The opening of The Hunger Games provides the first hint to the emotions the characters in the novel feel.
When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. My
fingers stretch out, seeking Prim's warmth but finding only the rough canvas cover of the mattress. She must have had bad dreams and climbed in with our mother. Of course, she did. This is the day of the reaping.
Here readers can infer that the reaping is not a positive thing. The fact that Prim was worried enough to go and sleep with her mother shows the reaping to be something very serious.
Even so, I always take a moment to listen carefully for the hum that means the fence is live.
Here, readers can infer Katniss' concern. While she believes that the wire should be dead, she cannot help but think it may carry electricity. Her concern far outweighs her desire to escape into the woods to hunt.
So I learned to hold my tongue and to turn my features into an indifferent mask so that no one could ever read my thoughts.
Here, Katniss is showing her contempt for the Capitol. Given her young age, Katniss learned to hide her true feelings for the ones in charge of oppressing her family and district.
The sight of him waiting there brings on a smile. Gale says I never smile except in the woods.
Here, Katniss' happiness is seen. In the woods, with Gale, is the only time she can be both free and happy.
We have to joke about it because the alternative is to be scared out of your wits.
Here, Katniss and Gale show their intense fear of the games. The only way that they can deal with it is to laugh so that they are not afraid.