Chapter 2 Summary

When Prim’s name is drawn to be District 12’s tribute, Katniss’s first thought is how unlikely it is that her sister was chosen. After all, Prim’s name was entered into the drawing only once. Considering that she is only twelve, it is all but certain that Prim will be one of the first children killed in the Hunger Games. With this in mind, Kat rapidly volunteers to be taken to the Hunger Games in place of her sister.

The Hunger Games are first and foremost a merciless reminder of the price of rebellion against the Capitol. The heartlessness of the Capitol is expressed when their spokesperson, Effie Trinket, gushes that she will bet her “buttons that was your sister. Don’t want her to steal all the glory, do we?” However, the people of District 12 interpret the scene differently. Although they may not rebel against the Capitol, they remain silent rather than clapping. Then they kiss their fingers and salute Katniss to express their admiration for her. The moment is ruined when Haymitch yells into the camera in praise of Katniss’s spunk and proceeds to fall off stage.

The second tribute is Peeta Mellark, and Kat reflects that her odds really are not very good on this day. Kat recalls how difficult her life was just after her father died. Her family did not have very much to eat while he was alive. After he died in a mine explosion, they found themselves starving. At the time, Kat was too young to trade her Hunger Games eligibility for food and oil. She also had not yet figured out that she could hunt game to feed her family.

One night, she found herself wandering through the town. Kat, her mother, and Prim were about to starve, and Kat had come to the point that she was digging in dumpsters to feed her family. When she came to the bakery, Kat found no bread in the dumpster and the baker’s wife scolded her. However, the next thing she heard was the baker’s wife hitting her son, Peeta, for burning the bread. The son exited the bakery with a welt on his head, but instead of throwing the bread in the dumpster, he tossed it haphazardly. The bread landed at Kat’s feet, and she took it home to feed her family. Only after did she consider that Peeta might have burnt the bread on purpose.

Now, instead of being able to thank Peeta, Katniss will be required to kill him to win the Hunger Games. At best, she reflects, someone else will likely kill him first. It does seem that the odds are not in her favor.