Chapter 2 Summary

District 13 managed to survive the Dark Days because it was a nuclear power. Consequently, they were able to negotiate a peace agreement with the Capitol, which had additional nuclear reserves in the west. Katniss wonders whether the Capitol gambled that District 13 would be unable to survive without the resources of the other districts. If so, the gamble would have paid off if not for District 13’s reliance on rationing. Resources are carefully monitored, as are the actions of District 13’s people.

Each morning in District 13, everyone’s arm is tattooed with a schedule of locations and jobs. At the end of the day, the ink washes away, and the next morning, a new schedule is given. Katniss, who now shares quarters with her mother, Prim, and Buttercup, agrees to receive a schedule, but she never follows it. Instead, she spends most of her time sleeping in hidden areas. On her arm, Katniss wears a medical bracelet that informs the reader that she is “mentally disoriented.” Gale also wears a bracelet, but his is a “communicuff.” For leading District 12’s survivors, Gale has been given a position of leadership within the rebellion. He informs Katniss that they have both been summoned to “Command.” There, they see a screen. On it, Caesar Flickerman is interviewing Peeta.

Peeta does not appear to have been tortured. The interview begins with an acknowledgment that no one would have expected Caesar to be interviewing Peeta again. The last time Peeta was on television, he was about to enter the Hunger Games with the intention of sacrificing himself so that Katniss could survive. Peeta carefully explains that he and Katniss had no idea that there were rebels that had their own plans for the games. As Peeta describes what life was like in the arena, Katniss reflects on how naturally Peeta speaks to an audience. Before the interview ends, Peeta explains that the rebellion must stop because Panem no longer has a population large enough to survive war.

Katniss knows that Peeta’s calls for a cease-fire will be interpreted as treachery by the rebels. Unable to bear hearing others speak out against Peeta, Katniss leaves the room. President Coin tells Katniss that she has not been dismissed, but Katniss leaves anyway. Katniss hides in a closet and is quickly joined by Gale. Gale explains that he fought one of Coin’s men so that Katniss could leave Command and has been demoted because of it. He also explains that Peeta is trying to protect Katniss by painting her as an innocent. That way, even if the rebels lose, Katniss could still be treated with leniency. Katniss is distraught, but she also realizes that she cannot support a ceasefire with the Capitol after they firebombed District 12. She decides that she will become the Mockingjay.