Chapter 3 Summary

In the third chapter, Katniss and Peeta leave District 12. They board a train that takes them to the Capitol, where they will be subjected to an intense series of interviews as a lead up to the Hunger Games. Upon boarding the high-speed rail from the Appalachian Mountains to the Rocky Mountains, Kat reflects that she has never been on a train before. The districts are isolated from each other to prevent an additional rebellion.

Before Kat leaves, she says goodbye to her friends and family. She tells her mother and sister how to take care of themselves, and she lectures her mother, insisting that she not abandon Prim the same way she once abandoned Kat. Gale tells Kat to find a bow and arrow in the Games and to believe in her ability to win because she is the best hunter he has ever seen. Although Kat suggests that killing game and killing humans is different, Gale objects, saying, “How different can it be, really?” Peeta’s father visits Kat as well and brings her cookies.

Madge, a girl from District 12 who has always been well fed, also visits Kat. Unlike the others, Madge seems calm. All tributes in the Hunger Games are allowed to bring a token from their district, and Madge gives Kat a broach of a bird. Upon examination later, Kat realizes that the broach depicts a mockingjay in flight. Although she did not realize it at first, the broach is actually a sort of slap in the face of the Capitol.

During the Rebellion, the Capitol used genetically modified creatures, or “muttations,” as part of their war effort. Among other things, they created the “jabberjay,” which was able to mimic human speech. The birds were intended to be spies, but after the rebels figured out what was happening, they began to use the birds to plant false information. Although the Capitol left the birds to die, they crossbred with mockingbirds. Now the birds are capable of mimicking song and conversation. The mockingjay is, for some, a symbol of rebellion; for Kat, it recalls her father, who used to sing to the mockingbirds.

As the chapter closes, Kat finds herself watching videos from the other districts and their tributes. She also sees herself on television and notes how desperate she looked when trying to save Prim. The show ends with Haymitch falling off the stage, and then the national anthem is played. When the Capitol’s representative, Effie Trinket, points out that Haymitch’s behavior needs to be refined, Kat and Peeta laughingly point out that Haymitch is always drunk. In response, Trinket points out that Haymitch will be responsible for finding sponsors for them during the Games and that their lives may well depend on him. With that, District 12’s only surviving victor drunkenly enters the room and vomits.