One of the major contrasts to the violence of The Hunger Games is the theme of friendship throughout the novel. In Chapter One, the reader experiences the strength of Katniss and Gale's friendship as they share a small lunch together. Katniss reveals that "the sight of him waiting there brings on a smile. Gale says I never smile except in the woods" (6). A large reason for Katniss' easy and relaxed behavior is the way Gale's friendship and support makes her feel. When she is with him in the woods, their cares of the Seam slip away, and for those few hours of hunting, they can focus only on each other and their friendship.
Even Katniss and Gale's discussion about the upcoming Games tribute reaping reveals how they can joke with each other to diffuse the tension of the upcoming event:
"Suddenly, [Gale] falls into a Capitol accent as he mimics Effie Trinket, the maniacally upbeat woman who arrives to read out the names at the reaping. 'I almost forgot! Happy Hunger Games!'" (7).
Gale's ability to joke with Katniss helps her not to take herself so seriously. These two friends depend upon each other for moral support as the providers of their families and also help each other out when needed. Their friendship at the onset of the novel is a warm contrast to the stark reality of Panem's brutal Hunger Games system.