Chapter 5 Summary
People in District 11 are being executed for their gestures of defiance against the Capitol’s authority. As Katniss and Peeta are rushed away from the scene, gunshots continue. Haymitch intercepts the young victors and rushes them away to a private place. Peeta demands to know what is going on and finally learns that Katniss’s life is once again on the line, as are the lives of her loved ones. He also learns that he and Katniss are expected to put on a show of love. Finally, Peeta learns that Katniss and Haymitch were able to communicate during the Hunger Games through the gifts that Haymitch would send or withhold. Peeta is furious and demands that Haymitch and Katniss share their plans with him from now on. It is not enough that he is able to act naturally in front of the audience. From now on, he must be involved. Haymitch and Katniss agree.
The Victory Tour continues, and Katniss does her best to appear love-struck. By the time they get to Districts 1 and 2, which are notable for their Career tributes, Katniss worries that she has failed to meet President Snow’s expectations. Whereas she respected Rue and Thresh from District 11, Katniss feels little remorse for having personally killed the tributes from these districts. Still, Katniss is traumatized by her time in the Hunger Games, and she has terrible nightmares when she sleeps. At night, she and Peeta have taken to sleeping next to each other, as they did during the Games, for comfort. Katniss reflects that this will also help to convince President Snow of her love for Peeta.
Finally, Katniss reaches the Capitol. Here the people are not required to sacrifice their children. They have no penance to pay. For them, the Hunger Games are a form of entertainment, so there is little chance of rebellion. However, she and Peeta continue their act in the hopes of making up for their failures in the outlying districts. In fact, Katniss even suggests that Peeta propose marriage in front of the cameras. Peeta considers her suggestion, though he is hardly pleased because he would have preferred a real marriage.
Peeta is always quick to help Katniss, and he does propose to her on camera. The proposal takes place on Caesar Flickerman’s show, and Katniss reflects that Peeta, as always, is a natural showman. Katniss does her best to gush with love for Peeta. For viewers from the Capitol, their proposal is already a media spectacle. However, things become even more exciting when President Snow arrives on stage. He heartily congratulates Peeta in front of the cameras before coming to hug Katniss. When she looks at him to see if she has met his expectations, he “almost imperceptibly” shakes his head no.