Chapter 23 Summary

Katniss realizes that the arena is designed to resemble and work like a clock. During every hour, there will be a different horror in one section of the jungle. Katniss knows that she has just enough time to explain what is happening before the next horror will start. Now that Wiress’s message has been received, they focus on helping Beetee recover, and they retrieve his wire. Johanna says it is useless, but Katniss finds this suspicious because Beetee used wire to set a trap and win his Hunger Games. Johanna knows this because she nicknamed Beetee “Volts.” Before she can figure out what is happening, they decided to return to the Cornucopia.

The allies stock up on weapons. Johanna picks up two throwing axes and demonstrates her impressive skill. Katniss reflects that District 7 produces lumber, which is why Johanna has such a natural way with axes. District 12 tributes would have a greater advantage with munitions if they were allowed in the mines before the age of 18. No wonder they always do so badly at the Hunger Games. Other districts seem to prepare their children to use axes, tridents, or electricity, whereas District 12 sends helpless children.

Peeta takes the time to draw a clock in the sand while Wiress begins washing Beetee’s wire in the water. She sings a song about a mouse on a clock, which irritates Johanna. When they gather to look at Peeta’s map, Katniss notices that Wiress has stopped singing. Katniss turns to see the Careers from Districts 1 and 2 attack and kill Wiress. Katniss and her allies fight off the Careers. Gloss and Cashmere die, but the Cornucopia begins spinning before Katniss and her allies can pursue Brutus and Enobaria. When the spinning stops, Katniss swims out to rescue Beetee’s wire while Finnick swims out to retrieve Peeta, who was stabbed in the leg.

Katniss’s group decides to return to the midnight section of the jungle. However, now that the Cornucopia has spun, they have no way of finding it. They resolve to get some water, and Katniss notices something strange. When Peeta volunteers to tap a tree, Finnick offers to take his place. Upon reflection, Katniss realizes that everyone seems to be working to keep Peeta safe. The only explanation Katniss can think of is that Peeta has a way with words more likely to enable the rebellion against the Capitol. However, before she can pursue this idea further, she hears Prim’s voice coming from the jungle and dashes off to save her.