Chapter 16 Summary

When Katniss wakes up, she is in the hospital again. Johanna Mason is nearby, and she comes to sit aggressively on Katniss’s bed so that her injuries will hurt. Johanna takes Katniss’s morphling for herself, admitting that it would not be so bad if she could escape into a life of morphling addiction. Katniss is in pain, but she will not complain since Johanna saved her life during the Quarter Quell, only to be captured by the Capitol and tortured. Johanna also explains that Katniss was shot, but Cinna’s outfit managed to stop the bullet. Katniss only has bruised ribs.

Most people are afraid of Johanna, but not Gale. When he comes to visit Katniss, Johanna leaves. Katniss and Gale agree to disagree on Gale’s tactics. Gale points out that defeating District 2 was the same as fighting against the bombers in District 8. When Katniss points out that they and a hospital were under attack in District 8, Gale reminds her that the bombers were from District 2: “by taking them out, we prevented further attacks.” However, Katniss maintains that Gale’s logic could be used to justify the Hunger Games because it would “prevent the districts from getting out of line.” Gale remains unconvinced.

Katniss is also visited by Plutarch. He explains that, with District 2 taken, the Capitol is now cut off from the outlying districts. They have supplies, but the Capitol is not used to living under deprivations in the same way that District 13 is. Instead, they are used to Panem et Circenes, which means “Bread and Circuses.” The saying is an allusion to Rome, which “in return for full bellies and entertainment...had given up their political responsibilities and therefore their power.” Not only does District 13 have food, but Plutarch is about to organize an entertainment propo.

He explains that he is organizing a wedding—a wedding for Finnick and Annie, not for Peeta and Katniss. The wedding plans are difficult, given that Plutarch is used to the Captiol’s extravagence and District 13 is used to sober rituals. However, the event is an overwhelming success. The people from District 12 start some spontaneous dances, which more than make up for the otherwise stark decorations. One decoration that catches Katniss’s eye is the wedding cake, which she can tell was frosted by Peeta.

Peeta seems to be making progress, though not steadily. He has now asked to meet with Katniss, and she agrees to visit him. However, their exchange is tense. Peeta points out that Katniss is not very pretty, that she is not very nice, and that she is a “piece of work” for kissing both him and Gale. Katniss storms out of Peeta’s room and hides. She reflects that “finally, he can see me for who I really am. Violent. Distrustrful. Manipulative. Deadly. And I hate him for it.”