the goat, about his fever, and now about the packs. Peeta says that if Kat tries to get the backpack, he will do his best to...
(The entire section is 539 words.)
Chapter 21 Summary
On her way to the Cornucopia, at which each of the districts will be offered something it desperately needs, Kat finds herself wishing Gale was with her. She recalls that Gale has proposed to her that they run away together and wonders whether they could have become more than friends. Now she is kissing Peeta to survive. Kat wonders what Gale thinks. Gale is surely watching, as is everyone else in Panem. Kat suspects that even school has been cancelled for this event.
At the Cornucopia, a table with four packs rises out of the ground. Before Kat can decide what to do, the fox-faced girl hops out of the horn, grabs her bag, and runs off. The other bags still remain, guaranteeing that no one will chase her. It is a brilliant plan and Kat is irritated she did not think of it. Now, Kat realizes, she will have to go next or else risk allowing another district to steal Peeta’s medicine.
Kat runs as fast as she can and a knife is thrown at her almost instantly. Kat dodges, turns, and shoots an arrow into Clove, Cato’s partner from District 2. The arrow lodges in Clove’s shoulder, but she is still free to throw knives at Kat with her other arm. Undaunted, Kat rushes to the table and grabs the medicine. She turns and is nearly knocked unconscious with another of Clove’s knives. Before Kat knows it, Clove has her pinned down and begins outlining what she will do to her. She says she will cut of Kat’s lips and torture her the same way Rue suffered before she died.
Just as Kat feels the first cut of Clove’s knife, Thresh arrives—he was Rue’s fellow tribute from District 11. He lifts Clove into the air and demands to know what Clove did to little Rue before he smashes her into the ground and attacks her temple with a rock. Kat knows that Thresh has her and asks only that he make her death a fast one. Instead, Thresh asks about Rue’s death and Kat explains how she cared for Rue. As payment, Thresh lets Kat go but says they are now even. Kat escapes and considers whether Cato will pursue her. Most likely, he will pursue Thresh, who has his district’s prize. Kat rushes back to Peeta and gives him the medicine.
(The entire section is 402 words.)
Chapter 22 Summary
When Kat wakes up, she has been asleep for some time. Fortunately, the medicine that she fought so hard to get for Peeta has worked. He is feeling better and is now taking care of Katniss. Kat’s head is still sore, and she is forced to spend most of the day recovering. It seems that there is a storm outside the little cave in which they are hiding.
Kat tells Peeta what happened at the Cornucopia and how Thresh let her go. Peeta confirms that Clove has been killed, but Cato and Thresh did not kill each other. The fox-faced girl also still lives. Peeta does not understand why Thresh would let Kat go. Kat explains that for people who are poor in the way she and Thresh are, it is difficult to pay back the gifts you have been given. As an example, Kat explains that it has always been difficult for her to pay back the bread Peeta threw to her when they were young. Before long, Kat is asleep again.
When she wakes up next, they are nearly out of food. Kat knows that Haymitch will be able to get them food. Before, a kiss equaled a pot of broth. What would a meal cost? Kat begins to orchestrate conversations that allow her and Peeta to kiss or to express their feelings for each other. Before long, she finds herself enjoying her kisses with Peeta. In fact, she notices that “this is the first kiss that makes me want another.” However, this is not enough to secure them food.
When asked why he has always had a crush on her, Peeta explains that on their first day of school his father told him that he had wanted to marry Kat’s mother. However, Kat’s mother married a coal miner who could sing so well that the birds would stop to listen. On that day, Kat sang for the class, and Peeta says he fell for her in the same way her mother fell for her father. Kat finds herself enjoying the story more than she would have expected. The sponsors must have enjoyed watching the story as well because Haymitch sends them a basket filled with food, including lamb stew, Kat’s favorite food from the Capitol. Kat reflects that this basket comes with a message from Haymitch explaining exactly what their romance is worth in terms of survival.
(The entire section is 404 words.)
Chapter 23 Summary
Peeta and Kat decide to ration the latest gift from their sponsors. They pass the time recuperating, kissing, and eating. They also make jokes at Haymitch’s expense and Katniss is sure that the audience is enjoying their humor. No doubt, by the time they finish, Haymitch is being interviewed by the Gamemasters. Peeta and Kat consider how Haymitch could have won the games and decide that he must have outsmarted the competition. However, before long, Thresh’s image appears in the sky, meaning that Cato has killed him. Kat is distraught because she would have liked Thresh to win if she did not.
Finally, Kat decides it is time to move on. She and Peeta finish their food, and Kat says they will find more food by the end of the day. However, when they set out from their cave, Kat is shocked by how loud Peeta’s walking is. She asks him to be quiet, then asks him to remove his shoes, and finally decides that she will need to hunt on her own. In comparison to Gale, Peeta is not much of a partner for hunting and gathering. Peeta understands that he is a liability and offers to dig some roots and berries. He and Kat make a two-note signal before Kat leaves. Now that Peeta is busy digging roots and Kat is alone, she finds that the forest is full of game.
When Kat returns, she calls but does not hear Peeta respond. She calls again but still receives no response. She rushes back and sees Peeta’s bag, but Peeta is not there. She calls for Peeta and he finally returns. He has been picking berries from a nearby bush and probably did not hear her because there was rushing water nearby. However, Kat is not prepared to let it go and reminds Peeta that this is exactly what happened with Rue.
Katniss is frustrated and angry. She returns to the pack and discovers that their cheese is missing. She accuses Peeta of eating without her, but Peeta swears that he has not. He has been picking berries. Kat looks at them more closely. These are not edible berries; they are poisonous. No sooner than Kat realizes that the berries are poison than a cannon is shot. Just a hundred yards away, a hovercraft appears to collect the corpse of the fox-faced girl. Peeta worries that Cato is nearby, but Kat explains that the fox-faced girl is his kill.
(The entire section is 414 words.)
Chapter 24 Summary
Peeta does not understand how he killed the fox-faced girl, and Kat has to explain it to him. The berries Peeta collected are called nightlock in District 12, and he has used them in ignorance to take out another tribute. Kat reflects that the fox-faced girl was probably the smartest of all the tributes; she then considers that there is a danger in overestimating opponents in the Hunger Games. Peeta warns Kat that Cato is likely coming, but she disagrees, reasoning that Cato will assume they hunted down the fox-faced girl and are waiting to ambush him as well. So they make a fire and cook their food.
Kat suggests that they try to climb trees and spend the night in the safety of the branches. However, Peeta explains that he will not be able to climb anything with his weight and his injured leg. At first Kat is irate, but then she realizes she has been bossing Peeta around all day. She kisses Peeta’s cheek and they return to their cave. There, Kat kisses Peeta again, and this time she does it for herself.
Kat considers her final opponent. Cato is reckless and violent. He is a Career tribute, which means that he has been trained to kill others in the Hunger Games. When Kat destroyed the Careers’ supplies, Cato lost control of himself and brutally murdered the boy from District 3. He has also killed Thresh. Kat reflects that everyone up to this point may well have been just a training exercise in comparison to Cato.
The next day, Kat and Peeta finish eating and leave the cave. Outside, they discover that the pond has been drained. The Gamemakers are trying to herd the remaining three tributes to the lake near the Cornucopia. Kat and Peeta start making their way back to where the games began. However, before they can arrive, they stop and listen to the mockingjays sing Rue’s song. The harmony of the Rue’s four notes is suddenly interrupted.
Cato is rushing madly toward them. Kat looses an arrow at his chest, but it bounces off. Cato now has armor. When Cato reaches the tributes from District 12, he does not try to kill them. Instead, he passes them and keeps running away. In the distance, Kat can see a pack of creatures running toward her. Without hesitation, she starts running for her life.
(The entire section is 398 words.)
Chapter 25 Summary
Kat quickly discovers that Cato is running from muttations. Unlike the previous muttations that have been introduced—the mockingjay and the tracker jackers—these new muttations are especially heinous. When Kat looks into their eyes, she discovers that the muttations are the eliminated tributes. Even Rue’s eyes have been twisted with hate. Still, as always, the surviving tributes battle for their lives.
Cato reaches the Cornucopia first and climbs to the top of the giant horn. Kat arrives shortly after and begins to climb until she remembers Peeta’s injured leg. She turns around and fires arrows at the muttations to give Peeta time to reach the horn. He arrives, and they start to climb. Cato is at the very top of the horn, but he is nearly vomiting from running so hard. Up close, Kat can see that Cato is wearing a sort of body armor that covers his body but not his head. Before she can shoot an arrow at him, she is attacked by the muttations, which are not climbing the horn but are able to jump at the final three tributes.
One of the muttations manages to bite Peeta’s leg. Before he is dragged to the ground, Cato grabs him and holds him as a human shield. It is a standoff: if Kat kills Cato, both the Career and Peeta will fall to the ground and be consumed by the muttations. Peeta uses blood from his leg to draw an X on Cato’s hand. Kat fires an arrow straight into the Career’s hand. Peeta frees himself and pushes Cato to the ground. Protected by his armor, Cato begins fighting the muttations, but they slowly overwhelm him and drag him into the horn. Kat and Peeta are forced to listen to his death cries.
When Cato finally dies, the muttations are summoned out of the arena. Kat and Peeta wait for victory music, but none comes. They decide that perhaps a hovercraft must be waiting for them to leave so it can remove Cato’s corpse from the arena. Kat and Peeta go to the nearby lake and Cato’s corpse is removed. However, no victory music is played. Suddenly, Claudius Templesmith announces that the previous revision of the rules—that two survivors from one district can win together—has been retracted. But Kat and Peeta do not kill each other. Kat recalls the nightlock berries, and she and Peeta stand back to back, swearing to commit suicide on the count of three. It is a bluff—there must be a victor. Templesmith’s voice returns, hastily announcing that Peeta and Kat have won the...
(The entire section is 446 words.)
Chapter 26 Summary
Kat and Peeta have won the Hunger Games, but they have not yet survived it. As applause from the Capitol is played on the arena’s speakers, a hovercraft appears, drops a ladder, and pulls Peeta and Kat out of the arena. There, Peeta collapses from blood loss and doctors immediately rush to revive him. Kat recalls the mining victims that her mother treats and finds that she now understands why their families stay to watch: they have no choice.
Kat sees her reflection in the glass, and at first she does not recognize herself. Her cheeks are sunken and hollow and she is covered in grime. Before she can consider the changes, she is jabbed with a needle.
The Capitol’s doctors have done their best to make Kat look innocent and healthy. The hearing she lost when she blew up the Careers’ food has been repaired. Her scars have been erased and her skin looks healthy and new. However, the surgery has not returned her weight, and Kat finds that she can still count her ribs in the mirror.
Kat’s time in the arena has ended, but she is not done with the Hunger Games. Now she is a victor; her time in front of the cameras has not yet ended. Kat is returned to Cinna, who offers her a dress that Kat finds makes her look innocent. Cinna tells her that they are hoping she will look good for Peeta, whom Kat has still not seen. Peeta is alive, but the Capitol wants to broadcast her first sight of him to Panem. Kat senses that there is more going on than Cinna is telling her, but she does not push it, knowing that she is still under surveillance.
When Kat next sees Haymitch, he asks her for a hug for luck. Knowing that something is amiss, Kat agrees. Whispering, Haymitch explains that the Hunger Games are a tool by which the Capitol enforces its authority over the districts. The Hunger Games are supposed to seem invincible, yet Peeta and Kat managed to outsmart the Gamemakers. Now, they are in danger and their only hope is to continue their star-crossed lovers routine—and there should also be the suggestion that the Gamemakers were in on the whole thing. Kat still does not understand how she feels about Peeta, but for the time being, her emotions are secondary to her need to survive. Haymitch reveals that for Peeta, there will be no need to pretend.
(The entire section is 417 words.)
Chapter 27 Summary
When Kat finally sees Peeta again, they are about to go on camera with Caesar Flickerman. Peeta has a new leg and walks with a cane. Compared to the show that comes after most Hunger Games, this one has several subtle differences. The victor’s single chair has been replaced with a loveseat. On it, Kat leans into Peeta, who puts his arms around her. The audience is eating up the love on display before them.
However, there is more than love on display. The show will last three hours and a large part of it will be a recap of the seventy-fourth Hunger Games. Kat recalls that victors are supposed to watch the horror and brutality of the games and that most victors just look shocked. However, Kat knows that her life, not to mention Peeta’s, is riding on the story that people take away from this latest game. Kat notes that the editors have done a fine job of making the games seem like a love story this year. She also notices that they have edited out anything that suggests rebellion, such as when Kat covered Rue’s body in flowers. By the end of the recap, Kat has been made to look madly in love with Peeta; the highlights end with Kat in the hovercraft, demanding to see how Peeta is being treated.
In addition to her interview with Caesar Flickerman, Kat also meets the head of Panem, President Snow. Although Snow smiles at Peeta and Kat when he crowns them as victors of the Hunger Games, Kat notes that his eyes are as forgiving as a snake’s. Looking at Snow, Kat can tell that he is still furious over the way she outsmarted the Gamemakers and the Hunger Games. It will be a long time before she is safe again.
Fortunately, the show finally ends, and Kat is able to be herself again. She wipes off the makeup and puts on plain clothes. When she next sees Peeta, she explains how much danger they have been in. Although Haymitch had coached Kat on how to behave, Peeta thought the star-crossed lovers routine was reality. He is hurt and wants to know what will happen when they return to District 12, but Kat is unable to say. She still does not know how she feels about Peeta and she does not know how she feels about Gale. As the story ends, Kat notes:
Already the boy with the bread is slipping away from me. I take his hand, holding on tightly, preparing for the camera, and dreading the moment when I will finally have to let go.
(The entire section is 441 words.)